Important milestones in terms of strengthening SADC’s regional integration agenda include macroeconomic convergence. The Memorandum of Understanding on Macroeconomic Convergence that was signed in 2002, and is annexed to the Protocol on Finance and Investment signed in 2006, stipulates that member States should converge and cooperate on economic policies to promote stability and economic growth. Furthermore, the SADC Protocol on Finance and Investment came into force in 2010 to foster harmonisation of the financial and investment policies of member States in order to make them consistent with objectives of SADC and ensure that any changes to financial and investment policies in one member State do not necessitate undesirable adjustments in other member States’ investment policies and laws. 
In the RISDP, SADC member States agree to restrict inflation to stable levels, maintain prudent fiscal stances with minimal deficits, maintain sustainable balances in current accounts, and minimize market distortions. More precisely, SADC has set itself macroeconomic convergence benchmarks of 3 per cent inflation rate by 2018, a budget balance deficit of 3 per cent as an anchor within a band of 1 per cent of GDP, public debt less than 60 per cent of GDP, the imports cover to be less than 6 months and a GDP level not less than 7 per cent. These benchmarks are used to assess macroeconomic convergence for member States. Assessments made for 2010–2013 indicated that member States were slightly below the GDP growth level of 7 per cent, apart from that, most member States were aligned with the set macroeconomic targets. In this context, the SADC Secretariat created a Macroeconomic Surveillance and Performance Unit to support implementation of the RISDP through provision of policy guidance and advice to member States in the areas of macroeconomic policy. In specific, to plan, facilitate, coordinate and monitor macroeconomic policies, including monetary and fiscal policies, with a view to promote economic liberalization and development.
 SADC, Protocol on Finance and Investment (Gaborone, Botswana, 2006). Available from http://www.sadc.int/files/4213/5332/6872/Protocol_on_Finance__Investment….
 SADC, SADC Model Bilateral Investment Treaty Template with commentary (Gaborone, Botswana, 2012). Available from http://www.iisd.org/itn/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/sadc-model-bit-templa….
 SADC, Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (Gaborone, Botswana, 2003). Available from http://www.sadc.int/files/5713/5292/8372/Regional_Indicative_Strategic_D….
 Central Bank of Lesotho, Integrated Paper on Recent Economic Developments in SADC (Maseru, Lesotho, 2014). Available from https://www.sadcbankers.org/Lists/News%20and%20Publications/Attachments/….
One of the main objectives of the SADC Treaty is the promotion of policies that aim to eliminate obstacles to the free movement of persons in the region. A draft Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons within SADC was introduced in 1996, but was replaced by the more restrictive Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons in 1997. The restriction was due to the income disparities that create imbalances in migration flows between member States. The 1997 Protocol was further revised and adopted in 2005, which ensures granting visa-free entry, with lawful purpose, to citizens from other member States for a maximum of 90 days. The protocol is however not operational due to inadequate ratifications by member States. So far, only Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland have signed and ratified the Protocol.  Although the Protocol is not operational, it makes provision for member States to conclude bilateral agreements for visa exemptions. Most member States have exempted each other from visa requirements. However, citizens of SADC member States require visas for entering Angola, DRC and Madagascar. Moreover, there have been talks on a proposed single SADC passport initiative in the coming future.
The SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour (2014) calls for, among other things, member States to ensure that fundamental rights, in regards to labor, employment and social protection are accorded to migrant workers and their families. A Regional Labour Migration Policy Framework was developed in 2014 to assist SADC member States in addressing these identified priority areas. Furthermore, a revised SADC Labour Migration Action Plan for 2016-2019 was adopted in May 2016 to continue facilitating the implementation of the identified priority areas.
 Hussein Solomon, “Towards the Free Movement of People in Southern Africa?”, Institute for Security Studies, Occasional Paper No. 18 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1997). Available from https://issafrica.org/uploads/paper_18.pdf.; and
SADC, Protocol on Facilitation of Movement of Persons (Gaborone, Botswana, 2005). Available from http://www.sadc.int/documents-publications/show/Protocol_on_Facilitation….
The SADC Treaty states the vision of a shared future in an environment of peace, security and stability, regional cooperation and integration based on equity, mutual benefit and solidarity in the SADC region. SADC is consequently committed to the principles of the United Nations Charter, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, and the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. The latter includes the Continental Early Warning System where SADC has put in place schemes and networks of early warning in its region.
In order to respect its commitments, SADC Heads of State and Government established the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in June 1996, and signed the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in 2001. The implementation of its goals and objectives are conducted through the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO) that was established in 2004, as outlined in both the RISDP and the Protocol. The implementation of SIPO is meant to strengthen and deepen cooperation in the areas of politics, defence and security in SADC. The SIPO was revised in November 2012, and is now in the process of being realigned in a medium term plan for the period 2015-2020, with a view to ensure that the RISDP and SIPO are fully harmonized. Furthermore, SADC ratified its Mutual Defence Pact that in 2003, which establishes a framework for security cooperation among member States in the face of external aggression, and reflects a broader intention to build a regional security community in the region.
Article 4 of the SADC Treaty stipulates that: human rights, democracy and the rule of law are principles guiding the acts of its members States. The SADC region has made significant strides in the consolidation of the citizens’ participation in the decision-making processes and consolidation of democratic practice and institutions. However, despite a number of successes in the area of politics, defence and security in recent years, SADC continues to face a number of political, economic and social challenges with regard to, economic underdevelopment and poverty; the HIV and AIDS pandemic; interstate and intrastate conflicts; consolidation of democracy and good governance; refugees, illegal migrants and internally displaced persons as well as corruption.
 Sophie Desmidt, “Peacebuilding, conflict prevention and conflict monitoring in the African Peace and Security Architecture” (Maastricht, Netherlands; European Centre for Development Policy Management, 2016). Available from http://ecdpm.org/wp-content/uploads/African-Peace-Security-Architecture-….
 SADC, Mutual Defence Pact (Dar-es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, 2003). Available from http://www.sadc.int/files/2913/5333/8281/SADC_Mutual_Defence_Pact2003.pdf.
The mandate of the SADC Secretariat, as outlined in the SADC Treaty, is the development of strategic expertise and the harmonization of policies and strategies to accelerate regional integration and sustainable development in the region. Although SADC does not have any specific protocols on the harmonization of sectoral policies, its thematic areas of cooperation, through the directories, comprise components of policy harmonization in the respective protocols adopted by its member States. The thematic areas of cooperation and harmonization include, trade, industry, finance and investment; infrastructure and services; food, agriculture and natural resources; social and human development, and special programmes; information and communications; environment and sustainable development; as well as cross-cutting issues such as poverty and sustainable development; gender and development; science and technology; SADC statistics; SADC private sector, among many others.
SADC is also undertaking initiatives to harmonise policies taking into consideration the commitments under the Tripartite FTA arrangement in the area of policy harmonisation in air transport liberalization, aligned with the African Union Agenda and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 
 African Union, Highlights – Status of Integration in Africa V (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2014). Available from http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/newsevents/workingdocuments/12582-w….