The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Secretariat will be hosting the ‘First Meeting of the IORA Maritime Safety and Security Working Group’, in Colombo, Sri Lanka from the 8-9 August 2019
Ever since the establishment of the Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) as one of the six priority areas of IORA in 2011, IORA has been addressing MSS in the Indian Ocean through a broad range of activities to enhance international cooperation in security and governance to successfully tackle non-traditional challenges faced by the region. In order to uphold IORA’s objectives of ensuring reliable, uninterrupted and safe movement of people, goods, resources and energy supplies throughout the Indian Ocean rim, it is essential to promote and deepen MSS cooperation; facilitating collective action to deal with natural disasters as well as maritime threats such as piracy and terrorism; and enabling engagement among IORA Member States by encouraging greater dialogue and the sharing of best practices.
During the IORA Leaders’ Summit held in March 2017, in Indonesia, Heads of State/Government endorsed IORA’s commitment to promote MSS in the region throughout the adoption of the Jakarta Concord. As a concrete step forward, IORA established a Working Group for MSS in September 2018, known as the IORA WGMSS, which provides the mechanism for defining the way forward in this important IORA priority area. This year, the 1st IORA Strategic Planning Workshop held in Mauritius, underlined the importance of MSS in the region; and discussed the possibility of building a regional security architecture. The forthcoming Meeting to be held by Sri Lanka, in its capacity as the ‘Coordinator Country’ for MSS in IORA, may be considered as a concrete step in this direction.
This Meeting will consist of two-day interactive sessions providing a platform for Member States to deliberate upon and finalize the draft regional Work Plan for the WGMSS which is drawn up for a period of two years. It will also provide an opportunity for Member States to discuss the way forward and to initiate concrete actions in the sphere of MSS.