The Senior Officials Meeting, setting the stage for the upcoming Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security and Safety, was held, today, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Balaclava. This collaborative event is a joint effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
In his address, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs (SFA), Ambassador Joykar Nayeck, emphasised the primary objective of the Senior Officials Meeting is to facilitate discussions and formulate recommendations for the impending Ministerial Conference. He underscored the profound significance of the Indian Ocean as a crucial shipping route vital to global trade.
The Ambassador acknowledged the commendable strides made in ocean governance since the last gathering in 2019, particularly citing the adoption of the Biological Diversity In Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty. However, he also drew attention to persistent challenges, such as drug, arms, and human trafficking, as well as unreported and unregulated fishing, stressing the pressing need for regulation due to the escalating risks of maritime incidents.
SFA Nayeck elaborated on the establishment of the Western Indian Ocean Maritime Security Architecture through two regional agreements in 2018. This architecture comprises the Regional Maritime Fusion Centre and the Regional Centre for Operational Coordination , aiming to bolster maritime security in the region.
Underlining the focal point of the Senior Officials Meeting, Ambassador Nayeck stressed the necessity to deliberate and propose strategies to fortify the existing maritime architecture. He also appealed for increased international support given the Indian Ocean's significance as a major thoroughfare.
The 3rd edition of the Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security and Safety in the Western Indian Ocean is being hosted by Mauritius on 16 November 2023, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Balaclava. The Ministerial Conference expects participation from governments, as well as representatives from regional and international institutions, along with their respective senior officials responsible for maritime security, marking a concerted effort towards addressing these shared concerns.