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The Second SADC Civil Society Forum

Democratic governance and regional economic integration

The Southern African Development Community Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (SADC-CNGO)

14 - 16 August 2006

[Proceedings report]   [Forum cover letter]   [CommuniquР№]
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Proceedings report

Introduction and Background

This report is a record of proceedings of the 2nd SADC Civil Society Forum, held on August 14 - 16, 2006 in Khotsong Lodge, just outside Maseru, Lesotho, ahead of the SADC Heads of State and Governments Summit.

The Civil Society Forum, hosted by SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (SADC-CNGO) in collaboration with Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), supported by Southern Africa Trust, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Commonwealth Foundation. The forum further represented progress and development of southern Africa's civil society desire to engage with regional interstate policy and development processes.

The Second Civil Society Forum had the following Objectives:

  • Develop an understanding of SADC structures and programmes and how they interface with civil society organizations;
  • Provide a civil society perspective on what constitutes democratic governance in SADC and how non-state organizations can influence state-driven projects;
  • Provide a civil society perspective of what constitutes regional economic integration and how to engage with integration agenda and bring people in and;
  • Develop a concrete plan of action that will become an annual plan of SADC-CNGO for the year 2007.
The following four thematic areas were identified to guide the deliberations:
  • SADC Structures and Programmes and their relations with civil society formations
  • Democratic Governance and Civil Society
  • Regional Economic Integration and Civil Society and
  • Programme of Action for Civil Society engagement
As both the objectives and the thematic areas evidence, the Forum has as its focus and expected outcomes a deliberate bias towards unified and coordinated civil society engagement through collaborative programme of action for the next 12 months.

Thus, following on the inaugural Forum held in Gaborone, Botswana in 2005, this 2nd SADC Civil Society Forum proved to be an advancement and progress as evidenced by the following:
  • All major regional thematic organization invited participated and presented strategic inputs based on their sectoral experience and expertise;
  • They further agreed to take responsibility of coordinating and implementing thematic outcomes relating to their specific areas of operation;
  • A Coordinating task Team was elected to work with SADC-CNGO in realizing implementation of the resolution and follow-up on the communiquР№;
  • Both the SADC Executive Secretary and the in-coming Chairperson of the Council of Ministers attended and presented papers;
  • The communiquР№s was presented to the chairperson of the Council of Ministers, and a follow-up has been agreed upon;
  • A joint dinner was held with Ministers from all SADC member-states as an indication of commitment for future engagement;
  • Social movements had their parallel summit, indicating the significance of bringing SADC processes to the attention of broader citizens;
As is evident from the above, the Forum is beginning to play a major role in regional integration and development by bringing citizens closer to regional processes, and thus ensuring that leaders begin to take on board and in confidence the aspirations of their citizens. The major challenge however, is the consolidation of these developments and initiatives by implementing the outcomes and mobilizing ordinary citizens to take effective and direct interest in the regional affairs they affect their future.

Finally, the Forum has achieved its objectives, but also set in place expectations that we cannot afford to disappoint. The papers presented during the Forum are many and lengthy, and can be accessed on request from the SADC-CNGO.

Abie Ditlhake,
General Secretary, SADC-CNGO

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