GIS – 02 October 2017: We are the bearer of an Indianocéanie identity and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is looking resolutely ahead towards the future. We share a common destiny and have to seize our organisation’s assets to reach new development heights and we have to be innovative, said the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, today in Flic en Flac.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the IOC’s Extraordinary Council Meeting being held over two days at the Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa. On that occasion, two Cooperation Agreements in the fields of education and security were signed, at Ministerial level, between Mauritius and the Union of Comoros.
In his opening address, the Prime Minister stated that IOC is again at a crossroad and all Member States have to make the organisation resilient so as to bring dynamism for the development of the Indian Ocean region to benefit its 26 million-strong population as well as become a reference in terms of regional cooperation not only in the area but even beyond.
For Mr Jugnauth, the IOC is called upon to do even more to face new challenges and respond to exigencies with regard to projects and emerging poles that are the vectors for a promising future. These include: blue and green growth and their economic valorisation, sustainable development, valorisation of human and natural resources, political, socioeconomic stability, reinforcement of economic space, infrastructural capacity, climate change and environmental-related challenges and peace and security of the region.
Speaking about the history of the IOC, the Prime Minister recalled that since its creation, the IOC has travelled a long way, and all Member States have together surmounted several structural challenges and ensured the development of many projects of common interest and created solid ties with other institutions such as the European Union. He also spoke of the necessity for the Commission to work at the best of its capacities and operate by respecting best practices, good governance, and stand as an exemplary model as the IOC is the showcase of what Member States can do and is the reflection of who they are.
Moreover, the Prime Minister announced that Mauritius would host two meetings pertaining to the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, and agriculture. Thus, Mauritius will host in November 2017 an IOC Meeting for Home Affairs Ministers to define a roadmap and action plan pertaining to maritime safety. This meeting will also examine transnational crimes such as drug, weapon and human trafficking, piracy and illegal fishing. The Agriculture Ministerial Meeting would be organised in collaboration with Reunion Island, and will focus on the elaboration of a food security programme for the region.
In his speech, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, and chairperson of the IOC’s Council, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, said that the IOC has the enormous responsibility to carry forward the ambition of the region and of course it depends on Member States to define what they want. He also emphasised the importance of connectivity and free movement of citizens with regard to the process of regional integration.
For his part, IOC’s Secretary General, Mr Hamada Madi Boléro, observed that IOC’s Extraordinary Council Meeting is coming together to evoke the future of the Commission and that of the region. The world has changed and our islands find themselves on their own in a changed, violent and unpredictable environment, he stated. Therefore, the present meeting will give a new boost to the IOC at a time when we are celebrating the 35 years of the Port Louis Declaration and will represent a new step of maturity, he added.
The IOC is an intergovernmental organisation set up on 1982 and institutionalised in 1984 by the Victoria Agreement. It brings together, to endorse cooperation, the following Member States: Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, France/Réunion and the Seychelles. The main objectives of the IOC are to promote diplomatic cooperation and to strengthen economic and commercial ties among the Indian Ocean islands. The IOC has elaborated some 48 cooperation projects, to the tune of 250 million Euros, since its creation and is engaged in priority intervention areas.
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