What is SADC doing in Lesotho
In 2008 Austria and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) signed a political declaration of intent (Memorandum of Understanding, MoU), in which cooperation in the areas of good governance, especially with regard to land issues, as well as infrastructure, especially in the areas of rail transport and renewable energies , was agreed. Since then, the two countries have held regular discussions on the implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding.
As part of the cooperation between SADC and its international partners (International Cooperating Partners, ICPs), in accordance with the Windhoek Declaration, from November 2010 to July 2014, Austria had the co-chairmanship of the ICP in the meeting headed by the director of the SADC organ for politics, security and defense cooperation thematic group on peace and security.
At the beginning of 2014 Austria took over the ICP-side co-chair in the thematic group Energy. Austria is financing a number of projects in this area, such as the establishment of the SADC Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), which started operations in Windhoek, Namibia in September 2016. Furthermore, the processing and dissemination of news from the energy sector was made possible by the Southern Africa Research and Documentation Center (SARDC) or “Gender Mainstreaming in the Energy Sector” by the SADC Gender Unit. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) also sent experts to the energy department in the SADC secretariat in Gaborone.
In addition, Austria supports UNODC in its regional project to combat violence against women, the umbrella organization of civil society SADC-CNGO in its poverty reduction program and the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP), within the framework of which, together with partners Finland and DFID, over several For years, projects in southern and eastern Africa have been funded with over € 60 million. The SolTrain project (Southern African Solar Thermal Training & Demonstration Initiative), which is funded by ADA together with OFID, currently supports projects in six countries in the SADC region - Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. So far, more than 1,800 specialists have been trained in over 60 training courses for solar thermal energy as part of this program, and over 100 solar thermal systems have been installed as demonstration systems on buildings of social institutions such as hospitals, orphanages, old people's homes, as well as student homes and isolated industrial buildings. Austria provides 50% of the costs for the installation of the solar panels and control systems. Most recently, a SolTrain conference took place in Windhoek from February 23 to 24, 2017. From October 3 to 6, 2015, the VI. International Conference for Renewable Energy (SAIREC) took place, in which Austria participated with two seminars opened by Ambassador Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer, as well as two stands at the parallel energy fair (WKO and ADA). In view of Austria's involvement in the energy sector in the SADC region, the conference was partially financed by the Austrian Development Agency.
With this package of measures, ADA has provided excellent elements for the development of the area. The challenge in the near future will be to better connect the potential that lies in the individual initiatives and the available resources with one another and to use them in the best possible way. The SADC region has the best prerequisites for the use of renewable energy - for example one of the best solar irradiation in the world. But there is still plenty of room for improvement for energy efficiency solutions (e.g. insulation of buildings). With the creation of appropriate framework conditions, these opportunities can become reality.
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