Bangladesh to propose ‘IORA-Dhaka Development Initiative’: Momen

Sunbd Desk || Published: 2021-11-14 15:33:01 || Updated: 2021-11-14 15:39:09

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said Bangladesh will propose ‘IORA-Dhaka Development Initiative (IORA-DDI)’ for inclusive regional development as Dhaka is set to host the 21st Council of Ministers (COM) meeting of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on Wednesday.

“We will seek assistance of our Dialogue Partners for making IORA-DDI as an important tool for ensuring inclusive development in the region,” he told media at a curtain raiser briefing of the event at foreign ministry today.

The foreign minister said the IORA-DDI is for enhancing capacity building through offering practical training, on-the job learning and physical demonstration in the areas where Bangladesh has specialization and expertise.

“The Indian Ocean is a huge matter … we have a policy that in the Indian Ocean will be open, free, and inclusive and we do not want to see a single dominance here,” he said.

Dr Momen said Dhaka expects that IORA would chalk out its own vision of the Indo-Pacific, a vision for a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, based on international law and shared prosperity for all.

Dr Momen said Dhaka expects that IORA would chalk out its own vision of the Indo-Pacific, a vision for a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, based on international law and shared prosperity for all.

“So that we promote sustainable Blue Economy in the region,” he added.

IORA is an inter-governmental regional organisation with 23 Member States and 9 Dialogue Partners aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.

More than 15 IORA Member States of IORA with 11 Ministerial level delegations are expected to join in-person while another eight to ten Ministers or junior ministers will join virtually.

“In total, around 80 delegates are coming to Dhaka to participate in the meetings and they all are expected to meet our Hon’ble Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina),” Dr Momen said.

Before the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (COM), the IORA’s apex body that meets annually, the 23rd Committee of Senior Officials’ meeting will be held on Nov 15-26.

IORA has six Priority and two Focus Areas namely Maritime Safety and Security, Fisheries Management, Trade and Investment Facilitation, Disaster Risk Management, Tourism & Cultural Exchanges, Academic, Science and Technological Cooperation, Blue Economy and Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Since the establishment of IORA in 1997, Bangladesh is first time elected as Chair for the period 2021-2023.

Dr Momen said Bangladesh is assuming the Chairmanship with the theme ‘Harnessing the opportunities of Indian Ocean sustainably for inclusive development’,” said Dr Momen.

“During our tenure, we vow to address all the challenges by capitalizing our strengths and turning our weaknesses into strengths to place IORA in the World Map as one of the most effective and dignified organizations,” said the foreign minister.

Dhaka’s aim will be to move together as a region, he added.

He said the Indian Ocean region is warming at a higher rate, which means the relative sea level can also increase over the regions and it will contribute to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-level areas and coastal erosion.

Considering the gravity of the crisis and unifying role of IORA in this regard, Bangladesh will propose a platform for Climate Change within the framework of IORA, he added.

IORA is going to get a new Secretary General in this meeting. He is also coming to Bangladesh and will be introduced to the Council of Ministers.

“We hope that under his leadership we will be able make remarkable progress,” he added.

In presence of 12 ministerial level delegations, the Meeting is expected to showcase Bangladesh’s hospitality and offer good image of Bangladesh.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Marine Affairs unit Secretary Rear Admiral Khurshed Alam also spoke at the event.

Alam said a new IORA action plan for 2022-27 is ready to approve at this conference.

Apart from six main issues, he said, an interactive dialogue on COVID19 and vaccination challenge is also scheduled to discussed in the ministerial meeting.

Source: BSS

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