Bangladesh, the current Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Chair, will focus on developing a mechanism to undertake larger projects, prevent piracy, armed robbery, unregulated fishing and disaster management as the 24th meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) to be held on here November 22-23.

Decisions are taken with consensus based on opinions from all and those decisions will be placed at the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers (COM) meeting to be held on November 24.

Currently, no project bigger than US$ 80,000 can be taken but projects with unlimited amounts can be taken if the IORA Development Initiative is approved, according to the IORA.

There will be minister and state minister-level participation from 18 countries including Bangladesh.

Briefing the reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said they want “free, inclusive, secure and peaceful” navigation for all without any encumbrance in the region.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) Rear Admiral (Retd) Md. Khurshed Alam, Secretary (East) Mashfee Binte Shamsand and Secretary (West) Shabbir Ahmad Chowdhury at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were present at the media briefing.

The Foreign Minister laid emphasis on making the best use of the sea in a more “regulated, progressive and scientific” way.

“In the future, we will take on big projects to maximize gain,” said the Foreign Minister.

Momen highlighted the priority areas of the IORA – maritime safety and security; trade and investment facilitation, fisheries management, disaster risk management, tourism and cultural exchanges; academic, science and technology cooperation, blue economy and women’s economic empowerment.

He said the ministers and state ministers will jointly meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during their stay in Dhaka.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association is an inter-governmental organisation which was established on 7 March 1997.

There are 23 Member States of IORA and 10 dialogue partners.

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