The United Republic of Tanzania became the first country to sign the Intergovernmental Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Amongst the Southern African Development Community Member States for the Establishment of a SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC).
According to a statement by Tanzanian government, the objective of the SHOC is to coordinate humanitarian and emergency support to Member States affected by disasters within the Region, thereby contributing to disaster risk reduction and resilience building.
“The SHOC will be established as an autonomous, self-accounting organization of SADC, and the purpose of the MoA is to establish SHOC and provide a legal basis for its operationalization.”
Speaking during the signing ceremony, held in Dodoma, Tanzania, Hon. George Simbachawene, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office: Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled said that SADC Member States cooperate on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) through the Committee of Ministers responsible for Disaster Risk Management.
He added that some of the actions taken to strengthen cooperation in DRM include the establishment of a Regional Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre located in Nacala, in the Nampula Province of Mozambique.
“The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania has continued to manage and coordinate the implementation of disaster management activities in line with the objectives of the SHOC”, he said.
The Hon. Minister expressed his country’s expectation that the Centre will deepen cooperation among SADC Member States, strengthen the region capacity to address disasters, improve security of people and properties in the region and establish closer relations among the people of the region.
The Centre will become fully operational in line with the provisions of the Intergovernmental Memorandum of Agreement once 11 or more of the 16 SADC Member States have signed.
The occasion was also attended by Dr. John Jingu, the Permanent Secretary Prime Minister’s Office Policy, Parliament Affairs and Coordination, Major General Charles Mang’era Mbuge, Director of Disaster Management Department, other Senior Government officials and members of the Media.
Meanwhile, the main objectives of SADC are to achieve development, peace and security, and economic growth, to alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration, built on democratic principles and equitable and sustainable development.