IORA to begin Thursday

22 November 2022

Staff Reporter  :
The three-day long international conference of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) will begin in the capital of Dhaka on Tuesday focusing on the sustainable harnessing of maritime resources.
"The Bay of Bengal and the Asia Pacific are now the most focused areas. It is drawing global attention now. More than one country is forming various groups centering it. We want economic emancipation of this area," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said on Monday.
He made the comment in the press briefing in the Foreign Ministry for the '22nd IORA Council of Ministers Meeting' in the capital.
The theme of the conference is "Harnessing the opportunities of the Indian Ocean sustainably for inclusive development."
"Indian Ocean is very resourceful. But unregulated marine resources are unabated. As a result, coral reefs are on the verse of destruction. The conference will deal with how to address the challenges of over-exploitation of maritime resources," Dr Momen said.
About the participants, he said, minister-level officials from 16 member countries will attend the conference this year. The total number of delegations attending the conference stands at 134, he added.
Bangladesh is the chair of the 23-nation platform, comprising the countries of the Indian Ocean area.
Regarding the priority areas of IORA, Foreign Minister said, "The six priority areas of IORA are maritime safety and security, fisheries management, trade and investment facilitation, disaster and risk management, tourism and cultural exchanges and academic, science and technological cooperation."
It has two other objectives - blue economy and women empowerment, he added.
"A free, inclusive, secure and peaceful navigation of all without any encumbrance is necessary for the sustainability of marine resources," Foreign Minister said.
The foreign minister also said that institution building was crucial for the country to explore the marine resources and it would be highlighted at the conference.
He also said that Bangladesh has already set up a separate university and a master's level course in Dhaka University.
IORA member states are Australia, Bangladesh, Union of Comoros, French Republic, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Republic of Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Bangladesh assumed the position of the IORA Chair at the 21st IORA COM meeting in Dhaka held on November 17 last year.
In the briefing, the minister also mentioned the damage and loss Bangladesh suffered due to the climate change responsible mainly for the industrial and rich countries.
"Every year 6.5 lakh people are displaced from their homesteads in our country because of river erosion, global warming, salinity and sea level rise. We are not responsible for their displacement. Rather the government rehabilitates them. It is a burden on us. Rich countries are responsible for it," Momen said.
"Those who are polluters should help rehabilitate these displaced people.  We have proposed a separate fund for them during the COP-27 summit held recently," he added.
Among others, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary (maritime) Rear Admiral (Rtd) Khurshed Alam, were present.

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