My fifth day in Mauritius started really early. Breakfast time was set at 7:30am and we all had to be ready by 8:15am to board our little van in order for us to head to the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in Ebene/Cybercity. We arrived there at around 9 and we were greeted by the second person in command as the Secretary General of the IOC was on a mission abroad. We were already a bit familiar with the place as we had visited SYAH-Mauritius there on our third day. We were then directed to the conference room whereby a two hours presentation awaited us.
First thing that I learned is that the IOC is an intergovernmental organisation and the official language used is French. Such an organization is primarily composed of sovereign states and they are established by treaties or any other agreement that act as a charter creating the group. The IOC was established on 20th December 1982 in Port Louis, Mauritius by Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar and it is known as the Port Louis Declaration. The organization was institutionalized on January 9th 1984 by the Victoria Declaration. Later in 1986 France-Reunion Island and Comoros joined the IOC and in total there five member state in the organization. The IOC depends a lot on financing from the European Union to implement their projects which serves to benefit all the member states. Presently there is a project motion for the youth and women in the Entrepreneurship and Commercial Corporation sector.
Such a tie in the Indian Ocean is very much important. This is because all the member states are actively involved in protecting the ocean that they all share. Such an example was the battle against the Somali pirates where each country were actively patrolling each other’s EEZ to ensure that no such illegal activities are conducted. Furthermore, the organisation also does surveys on different vessels that go through the IOC territory. At any one time vessels deployed for surveillance are equipped with a surveyor from each member state. They are responsible to ensure that there is no illegal fishing taking place on large commercial fishing vessels. Also they are engaged to combat against human trafficking, which recently has been increasing. So with such an organisation active in the Indian Ocean there might be a progress in such issues.
The IOC has proven to be very beneficial to the Seychelles during the times of the attacks by the pirates even though it has dramatically decreased the IOC is of great importance for the development of the Seychelles’ blue economy. An example is the development of the marine territory co-managed by Mauritius and Seychelles. Such a tie between the will allow more friendly exchange of how that particular place can be developed in a sustainably way which would prove to be beneficial for both countries. So it is better for both countries to work together rather that in isolation.
Written by Ryan Dewea.