Security in the IOR

South Africa could make the Indian Ocean Rim Association the top platform for achieving maritime security.
  This year the Indian Ocean has seen a drop in piracy risks and an increase in maritime development and attention to the blue economy.
This is largely thanks to improving maritime security.Africa will benefit from efforts to further secure and develop the Indian Ocean. In its role as chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), South Africa is making the forum the most relevant and promising organisation on maritime security and the blue economy.
The 18th meeting of the Council of Ministers – IORA’s top decision-making authority – takes place in November and will mark one year since South Africa assumed the chair. IORA was formed in 1997, but was inconspicuous for many years. It was revived under India’s lead from 2011-13, Australia from 2013-15 and Indonesia from 2015-17. These countries re-established it as a prominent regional organisation and identified its priorities.
South Africa aims to consolidate the gains of the past chairs by strengthening IORA’s institutions. It is doing this by expanding ties between member states, other partners and important regional bodies like the African Union (AU).

South Africa intends to align its chairing of IORA to the implementation of the AU’s 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy. The AU can then encourage all states, not simply those on the Indian Ocean, to prioritise their maritime policies. This will also go a long way to help revire AU maritime initiatives.

Second, South Africa can explore ways of deepening the involvement of IORA Dialogue Partners (the United States, Japan, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Egypt).

The AU can encourage all relevant states, not only on the Indian Ocean, to prioritise maritime policies

Finally, South Africa needs to ensure strong continuity when it hands over to the incoming IORA chair – the United Arab Emirates.

It is apt that the recent IORA meetings in Durban began with a dedication to Nelson Mandela, as South Africa celebrates the centenary of his birth. In 1995 the former president prayed a crucial role in establishing the organisation.

Mandela promoted the idea of an Indian Ocean platform for states to pursue peaceful socio-economic cooperation. Twenty-two years later, his words are still the benchmark for assessing South Africa’s role as IORA chair, and emphasise the need for a strong maritime body.

Source: maritime security review