The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) held a Council of Ministers meeting on 14-15 August 2014, 2014 at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The SADC People’s Summit took place as a parallel event in Baluawayo, Zimbabwe.
Needless to say, the outcome of the SADC meeting bears little or no relation to the declaration produced by the SADC People’s Summit. Organised by the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network, the meeting produced a declaration that calls on the SADC governments to reject REDD.
Before the SADC People’s Summit, the organisers raised the issue of land grabbing in Africa. In Mozambique, Ana Paula Tauacale, leader of Mozambique Union of Famers, said,
“land is being given away to foreigners to grow crops for export in the expense of dispossession of local small-scale farmers. This is the case of the ProSavana in Nacala Corridor… We need to defend small-scale and family based agriculture in our countries since we have proven that we can feed the world.”
Among the organisations represented at the SADC People’s Summit were Via Campesina, the Rural Women’s Assembly, WoMin, the People’s Dialogue and the No REDD in Africa! Network.
Here is the declaration in full:
SADC People’s Summit
15-16 August 2014
The Bulawayo Communique
‘Reclaiming SADC for People’s Development-SADC Resources for SADC People’
We the representatives of more than 2500 delegates drawn from grassroots movements, community-based organizations, faith based organizations, women’s organizations, labour, student, youth, economic justice and human rights networks and other social movements gathered at the Peoples Summit convened by the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) and Peoples Dialogue at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe,from the 15th-16th August 2014 under the theme ‘Reclaiming SADC for People’s Development – SADC Resources for SADC People’.
Appreciating the role of the SADC Secretariat in opening its doors to Social Movements in general, and particulalry acknowledging the role of the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network in mobilising citizens of the regions to defend their livelihoods, offer alternatives and fight for their rights.
Noting the existence of SADC as a regional economic bloc with a relatively better peace and security dividend in a well resourced Africa, but burdened with conflict and human insecurity.
- The massive mismanagement and looting of resources by foreign investors and Transnational Corporations in active collaboration with SADC governments
- Increasing failure by most SADC governemnents to guarantee access to adequate and nutritious food, essential social services in particular, health,education, water and sanitation
- Absence and deterioration of infrastructure to guarantee decent public service delivery
- 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 life saving medicines to a majority of their citizens.
- Increasing Gender Based Violence in our countries
- Growing youth unemployment
- The shrinking space for public participation in key national and regional platforms where our future and livelihoods are determined
- The political repression in Swaziland and impassse in Lesotho
- Absence of regional social protection systems that have a pension for migratory labour
- Climate change catastophe in the form of droughts, floods and extreme temperatures for example
- Increasing incidents of child marriages
- (Ascendancy of neoliberalism and attendanct macroecomic terrorism that is aided by increasing incidence of Repression and rising Inequality in SADC member states)
- The open collusion with the Europen Union to mortgage our future and exploitaion of resources and people through Economic Partnership Agreements
- Investment agreements that are now triggering massive Land Grabsin the region
- The massive exploitation (destructive extractivism) of resources without bringing the benefits to the citizens
- Illicit Financial Flows that deprive our countries of the much needed revenue with which to build infrastructure and improve delivery of social services
- The take over of agricultural and food systems by MNCs that lead to lack of food sovereignty
- Loss of livelihoods and increasing incidence of policies that place a huge burden on women in a patriarchy dominated SADC.
- The lack of progress in implementing Freedom of Movement protocol in SADC and
- The heightened harassment of ordinary people especially at ports of entry like BeitBridge border post.
We commit to heighten our levels of solidarity and offer each other maximum support in our campaign to Reclaim SADC for people’s Development.
We assert that SADC resources must be used to benefit the peoples of the region primarily, and we must work tirelessly to destroy the inherited colonial structures that are largely responsible for the corporate impunity in the region and profit driven enclaves of progress that are not designed to serve the sustainable use of resources and meaningful development in the SADC region.
Commit to campaign against corporate impunity that has its roots in the colonial exploitative structures and maintained by leaders in our member states.
We call on SADC member states and Governments to:
- Protect the people first, and not serve corporate and elite interests
- Implement the 50/50 Gender Equity Principle
- Allocate 10% of their budget to meaningful support for Agriculture as recommended in the SADC Dar Es Salaam declaration of 2005 and in line with the AU Maputo Declaration 2003
- Guarantee the Freedom of movement for persons in SADC by providing a SADC Passport
- Recognise the right to participate and actively promote the participation of people with disabilities in key national and regional processes, so that they have access to benefits enjoyed by all citizens without disabilities
- Include citizens in the decision making processes of SADC through functional SADC National Committees
- Reinstate the SADC Tribunal and work towards the establishment of a regional Court of Justice staffed with competent professionals and not parochial and patronage national politics to deal with regional quotas when it comes to deploying people who will serve in such regional bodies
- Formulate and implement a SADC wide basic income grant policy in the wake of hunger and poverty becoming a daily experience for the majority of citizens in the region
- Reject externally driven false solutions to climate change embedded in for example the existing REDD Plus, Green Revolution and Climate Smart Agriculture proposals
- Promote the existence of plural political systems where diversity is tolerated and citizens freely organise processes that are based on mass mobilisation and freedom to voice alternatives without fear of victimisation
We, the peoples of SADC, have been strengthened by our sharing of experiences and aspirations within this People’s Summit.
We commit ourselves to struggle by all means necessary.
VIVA the Peoples of SADC!
Viva the solidarity and rights of the Peoples of SADC!