Peace, security, regional stability, climate change and management of natural resources were at the fore of discussions yesterday during a political dialogue between the delegations of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the European Union (EU) at Blue Tower, in EbAne. The aim was to exchange views on various challenges which the Indian Ocean region and Small Island Development States are facing and find solutions.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, and Chairperson of the IOC, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo; the Head of the EU Delegation to Mauritius, Ambassador Mrs Marjaana Sall; the Secretary General of the IOC, Mr Hamadi Madi Bolero; and representatives of IOC and the EU Delegation to Mauritius were present. The IOC's Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security in the Western Indian Ocean held recently in Mauritius and the way forward and the Post-Cotonou process and the contribution of the IOC therein were also on the agenda.

In his statement Minister Lutchmeenaraidoo underscored the need for all partners to address all arising and pressing issues, work collaboratively and find consensus as the two groups which share a common destiny face an exceptional situation. The coming years will be relatively volatile and will become overwhelming if great nations do not find solutions as we have no options, he cautioned.

The Minister termed as regional and international volatility the present environment in which countries are evolving. Therefore it is necessary to have the capacity to be calm and serene and find some common ground, he pointed out.

As regards the challenges the Minister said that the IOC has the same challenges as the EU. In addition to commending the role of the EU on the international level as a key development partner, Mr Lutchmeenaraidoo called on all island nations to come together and make their voices heard.

For her part Ambassador Sall the dialogue represents a good opportunity to exchange ideas on important issues for both the EU and its Member States as well as for the IOC and its Member States and to hold strategic discussions on the challenges in the region and find solutions. The EU is the main financial partner of the IOC and we will continue to work with the Commission on various cooperation related projects with regard to maritime security, sustainable management of oceans, illegal fishing and climate change, she recalled.

The Ambassador also expressed the wish that all the issues being examined during the present dialogue be included in the new development strategic plan of the IOC which will be finalised soon. She pointed out that the political dialogue is linked to the historic partnership between both institutions and the collaboration spans more than 30 years on different thematic such as sustainable development, maritime security and defending SIDS.

Source: Government of Mauritius