Charter of the Indian Ocean Rim Association
of Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Islamic
Republic of Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius,
Mozambique, Sultanate of Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa,
Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and
Conscious of historical bonds created through
millennia among the peoples of the Indian Ocean Rim and with a
sense of recovery of history;
Cognizant of economic transformation and speed of
change the world over which is propelled significantly by increased
intensity in regional economic co-operation;
Realising that the countries washed by the Indian
Ocean in their diversity, offer vast opportunities to enhance
economic interaction and co-operation over a wide spectrum to
mutual benefit and in a spirit of equality;
Convinced that the Indian Ocean Rim, by virtue of
past shared experiences and geo-economic linkages among Member
States, is poised for the creation of an effective Association and
practical modalities of economic co-operation; and
Conscious of their responsibility to promote the
welfare of their people by improving their standards of living and
quality of life, and having decided to revise and amend the Charter
of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) which was adopted at the
first Ministerial Meeting on 5-7 March, 1997 in Mauritius have
adopted the following:
For the purpose of this Charter, the terms used in
the Charter are defined as follows, unless the context otherwise
(a) "Association" means Indian
Ocean Rim Association, which may also be referred to as "IORA";
(b) "Member States" means the Member
States of the IORA
(c) "Observer" means the
States/Organizations which are granted Observer Status by the
(d) "Dialogue Partners" means
States/Organizations with which IORA enjoys consultative
relationships in agreed areas of common interest.
(e) "IORA Region" means the
territories of the Member States.
(f) "Council of Ministers" means
the Council of Ministers (COM) of the IORA.
(g) "Committee of Senior Officials" means
the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) of the IORA.
(h) Indian Ocean Rim Academic
Group (IORAG) means the Group of nominated academics
from Member States.
(i) Indian Ocean
Rim Business Forum (IORBF) means the nominated representatives of
the private sector.
(j) Working Group on
Trade and Investment (WGTI) means the nominated representatives
from Government responsible for trade and economic cooperation.
(k) "Working Group of Heads of Mission"
(WGHM) means the Ambassadors/Heads of Mission of the IORA Member
States based in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa or as decided
(l) "Specialized Agencies"
means the organs of IORA established by the decision of the Member
(m) "Secretariat" means the Secretariat
of the IORA in Mauritius.
(n) "Secretary-General" means the
Secretary-General of the IORA.
(o) "Host Country/Government" means
the Country/Government of the Republic of Mauritius.
The Association will
facilitate and promote economic co-operation, bringing together
inter-alia,representatives of Member States' governments,
businesses and academia. In a spirit of multilateralism, the
Association seeks to build and expand understanding and mutually
beneficial co-operation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and
non-intrusive approach. The Association will apply the
following fundamental principles without qualification or exception
to all Member States:-
Co-operation within the framework of the Association will be
based on respect for the principles of sovereign equality,
territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in
internal affairs, peaceful co-existence and mutual benefit;
membership of the Association will be open to all sovereign States
of the Indian Ocean Rim which subscribe to the principles and
objectives of the Charter and are willing to undertake commitments
under the Charter;
on all matters and issues and at all levels will be taken on the
basis of consensus;
and other issues likely to generate controversy and be an
impediment to regional co-operation efforts will be excluded from
Co-operation within the Association is without prejudice to
the rights and obligations entered into by Member States within the
framework of other economic and trade co-operation arrangements
which will not automatically apply to Member States of the
Association. It will not be a substitute for, but seeks to
reinforce, be complementary to and consistent with their bilateral,
plurilateral and multilateral obligations;
(f) A member-driven approach will be
followed by Member States to achieve the goals and objectives of
(g) Promotion of principles of good
governance by Member States will enable smooth implementation of
(a) To promote
the sustained growth and balanced development of the region and of
the Member States, and to create common ground for regional
focus on those areas of economic co-operation which provide maximum
opportunities to develop shared interests and reap mutual
benefits. Towards this end, to formulate and implement
projects for economic co-operation relating to trade facilitation
and liberalization, promotion of foreign investment, scientific and
technological exchanges, tourism, movement of natural persons and
service providers on a non-discriminatory basis; and the
development of infrastructure and human resources inter-alia
poverty alleviation, promotion of maritime transport and
related matters, cooperation in the fields of fisheries trade,
research and management, aquaculture, education and training,
energy, IT, health, protection of the environment, agriculture,
(c) To explore
all possibilities and avenues for trade liberalisation, to remove
impediments to, and lower barriers towards, freer and enhanced flow
of goods, services, investment, and technology within the
encourage close interaction of trade and industry, academic
institutions, scholars and the people of the Member States without
any discrimination among Member States and without prejudice to
obligations under other regional economic and trade co-operation
strengthen co-operation and dialogue among Member States in
international fora on global economic issues, and where desirable
to develop shared strategies and take common positions in the
international fora on issues of mutual interest; and
(f) To promote
co-operation in development of human resources, particularly
through closer linkages among training institutions, universities
and other specialised institutions of the Member States.
