The First Preparatory Meeting for the establishment of the new IORA Working Group on the Blue Economy (WGBE) will be held from 12 -13 September 2018 in Port Elizabeth. The objectives of this meeting will be to, among others: (a) conduct a focused discussion on the Working Group’s Draft Terms of Reference and Modalities, as well as to (b) craft a clear Work Plan for the Working Group that will be submitted to the IORA Committee of Senior Officials for further approval by the next Council of Ministers Meeting to be held in South Africa in 2018.
The Council of Ministers' Meeting on 6 - 9 October 2014 in Perth, Australia adopted the Blue Economy as a key priority for generating employment and ensuring sustainability in business and economic models for the Indian Ocean Rim region. As were recommended by the Council of Ministers’ meeting (COM) and revised by the Secretariat in consultation with Member States, the following six priority pillars in the blue economy were identified: (i) Fisheries and Aquaculture; (ii) Renewable Ocean Energy; (iii) Seaports and Shipping; (iv) Seabed Exploration and Minerals; (v) Marine Biotechnology, Research and Development; and (v) Tourism.
The first IORA Leaders’ Summit of Heads of State/Government that was held in Jakarta, Indonesia on 5-7 March 2017 and adopted the “Jakarta Concord” which commits IORA Member States to “developing the opportunity of the oceans by promoting the Blue Economy as a key source of inclusive economic growth, job creation and education, based on the evidence-based sustainable management of marine resources.”
To give effect to the commitments under the Jakarta Concord, the preceding IORA Council of Ministers adopted the IORA Action Plan (2017 – 2021) as a firm set of realistic and measurable commitments to take IORA forward. The proposal for the development of the Working Group on the Blue Economy (WGBE) in IORA was also made at the first IORA Leaders’ Summit and at the Council of Ministers Meeting held in Durban, South Africa, in October 2017. South Africa is committed to collaboratively lead and implement the IORA Action Plan for a two-year period, including the establishment of a WGBE.
Member States in the Blue Economy Core Cluster include: India, Australia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa* (Coordinator), UAE, and Madagascar.
The Expected outcomes for this meeting include: