Participants at the opening ceremony of the summit (Source: VNA)
Jakarta (VNA) –  Representatives from 21 member nations of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) gathered at the association’s summit in Indonesia on March 7 to seek to promote maritime cooperation for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean.

In his opening remarks, Indonesian President Joko Widodo highlighted that the event marked the two-decade formation and development of the IORA.

He noted that every year, a half of the number of container ships, and two thirds of the oil volume of the world are transported through the Indian Ocean – the third largest ocean in the world.

Joko Widodo viewed the Indian Ocean as the future ocean and the future of the world’s economy.

He underlined the need for IORA member nations to pay urgent attention to protecting the environment, saying that each country is playing a vital role in the issue.

The president also mentioned other challenges facing countries in the region, including poverty, natural disaster, gender equality and women empowerment, hoping that the event will take solutions to the issues, towards a sustainable development in the region.

Leaders from IORA member states signed a strategic and visionary IORA Document called the Jakarta Concord, which will  strengthen the six IORA priorities, namely maritime safety and security, trade and investment facilitation, fisheries management, disaster risk management, academic science and technology, and tourism and cultural exchange.

IORA members comprise South Africa, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, the Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Yemen.

The Association’s dialogue partners are China, France, Japan, the US, Egypt, Germany and the UK.-VNA