October 24, 2019
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    Committee of CSOs of Indian Ocean Rim Association concluded

    June 23, 2019

    The ninth Bi-Annual (CSO) of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) was held in Durban, South Africa from 19-20 June 2019.The ninth session of the CSO chaired by Ambassador Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director General, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa was the last CSO meeting hosted by the Government of South Africa, prior to handing over the Chairmanship to the UAE.

    Speaking at the inaugural session, Sri Lanka’s head of delegation Sesath Thambugala, Director/ Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs appreciated the stewardship of South Africa since 2017 as the Chair of IORA and expressed keen interest to work with the UAE during its upcoming chairmanship with a view to further deepening the focus on IORA as a growth pole in the world.

    The Sri Lanka delegation informed the meeting that as the lead coordinator of the Maritime Safety and Security pillar, Sri Lanka will be hosting the First Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security (WGMSS) on 8-9 August, 2019 in Colombo, which will be partly funded by IORA Special Fund and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

    The delegation further briefed the CSO that Sri Lanka successfully held the Track 1.5 Conference “Indian Ocean: Defining Our Future” in October, 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Building on the success of the first conference, Sri Lanka is ready to host Track 1 Conference “Indian Ocean: Defining Our Future” during the latter half of 2019 for which all IORA members would be invited.

    Among other matters, the CSO took stock of the progress of the implementation of the IORA Action Plan (2017 – 2021), emphasizing on the need to engage the Dialog Partners, regional organizations and other specialized agencies in a more constructive manner. The report of the CSO meeting will be submitted to the next IORA Council of Ministers, which is scheduled to be held in the UAE.

    The Sri Lanka delegation to the CSO comprised Sesath Thambugala, Director/Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Priyangani Hewarathna, Minister Counsellor, Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria, and Diana Perera, Assistant Director/ Ocean Affairs, Environment & Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


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