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Poverty is a complex phenomenon in the Southern Africa. This is why the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) pursues a wider approach in poverty reduction taking into account the available resources and the actual living conditions of those affected. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, the Austrian Development Cooperation promotes programmes and projects that support rule of law, good governance and infrastructure as democratisation and social equity are essential for sustainable economic growth and development. All SADC member states support this view.
Strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights are major prerequisites for sustainable human development in the SADC region. This calls on the one hand for a reliable public sector that respects democratic principles. On the other hand, there is a need for an informed civil society that voices the needs of its marginalised members and demands that these are met.
The Austrian Development Cooperation supports the institutional programme of the SADC Council of NGOs (SADC-CNGO) targeting a joint poverty analysis of civil society and subsequently the development of appropriate strategies for poverty reduction.
Discrimination and violence based on gender, as well as human trafficking pose a major threat to human security, especially to women and children. The Austrian Development Cooperation supports the SADC Gender Unit in the preparation of a handbook on violence against women and children for relevant actors as well the implementation of the SADC action plan to combating human trafficking in the region. This support is within the framework of Austria’s action plan for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820.
Parliaments play a key role in poverty reduction and the promotion of democracy. The active participation of parliament in budgetary processes affects the formulation of national development plans and the allocation of state resources for poverty reduction based on national poverty reduction strategies. This is why ADC strengthens parliaments to enable them to better fulfil their role.
The question of land and the access to resources are crucial issues in Southern Africa. Solving these is essential for further democratisation and sustainable poverty reduction in the region. Institutional reforms should promote the empowerment of people which are deprived of access to land and its use. Environmental protection and climate change also pose major challenges for an effective handling of land issues. The Austrian Development Cooperation supports regional interventions based on successful experience in land reform and promotes the dissemination of these approaches.
Access to energy services is also essential for sustainable human development in Southern Africa. This is not only about energy technologies but also about providing access to energy for cooking, lighting, heating and other forms of utilisation. The Austrian Development Cooperation takes part in the Energy and Environment Partnership Programme with Southern and East Africa (EEP S&EA), which improves access to modern energy services with special focus on renewable energies. The Austrian Development Cooperation also promotes local institutional capacity development in solar thermal energy. The Austrian engagement forms part of the Regional Indicative Programme 2008-2013 agreed between the European Delegation, the EU member states and the SADC. The related cooperation agreement between Austria and SADC was signed in October 2008.