GIS – 19 June, 2019: The second edition of the Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security in the Western Indian Ocean, a Governmental initiative in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the European Union, opened this morning at the InterContinental Hotel, in Balaclava. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, and other personalities were present.
The Conference is discussing the progress and implementation of the Roadmap on Maritime Security that was adopted in the first Ministerial Conference in 2018, and is evaluating the efficiency of actions and identifying responses to ensure a long-lasting Maritime Security in the Western Indian Ocean region.
The 2019 Ministerial Conference will thus allow States, International Organisations and Partner representatives to agree on the collective actions undertaken and ensure a strong coordination. This political commitment is needed to build an efficient and sustainable maritime security architecture in the Western Indian Ocean.
In his keynote address, today, Minister Bodha highlighted that the fight against multi-dimension threats to maritime security concerns everybody, and that continued maritime security requires giving effectiveness to the regional security architecture. Mauritius, he said, has taken the initiative to bring together both big and small players to address the multifaceted challenge of maritime security in an ocean which has the most conflicts in its region and which is the busiest conduit of world trade. On that note, he announced the hosting of a third Ministerial Conference to maintain and reinforce the common strategic approach to address maritime security concerns.
The Minister stressed on the need to have cooperation and complementarity among the States, so that it results in a strengthened coordination and synergies within a common regulating framework on a transnational scale to fight the various illegal activities. It is crucial to address the issues of disparities in jurisdictions and regulations of territorial waters, exclusive economic zones and the high seas in the context of poorly delineated borders, he added.
According to Minister Bodha, a key element in the effort to combat Transnational Organised Crimes is the sharing of both land-based and maritime information, which requires States in the region to have proper working mechanisms. This, he said, will ensure that information of a criminal nature is shared and appropriate responses are delivered. Similarly, he added, we must pool our efforts to combat cybercrime by formulating and implementing the necessary preventive strategies to maintain peace and stability in the region.
Moreover, Mr Bodha elaborated on daunting challenges such as drug trafficking, with Africa being a coveted continent for transit and destination of drugs, with approximately 35 tons of heroin being transited through the continent each year. He also spoke of illegal, undeclared and unregulated fishing, amounting to some USD 400 million on their first sale and at least USD 1 billion in transformed goods, annually.
In his concluding remarks, the Minister reiterated Government’s determination to ensure peace, stability and security in the region and urged the international community to continue to provide their unflinching support in this endeavour.
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