The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an inter-governmental organisation established on 7 March 1997 to enhance economic dialogue and regional cooperation to promote sustainable growth and balanced development for a prosperous Indian Ocean Rim. The vision for IORA originated during a visit by late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa to India in 1995, where he said:
“The natural urge of the facts of history and geography… should broaden itself to include the concept of an Indian Ocean Rim for socioeconomic co-operation and other peaceful endeavours. Recent changes in the international system demand that the countries of the Indian Ocean shall become a single platform.”
21 Member States
Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
7 Dialogue Partners
China, France, Japan, United States of America, Egypt, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Priorities & Focus Areas
Maritime Safety & Security
Trade & Investment Facilitation
Disaster Risk Management
Tourism Promotion & Cultural Exchanges
Academic, Science & Technology
Women’s Economic Empowerment
Celebrating Twenty Years
The 1st IORA Leaders’ Summit was hosted by the Republic of Indonesia on 7 March 2017 in Jakarta. The Summit was entitled ‘Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean’, and Prime Ministers and Presidents from the region issued the milestone IORA Concord and accompanying IORA Action Plan for 2017 – 2021.
IORA’s apex body is the Council of Foreign Ministers (COM) which meets annually. The Republic of Indonesia has been the Chair of IORA since 2015. The Republic of South Africa will assume the role for 2017-2019, followed by the United Arab Emirates. A committee of Senior Officials (CSO) meets twice a year to progress IORA’s agenda and consider recommendations by Working Groups and forums of officials, business and academics to implement policies and projects to improve the lives of people in the Indian Ocean Member States.
Specialised Agencies of IORA
Fisheries Support Unit (FSU)
Headquartered in the Sultanate of Oman since 2003, FSU plays an important role in enhancing the cooperation, better utilisation of fisheries resources, exchanges of expertise and joint research activities.
Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (RCSTT)
Established in 2008 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, RCSTT aims to facilitate the transfer of sustainable and appropriate technology to, and between, Member States.
IORA Special Fund
The IORA Special Fund is a financial mechanism for supporting projects and programmes adopted by IORA within the identified priority areas.
The Council of Ministers elect the IORA Chair for a period of two years. This is based on the voluntary offer by a Member State to become the Chair. If there is no voluntary offer, the Chair will be elected on the basis of geographical consideration. List of IORA Chairs to date are as below:
Republic of Mauritius
Republic of Mozambique
Republic of Mozambique
Sultanate of Oman
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Islamic Republic of Iran
Republic of Yemen
Republic of India
Commonwealth of Australia
Republic of Indonesia
Republic of South Africa
United Arab Emirates
The Secretariat manages, coordinates, services and monitors the implementation of policy decisions and work programmes adopted by IORA. It is based in Mauritius and overseen by a Secretary General who is appointed for a 3-year period.