The 20th meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers (COM) was held virtually on Thursday.
The COM meeting was preceded by the 22nd meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) which took place on 15-16 December.
Delegations from 22 Member States of IORA and 10 Dialogue Partners participated in both COM and CSO meetings, said a press release.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen led the Bangladesh Delegation as Vice-Chair at the COM meeting. Rear Admiral (Retd) Md Khurshed Alam, secretary (Maritime Affairs), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, led the Bangladesh delegation as the Vice-Chair in the CSO Meeting.
Foreign Minister emphasized implementing a concerted, comprehensive, and sustainable response to fight against pandemic when delivering the country statement of Bangladesh during the COM Meeting, according to the press release.
He requested the IORA Member States to enhance Connectivity and prioritize Capacity Building to increase the ability to reap economic benefits from the Indian Ocean.
He expressed Bangladesh's firm commitment for sincere efforts to place IORA in the World Map as one of the most effective and result oriented regional as well as global platforms, the press release said.
In both the IORA 20th Meeting of COM and the 22nd Meeting of CSO, many important issues were discussed and some important decisions were taken.
Based on consensus, France's application for Membership in IORA was approved. The COM approved the appointment of Dr Gatot Hari Gunawan from Indonesia as acting Secretary General, the press release reads.
Sri Lanka was selected as the Vice-Chair for the tenure of Bangladesh's Chairmanship from 2021-2023, the press release added.
Bangladesh volunteered to host the workshop on IORA's membership criteria in early 2021. It was also decided that Sri Lanka would host the Fourth IORA Ministerial Blue Economy Conference (BEC-IV) in late 2021.
COM endorsed Bangladesh's lead role as Vice-Chair in preparation of the new Action Plan (2022-2026) of IORA. Notably, Bangladesh will assume the charge of the IORA Chair for two years beginning from October 2021, the press release further said.