meeting in Colombo next week
The Fourth Council of
Ministers’ Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional
Cooperation (IOR-ARC) – a regional economic and trading group of
eighteen Indian Ocean littoral and island states – and related
meetings will begin in Colombo next Tuesday and continue until October
13. Minister of Foreign Affairs Tyronne Fernando will chair the
Council of Ministers’ Meeting and the ceremonial final session will
be held under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The meeting has
special significance due to the adoption of the Report of the High
Level Task Force, which will be the main agenda item. Previous Council
of Ministers’ Meetings were held in Mauritius (1997) and in
IOR-ARC was launched in Mauritius in March 1997. Member
states include; Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya,
Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Singapore, South
Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Dialogue partners of IOR-ARC include the United Kingdom, Japan, China,
Egypt and France, Dialogue partner status is granted to sovereign
countries outside the Indian Ocean Rim which have a special interest
in the ocean and/or the capacity to contribute to the association in
facilitating economic cooperation. The Indian Ocean Tourism
Organisation (IOTO) is an observer.
According to Foreign Ministry sources, IOR-ARC is a
consensus-based organisation whose purpose is to facilitate and
promote economic cooperation amongst member states. Its objectives
include the removal of impediments to trade and investment within the
region and the promotion of trade liberalisation.
The dissemination of information available on trade and
investment regimes aims to allow the region’s business community to
understand better the impediments to trade and investment within the
region, and allow member states to acquire a better knowledge of each
The IOR-ARC Coordinating Secretariat is located in Mauritius.
The present Director of the Coordinating Secretariat is seconded by
the government of Mauritius. IOR-ARC follows tripartite model with
links at government, business and academic levels. IOR-ARC ministers
meet in council every two years and in special session when required.
The Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF), the Indian Ocean Rim
Academic Group (IORAG) and the Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI)
report to each annual meeting of the Committee of Senior officials (CSO).
The Department of Commerce is the focal point for WGTI in Sri Lanka
while the National Chamber of Commerce and the Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce are the focal points for IORBF.
The Institute of Policy Studies is the focal point for IORAG.
Following the ministerial meeting in Oman in 2001, a High Level Task
Force was established to draw up a blueprint for the future direction
of the association, Foreign Ministry sources stated.