Local time: Monday, 27 January 2020 20:05:05hrs
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Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC)


1. We have just witnessed the signing of Letters of Agreement on the Search and Rescue (SAR) in accordance with Article 25 of the Chicago Convention of 7th December 1944. The Principle behind the Rescue Agreement was adopted by United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 1967 through Resolution 2345. The Agreement requires that any State party that becomes aware that the personnel of space crafts or aircrafts are in distress must notify the country of origin.

2. This Agreement is essential because it provides all possible assistance to rescue personnel of aircraft which would have landed within that state’s territory, whether because of an accident, distress, emergency, or unintended landing. If the distress occurs in an area that is beyond the territory of any nation, then any state party that is in a position to do so shall, if necessary, extend assistance in the search and rescue operation.

3. The benefits of such an Agreements are: a) to provide coordination of Search and Rescue services in Botswana to meet domestic needs and international requirements; b) support lives during accidents; c) provide an overall Plan for coordination of civil Search and Rescue operations for effective use of resources; and d) to integrate available civil Search and Rescue resources into a cooperative network for greater protection of life and property.

4. As we meet here today, it is worth mentioning that a 2006 Audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation found that Botswana did not have Search and Rescue Agreements with some of her neighbours, save for South Africa in 2005, while Botswana signed with Zambia in 2012. Namibia now becomes the third country in the SADC region, which we have signed Search and Rescue Agreement with.

5. We are therefore grateful today, that we have signed this Agreement which will go a long way in facilitating the search and rescue of aircraft between Botswana and Namibia.

6. Essentially, by signing these Letters of Agreement, Botswana and Namibia commit themselves to the provision of assistance to each other in the event that an aircraft from any of our countries requires any type of assistance.

7. Honourable Nghimtina, I want to assure you of Botswana’s commitment to cooperating with your country, Namibia, in accordance with ICAO Annex 12 of the Chicago Convention, which Botswana ratified on 28th December 1978.

8. I wish to point out, Honourable Minister, that here in Botswana we have also ensured that our legislation domesticate some of these requirements; but of course subject to the signing of agreement such as the one we have just witnessed.

9. For instance, in accordance with Section 14 of the Civil Aviation Act of 2011, the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana is empowered to direct and coordinate Search and Rescue services in the country. This Agreement therefore reinforces these legislative provisions.

10. It is my expectations, and infact I do direct that The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana should liaise with their counterparts in Namibia to establish Joint Technical Teams whose responsibility will be to effectuate Search and Rescue operations in our two sisterly countries.

11. There will be a need for periodic reports to be made to our Governments, through Ministers responsible for aviation to ensure adherence to standards and procedures of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

12. Let me conclude, Honourable Minister that just as we remained united in different aspects of developments of our countries, we must remain united in ensuring aviation safety and security between Botswana and Namibia and hopefully in Southern Africa Development Community. That way and only that way we should be able to put our aviation industry on global competitive edge within the globe.

13. Thank you.

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