SADC People’s Summit 2021 Communique

We, the people of Southern Africa, drawn from grassroots movements, community-based organizations, faith based organizations, women’s organizations, labour, students, youths, civil society organizations, economic justice and human rights networks and other social movements in the region; gathered at the SADC People’s Summit convened under the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN); at CROSSROADS HOTEL, in Lilongwe, Malawi, from the 17th-19th of August 2021, under the theme “ELEVATE JUSTICE AND EQUALITY”

Acknowledging the role of the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network in mobilizing citizens of the regions to defend their human dignity and protection of their fundamental human rights;

Noting the existence of SADC as a regional economic block with a relatively better peace and security dividend, in a well-resourced Africa, but burdened with conflict and human insecurity;

Concerned with:

  • Unsustainable sovereign debts in the region that have heavily burdened the livelihoods of women, youths, children and people with disabilities more than supporting them in the region;
  • The inhumane plunder of public resources through illicit Financial Flows, extractivism and corruption which has affected the provision of social protection and financing for sustainable development;
  • The increasing challenges that indigenous farmers in the region continue to face, land grabs and displacement of traditional settlers, poor trade policies, weak tenure regimes as well as SADC member states’ failure to promote indigenous seeds and knowledge systems which resist climate change vagaries;
  • Climate change catastrophe in the form of droughts, floods, cyclones and extreme temperatures;
  • Uncontrolled environmental degradation and pollution across the region.
  • Recurrence of attacks on African nationals in some SADC countries;
  • The proliferation of pro-capital labour laws in our countries leading to intensification of labour exploitation in the form of unfair labour practices and precarious employment conditions;
  • The shrinking civic space for public participation in key national and regional platforms, where our future and livelihoods are determined;
  • The continued lack of capacity of the SADC to monitor and observe general elections in the region as is evident in its most endorsements and electoral reports;
  • The laxity of leaders in decisively dealing with socio-economic and political crises, particularly in Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini and Lesotho which remain a threat to regional stability;
  • The continued attacks by political ruling elites on the citizens of the region with their own state security agencies as is the case of mass shootings and attacks in the kingdoms of Eswatini;
  • The lack of coordinated regional response to the Corona-Virus of 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Lack of recognition for care workers in the region, in the wake of the huge burden placed upon them by member States, by failing to provide decent hospital care and access to essential and lifesaving medicines to a majority of their citizens;
  • Increasing incidences of Gender-based Violence and Rape in our countries, and inadequacy of the justice delivery system to effectively deal with the matter;
  • Growing youth unemployment and lack of progress in integration of youth and other vulnerable groups in all structures of decision making and implementation;
  • Increasing incidences of child marriages, defilement and child labour;
  • The slow progress towards implementation of the SADC Protocols especially on environment, Mining, gender, human rights and free movement of the African people;
  • The abrupt unilateral abolition of the SADC Human Rights Tribunal;
  • The continued incidence and dominance of neoliberalism through open collusion with the Western and Chinese to mortgage our future and exploitation of resources and people through Economic Partnership Agreements;

We therefore commit to heighten our levels of solidarity and offer each other maximum support in our campaign to reclaim a Just and Equitable SADC.

We call on SADC member States and Governments to the following:

On Debt and Aid

  • Appeal for unconditional debt cancellation in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Review of tax incentives structures in line with SADC position on tax harmonisation and incentives guidelines – including but not limited to the Protocol on Finance and Investment (2006).
  • Subject all borrowing and tax incentives both statutory and discretionary to public scrutiny, including by parliament, media, Civil Society, and citizens.

Human Rights, Governance, Peace and Security

  • Revive the SADC Tribunal
  • Denounce, as SADC Chair, the massacre of unarmed civilians in Eswatini; and prioritize lasting political solution on the Eswatini impasse, working with the Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and security.
  • While deployment of armed troops in Northern Mozambique is welcome, SADC must facilitate dialogue between parties in the conflict for a lasting solution.
  • Continue to facilitate and support ongoing reform processes in Lesotho.

Gender and Social Protection

  • Adhere to regional and international commitments in human rights, health, education, agriculture and adopt deliberate efforts to allocate more resources towards children, youth and gender responsive social protection to ensure that these vulnerable groups are protected.
  • Invest more resources towards infrastructures for early warning, reporting and timely interventions in the disaster prone areas in the region.
  • Accelerate adoption of economic transformative policies such that address inequalities and injustices affecting women and youth.

Climate change, Natural Resources and Environment

  • Prioritize and commit adequate human and financial resources to WASH to accelerate action towards implementation of SDG 6
  • Develop a comprehensive policy framework for climate change and natural resources management that responds to the needs, challenges and capacities of the region for enhanced adaptation and resilience
  • Establish a Climate Justice Commission for the region

Trade, Industry and Economic Justice

  • Implement the of SADC Simplified Trade Regime (STR) and other protocols on Free Trade Area to facilitate the economic activity of cross border traders
  • Review the cost of acquiring the Covid-19 test certificates for cross border traders to manage cost of doing business
  • Countries to open their borders for cross boarders to travel freely and enhance markets linkages for all (especially women and youth)

You can access the full summit programme here (2MB PDF)

Source: Southern African People’s Solidarity Network

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