Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana attended the Third IORA Blue Economy Conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 5 September 2019.
The Conference hosted by the Government of Bangladesh marked the continuation of the Blue Economy initiatives undertaken by the 22 IORA Member States in First and Second Conferences held in the Mauritius and Indonesia in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
Following deliberations at Ministerial and Senior Officials level, the Conference adopted the Dhaka Declaration on the Blue Economy to stress IORA members’ commitment in strengthening the sustainable and inclusive development of the Blue Economy in the Indian Ocean region.
The Ministerial Conference was preceded by the Committee of Senior Officials which held extensive deliberations on key thematic areas on exploration and exploitation of ocean resources, promotion of sustainable ocean economy and governance, harvesting sustainable blue opportunities and enhancing regional cooperation, challenges and opportunities for ocean resource management, and lastly enhancing maritime opportunities and logistics facilities.
Addressing the Conference, Foreign Minister Marapara highlighted the need for cooperation and peaceful engagement in the Indian Ocean maritime domain by IORA members creating a stable, secure environment, facilitative of economic prosperity.
The Minister explained steps being taken by Sri Lanka in harnessing sustainable Blue Economy including methods adopted on sustainable use of oceanic resources. Further elaborating, the Minister informed that according to the aspirations of Sri Lanka Government’s Vision 2025 policy document, Sri Lanka will develop itself as a hub of the great Indian Ocean and focus on development of its ports, modernizing the logistical capabilities, improving connectivity linking to global supply chains.
During the visit, the Minister also held bilateral meetings with his Bangladesh and Australian counterparts and discussed matters related to furthering bilateral relations.
Further, the Minister attended a ‘Business Conclave’ aimed at promoting Sri Lanka’s economic interests with Bangladesh with the participation of a Trade delegation from Sri Lanka and the officials of the Board of Investment and the Export Development Board.
Foreign Minister Marapana was joined by Additional Secretary, Economic Affairs & Administration, P.M Amza who led Sri Lanka’s interventions at the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO), High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Bangladesh, Crisanthe De Silva, Director General, Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change, Hasanthi Dissayanake and Principal Scientist and Head of the Socio Economic & Market Research Division of National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), K.H.M.L. Amaralal.