2021-2022: French Presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission at mid-term

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France is holding the Presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) from May 2021 to February 2022. This presidency provides the opportunity to strengthen regional solidarity, consolidate the economic integration of French territories in the Indian Ocean within their regional environment, and promote Francophonie.

What is the Indian Ocean Commission?

For more than 30 years, through La Réunion, France has been a member of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), alongside the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

The IOC is an international organization with a Francophone, island identity. Its five Member States share the same ambition to galvanize the organization. This ambition was illustrated in 2020 with the review of the founding Victoria Agreement in order to equip the IOC with the means to carry out collective action and give a statutory role to the Summit of Heads of State and Government.

Further information on the challenges and aims of France’s presence within the IOC

Breathing new life into regional cooperation in the south-west Indian Ocean

In close collaboration with the IOC Secretary-General Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, the French Presidency is an opportunity to directly address young people from the five islands in order to create a dynamic, inclusive space. It also pursues regional objectives such as:

  • the strengthening of regional solidarity,
  • the economic integration of French territories in the Indian Ocean within their regional environment,
  • the promotion of Francophonie.

Six months into the French Presidency, several important projects have been initiated and breathed new life into regional cooperation in the south-west Indian Ocean in various fields:

  • Stimulating the economy and supporting the creation of a multisector business incubator and the creation of a network of entrepreneurs.
    As such, the forum for business leaders in the Indian Ocean, held on 18 November 2021 and organized by Cap Business Océan Indien, helped create ties and encourage new synergies between the entrepreneurs in the region.
  • Ensuring maritime security through cooperation between States in the region (Djibouti, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania).
  • Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the sharing of information and the provision of medical equipment to four IOC Member States (Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius).
  • Continuing institutional reform of the IOC. The aim of the French Presidency is to expand areas of cooperation so that the IOC may efficiently and rapidly respond to the challenges faced.
  • Promoting the blue economy by organizing a regional blue economy day, on 17 July 2021. This day brought together 200 participants and was the occasion, for Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, to present France’s commitments supporting the blue economy.
  • Establishing a space for dialogue on humanitarian cooperation with the organization of an international conference on the humanitarian transition in the Indian Ocean, in La Réunion in July 2021. This event brought together a wide range of stakeholders (humanitarian NGOs, multilateral agencies, local associations, public and private programmes, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement) and university researchers.
What are the new projects led by the French Presidency of the IOC?
  • - The Hydromet project will be launched on 26 November 2021 at the Council of Ministers of the IOC. The aim of this project is to develop resilience against unforeseen meteorological, hydrological and climate events. It receives funding of €60 million from the AFD, the European Union and the Green Climate Fund.
  • Other important priorities will be recalled at the ministerial meeting on 26 November 2021 in the areas of:
  • professional training,
  • networking for business leaders in the Indian Ocean,
  • the environment.
  • a workshop on environmental safety will be organized on 13 and 14 January 2022.

Last update: November 2021