As part of its institutional strengthening and transformation process, the SADC-Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) has completed the renewal of its committee system to align with the departments of the SADC-Secretariat.
It now has five standing committees focused on the following areas: (i) Committee on Democracy, Governance and Human Rights; (ii) Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes; (iii) Committee on Trade, Industry and Development Integration; (iv) Committee on Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development, and; (v) Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure.
The restructuring of the Committee System has strengthened and rationalised their work functions as an engine for the broader parliamentary business of the forum.
AWEPA is supporting SADC-PF’s new Standing Committees under both its MDG and Aid Effectiveness Programmes. In October 2014, AWEPA supported the Committees in holding their first meetings, prior to the General Assembly plenary. These meetings enabled the Committees to develop and present recommendations for review and adoption by the plenary.
Currently, AWEPA is supporting a second round of Committee Meetings. On 13-14 May 2015, SADC-PF’s Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights met in Cape Town, South Africa. The topic of the meeting was ‘SADC’s Changing Oversight Models: Trends, Lessons, and the Potential for Budgetary Engagement.’
On 27-29 May 2015, AWEPA supported two further Committee meetings: a meeting of the Committee on Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development which addressed the topic of gender sensitive budgeting; and a meeting of the Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure aimed at enhancing the Members’ capacity to exercise oversight in these sectors, both at national and regional levels and contribute to improved regional integration in the management of the natural resources through interaction and exchange of best practice and progress at regional level. These meetings took place in Gaborone, Botswana.
During these days, the Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Interrogation of Criminalisation of HIV Exposure and Transmission in the SADC Region also came together, in Botswana, to discuss the topic of ‘Increasing parliamentary engagement on human rights for a stronger, more vocal role in shaping and informing legislative efforts’