The 11th Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Bi-annual Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) was held virtually on 15-16 June 2021. Delegations from 23 Member States of IORA participated in the CSO Meeting. Bangladesh, the current Vice-chair of the IORA, participated in the meeting with a delegation led by Rear Admiral (retd) Md. Khurshed Alam, Secretary (Maritime Affairs), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bangladesh will assume the charge of the Chair of IORA from November 2021 for two year tenure. Mentionable that Bangladesh has seconded a Director to IORA Secretariat recently.
02. In the opening remarks as Vice-chair of the IORA, Secretary Alam highlighted IORA’s importance as a platform to collectively pursue a concerted, comprehensive and suitable response for facing the specific challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic. He also requested for further commitment for implementing and integrating the IORA Concord; IORA Action Plan; Mauritius, Jakarta and Dhaka Declaration in national development paradigm. He further urged the fellow Members States and Dialogue Partners of the IORA to formulate and implement projects for economic cooperation relating to trade facilitation and liberalization, promotion of investment, scientific and technological exchanges.
03. A number of important issues were discussed during this CSO Meeting including nomination of Mr. Sheikh Fazle Fahim, President, FBCCI as the next chair of Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF), update on Ad-hoc Working Group (AhWG) for the eligibility and criteria for selecting the Secretary-General, inclusion of Russia as Dialogue Partner, Signature of IORA Instrument of Acceptance by France as a new IORA member, preparation of next Action Plan (2022-2026).
04. In his concluding remarks, Secretary Alam expressed his deepest gratitude to the current Chair, Government of United Arab Emirates for hosting the CSO amid the pandemic and thanked all the member states for their well-thought and prolific interventions, comments and deliberations. He invited all to join the next 23rd Committee of Senior Officials’ and 21st Council of Ministers’ meeting due in November this year to be hosted by Bangladesh as Chair.