South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, has highlighted the importance of oceans, seas and coastal areas to food security and poverty eradication at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Meeting of the Council of Ministers.
Pandor noted that 40% of the world’s population lives near coastal areas, more than 3 billion people rely on the oceans for their livelihood, and 80% of global trade is transported by sea. However, she warned that the oceans are under severe threat from human activities, which are causing acidification, pollution, ocean warming, eutrophication and fishery collapse.
“These threats are detrimental to the planet and have long-term repercussions that demand urgent action to protect the oceans and the people who depend on them,” Pandor said.
She also expressed her appreciation for the successful development of the IORA Development Initiative (IDI) and the High-Level Strategic Dialogue (HLSD) meeting, which was co-chaired by South Africa and the IORA Secretariat.
Pandor said the discussions at the HLSD meeting focused on the achievements and challenges of IORA’s first 25 years, and what this means for the association’s future work and the implementation of its Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (IOIP).
“These issues are significant and will continue to help strengthen our Association in a region that is becoming increasingly important on the global stage,” she said.
The IORA is a regional inter-governmental organization that was established in 1997 to promote cooperation among Indian Ocean rim countries in trade, maritime security, sustainable development and other areas.