Indonesia will transfer the leadership of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, or IORA, to South Africa during the 17th Council of Ministers Meeting in Durban this weekend.
“The meeting will commemorate the baton handover from Indonesia to the next chair, South Africa,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said during a press briefing in Jakarta on Friday (13/10).
IORA is an organization consisting of 21 states bordering the Indian Ocean. It was founded to establish networks and develop economic and cultural interconnectivity in the region. Indonesia has been the association’s chair from 2015 to 2017 and South Africa will take over the chairmanship for the 2017-2019 period.
Indonesia conducted the first IORA Leaders’ Summit in March this year, attended by 16 heads of states. This resulted in the signing of four agreements, which serve as a stepping stone to boost cooperation and partnerships for sustainable economic growth.
“Indonesia has not only increased IORA’s presence in the region, but also moved to create a growth center in the Indian Ocean region,” Arrmanatha said.
Indonesia also hosted the IORA Ministerial Blue Economy Conference in May this year, which saw member states pledge to implement the blue economy concept in managing maritime resources and infrastructure to maintain environmental and social balance.
Although Indonesia no longer serves as chairman, it will still play an important role in the association’s future to advise South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, which serves as deputy chairman.