A week full of celebrations by the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), commemorating the 23rd Anniversary of the Association on 7 March, International Women’s Day on 8 March, and the National Day of Mauritius on 12 March 2020.
Highlighting the importance of economic co-operation between the countries bordering the Indian Ocean, the vision for IORA originated during a visit by late President Nelson Mandela of the Republic of South Africa to India in 1995, where he said: “The natural urge of the facts of history and geography … should broaden itself to include the concept of an Indian Ocean Rim for socio-economic co-operation and other peaceful endeavours. Recent changes in the international system demand that the countries of the Indian Ocean shall become a single platform."
This sentiment and rationale underpinned the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative (IORI) in March 1995, and the creation in March 1997 of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC), as IORA was then called. Today, IORA is the apex regional association of 22 Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners, stretching from South Africa in the west, running up the eastern coast of Africa, along the Gulf to South and Southeast Asia, reaching Australia in the east.
‘’This year, we are extremely excited to celebrate IORA Day along with two coinciding celebrations, International Women’s Day on 8 March, which is an important cross-cutting focus area of our work, and the Independence of our host Member State since the establishment of IORA, Mauritius, on 12 March. The IORA Secretariat team and I are delighted to take part in these celebrations during March, especially now that IORA Day has been endorsed by the IORA Council of Foreign Ministers held in Abu Dhabi in November last year, when the UAE took over the Chairship of the Association….. My Team and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and extend best wishes to the Republic of Mauritius on the 52nd National Day’’ – H.E. Dr Nomvuyo N. Nokwe, IORA Secretary General.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) assumed the position of Chair (2019 – 2021) of IORA at the 19th Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers held on 7 November 2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Bangladesh assumed the position of Vice Chair and South Africa as the Past Chair. The United Arab Emirates theme for its two-year period as Chair of IORA is “Promoting a Shared Destiny and Path to Prosperity in the Indian Ocean”.
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