Seychelles emphasises IORA’s opportunity as a ‘Blue Economy’ Region
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam joined Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Chair, Honorable Julie Bishop, Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and his Mauritian counterpart, Hon. Arvin Boolell, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, on a high level IORA panel on maritime security and the development of an ocean economy, or ‘Blue Economy.’
‘I strongly believe we are currently in an oceanic century- a time where sustainable development depends much more on new opportunities that will come from the sea. Island states such as Seychelles and Mauritius offer the ideal laboratories to make this oceanic century a reality. IORA provides us with the perfect platform to enhance our capacity to implement this ‘Blue Economy’ for the benefit of all our peoples of this region,’ the Minister Adam remarked.
The Minister was invited because of Seychelles’ high interest and leadership in promoting the ‘Blue Economy’ Concept.
In addition to the three ministers, the other panelists at the event included Ambassador Kocheril Velayudhan Bhagirah, the Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association which the three countries form part of, has now focused on six priority areas which reflect many of the key elements of the Blue Economy concept, championed by both Seychelles and Mauritius. These six priorities are Maritime Security, Trade and Investment, Fisheries management, Disaster risk reduction & relief management, academic and science cooperation and tourism.
Minister Bishop noted that Seychelles and Mauritius have been instrumental in creating global awareness of the importance of our oceans.
Minister Bishop further noted the growing partnership between Seychelles and Australia and mentioned that Australian gas & oil exploration company WHL were amongst the first businesses to conduct exploration surveys of Seychelles. She also reaffirmed Australia’s commitments to help preserve the Indian Ocean and also IORA’s commitment to the peaceful, productive and sustainable use of the Indian Ocean and its resources. She also noted that the IORA meeting next month in Perth would focus on promoting regional integration cooperation to spur economic growth, building on the Perth Ocean declaration at the last IORA ministerial meeting held in the same city.
Minister Bishop also informed of the recent launching of the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre in Western Australia which will bring together eminent scientists and researchers to form the largest marine research partnership in the southern hemisphere.
Minister Boolell stated that we are all citizens of the ocean and we need reliable friends which can make things happen and that Seychelles and Mauritius had shown great examples of partnership by agreeing to co-manage an extended continental shelf area of 396,000 sq. km.
Minister Adam stated “the ocean should be treated as space for exploration, development and opportunities. He emphasised that to efficiently harness the resources of our oceans there is a need for such partnerships with countries like Australia to develop better technology and invest in new research ideas. He also emphasised that we are all guardians of this space for the whole planet.”
Minister Adam highlighted the different areas to be looked at under the Blue Economy, such as the limited capacity of African countries and small island states in fisheries management, the opportunity to develop oceanic trade especially between the ports of the IORA countries, the potential of the oceanic space for energy, and the importance of the ocean for the tourism industry. The Minister informed that whilst the oceanic space is being developed, a precautionary approach should be taken as we must be conscious of sustainability.