Indian Ocean Commission
The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1982 in Port-Louis, Mauritius and institutionalized in 1984 by the Victoria Agreement in the Seychelles. The IOC comprises of five countries in the Indian Ocean, these are: Union of the Comoros, France/Reunion Island, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles . Notwithstanding their different characteristics (Reunion is a French department; Mauritius is a Upper Middle Income Country, Seychelles a High Income Country whereas Comoros and Madagascar are amongst the Least Developed Countries), the five islands share geographic proximity, natural resources and common development issues.
The Secretariat of the Commission is located in Mauritius and headed by a Secretary General. The current Secretary General, Mr. Jean Claude de l’Estrac, is a Mauritian national appointed in July 2012 for a four-year mandate. Political and strategic orientations of the organisation are under the responsibility of the Council of Ministers which meets annually. The last Council of Ministers was held in Madagascar in May 2015. The organisation also has a system of rotating presidency of each Member State. The highest level in the organisation's structure is the Summit of Heads of States. The last meeting was held in Comoros in 2014.
The IOC’s principal mission is to strengthen the ties of friendship between the countries and be a platform of solidarity for the entire population of the Indianoceanic region. Its mission also includes development, through projects related to sustainability for the region, aimed at protecting the region, improving living conditions of the populations and preserving the very natural resources that the countries depend on. Being an organisation regrouping only island states, the IOC has usually championed the cause of small island states in regional and international fora.
The IOC works on four pillars :
- Political and diplomatic cooperation,
- Economic and commercial cooperation,
- Sustainable development in a globalisation context,
- Strengthening of the regional cultural identity.
EU partnership with the IOC has been effective for as long as 25 years. The successive EDFs have financed programmes implemented by the IOC to the tune of EUR 100 million, mainly in the area of environment and natural resources.
The EU, which is the main development partner of the IOC, has scaled up its assistance to IOC during the last few years, and accounts for more than 80 % of total financial support to IOC in 2013. The EU has five main on-going programmes with the IOC for a total amount of EUR 80 million*:
- The Smartfish programme for the Implementation of a Regional Fisheries Strategy in the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region (ESA-IO region). Its overall objective is to contribute to an increased level of social, economic and environmental development and deeper regional integration in the ESA-IO through the sustainable exploitation of marine and lake fisheries resources. Phase I of the programme (for an amount of EUR 21M) started in March 2011 and will continue up to March 2014. Actions are implemented in five areas: sustainable fisheries management, governance, Monitoring, Control and Surveillance, Trade in fish and fisheries by-products and Food security, and target marine and inland fisheries, as well as aquaculture. A grant agreement of EUR 6,000,000 was signed with the FAO to implement the components on fisheries management and food security.
- The ISLANDS programme for the Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) of the ESA-IO region, aims at an increased level of social, economic and environmental development and deeper regional integration through the sustainable development of SIDS in the ESA-IO region. This EUR 10M-programme provides valuable opportunities to the beneficiaries (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar of the United Republic of Tanzania) to identify and develop mechanisms, national and regional frameworks, tools and partnerships to implementing measures for promoting Sustainable Development and to address common challenges such as Coral Reef degradation, Natural Disaster, and Climate Change. Further to the IOC initiative, a joint communication of the IOC Member States was released during the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012. The IOC also took this opportunity to sign two Memoranda of Understanding with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs). A grant agreement of EUR 470 000 was signed between the EU and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) for the design and implementation of a Monitoring and Evaluation System to track countries progress in implementing the Mauritius Strategy.
- A programme to support the IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centres (AFRITACs) of the ESA-IO, namely AFRITAC East, based in Tanzania, and AFRITAC South, based in Mauritius. The programme, for an amount of EUR 15 million, aims at improving the design, implementation, and monitoring of sound macroeconomic policies, and enhanced regional harmonisation and integration in ESA-IO Member States to assist them in the implementation of the regional integration agenda of their Regional Organisations.
The EUR 15 million-programme for the Coastal, Marine and Island Specific Biodiversity Management in the ESA-Ю, signed in January 2013, aims at developing and strengthening over five years the national and regional capacities for sustainable participatory management of coastal, marine and island specific biodiversity in the islands states and coastal states of the ESA-IO region, namely: Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Kenya and Tanzania. Reunion Island (France) participates in the programme on its own funds (notably from the European Regional Development Fund).
Five main results are expected from the programme:
- Improved and harmonised policies and legal and institutional frameworks across the region for the sustainable use of biodiversity
- Enhanced education sensitisation, communication and information tools for the management of the use of biodiversity, in support of decision makers at regional, national and community levels
- Improved systems for networking and exchange of data, statistics, and other biodiversity related information.
- Biodiversity Thematic Centres created or enhanced for the exchange of information, experiences and best practices in the sustainable use of the biodiversity.
