IORA’s approach to Academic, Science and Technology Cooperation
The Jakarta Concord adopted by the IORA Heads of State and Government in March 2017 commits to strengthening academic, science and technology cooperation by:
- increasing scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, among research and development institutions and academics;
- increasing opportunities for accessible and affordable scholarships and capacity-building to further human development, with a particular focus on the challenges of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS);
- promoting sharing and collaboration in technology and innovation and in the implementation of e-Government and other Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) solutions in the region; and
- strengthening the IORA-Regional Centre for Science & Technology Transfer (IORA-RCSTT) and the Fisheries Support Unit (FSU) to better perform their mandates.
To achieve this, the IORA Member States developed the IORA Action Plan (2017-2021) which includes a set of specific and time-bound goals:
- Strengthen the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG)
- Strengthen Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (RCSTT)
- Institutionalise the Indian Ocean Dialogue as an annual mechanism for multi-sector and 1.5 track engagement
- Create a data base of higher educational institutes recognized by IORA Member States
- Strengthen cooperation with universities in the Indian Ocean, including the University Mobility in the Indian Ocean Region (UMIOR)
- Support RCSTT to promote science and technology
- Strengthen the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG) through the sharing of information and knowledge
- Implement training and capacity building programs
- Conduct a feasibility study of an Indian Ocean Technical and Vocational University in Bangladesh
- Explore cooperation projects with the International Solar Alliance and IRENA
To give effect to the Concord, the IORA Action Plan (2017-2021) aims to strengthen academic, science and technology cooperation by setting the following targets:
Recent key wins for IORA so far include:
- The 20th Meeting of the Council of Ministers (COM) held virtually by the UAE on 17 December 2020 approved the establishment of the Working Group on Science, Technology, and Innovation (WGSTI) as a Functional Body of IORA. The Working Group envisages building a common sustainable developmental agenda through sharing of knowledge and best practices and capacity building on a Government-led multilateral platform to strengthen academic, scientific, and technological cooperation among Member States and giving it shape through a project-based approach to promote developmental partnerships. The First Working Group meeting, chaired by the Government of the Republic of India, is expected to be held in 2021.
- To take forward the implementation of the IORA Action Plan relating to the Priority Area of ASTC, the 18th Meeting of the IORA Council of Ministers in Durban, South Africa, decided to organise an Expert Group Meeting on of Academic, Science and Technology (EGMASTC), and tasked India, as the coordinating country of the priority area of Academic, Science and Technology to convene the meeting. The First EGMASTC was held on 12 December 2019 in New Delhi, India with a view to create a functional mechanism to implement the IORA Action Plan in the priority area of Academic, Science and Technology.
- The signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the “Application of Science and Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development” between the IORA Secretariat and the Centre for Science and Technology of the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries Centre (NAM S&T Centre) took place at the 19th Council of Ministers’ Meeting held in November 2019 in Abu Dhabi. It is expected that the proposed activities would be held virtually within the next 2-3 years.
IORA’s approach to Academic Research
On the academic side, there has also been an effort to reinvigorate the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG) by fostering a more dynamic link between policy and projects.
For more information about the IORAG, view here