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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. 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.
For the 11th European Development Fund, the IOC is part of the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region. Allocations for the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) for Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean have more than doubled since the last financing period to 1.3 billion euros. The programme sets out the objectives of what could and should be done and how to split the money within three sectors: i) Peace, security and regional stability ii) Regional economic integration and trade facilitation by integrating markets, promoting investment and improving production capacities and iii) The management of natural resources, such as drought resilience and biodiversity conservation.
The region’s diverse tropical marine habitats (barrier reefs, fringing reefs, sea grass beds, mangroves, estuaries, lagoons, coral cays and atolls, banks, shoals, seamounts, upwellings and the open ocean) still support a wealth of marine biodiversity. For example, Madagascar’s western barrier reef is the third longest in the world and the Mascarene Banks and Shoals have one of the world’s most extensive sea grass habitats. And although some tuna stocks are declining, the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) still supports one of the least degraded fisheries in the world.
The Biodiversity Programme (15 million euros) aims to strengthen national and regional capacities – at all levels – in managing coastal, marine and island-specific biodiversity resources and ecosystems to ensure their conservation and promote the sustainable use of these resources for the benefit of the population. It builds the capacity on existing, or, where necessary, develops new tools that are appropriate, functional and practical in enhancing biodiversity conservation and its use.