Mauritius hosts Indian Ocean Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security

Port-Louis, Mauritius (PANA) - The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security in the Western Indian Ocean will be held in Balaclava, northern Mauritius on 28-29 April 2018.

Ahead of the conference, over 100 delegates from 30 countries as well as Regional and International organisations have gathered on Friday to prepare the ground for the ministers who will adopt a Ministerial Declaration with an Action plan.

The Action Plan to be discussed at the conference will focus on all the issues of Maritime Security, namely cooperation mechanisms, the fight against illegal fishing and maritime trafficking (drugs, human, money laundering), terrorist risks, environmental crimes and marine pollution.

The Mauritian Secretary for Foreign Affairs (SFA), Mrs Usha C. Dwarka Canabady, told the senior officials that maritime security is fully an international concern thus the need to sensitise people about the contribution that they can make in addressing it. 

"The idea is to look after maritime security based on a programme which is being developed and beyond that to list out priority actions that need to be taken in the region and then enlist the assistance of stakeholders to provide support on these actions," she said.

Mrs Canabady highlighted the importance of working together when a problem arises in the Indian Ocean and to be practical in addressing issues. She pointed out that even if countries have great institutions and legislations it so happens that sometimes they are unable to take practical steps to address issues.

According to Canabady, one of the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference would be to identify the focal points in countries that can come together very quickly at short notice and effectively implement those legislations as well international cooperation and coordination. 

IOC's Secretary General Mr Hamada Madi, termed maritime security an essential element of global security adding that the forthcoming ministerial conference will have to give a new boost to regional and international action for maritime security. 

He also gave an overview of key elements which make of the Western Indian Ocean a strategic zone. 

These include: perspectives offered by deposits of hydrocarbon in the Mozambique channel; regional biodiversity; abundant fishing resources; as well as the Western Indian Ocean region being a zone crossed by nearly half of maritime traffic related to international merchant shipping.

From the EU desk, Mr Michal Golabek observed that there is a mounting debate at international level on the maritime domain with special focus on risks and threats involved.

“We all agree that our seas and oceans are facing increasing pressures and we have to address those pressures and to do so we must manage more effectively the human activities affecting our seas and oceans and we need a coherent and comprehensive approach involving all sectors,” he said.
-0- PANA NA/MA 27April2018

27 april 2018 06:39:02

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