Mayors and local government representatives from the Association of Cities and Communities of the Indian Ocean (AVCOI) are meeting in Seychelles this week.
The 50-some delegates including their Seychellois counterparts have converged on the capital city of Victoria for their annual meeting which will end on Friday with their general assembly.
Fourteen mayors from Mauritius, Madagascar, Reunion, Mayotte, and Comoros are attending the event at the International Conference Center of Seychelles.
The Mayor of Victoria, David Andre said that the meeting is presenting the Indian Ocean nations with the opportunity to discuss their common objectives.
"We are discussing all the issues that preoccupy us as cities, as well as finding ways together to increase our lobbying of the Indian Ocean Commission, develop and implement our common projects such as "Living Together", as well as common areas of interest such as sustainable cities, inclusive economies and discuss future collaborations," said Andre in his address to the delegates.
One such area for collaboration is waste management. Flavien Joubert, the chief executive officer of the Landscape and Waste Management Agency, told SNA that such collaboration is bearing fruit.
"Through the twinning programme that exists between Victoria and the city of La Possession in Reunion, we have an expert in waste management who as of October 1 will be assisting us for a period of one year," said Joubert.
Joubert said the expert will assist LWMA to put in place a proper sorting out of the waste system, improve its landfill standards and build the capacity of its staff through training.
Apart from the mayors and representatives of local government, the meeting is being attended by members of the National Assembly of three countries including Seychelles - 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
On her part, Seychelles' designated minister - Macsuzy Mondon - who also holds the portfolio for local government, called on all the local authorities to work together in the same language seek solutions for the challenges that the cities of the Indian Ocean are facing.
"What brings us here is not only, the history, geographical location, and culture that we share but our common will to work for more development," said the Minister.
The general assembly on Friday will elect new office bearers for the association which is currently being co-chaired by Madagascar and Mauritius.
The Association of Cities and Communities of the Indian Ocean (AVCOI) was created in August 1990 and its main aim is to bring all Indian Ocean nations together to discuss, share experiences, network as well as seek solutions to address the challenges they face.