Finding ways for maritime safety and sustainable use of marine resources in potential blue economy in the region tops talks at a ministerial meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) beginning here today.
The 22nd meeting of the IORA Council of Ministers will also dwell on how to address the challenges of overexploitation of the marine resources and emphasise regulated and sustainable use of the resources, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen says about the objectives.
Minister-level delegates from 16 countries are expected to attend today's meeting which follows the meeting of the officials that started Tuesday with the presence of 134 delegations.
Mr Momen will preside over the meeting as Bangladesh is the current chair of the 23-nation platform comprising the countries of the Indian Ocean area.
The IORA has set six priorities that include maritime safety and security, fisheries management, trade and investment, disaster reduction, and cooperation in technology and education.
Besides, harnessing the potential of blue economy and women empowerment are also among its objectives.
About Bangladesh's expectation from the meet, the foreign minister said Bangladesh will highlight institution building in the conference so that the huge potential of the marine resources in the area can be explored.
"Bangladesh's policy is to ensure open, inclusive and peaceful navigation in the Indian Ocean as recently the area attracts global attention for various geopolitical factors," he says.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association or IORA is an inter-governmental organisation aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 23 member-states and 10 dialogue partners.
Its member-states are Australia, Bangladesh, Union of Comoros, French Republic, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Republic of Madagascar, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Bangladesh assumed the position of the IORA Chair at the 21st IORA COM meeting held in Dhaka on November 17, 2021 and adopted the theme 'Harnessing the opportunities of the Indian Ocean sustainably for inclusive development'.