GIS – 04 October 2017: The possibility of transforming the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) into a ‘Community’ reflects new regional ambitions and translates the will of Member States to strengthen their role and reinforce the solidarity amongst the peoples of the Indianocéanie.
This is one of the main strategic decisions taken during the two-day Extraordinary Council Meeting of the IOC which was held at the Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa in Flic en Flac. A working committee has been set up and will submit a final report to the next Council meeting in March 2018 to indicate and advise on the way forward with regard to the transformation of the IOC into a ‘Community’.
At a press briefing on 3 October 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, and chairperson of IOC’s Council, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, spoke of the commitment of the IOC to be the torch bearer of all islands in the region and of its resolute aim to transform itself so as to better reflect the aspirations of Member States. It is important to ensure the Commission’s visibility at country-level, that is, popular ownership of IOC by citizens of islands on the short and medium terms, he added.
The IOC Extraordinary Council Meeting outlined the need to ensure safety in all its forms within the IOC through collective actions. On that score a Ministerial Meeting on Maritime Security, scheduled for January 2018, will explore ways and means to further defend the common ocean space and heritage shared by IOC Member States and exploit the potential for growth and innovation with regard to the blue economy.
A Ministerial meeting on food security will be held in March next year in Madagascar as the island is considered to be at the centre of the regional strategy for food and nutrition security.
The IOC Extraordinary Council Meeting examined several issues focused on the running and the future of the regional organisation. The session also initiated a strategic reflection on the structural transformation of the IOC so as to enable it to efficiently address challenges at several levels: economic development, climate change effects, and peace and security. The Budget was also approved. The Council was requested to submit a series of projects for implementation spanning over the period 2018-2021.
The solidarity of the Member States was also expressed with regard to the Union of Comoros’ candidature for the post of Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. In the same vein, Member States have indicated their support following the request of France to become a full member of the IORA so as to allow Reunion Island to better integrate its regional environment.
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