The Financial Express

IORA kicks off Tuesday in city eyeing inclusive, open Indian Ocean

134 members from countries will attend

| Updated: November 22, 2022 10:08:25

IORA kicks off Tuesday in city eyeing inclusive, open Indian Ocean

Sustainable use of maritime resources and an inclusive, open ocean will be the main focus of the three-day-long international conference of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), which will start in Dhaka on Tuesday.

This year, a highest number of delegations are attending the conference, which will start with the meeting of the officials on Tuesday, and will end through the meeting of the Council of Ministers on November 24, foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told the press on Monday.

Dr Momen said that minister-level officials from 16 member countries will attend the conference this year, while the total number of delegations stands at 134.

Bangladesh is the chair of the 23-nation platform, comprising the countries of the Indian Ocean area.

IORA has set six priority areas which are maritime safety and security, fisheries management, trade and investment, disaster reduction, and cooperation on technology and education.

Besides, harnessing the potential of the blue economy, women empowerment has also been included as its objective.

The foreign minister said that Bangladesh will highlight institution building at the conference so that the huge potential of the marine resources in the area can be explored.

The conference will also deal with how to address the challenges of over-exploitation of maritime resources and will emphasise on regulated and sustainable use of the marine resources, he added.

Bangladesh’s policy is to ensure open, inclusive and peaceful navigation in the Indian Ocean, the minister said recently, adding that the area attracts global attention for various geo-political factors.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an inter-governmental organisation aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 23 Member States and 10 dialogue partners.

IORA member states are Australia, Bangladesh, Union of Comoros, French Republic, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Republic of Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The 23 member states of IORA and 10 dialogue partners are expected to join the ministerial and senior official meetings.

Bangladesh assumed the position of the IORA Chair at the 21st IORA COM meeting in Dhaka held on November 17, 2021, and adopted the theme of "Harnessing the opportunities of the Indian Ocean sustainably for inclusive development."

Foreign secretary (maritime) Rear Admiral (Rtd) Khurshed Alam told the briefing that as presently IORA cannot take big projects, Bangladesh will propose to lift such restrictions so that projects worth any amount can be taken by the organisation.

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