Knowledge is Power – five new informative policy documents and strategies launched ahead of the SADC Summit
By Kizito Sikuka in Dar es Salaam.
The vision of the founding President of Tanzania, HE Julius Nyerere, and his conviction that Knowledge is Power was evoked several times during the launch of five new regional publications ahead of the 39th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which starts on 17 August in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The Summit theme is “A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Development, Increased Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation”. The books present issues ranging from energy to infrastructure to gender, and monitor progress on regional integration in southern Africa.
Speaking at the launch, the SADC Secretariat’s Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said that access to reliable and accurate information guides informed decision-making and enables citizens to actively participate in the integration agenda by deepening appreciation of the benefits of belonging to a shared community of southern Africa.
“Information is power,” Dr Tax said in launching the books, adding that access to reliable information is a catalyst for sustainable development. “I therefore encourage everyone to read the publications and implement the proposed recommendations for the continued development of our region.”
Dr Medard Kalemani, the Tanzanian Energy Minister, spoke about Tanzania’s plans for energy generation through renewable sources including water and wind, and how this will power Tanzania while feeding surplus electricity into the regional grid managed by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
He added a gender context, saying that regular access to cheap energy will relieve women from collecting and carrying firewood, and will reduce the serious environmental degradation caused by burning wood and charcoal, as well as the damage to health from those sources.
Madaraka Nyerere, a Board member of the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), delivering a message from the SARDC Chairperson, Hon. Peter Katjavivi, said a “knowledgeable region” is better placed to achieve its long-standing vision of a united, prosperous and integrated community. “Without access to information, sustainable development is an impossible task,” he said.
Hon Katjavivi is the Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia.
SARDC is a widely respected, regional knowledge centre and SADC partner that produced most of the new publications launched this week.
SARDC Executive Director, Munetsi Madakufamba, profiled the vision of the institution and key points of the publications, saying that “as SARDC, we will always be available to support the SADC Secretariat and Member State governments” in communicating and advancing regional integration.
Brief overview of the new publications:
* The SADC Energy Monitor: Enabling Industrialisation and Regional Integration in SADC – now in its second edition — documents progress made by Member States on implementation of SADC energy policies and initiatives.
The publication focuses on energy as an enabler for industrialisation and regional integration in SADC in line with the region’s developmental plans such as the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and the Revised SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
* The inaugural SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Short Term Plan Assessment 2019 assesses the results achieved in implementation of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) Short Term Action Plan (2012-2017).
* The 2018 SADC Gender and Development Monitor: Women Economic Empowerment and Gender Responsive Budgeting presents an account of progress on the implementation of regional commitments to achieve gender equality and equity in line with the revised SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
* The SADC Regional Strategy on Women, Peace and Security (2018-2022) provides an overarching framework to guide implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on mainstreaming gender into peace and security in the region.
* In response to the threat of gender violence, SADC also launched the SADC Regional Strategy and Framework of Action for Addressing Gender Violence (2018-2030).
These two strategies provide guidance for a holistic and coordinated approach to address gender violence at national and regional level.
The first three publications were produced for SADC by the SARDC with support from the Austrian Developmental Agency and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. The two strategy documents were produced in collaboration with the UN Department of Political Affairs and Peacebuilding, and UN Women, respectively.