The 2-day long Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) Meeting kicked off on Tuesday in Sylhet. Bangladesh- the current Chair of IORA is hosting the 13th Bi-Annual CSO Meeting of IORA on 13-14 June 2023. Seventy-five delegates from 23 IORA Member States and IORA Secretariat are attending the CSO. They will discuss various issues relating to six priority areas and two focus areas of IORA- Maritime Safety & Security; Trade & Investment Facilitation; Fisheries Management; Disaster Risk Management; Tourism & Cultural Exchanges; Academic, Science & Technology Cooperation; Blue Economy and Women’s Economic Empowerment). Other important issues including Institutional Arrangement and Broadening Engagement will also be discussed.
Foreign Minister Dr. A K Abdul Momen, announced the opening of the 13th Bi-Annual CSO through a video message. In his speech, Foreign Minister urged the Member States to push forward for tapping into the tremendous amount of untapped and unexplored potential for growth and requested them to complement each other through more intense interaction, idea-sharing, and enhanced cooperation.
Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral (retd) Md. Khurshed Alam delivered the opening remarks and chaired the meeting. IORA Secretary General Dr. Salman Al Farisi; Vice-Chair Sudharshan Seneviratne, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Bangladesh; IORA past chair Mr. Ahmed Albadawi, Acting Deputy Director of Economic and Trade Affairs Department, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs also spoke at the opening session.
In his speech, Secretary Alam highlighted the great vision of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for transforming Bangladesh into a prosperous nation. He mentioned that under the able and apt leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s strive to become an industrial, digital, and prosperous country by 2041 through harmonizing social and economic development has been applauded across the world. He appreciated IORA Secretary General and his colleagues in the Secretariat for their admirable efforts and thanked all the Member States for their contributions to strengthening the IORA platform. He urged the IORA Member States to share ideas, exchange visions, and put together their efforts to maintain the momentum IORA has seen in recent years and to take this platform to a greater height. He assured Bangladesh’s commitment to making wholehearted efforts to strengthen maritime cooperation for a peaceful, stable, inclusive and prosperous Indian Ocean region