To mark the 26th Anniversary of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), a press gathering was held on Tuesday 7th March 2023 at the Labourdonnais Hotel, Port-Louis.
On this occasion, the Secretary-General of IORA, Dr Salman Al Farisi highlighted the importance of IORA as a “crucial platform for fostering economic cooperation and sustainable development” in the Indian Ocean region among its 23 Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners.
The current 23 Member States are: Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France/Reunion, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The 10 Dialogue Partners are: China, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Member States are countries located within the IORA region, while Dialogue Partners are developed countries outside this region.
The Secretary-General furthermore emphasized on the significance of IORA:
- Firstly: Geo-strategic and Economic importance: There is no doubt that the Indian Ocean Region is of great strategic importance and value to the world. Given that the Indian Ocean is a vital trade route for international commerce, the IORA has been and will constantly remain as an immense potential platform to foster economic growth and development in the region. With a vast maritime zone of nearly 68.56 million sq. km, IORA serves as the ‘first line of defence’ to build upon existing national, regional and international measures, thereby enhancing coordination and supporting harmonized international Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) collaboration.
- Secondly: As an international platform, IORA is engaged in addressing Common Challenges such as maritime security. As such IORA is a forum for sharing best practices and coordinating efforts to address these challenges collectively.
- And thirdly: The IORA has emphasized the importance of promoting people-to-people contact, cultural exchanges, and tourism among its Member States. This helps to foster greater understanding, respect, and cooperation among the diverse communities in the region.
“The work of IORA was streamlined to become more focused and targeted towards the sustained growth and balanced development of the Indian Ocean region”, added the Secretary-General.
As such, IORA adopted the following six priority areas: Maritime Safety and Security, Trade and Investment Facilitation, Fisheries Management, Disaster Risk Management, Academic, Science and Technology Cooperation, Tourism Promotion and Cultural Exchange. This year we are planning to include Climate Change as well. IORA is also committed to address two cross-cutting issues namely – Blue Economy and Women’s Economic Empowerment. More than 100 projects were implemented with regards to the areas above in 26 years.
As at now, 14 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) have been concluded by the IORA and many international/regional organizations in areas of mutual interest under six priorities and cross cutting.
“IORA Day is a testament to our shared vision and determination to work together towards a brighter future for our region”, highlighted the Secretary-General.
He also added: “We are committed to make IORA a driving force for regional cooperation and development.”
The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the media’s interest and stressed on the importance of continued engagement and cooperation between IORA and the media.
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