Absence delays SADC meeting

Several member states fail to pitch up

04 June 2019 | Agriculture

A meeting of SADC ministers responsible for agriculture, food security, fisheries and aquaculture is taking place in Windhoek this week.

The meeting is hosted by the Namibian agriculture and fisheries ministries in coordination with SADC. The opening of the meeting had been scheduled for yesterday morning but had to be postponed because of the absence of several SADC member states.

The executive director of the agriculture ministry, Percy Misika, said there was no quorum and therefore the meeting had to be postponed.

According to him, 11 of the 16 SADC member states had confirmed that they would attend the meeting.

“As it stands, only five member states are in this room,” he said yesterday morning. Misika proposed postponing the meeting to the afternoon, indicating that by that time the representatives of countries such as Zambia, Eswatini and Mauritius would have arrived in Namibia. He further said that South Africa, Angola and DRC had indicated that they would have sent representatives from their high commissions in Namibia to attend the meeting. However, none of these countries' representatives were present. Misika said the organisers would immediately contact them to ensure that they attend the meeting.

According to a statement issued by the agriculture ministry the objective of the meeting is to review the food security situation in SADC in view of natural disasters such as drought, floods and outbreaks of trans-boundary pests and diseases.

The meeting will also discuss the impact of climate change on ocean and coastal governance with an emphasis on protecting the marine environment and its biodiversity.

The meeting will also consider aquaculture, inland fisheries, the impacts of illegal, unregulated and unprotected fishing, harmful fishing subsidies and the impact of pollution and climate change on fisheries in SADC.

“Furthermore, parts of the region are currently facing a humanitarian crisis due to the impacts of two cyclones, Idai and Kenneth,” said Misika. He said the meeting would also review the implementation of the regional agricultural policy and its related programmes, which include food security, livestock, crops and fisheries.

It will also deliberate on the sectors' contribution towards the implementation of the SADC industrialisation strategy and regional strategies on water-energy-food interconnection.

ELLANIE SMIT