- Enhanced contribution of biodiversity to sustainable economic development and sustainable livelihoods across the region
- The programme will be implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission in complementarity with other programmes in the region, also fostering cooperation with the Secretariat of the Nairobi Convention as a regional coordinating mechanism in the area of marine biodiversity. Activities forecasted to start in 2014 include capacity building, sensitisation and information-sharing of biodiversity data and best practises, and a Call for Proposals scheme giving opportunity to Non State Actors, including local communities, to develop and implement small biodiversity management projects, including revenue-generating projects such as small-scale fisheries, aquaculture and farming.
The EUR 15 million programme for the RE (Renewable Energy) development and EE (Energy Efficiency) improvements in Indian Ocean Commission Member States, signed in June 2013, aims at establishing the conditions for the development, investment and sustainable management of renewable energy and improvements in the efficiency of energy use in the IOC region. Reunion Island (France) participates in the programme on its own funds (notably from the European Regional Development Fund).
Five main results are expected from the programme
- A regional IOC strategy focussed on human resources development and institutional building is agreed and implementation started.
- A RE & EE promotional campaign and advocacy plan is developed, agreed and implemented.
- The regulatory and business environments for RE based grid-connected electricity generation are improved, and wind / solar resource data bases further developed.
- Government agencies and private investors capabilities are developed to design, engineer, construct and operate decentralised electric power/energy systems based on RE.
- Energy efficiency standards and labels are developed and implemented in most IOC member countries for all categories of buildings and for household appliances and equipment with major impact on electricity consumption and peak load.
The programme will be implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission in synergy with other programmes in the region, and will fully involve the private sector as vector for development. Activities forecasted to start in 2014 include capacity building at all levels (human resources, institutional, technical..), advocacy, sensitisation and information campaigns and networking/sharing of knowledge and best practices, improvement of RE potential knowledge (wind and solar resource data bases; geothermal and bio-fuel), setting of Energy efficiency standards and labels, and a Call for Proposals scheme giving opportunity notably to Public-Private partnerships to develop and implement RE-EE pilot projects.
Moreover, the IOC implements part of three 10th EDF programmes which are under the responsibility of other Regional Organisations, namely COMESA and IGAD:
- The Interregional Coordination Committee (IRCC) Project to support the Indian Ocean Commission in ensuring its tasks within the IRCC configuration. Activities which have been undertaken by the IOC up to now (since early 2011) include: support to the preparation of new projects; support to the strengthening and restructuring of the IOC Secretariat (support functions, assessment of management and internal control systems of the IOC); support to the IOC participation in project-related events at regional and international levels; development of elaboration of an IOC Strategic Development Plan for 2013-2016.
- The Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP) which aims at advancing the regional economic integration in the ESA-IO region. The programme has being jointly implemented by the COMESA, the EAC, the IGAD and the IOC for a period of 3.5 years from July 2010 to December 2013. The IOC benefits from EUR 2.6 million to carry out activities to facilitate the economic integration of its Member States at the wider regional and global levels, while promoting the specificity of small island states, based on the principle of subsidiarity. The funds also aim at strengthening IOC capacities in ensuring a facilitation role for its Member States.
- The Programme for Promoting Regional Maritime Security (MASE) which aims at strengthening the capacity of the region in the implementation of the "Regional Strategy and Action Plan against Piracy and for Maritime Security in the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region". The IOC will be implementing, through its Anti Piracy Cell based in Seychelles, two of the five components of the EUR 37.5M-programme, namely for Maritime security and Maritime Information exchange. Activities will focus on improving Maritime Domain Awareness in the region and promoting regional cooperation in the area of maritime security in close coordination with other EU-funded projects such as the Common Security and Defense Policy EUCAP Nestor (launched in 2012 to enhance the maritime capacities of initially four countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean) and the MARSIC (Enhancing MARitime Security and safety through Information sharing and Capacity building) which has been implemented since 2011 to support the regional training centre in Djibouti and the maritime information sharing centres set up under the framework of the Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
- The IOC has also implemented a Start up Project to promote regional maritime security (Start up MASE Project) for an amount of EUR 2 million, from January 2012 up to June 2013. The objective of the Start up MASE Project was to support the implementation of short term actions of the "Regional Strategy and Action Plan against Piracy and for Maritime Security" as adopted during the 2nd High Level Regional Ministerial Conference on Maritime Piracy Meeting held on 7th October 2010 in Mauritius and co-chaired by Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission. Part of the project has been implemented by the UN Office against Drug and Crime (UNODC) in support of trials of suspected pirates in countries which have accepted the transfer of suspected pirates.
France/Reunion is not a beneficiary of EDF but participates in programmes via its own funds (particularly from the European Regional Development Fund - ERDF), and contributes with its expertise in several areas. The collaboration is of primary importance to facilitate a good economic integration of countries and regions pertaining to the same geographical areas. It is pursued vigorously and positively by France/Reunion.
* An additional EUR 30 million is in the pipeline for programmes in the areas of fisheries (Phase II of SmartFish), Small Island Developing States (Phase II of ISLANDS), and Phase 3 of the Regional Integration Support programme (RISP III).
Address: 3rd floor, Blue Tower, Rue de l’Institut, Ebène, Mauritius
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 00230 402 61 00
Fax: 00230 465 79 33
Internet address: www.coi-ioc.org