Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has highlighted the increasing importance of the Indian Ocean region as Australia assumes the chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) for the first time.
Ministers and officials from the 20 IORA member states have today agreed to a stronger collaborative effort on maritime security, economic growth and sustainable development across the region at the meeting in Perth.
The Indian Ocean region is home to more than a quarter of the world’s population. The ocean carries half of the world’s cargo ships and two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments.
“This diverse group of nations which span from Asia to Africa and the Middle East are linked by common challenges; the need to keep shipping lanes open, to keep fishery stocks viable, to prepare for disasters such as the Indian Ocean tsunami, and a desire to promote trade, education, the empowerment of women and girls and tourism and cultural links across the region,” Ms Bishop said
“Australia is delighted to begin its two year term as chair of IORA and welcomes Indonesia as vice chair,” she said.
The meeting adopted the ‘Perth Principles Declaration’ which affirms a shared commitment to peaceful, productive and sustainable use of the Indian Ocean and its resources.
Australia will provide almost $1.2 million in 2014 for IORA initiatives to address the risk of disasters, water safety, seasonal climate forecasting, the sustainability of fisheries, and to monitor oil spills.
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