The inaugural event of ‘The Indian Ocean: Defining our Future’ conference kicked off under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees in Colombo, yesterday.
The two-day conference aims to create a platform for Indian Ocean littoral states and major maritime users to discuss issues of mutual interest and concerns This conference is held at a time when the Indian Ocean has emerged as one of the world’s busiest and most critical trade corridors, carrying two-thirds of global oil shipments and a third of bulk cargo and hosting the most critical Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs), directly impacting global trade and economy.
A special speech was delivered by Ambassador Peter Thompson, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean Affairs. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Opposition leader R. Sampanthan, Minister Tilak Marapana, State Minister Harsha De Silva, and experts of local and foreign invitees were present at this inaugural event.
The conference is of special importance to Sri Lanka as a maritime hub and an immerging financial hub in the Indian Ocean region. In addition, it is also being held in Sri Lanka is highly important in the efforts towards securing peaceful ocean passage in the international shipping lanes that is used by two third of the ships carrying oil and other essential goods.
The speakers and participants will focus their discussions on four thematic areas, namely: The Indian Ocean Economy: The New Global Growth Pole; Life below Water: Reframing the Oceans as Development Spaces; An End to Uncertainty: Safety and Security at Sea; and Reinforcing International Law in the Indian Ocean: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Emerging Issues.
This conference, in which the policy makers, experts and senior state officials are participating, has been organised in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes and the Global Coastal Drug Prevention Program.