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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Releases > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Fact Sheets > 2003
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
July 16, 2003

Southern African Development Community

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a regional organization comprised of 14 southern African countries. It evolved from the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) which was established in 1980 to mobilize resources for national, interstate, and regional development so that "front line" countries might reduce their dependence on South Africa. SADCC became SADC in 1992 when the organizationís role shifted from confronting South Africa to creating a regional common market. The SADC Treaty also commits member states to evolve common political values, systems, and institutions and to promote and defend peace and security. To achieve these objectives, SADC member states seek to coordinate and harmonize their international relations. SADC aims to secure international understanding, cooperation, and support and mobilize the inflow of public and private resources into the region.

The SADC Summit is made up of Heads of State and is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions within the Community. The SADC Council of Ministers advises the Summit on policy matters and approves SADC policies, strategies, and work programs. At SADC's extraordinary Summit in March 2001, a new organizational structure was adopted. The region's leaders decided to merge SADC's 21 sectoral, coordinating units run by individual member states into four clusters (social and human development; trade, industry, finance, and investment; infrastructure and services; and food, agriculture, and natural resources). Another important decision taken at the March Summit was to make the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense, and Security accountable to the Summit and to rotate the Organ's leadership annually, using a troika system. The August 2001 Summit selected Mozambique as chair and Tanzania as vice-chair of the new SADC Organ and adopted a new Protocol on Politics, Defense, and Security, which will regulate the Organ. The Protocol has not yet been ratified by member states. Protocols on Firearms, Corruption, Fisheries, and Culture were also adopted. Angola assumed the SADC chair and Tanzania the vice-chair at the August 2002 Summit.

The Protocol on Politics, Defense, and Security Cooperation provides for a number of subordinate bodies under the Organ. One is the Interstate Politics and Diplomacy Committee (ISPDC), a new body that will be comprised of SADCís foreign ministers and will be responsible for carrying out the objectives of the Organ relating to politics and diplomacy. Another is the Interstate Defense and Security Committee (ISDSC), which existed previously and is comprised of the regionís defense and public/state security ministers. The ISDSC is responsible for carrying out the objectives of the Organ relating to defense and security. Its program of action, based on the closing statement of a 1995 ISDSC conference in Cape Town, includes continued engagement in confidence and security building measures.

SADC member states are: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


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