This year sees the 25th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. Nine of the organisation’s member states are African, ranging from Somalia in the northwest to South Africa in the south. It also includes islands, such as Mauritius, off the western seaboard. It brings together governments, business and academics and researchers across the Indian Ocean Region. Set up to strengthen regional cooperation and sustainable development, the association has grown from 14 member states initially in 1997 to 23 in 2022. It has adopted the ‘Blue Economy’ as a focus area. It is also increasingly paying attention to climate change and environmental issues as well as the regulation of fishing and other threats of growing importance to the maritime realm. Another reason for the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific is related to increased transnational organised crime. This includes human and drug trafficking, illegal fishing and harvesting and trafficking of wildlife and timber and the illicit trade in electronic waste.
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION