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The Indian Ocean RimAssociation for Regional Cooperation (IORARC), initially known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative,

is an international organization with 20 member states. It was first established in Mauritius on March 1995 and formally launched on 67 March 1997. In 2011 six priority areas of cooperation were identified for IORARC. These include: Maritime Safety and Security, Trade and Investment Facilitation, Fisheries Management, Disaster Risk Management, Academic and Science & TechnologyCooperation,andTourismandCulturalExchanges.

Background TheIndianOceanRimdefinesadistinctiveareaininternationalpoliticsconsistingofcoastalstates bordering the Indian Ocean. It is a region of much diversity, in culture, race, religion, economic development,andstrategicinterests.Thecountriesvaryinthesizeoftheirpopulations,economies,trade, andtechnologicaldevelopmentandinthecompositionoftheirGDP.Anumberofsubregionsareevident, for example Southern and Eastern Africa, Gulf of Aden, Oman Sea, SouthAsia, Southeast Asia, and Australasia.Italsoincludesanumberofregionalorganisations,suchasASEAN,GCC,SAARC,andSADCC. AnEconomicCommunityofNations Formanycenturies,thecountries,economiesandpeoplesoftheIndianOceanhavebeenbound together in an informal, cooperative economic community. Traders, seamen, fishermen, and pilgrims traversedtheIndianOceananditsnumerousports,enablingavibranttradingnetworktoemerge. ImpactofDeColonisation After the Second World War, the decolonisation process ended British hegemony in the Indian Ocean. Superpower rivalry in the region escalated, due to the strategic importance of the area. The common historical experience of European imperialism had left a lasting impression on the leaders of states in the Indian Ocean region of a sense of shared identity. The rediscovery of the past littoral economic,socialandculturalcommunity,ofanoceancentricregionalcooperativegroupingservingasa bridgeheadbetweenAfrica,AsiaandAustralasia,thereforeseemedonlynatural. In 1995, during a visit to India, President Nelson Mandela stated that "the natural urge of the facts of history and geography should broaden itself to include the concept of an Indian Ocean Rim for socio economic cooperation and other peaceful endeavors. Recent changes in the international system demandthatthecountriesoftheIndianOceanshallbecomeasingleplatform." TheMightyIndianOcean TheIndianOceanistheworld'sthirdlargestOcean.Itcarrieshalfoftheworld'scontainerships, one third of the bulk cargo traffic, twothirds of the world's oil shipments. It is a lifeline of international trade and economy. The region is woven together by trade routes and commands control of the major sealanes.TheIndianOceanRimconstitutesbetweenaquarterandathirdoftheworld'spopulation(close to two billion) which makes it a massive market. It is rich in strategic and precious minerals and metals and other natural resources, valuable marine resources ranging from food fisheries to raw material and energyforindustries.Ithasabundantagriculturalwealthintermsofthevarietyandmassofarableland and has significant human resources and technological capabilities. Many countries of the Rim are becominggloballycompetitiveandaredevelopingnewcapacities,whichcanbejointlyharnessedthrough regionalcooperationefforts. Formation On 2931 March 1995, the Mauritius Government convened a meeting to discuss the enhancement of economiccooperationamongcountriesoftheIndianOceanRim.Representativesfromthegovernment, businesssectorsandacademia,fromAustralia,India,Kenya,Mauritius,SultanateofOman,Singaporeand SouthAfrica,knownasthe"CoreGroupStates"orM7,attendedthemeeting.Inajointstatementissued at the end of the meeting, the participants declared that they had agreed on "Principles of Open

Regionalism and Inclusivity of Membership, with the objectives of Trade Liberalization and Promoting TradeCooperation.ActivitieswouldfocusonTradeFacilitation,InvestmentPromotionandEconomicCo operation." AtripartiteWorkingGroup(Government,AcademicandPrivateSector)metinMauritiuson1517August of 1995. This meeting decided to create a "Second Track" process as complimentary to an Inter GovernmentalMovement.AlatermeetingduringSeptember1996inMauritiusfinalisedaCharterforthe creation of the IORARC, and expanded the membership to include Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Yemen,Tanzania,MadagascarandMozambiqueknownastheM14. FormalLaunchofIORARC AdoptionofCharter The IORARC was formally launched at the first Ministerial Meeting in Mauritius on 6 7 March 1997. This meeting adopted the IORARC Charter, and determined a number of administrative and proceduralmatters. MechanismforLaunchandDialoguePartners The Second Biennial Council of Ministers Meeting was held in Maputo, Mozambique in March 1999.ThismeetingwascriticalforthefutureoftheIORARC,andMinistersagreedtoarealistic,outcomes focused Trade and Investment Agenda, based on Trade Facilitation, Trade Liberalisation, and Economic andTechnicalCooperation.ItwasagreedtoestablishaWorkingGrouponTradeandInvestment(WGTI). TheMinistersalsodecidedtoinviteBangladesh,IslamicRepublicofIran,Seychelles,ThailandandtheUAE tojointheAssociation,andtoinviteEgyptandJapantoparticipateasDialoguePartners. AnextraordinarymeetingoftheIORARCMinisterialCounciltookplaceinMuscat,Oman,inJanuary2000, designedtoformallywelcomethenewmembersandDialoguePartnersintheIORARC.Thiswasalsothe first time that the WGTI met. At this meeting, the Ministers adopted a Trade and Investment Plan of Action,whichincludedanagreementtocompileaCompendiaonCustomsRegimes,QuarantineandFood InspectionandInvestmentRegimes,tobecompletedbeforethenextMinisterialMeetinginOmaninApril 2001. The meeting also approved applications for Dialogue Partner Status from the Peoples Republic of ChinaandtheUnitedKingdom. The Third Ministerial Meeting of the IORARC was held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, on 7 and 8 April 2001.ThisCouncilofMinisters(COM)meetingwasimmediatelyprecededbymeetingsoftheCommittee ofSeniorOfficials(CSO),theIndianOceanRimAcademicGroup(IORAG),theIndianOceanRimBusiness Forum (IORBF) and the Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI). At this meetingFrancewas admittedasaDialoguePartner. TheIORARCHighLevelTaskForce On 1213 October 2003, at the fourth Council of Ministers meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, therecommendationoftheCommitteeofSeniorOfficialsthataHighLevelTaskForce(HLTF)comprising representatives of the Troika be established to study the future direction of IORARC, its Organizational Structure and funding of the Secretariat, including the Rules and Procedures for the appointment of the Director, and to consider the modalities for interaction between the Member States and the Dialogue Partners and Observers, as well as the possibility of establishing additional criteria for the grant of

