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Wednesday, August 18, 2021


WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA: Wednesday, 18 August 2021 –The 41st SADC Summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi, has approved the transformation of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) to a SADC Parliament, together with the roadmap outlining the steps to be undertaken to establish the regional legislature, including the amendment of the SADC Treaty and adoption of the Protocol establishing the regional legislature.

The 41st SADC Summit, taking place on 17 – 18 August under the theme: “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of Covid-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic and Industrial Transformation,” approved the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a SADC Parliament and its Roadmap - as a consultative and deliberative body with no law-making or other binding authority.

To expedite the transformation process, the Summit directed the SADC Secretariat, in collaboration with the SADC-PF Secretariat, to “commence on the amendment of the SADC Treaty with a view to recognise SADC Parliament as one of the SADC institutions under Article 9(1) to be considered by Council during its next meeting in March 2022, and subsequently by Summit in August 2022.”

The Summit also directed the two Secretariats to prepare the draft Protocol establishing the SADC Parliament.

“We are delighted to finally witness the fruits of our long toil to have our status upgraded come to fruition. The SADC-PF Secretariat stands ready to work with our colleagues at the SADC Secretariat to implement our proposed roadmap to transform the Forum into a regional Parliament,” said SADC-PF Secretary General, Ms Boemo Sekgoma.

The SADC-PF was established in 1997 under Article 9(2) of the SADC Treaty and spent its first 15 years of existence operating “less like a parliamentary institution and more like an association of parliaments – convening conferences, workshops and seminars.”However, since 2012 the SADC-PF has been operating like a de facto regional parliament, operationalizing its own set of Rules of Procedures, having fully functional Standing Committees, having robust debates on issues of regional interest and concern and adopting resolutions through plenary sessions that parallel parliamentary procedure. The above progress notwithstanding, the SADC-PF had until today’s decision struggled to have its mandate and powers changed to a SADC regional parliament.

The establishment of the SADC Parliament is an important milestone in SADC’s integration agenda as it will not only ensure that citizens’ views are incorporated into regional policy making processes but will also put SADC in line with other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) that have their own regional parliamentary assemblies. The SADC region was the only REC of the African Union without a parliament, prompting SADC-PF to be lobbying for its transformation over the last 15 years.

Source: SADC-PF Media Office


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