The United Republic of Tanzania joined other 18 Members States of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation [IOR-ARC] which are Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen to participate in the Organisation’s 12th  Council of Ministers [COM] Conference and other associated meetings which took place here in India, at the Oberoi Hotel in Gurgaon, State of Haryana from 29th  of October to 2nd  of November 2012.

Led by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Hon. Dr. Abdallah Omari Kigoda, The high Level Delegation of Tanzania  effectively participated  in the COM Meeting which also included the Zanzibar Minister of State, President’s Office and Revolutionary Council Hon. Mwinyihaji Makame and the Deputy Minister of  Foreign  Affairs  and  International  Cooperation,  Hon. Mahadhi  Juma Maalim.

Addressing the COM inaugural session, Hon. Dr. Kigoda expressed sincere thanks to the Republic of India and Australia as well the IOR-ARC Secretariat under Secretary General, Ambassador K.V Bhagirath, for their firm and commendable efforts aimed at realizing the objectives of the Organisation.

He expressed the United Republic of Tanzania sincere commitment to courteously cooperate with the Chair, the Secretariat, Member States as well as other relevant stakeholders of the IOR-ARC in mutual efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and development in the Organisation.

The Tanzania Head of Delegation,  Hon. Kigoda commended the IOR-ARC remarkable achievement  which  has  been  recorded  in  various  areas  of Business,  Trade  and  Investment, and  Academic  Affairs.  Nevertheless,  he raised alarm on the serious need for the Organisation to expedite the implementation of the already identified projects by Member States in order to go with the pace of the IOR-ARC objectives.

Hon. Kigoda was referring to the Tanzania Concept Note regarding Enabling Tanzania Nationals to Access the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] Fishery which was presented during the11th Council of Ministers Meeting held in Bengaluru, State of Karnataka, in November 2011, whereby  six priority areas  of co-operation  including  fisheries  management,  maritime  safety and security, trade and investment facilitation, disaster risk reduction, science and technology, tourism promotion and cultural exchanges were approved.

Further persuading the IOR-ARC Member States to accept and support the Tanzania proposed Fishing Project to be developed into a fully fledged project, Hon.  Minister  Kigoda  argued  that the  proposed  Project  is  common  to  all Eastern Africa IOR-ARC Member States and if the capacity of fishers will be enhanced  as  requested  by his  Government,  it will properly  and comprehensively   address   the  program of   poverty   reduction   through employment creation and income generation for the people. He further maintained that, the Project will increase access to fishery resources of the countries   Exclusive   Economic   Zones   which   currently   are   wholly and exclusively exploited by Distant Water Fishing Nations.

In  distinctive  appreciation,  the  Minister  on  behalf  of  the  Government  of Tanzania    thanked the  Sultanate  of  Oman  for  their  readiness  to  provide technical support in this area, including the development of a bankable project as well as for its  willingness  to sponsor  a Workshop  on Sea  Cucumber Farming scheduled to take place in Zanzibar in the near future.

Other senior Delegates including the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Trade - Mrs. Joyce Gideon Mapunjo; Mr. Salum Maulid Salum - Principal Secretary, Ministry of State, Zanzibar; H.E. Ambassador Rajab Gamaha - Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; H.E. Eng. John Kijazi - the High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to India and the Director of Regional Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ambassador Naimi Aziz also attended the COM Meeting.

Other IOR-ARC related meetings which were also convened and attended by Member States including the United Republic of Tanzania  were the Working Group on Trade  and  Investment, the  Indian Ocean  Rim Academic  Group, Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum and the Committee of Senior Officials.

The Delegation of Tanzania was drawn from various stakeholder Ministries and Institutions, including, Trade, Agriculture, Fisheries, Finance, Tourism, Investment and Foreign Affairs.

The key outcome of the meeting was a Ministerial Communiqué titled “IOR- ARC at 15 – the Next Decade,” outlining six priority areas for cooperation, as the IOC-ARC marked its 15th anniversary since its inception.

The six priority areas  for IOC-ARC cooperation  are: maritime  security and piracy; disaster risk reduction; trade and investment facilitation; fisheries management; academic and science and technology cooperation; and tourism and cultural exchanges.

The Communiqué requests a planned IOC-ARC seminar on maritime security scheduled to convene in 2013 to consider concrete possibilities of cooperative action in the area of piracy, and to consider institutionalization as a regional forum for continued exchange of views, and monitoring of the situation.

The Communiqué also underscores the need for better preparedness to fight natural and manmade disasters in the maritime domain. It specifically notes that oil spill response training is a relevant area of cooperation for IOR-ARC, and the need to develop regional disaster management strategies and operational processes.

A copy of the Communiqué is hereby reproduced.