GIS – 18 June, 2019: The High Officials Meeting, which is preceding the second edition of the Indian Ocean Commission’s (IOC) Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security in the Western Indian Ocean, opened today at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Balaclava.
The Meeting, which is setting the scene for the Ministerial Conference, is revolving around a set of identified actions which are: regional cooperation mechanisms; fight against terrorism (the terrorist risk and the related criminal networks); fight against transnational traffics (drug trafficking, human traffics, arms trafficking, money laundering); risks of disasters at sea (assistance at sea, ocean pollution, preserving biodiversity, impacts of climate change). The specific recommendations during the High Officials Meeting will then be submitted for consideration during the Ministerial Conference scheduled for tomorrow.
In his address, the Chairperson of the High Officials Meeting, the Permanent Secretary at Prime Minister's Office (Home Affairs Division), Mr Om Kumar Dabidin, said that the South Western Indian Ocean region has become a major geopolitical and strategic region with key challenges regarding maritime security, human trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal fishing, trade, peace and stability.
The sea, Mr Dabidin recalled, is responsible for most of the exports and imports of nations. It can compromise its integration in the regional and global economy due to maritime insecurity being given that: 50% of world transportation and 40% of gas cross the Western Indian Ocean route, and 30% of world trade and 50% of containers volume traffic are managed by bordering ports, he indicated.
According to him, Maritime Security is a shared need for the welfare and prosperity of all States and therefore to the citizens of those countries. As all States reap the benefits of safer and more secure oceans, they also share the responsibility for addressing major threats and challenges to maritime security as well as safety, and in this respect, an integrated and collaborative approach is vital to combatting the harms already done, he added.
For his part, the Secretary General of the IOC, Mr Hamada Madi, pointed out that the Indian Ocean holds a key position on the world stage of geopolitics given that this vast region is crossed by international maritime routes representing 70% of international trade of hydrocarbons and nearly half of the global merchant sea traffic. It is therefore crucial for States and international organisations to respond effectively to the challenges posed by Maritime Security and to build capacities to ensure, in a sustainable manner, Maritime Security in the Western Indian Ocean, he said.
The IOC’s Secretary General, moreover pleaded for additional support from the European Union (EU) as well as the international community of technical and financial partners to consolidate the achievements of the MASE programme, which is ending in 2022, and to accompany the start-up phase and the reinforcement of the maritime security architecture. Funded by the EU to the tune of € 37.5 million and coordinated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the MASE Programme comprises five results areas and is implemented by regional organisations of the Eastern Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean (ESA-OI) countries.
In his speech Deputy Head of Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Michal Golabek, observed that sustainable development and peace and security are two sides of the same coin. Development and security go hand-in-hand. There can be no sustainable development without security, stability and peace, he highlighted.
In addition, Mr Golabek spoke of the necessity to manage more effectively human activities affecting the oceans, better ocean governance and improve coordination among various organisations responsible for preserving and protecting the seas and oceans. It is important to have a coherent and comprehensive approach involving all sectors but most of all focus should be on how to improve cooperation between all actors engaged in delivering maritime security and safety within the region, he stated. It is also crucial to adopt a practical and effective approach based on fair and transparent rules for all to secure our oceans and to manage their resources in a sustainable manner, he added.
Maritime Security is a crucial domain for the ESA-OI countries since it is directly linked to economic growth, jobs, social and political stability. Thus, to respond to these cross-cutting issues, the Republic of Mauritius and the IOC, in partnership with the EU, is hosting the Senior Officials Meeting which will be followed by the Ministerial Conference on 19 June 2019 and the 22nd Plenary session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) chaired by the Republic of Mauritius on behalf of the IOC on 20 June 2019.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://gis.govmu.org Mobile App: Search Gov