Two days of intensive discussions at the 1st IORA Strategic Planning Workshop came to a successful close today.
The Workshop resulted in the development of tangible inputs by Member States and Dialogue Partners in steering the future direction of the Association. As the first Workshop focusing on deepening the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA’s) strategic and economic partnerships internationally and regionally, it drew attention to various aspects of IORA’s Priority and Focus Areas.
The two-day Workshop was organised by the current IORA Chair, South Africa, in collaboration with the IORA Secretariat at Flic en Flac, Mauritius. The Workshop was a conscious move forward by the Association into possible new areas of engagement, keeping in mind ongoing trends on the global stage.
H.E. Ambassador Dr. Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General: Asia and Middle East from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, as the representative of the IORA Chair, highlighted during his inaugural remarks ‘’We are also encouraged by the new interest globally in IORA; where we have welcomed Maldives as the 22nd Member State and Turkey and South Korea as the 8th and 9th Dialogue Partners, respectively…’’.
H.E. Ambassador Dr Nomvuyo N. Nokwe, Secretary General of IORA, aptly remarked ‘’We need new approaches in IORA to move from a premise of promoting economic cooperation to a stronger commitment to the implementation of projects that are people centred and sustainable’’.
Discussions were held on various topics including the IORA Action Plan (2017 – 2021), strengthening regional collaborations, expanding beyond frontiers, touching upon the concept of the Indo-Pacific, building international partnerships, deepening engagement with Dialogue Partners, among others. The Workshop also covered insightful presentations by eminent representatives from the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) of India, Institute for Security Studies (ISS) from South Africa and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The Workshop was well attended by IORA Member States, Dialogue Partners. Participants included senior diplomats, high ranking officials, special invitees and IORA Secretariat officials.