SADC to launch regional army brigade, early warning centre
By WILFRED EDWIN
The Southern African Development Community will launch an emergency army brigade on September 1, Tanzania Foreign Minister Bernard Membe has said.
The group will also launch an early warning system whose centre will be in Gaberone, Botswana.
Mr Membe said the region’s brigade would act as an African stand-by force to be known as SADCBrig.
The brigade will be inaugurated in Lusaka, Zambia, during the SADC heads of state summit.
Speaking at the just ended meeting of the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Political Defence and Security Co-operation Organ held in Dar es Salaam, the minister said the Botswana centre will help issue early warnings against impending natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and locusts to member states.
“The centre will be equipped with modern equipment for the task,” he said.
However, the cost of the entire system could not be immediately established.
Already SADC has in place a Regional Early Warning System (REWS), a mechanism for assembling and analysing food security information within the region.
REWS provides advance information on food security through analysis and monitoring of food crop production prospects, food supplies and requirements in order to alert member states and the humanitarian agencies of likely food shortages in sufficient time for appropriate interventions to be made.
In 2003, REWS was merged within the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate, where its core functions and activities have continued to be carried out within an expanded role.
This includes widening the scope of early warning to include broader food security issues such as coverage of livestock and commodity markets, livelihood vulnerability analysis and cross-cutting issues, with stronger linkages to the SADC policy environment.