The 3rd Ad hoc Committee Meeting on the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Concord was held in Bali, Indonesia, on 22-23 October, 2016 followed by the 16th Meeting of the IORA Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI), meeting on the Sub-committee of the Finance and the 18th Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO). The Meetings were hosted by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, the current Chairman of IORA, with the support of IORA Secretariat. The meetings were attended by senior government officials from 21 Member States of the IORA- Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The Bangladesh delegation was led by Rear Admiral Md. KhurshedAlam (Retd.), Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
During the Ad Hoc committee meeting IORA Member States worked on the draft IORA Concord to be endorsed by the heads of government during the first ever IORA Leaders’ Summit scheduled to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of its establishment on 07 March 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Along with it a draft Action Plan to implement the decisions of the Concord was also prepared for submission to the Council of Minister’s meeting to be held in 27th Oct 16.In this meeting, the Ad Hoc Committeefinalized fundamental principles and objectives of the IORA Concord. In the IORA Concord,Member States have committed themselves to promote Maritime Safety and Security in the region, enhance Trade and Investment cooperation in the region,promote sustainable & responsible fisheries management & development, enhance disaster risk management in the region, strengthen academic, science & technology cooperation, foster tourism and cultural exchanges, harness cooperation on Blue Economy and Gender Equality & Women empowermentamong all the Member States of the IORA.
In the 16th Meeting of the IORA Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI) held on 24th Oct 16, the Working Group reviewed the outcome reports of the special programmes/event of IORA – the Second Economic and Business Conference (EBC-II), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, held on 11-13 April 2016; the Second Blue Economy Core Group Workshop; Maritime Connectivity and Financing for Development in the Indian Ocean Rim, Qingdao City, Shandong Province, China, held on13-14 July 2016; and theInternational Symposium for IORA’s 20th Anniversary on; Learning from the Past and Charting the Future, Yogyakarta, Indonesia held on 14-15 September 2016.
The Working Group also discussed about the Second IORA Ministerial Blue Economy Conference (BEC) to be held in Indonesia and the Second Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting to be held in India. The Working group also discussed on the Past, present and Proposed projects/activities on Maritime Safety & Security, Trade & Investment Facilitation, Disaster Risk Management, Fisheries Management, Academic, Science & Technology Cooperation, Tourism &Cultural Exchanges, Blue economy, and Gender Equality & Women empowerment. Bangladesh updated to the Working Group the status of the two pilot projects- Pilot Project on small scale inland or coastal aquaculture project in the Indian Ocean region, and Exploration of economically important marine flora from the Bay of Bengal.
In the 18th Meeting of the CSO held on 25th and 26th Oct 16, finalized the Agenda of the first ever IORA Leaders’ Summit to be held in on 07 March 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the preparations of the Summit as well as the 16th Council of Ministers scheduled to be held on 27 October 2016 in Bali, Indonesia. The CSO approved the reports of Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI), Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG), Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF), and the Sub-Committee on Finance (SCF), the Third Ad hoc Committee Meeting (AhCM) on the IORA Concord, the status of the Establishment of IORA-Dialogue Partners Informal Consultation, the Documentary Film &Photography Exhibition on IORA’s 20th Anniversary, the engagement with the United Nations General Assembly, the engagement with UN Specialized Agencies, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) &the African Union (AU), and the engagement with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The CSO discussed about the Catalogues on Maritime Safety & Security and Blue Economy, the Indian Ocean Dialogue,considering the possibility of a new focus area on Water and the Guidelines for IORA events. The CSO also discussed and took note on the Declaration on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment , on the challenges of Blue Economy, the Project Proposals under IORA Sustainable Development Programme-II, the Third Blue Economy Core Group Workshop, the second and third IORA Water Science and Technology Core Group Workshop (WSTCG),and the Proposal for an IORA Economic and trade facilitation cooperation arrangement, the Annual Report by the Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (RCSTT), the Annual Report by the Fisheries Support Unit (FSU), and the Report of the Secretary-General on the status of the Special Fund.
The CSO also for the first time had an Interactive Dialogue with Senior Officials of the Dialogue Partners of IORA like China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, UK and |USA. During the dialogue, various issues were discussed and it was agreed to identify projects under the proposed Priority Areas for collaboration and cooperation.
The CSO also decided to request the Chair, Indonesia to send formal invitations to the heads of Government at the earliest so that efforts can be made to make the leaders’ summit a success.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs