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Indian Ocean Rim Association Meeting


Waves of the Indian Ocean are seen crashing ashore at Mayangan village in Subang in Indonesia's West Java province. (FILE)

Piracy, climate change, and fishery depletion are just a few areas that will require practical, multinational approaches to problem solving.

“The discussions . . . have reaffirmed the importance and potential of the Indian Ocean Rim Association in bolstering security and prosperity across the Indian Ocean region,” U.S. Senior Adviser for South and Central Asian Affairs Atul Keshap said recently at the Council of Ministers Meeting in Perth, Australia, which the United States attended for the first time as a Dialogue Partner.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association was inaugurated in 1995, and currently has 20 member states and six Dialogue Partners, including the United States.

In 2011, the Indian Ocean Rim Association identified six priority areas for cooperation: maritime safety and security, trade and investment facilitation, fisheries management, disaster risk management, academic and science & technology cooperation, and tourism and cultural exchanges.

Today, the Indian Ocean region faces increasingly complex challenges to stability and economic growth. Piracy, climate change, and fishery depletion are just a few areas that will require practical, multinational approaches to problem solving.

The United States supports the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s priorities, and is separately chairing the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which brings together over 80 countries, organizations, and industry groups to tackle the problems of piracy. Since its initial meeting in January 2009, the Contact Group has nearly tripled in size while successful pirate attacks have declined to zero so far this year. And thanks in part to the Contact Group’s concerted efforts, there has not been a successful pirate attack on a commercial vessel off the Horn of Africa in more than 18 months.

The United States also supports disaster risk reduction efforts to build resilience and strengthen national disaster management by providing over $33 million to support disaster preparedness in the region last year.

“The United States believes sustained engagement and leadership can make a real difference in . . . [promoting] conservation of the Indian Ocean’s unique marine habitats,” Mr. Keshap said. Keshap noted that the United States is helping Maldives establish marine protected areas and works with India, Bangladesh, and other nations in the region to protect the environment, broader economy, and way of life.
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