Indian-Ocean Rim Association
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean. The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them. It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region. The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene, Mauritius.
The organisation was first established as Indian Ocean Rim Initiative in Mauritius on March 1995 and formally launched on 6–7 March 1997 by the conclusion of a multilateral treaty known as the Charter of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation. The idea is said to have taken root during a visit of former South African Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, to India in November 1993. It was cemented during the subsequent presidential visit of Nelson Mandela to India in January 1995. Consequently, an Indian Ocean Rim Initiative was formed by South Africa and India. Mauritius and Australia were subsequently brought in. In March 1997, the IOR-ARC was formally launched, with seven additional countries as members: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Yemen, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique.
The apex body of the IOR-ARC is the Council of (Foreign) Ministers (COM). The meeting of the COM is preceded by the meetings of the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG), Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF), Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI), and the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO).
Objectives & Priority Areas of Cooperation
The objectives of IORA are as follows:
- To promote sustainable growth and balanced development of the region and member states
- To focus on those areas of economic cooperation which provide maximum opportunities for development, shared interest and mutual benefits
- To promote liberalisation, remove impediments and lower barriers towards a freer and enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology within the Indian Ocean rim.
Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has identified six priority areas, namely:
- maritime security,
- trade and investment facilitation,
- fisheries management,
- disaster risk reduction,
- academic and scientific cooperation and
- tourism promotion and cultural exchanges.
In addition to these, two focus areas are also identified by IORA, namely Blue Economy and Women’s Economic Empowerment.
IORA members undertake projects for economic co-operation relating to trade facilitation and liberalisation, promotion of foreign investment, scientific and technological exchanges, tourism, movement of natural persons and service providers on a non-discriminatory basis; and the development of infrastructure and human resources, poverty alleviation, promotion of maritime transport and related matters, cooperation in the fields of fisheries trade, research and management, aquaculture, education and training, energy, IT, health, protection of the environment, agriculture, disaster management.
Countries with the status of dialogue partners are:
- International Conference on Indian Ocean Studies
- Indian Ocean Commission
- Indian Ocean trade
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- Organisation of American States
- Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
- Union for the Mediterranean
- “Secretary-General”. Indian Ocean Rim Association. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- “IORA Chair”.
- “Vice Chair”.
- “IORA Membership”. Indian Ocean Rim Association. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- “Scope of Work – OPEN REGIONALISM”. Indian Ocean Rim Association. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- “Formation”. Indian Ocean Rim Association. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- “About IOR-ARC”. Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation 2013 Australia. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- “Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)”. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia). Retrieved 7 July 2014.