Austria primarily supports the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in strengthening rule of law and disseminating renewable energies, because respect for human rights and access to affordable and sustainable energy are essential for sustainable social and economic development.

Rule of law and human rights

A vibrant civil society and well-functioning parliaments are mainstays of democratic politics. This is why the Austrian Development Agency supports the SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organisations and the SADC Parliamentary Forum. Resolving land issues and the resultant mobilisation of resources is indispensable for future democratisation. ADA promotes research in this sector to facilitate appropriate and sustainable land use (Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape). 

Preventing violence against women and children poses a challenge for many member states of the Southern African Development Community. Support for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) helps strengthen women’s and children’s rights. 

Renewable energy

In collaboration with Finland and the United Kingdom, Austria contributes to the Energy and Environment Partnership Programme of Southern and East Africa, paying special attention to the promotion of project and business models for mobilising largely neglected national resources to pave the way for a sustainable, low-carbon energy system.

Together with the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), ADA promotes the development of solar energy use and related know-how (Working Group on Renewable Energy at the Institute for Sustainable Technologies). The shift to renewable energy sources is a viable option: The use of solar-thermal energy reduces the demand for and cost of electricity.

For example, ADA supports the Energy Unit in the SADC Infrastructure and Services Directorate with technical assistance and funds studies at the Southern African Research and Development Centre on gender equality in access to and use of renewable energies, for example. Austria is also helping to establish the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), which will help Southern African states to develop their own capacities in renewable energies, carry out demonstration projects and foster a new awareness of the need for sustainable energy supply.