A historical moment for the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), hosting the first ever virtual meeting since the inception of the Association in March 1997.
The IORA Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) from Member States and Dialogue Partners met virtually on Thursday, 21 May 2020, to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to explored tangible responses to strengthen cooperation within Indian Ocean region.
The meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Abdulnasser Alshaali, Assistant Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the current IORA Chair. During his remarks he stated that ‘’During these challenging times, we must recognize the opportunity to enhance cooperation through stronger partnerships and effective coordination and planning."
He further stressed that "IORA must enhance and centralize knowledge on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic within the Indian Ocean Rim. The sharing of information on national measures implemented to combat the spread of the virus and limit its economic impacts would assist in boosting the recovery of trade and investment."
''This long-term battle requires that we all act with compassion, solidarity, vigilance, and plenty of patience.’’ was mentioned by H.E. Dr Nokwe, IORA Secretary General during her report delivered to the members of the CSO. She expressed deep appreciation to the IORA Chair for hosting the ‘IORA Virtual Meeting of the CSO and Dialogue Partner Engagement on COVID-19: Responses, Cooperation, and Partnerships’. She further reiterated that ''the IORA Secretariat remains committed to work together with Member States and Dialogue Partners to build back better resilient communities and, to secure the Indian Ocean region, as a region for peace, stability, and prosperity.''
During the meeting, IORA Member State Senior Officials and Dialogue Partners discussed and shared a range of proposals to enhance cooperation in combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic within the Indian Ocean region. At the close of the meeting, Member State Senior Officials agreed and released a statement on IORA’s Solidarity and Cooperation in Response to COVID-19.
The meeting was attended by Senior Officials and representatives from 19 IORA Member States, 9 Dialogue Partners and Officials from the IORA Secretariat.