IORA places Blue Economy at the heart of its Agenda at Perth Ministerial Meeting’
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, has emphasised that the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) can lead to the implementation of the Blue Economy for the benefit of all its members.
“If the last 100 years was very much about how we could maximise the use of our land, this century is very much about making the most of our ocean. The Indian Ocean is at the crest of this wave, and with our leadership and commitment we can bring about this transformative change that we all believe in” the Minister stated in his remarks at the ministerial meeting of IORA convened in Perth, Australia.
The Minister was attending the fourteenth Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers Meeting on the 9th of October in Perth Australia.
The Minister thanked Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chair of the IORA Council of Ministers, Julie Bishop for making the Blue Economy the centrepiece of the Perth meeting.
During this meeting issues surrounding the Blue Economy and related issues such as Maritime Search and Rescue operations and maritime security were discussed. The meeting reviewed the progress made by IORA since the last meeting in 2013, and further discussed future directions and initiatives to advance the interests of IORA and its members.
Following the recent tragic events in the aviation industry in the last year, especially linked to the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370, highlighted the pressing need for greater collaboration and cooperation among national search and rescue services. IORA ministers, including Minister Adam signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Search and Rescue in the region,
The MOU underscores the intention of IORA Member States to collaborate with each other to address similar and new challenges in the future. Minister Adam stated, “the coordinated efforts of all our states to recover the missing plane, have illustrated the importance of renewed commitments towards defining the Indian Ocean as a zone of partnership, peace and development.”
Speaking further on the Blue Economy, Minister Adam emphasised the importance of research to assist IORA countries, in particular the SIDS of the region and also commented on how the private sector was a driver for economic transformation and how “We must empower and facilitate the contribution of the private sector to these efforts”. Other IORA ministers joined him in calling on the private sector to aid in the research and development of new technologies to harness the resources in the ocean.
Further efforts to map and coordinate work done in the Blue Economy could yield faster progress in the future if IORA Member States “coordinated and inclusive approach towards better harnessing our ocean’s wealth and resources will yield shared benefits for all“ stated Minister Adam. He also stated that he believed that the IORA is the ideal framework in which to facilitate research and the sharing of best practices in the Indian Ocean.
The meeting also welcomed the forthcoming IORA ministers of tourism meeting to be held in Seychelles from 20th-21st November as an opportunity to further increase the contribution of this sector to wealth creation in the region.
The Seychelles delegation also re-emphasised the importance of building regional maritime security capacity and hopes that proposals to create a regional network that links maritime security centres and also facilitates coordination among coastguards, police, prosecutors and judicial officials.
Minister Adam also highlighted the key role played by SMEs in the growth of the region and that IORA has a wonderful opportunity to facilitate connections and business opportunities for SMEs of the wider Indian Ocean Rim.
The Seychelles delegation also warmly welcomed the proposed accession of Somalia to IORA as well as indications that Maldives and Myanmar will also be applying.
Minister Adam was accompanied by Mrs. Anne Lafortune, PS for Tourism and Mr. Harrison Addo-Obiri, Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.