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IORA Day Is Aimed At Highlighting The Importance Of The Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

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Indian Ocean RIM Association (IORA) Day was celebrated by some member countries. IORA Day is aimed at highlighting the importance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the inextricable link to the continent through African countries of Southern and Eastern Africa bordering the Indian Ocean, the critical importance of Africa’s seas and oceans and the role of the Association in fostering and promoting peace, security, cooperation, and socio-economic development in the IOR.

The theme for the commemoration event is: “AU Decade of the Oceans 2015 – 2025: Intensifying Collaboration between IORA and the AU for the next 25 Years”.

IORA continues to focus on the six priority areas of the Concord, which were adopted by the IORA Leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia, as an outcome of the Summit in 2014. These are: maritime safety and security; trade and investment facilitation; fisheries management; disaster risk reduction; academic and science and technology cooperation; and tourism promotion and cultural exchange. The ocean economy and women empowerment are agreed priorities that cut across the six priorities.

South Africa is hard at work in ensuring that, within IORA, we achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 14: which is sustainable use of the oceans, which will help in creating sustainable jobs in the industry while working to ensure long-term conservation.

Additionally, the event is aimed at publicising the IORA and the envisioned strengthening of collaboration with the African Union (AU) during the declared AU’s Decade of the Seas and Oceans period.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an inter-governmental organisation formed in 1997 to foster regional economic cooperation. IORA has evolved into the peak regional group spanning the Indian Ocean.

From its inception with 14 member states, the membership has expanded to 23 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, the Comoros, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. IORA has 10 dialogue partners: China, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Turkey, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Australia is a founding IORA member and chaired the organisation between 2013 and 2015. IORA became an observer to the UN General Assembly and the African Union in 2015.

The 13 IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners were Australia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mauritius, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, and Tanzania participated, showcasing the rich diversity of IORA’s Members.

The vision for IORA to strengthen economic co-operation between the countries bordering the Indian Ocean, originated during a visit by late President Nelson Mandela of the Republic of South Africa to India in 1995, where he said: “The natural urge of the facts of history and geography … should broaden itself to include the concept of an Indian Ocean Rim for socio-economic co-operation and other peaceful endeavours. Recent changes in the international system demand that the countries of the Indian Ocean shall become a single platform.”. This sentiment and rationale underpinned the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative (IORI) in March 1995, and the creation on 7 March 1997 of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC), as IORA was then called.

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