Ministers responsible for justice issues in the 16-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) have approved a draft agreement for the establishment of the proposed SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC).
In a statement on Friday, the regional bloc said the ministers of justice or attorneys general have recommended the approval of the Draft Memorandum of Agreement for the establishment of the SHOC by the organisation’s Council of Ministers next week.
“The purpose of SHOC is to coordinate humanitarian and emergency relief support to Member States affected by disasters within the region,” the bloc said.
The key functions of the SHOC are provision of technical support to national disaster management entities and other regional and international stakeholders towards improved coordination of disaster risk management in the SADC region; and establishment and maintenance of a regional Disaster Risk Loss and Damage Database.
The centre is also expected to provide up-to-date content for the SADC Information Management System to contribute to the regional disaster risk publications and keep the member states informed on all matters relating to the disaster risk management coordination mechanism in the region.
SHOC will also be responsible for the assessment, development and maintenance of minimum required capabilities and rosters of the emergency response team and the SADC Standby Force as may be required for effective operation for disaster risk management coordination mechanism and humanitarian support at regional level.
The statement said the ministers also recommended for approval by the Council of Ministers the Draft Protocol Against Trafficking in Persons.
“The aim of the Draft Protocol Against Trafficking in Persons is to provide a framework of cooperation between SADC Member States in combating trafficking in persons and associated transnational organised crimes and cross-border crimes in the region.”
The committee of ministers offers legal guidance and review of SADC legal instruments before they are considered, approved and adopted by the Council of Ministers and the Summit of Heads of State and Government.