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The Maldives has announced it would be joining the Core Group on Tourism of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). The announcement was made during the 10th Bi-Annual Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials of IORA, which concluded on July 1.
During the meeting, the coordinating countries of various working groups of IORA delivered updates on their respective action plans and activities. In this regard, the Maldives announced it would be joining the Core Group on Tourism as a cluster country, stating the country looks forward to working within IORA to harness the full potential of tourism in the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Senior Officials congratulated the Maldives on signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the governments of the member states of IORA for the promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which would promote greater cooperation amongst SMEs within IORA and facilitate more opportunities for trade and investment. The Maldives also announced it is in the process of signing the MoU between the governments of the member states of IORA for the coordination and cooperation of search and rescue services in the Indian Ocean Region.
In addition, discussions were also held on the utilisation of IORA’s Special Fund to support member state projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other disaster events. The Maldives’ proposal for more favourable access for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in accessing the Special Fund was accepted by the Committee of Senior Officials, which will be put forward for endorsement by the Council of Foreign Ministers. As COVID-19 has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of SIDS during the pandemic, the amendment will facilitate for greater inclusivity and will assist SIDS in the recovery phase of the pandemic.
The Annual Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials was convened under the chairmanship of the UAE and held under the theme ‘Promoting a Shared Destiny and Path to Prosperity in the Indian Ocean’. The Maldivian delegation was led by Ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Asim Ahmed.
IORA is a leading organisation in the Indian Ocean Region, providing a forum for member states and dialogue partners to enhance socio-economic cooperation and development within the region. IORA has 22 member states and 10 dialogue partners. The Maldives formally joined IORA on November 8, 2019.