France is holding the Presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) from May 2021 to May 2022. This presidency has provided the opportunity to strengthen regional solidarity, consolidate the economic integration of French territories in the Indian Ocean within their regional environment, and promote Francophonie.
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.
In close collaboration with the IOC Secretary-General Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, the French Presidency provided the opportunity to directly address young people from the five islands in order to create a dynamic, inclusive space. It pursued 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.
During this Presidency, several important projects were 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). A symposium on environmental security was held on 13 and 14 January 2022, organized by the French Ministry for the Armed Forces. Experts from the five IOC Member States took part.
• 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 French Presidency expanded 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.
• Develop resilience against unforeseen meteorological, hydrological and climate events. In that regard, the Hydromet project was launched on 26 November 2021 at the Council of Ministers of the IOC. It receives funding of €60 million from the AFD, the European Union and the Green Climate Fund.
• Develop mobility within the IOC area. In this regard, the first Regional Conference on Training and Professional Mobility was held on 10 and 11 February. This event brought together all players in the area to take stock of the existing training courses and needs and to work on key focuses of a regional mobility programme.
Last update: March 2022