Mauritius to host 1st IORA Ministerial Blue Economy Conference in 2015
The IORA conference will be held this week in Mauritius with the objectives of sharing experiences and best practices on local and regional initiatives related to four priority areas; to coordinate the development of the IORA Blue Economy Core Group; and to provide support for networking measures in the form of several workshops to promote cooperative activities.
Mauritius is hosting the first Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Ministerial Blue Economy Conference “Enhancing Blue Economy Cooperation for Sustainable Development in the IORA Region” over 2 and 3 September 2015.
An initiative of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands and the IORA, the conference will see the participation of some 300 delegates from 26 countries as well as local experts and partners from the public and private sectors.
The focus will be on four priority areas namely: Fisheries and Aquaculture; Renewable Ocean Energy; Seaports and Shipping; and Seabed Exploration and Minerals. The two-day event will comprise a Senior Officials’ meeting on 2 September and a Ministerial meeting on the next day.
The two-day workshop will include several discussion sessions on different aspects of the Blue Economy namely Fisheries and Aquaculture – “Regional cooperation for sustainable Fisheries & Aquaculture Management in the Indian Ocean”, Renewable Ocean Energy: “Exploring regional opportunities for Renewable Ocean Energy in the Indian Ocean region”.
Moreover, discussion will be about Offshore Hydrocarbons and Seabed Minerals: “Towards developing the Offshore Hydrocarbons and Seabed Minerals sector in the Indian Ocean region”; and Seaport and Shipping: “Enhancing Seaport & Shipping management facilities in the Indian Ocean Rim region”.
The objectives of the workshop are to share experiences and best practices on local and regional initiatives related to four priority areas; to coordinate the development of the IORA Blue Economy Core Group, including a framework for researcher exchanges in Member States; and to provide support for networking measures in the form of several workshops to promote cooperative activities.
The conference will also focus on the creation of an active community of research-based institutions, universities, public and private sector interested in the blue economy as well as capacity building by empowering a younger generation of experts, researchers, academics and scholars to take ownership of their research environment and to aid in shaping its direction.
Several outcomes are expected at the end of the conference, namely, the establishment of the Blue Economy Core Group; improved partnerships, collaboration and networks in the IORA related to the blue economy; increased knowledge production and understanding of the blue economy in the region through initiating research exchanges, capacity building and skills development; setting up of an IORA Academic Group; and more collaborative research initiatives between Member States on the blue economy.
It is to be recalled that at the 14th IORA Ministerial Meeting held in Perth, Australia in October 2014, at which the main theme was the Blue Economy, Mauritius offered to host the first IORA Ministerial Blue Economy Conference in 2015.
Eight priority areas of cooperation in the ocean economy were identified, including: Fisheries and Aquaculture; Renewable Ocean Energy; Seaports & Shipping; Seabed Exploration & Minerals; Marine Biotechnology, Research & Development; Tourism; Ocean Knowledge Clusters, and Small Island developing States & Least Developed Countries.
Thematic workshops on the four priority sectors to be discussed at the Blue Economy Conference were held in South Africa and Indonesia.
Finally, the outcomes and recommendations of the thematic workshops and related meetings would then be fed into the Blue Economy Conference Agenda, where a preliminary Blue Economy road map for the Indian Ocean Region would be approved.