Dialogue Partnership Status, if required, were endorsed. The Report of the HLTF was adopted in this meeting. On 2627 August 2004, the fifth Council of Ministers meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the First Executive DirectorwasappointedfromSriLankaforaperiodof3years. AdoptionoftheRulesofProcedures,StaffRegulationandFinanceRegulationforIORARC On5August2010,atthetenthCouncilofMinistersmeetinginSana'aYemen,therevisedCharter of IORARC as well as the Rules of Procedure, Staff Regulations for the Secretariat, Financial Regulations forIORARC,wasadoptedbytheCouncilofMinisters. ActionPlan Vision Toformulateandimplementprojectsforeconomiccooperationrelatingtotradefacilitation,promotion andliberalisation;promotionofforeigninvestment,scientificandtechnologicalexchanges,andtourism, movement of natural persons and service providers on a nondiscriminatory basis; and development of infrastructureandhumanresources,aslaiddownintheWorkProgrammeoftheAssociation.(Art.3.2of IORARC Charter) PolicyGuidelines: 1. ENHANCEMENT of Trade, Investment, Finance AND ENERGY COOPERATION within the Region SectoralapproachinInvestment,TradeandFinance;CooperationandInvestmentinEnergySecurityand supportforjointactiononfossil,andrenewablesourcesofenergy;

Facilitate the evolvement of a Clearing Payment Arrangement (CPA) for IORARC including the issueofjoiningtheAsianClearingUnion(ACU); Finalisation and implementation of a framework for a Preferential Trade Arrangement (PTA) by 2012; Linking existing agencies and institutions of: Export Promotion Boards, Overseas Marketing Organisations,TourismPromotionBoards,ResearchBodies,ExportCreditBanksandthelikethat normally deal with capacity building in trade and infrastructure development mechanism in MemberStates.ItwouldbevitalfortheseinstitutionstobebroughtintotheAssociationthrough linkagesandnetworking;and,SupportfortheestablishmentofaShipper'sCouncil.

2.EDUCATION,CULTUREANDTECHNOLOGY Support the setting up and the operationalisation of a Regional Centre on Science and Transfer of Technology; Fortify the activities of the UMIOR including active student/staff exchange programmes; Support capacity building in the area of Science and Technology for academics and researchers; and, Support Cultural Cooperation among Member States.

3.ENHANCINGCOOPERATIONONFISHERIES Enhancing cooperation in the Fisheries Support Unit (FSU). 4.PROMOTIONOFTOURISMCOOPERATION ParticipationinRegionalTradeandTourismExhibitions;InfrastructureInvestmentsintourismrelated projects; and, Support the existing Feasibility Study on Tourism. 5.DISASTERMANAGEMENTANDRISKREDUCTION CarryoutStudyontheSourcesofPollution,DistributionMechanismsandtheirimpactontheCoastal Ecosystems including the Marine Environment of theIndian Ocean; Modelling of effect of Tsunami in theGulfofOman;and,SupporttheeffortsofMemberStatesonAvianFlu. 6.INFORMATIONANDCOMMUNICATIONTECHNOLOGY(ICT) Optimisationoftheiornet.comwebsiteasatoolforsharingeconomicinformationincludingupdating ofinformationonweblinksofCustomsandQuarantineStandards;and,Assistintheearlycompletionof CompendiaonCustomsandQuarantineandStandards. Besides the above priority sectors, provision was also kept to add new areas bearing focus on the IndianOceanwhichwouldbeuniquetothisAssociationandhaveahigherbearingonMemberStatesthus addingvaluetoregionalcooperationwithinIORARC.Thenewareascouldbeaddedtothepriorityareas, subjecttoadoptionbytheCouncilofMinisters. ImplementationMechanism: The SubCommittee stressed on the need of the following to ensure proper implementation of the projects:

StrengtheningoftheNationalFocalPointsastheimplementingframework; AregionallevelprojectbasedfacilitatorrolefortheHeadsofMissionsinPretoriatoexpeditethe completionofprojects; Settingupofsectoralworkinggroupsafterfinalizationofpriorityareas;and, HalfyearlymeetingsatthelevelofSenior/TechnicalofficialsofMemberStates.

FINANCINGMECHANISM: The prime responsibility for financing any project of IORARC is with the participating Member States;ResourcesoftheIORARCSpecialFundmaybeapproachedasacomplementarymechanism;and, The financial and technical assistance of Dialogue Partner States, and other National, Regional, InternationalandDonorOrganizationsmayalsobemobilised.