All sovereign States of
the Indian Ocean Rim are eligible for membership. To become
members, States must adhere to the principles and objectives
enshrined in the Charter of the Association. Expansion of
membership of the Association will be decided by Member States.
Council of Ministers may
grant the status of Dialogue Partners or Observers to other States
or Organisations, having the capacity and interest to contribute to
(i) There will be
a Council of Ministers of the Association. The Council will meet
annually, or more often as mutually decided, for the formulation of
policies, review of progress of co-operation, decisions on new
areas of co-operation, establishment of additional mechanisms and
Specialized Agencies as deemed necessary, and decisions on other
matters of general interest.
(ii) The Council
of Ministers will elect a Chair and Vice Chair of the Association
for a period of two years respectively.
of Senior Officials
(i) There will be
a Committee of Senior Officials of the Association composed of
senior government officials of Member States. It will meet
annually or as often as mutually decided. It will review
implementation of the decisions taken by the Council of
Ministersand in cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Academic
Group (IORAG), Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF) and Working
Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI).
(ii) The Committee
of Senior Officials establishes the priorities for economic
co-operation, develops, monitors and co-ordinates the Work
Programmes, and mobilises resources for the financing of the Work
Programmes. The Committee will submit periodic reports to the
Council of Ministers, and refer as and when necessary, policy
matters for the Council's decision.
(c) Indian OceanRim Business Forum (IORBF), Indian Ocean Rim
Academic Group (IORAG) and Working Group on Trade and Investment
The Association includes bodies
known as the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF), the Indian
Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG) and Working Group on Trade and
Investment (WGTI). They may meet together with the Council of
Ministers and the Committee of Senior Officials or as mutually
(i) A "TROIKA"
consisting of the Chair, the Vice Chair and the previous Chair will
apply to the Council of Ministers (COM) and the Committee of Senior
Officials (CSO). It will meet in the period between the meetings of
the COM and CSO as often as mutually decided.
(ii) It will
report to the Member States, on any important matters relating to
the Association, including a review of progress, establishment of
additional mechanisms, policy direction to IORA institutions, and
the appointment and term of office, mandate, duties and the
termination of the services of the Secretary-General.
GROUP OF HEADS OF MISSION
A Working Group of Heads
of Mission (WGHM), consisting of Heads of Diplomatic Mission of
IORA Member States based in Pretoria, South Africa or as otherwise
decided, will meet to review the periodic work programme presented
by the Chair of the Council of Ministers and will act as a
follow-up mechanism and should focus on issues directly referred to
the WGHM by the CSO and COM.
(i) There will be
a Secretariat of the Association to manage, co-ordinate, service
and monitor the implementation of policy decisions and Work
Programmes, as well as prioritisation of projects as adopted by the
Council of Ministers.
Secretariat will be responsible for servicing of all IORA meetings,
the representation and promotion of the Association, the collation
and dissemination of information, the maintenance of an archive,
depository and registry for IOR-ARC documentation and research
material, and mobilization of resources.
Secretariat will function in accordance with the provisions of the
Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Mauritius and
IORA relating to the rights, privileges and immunities of IORA
Secretariat approved by the Council of Ministers and signed between
the Government of the host country and the Secretary General.
Secretariat will be headed by a Secretary-General who will be
assisted by Directors/Experts, on voluntary secondment from Member
States. In the absence of the Secretary-General, the most senior
Director will act on behalf of the Secretary-General.
Secretary-General will be appointed by the Council of Ministers for
a term of three years renewable for one additional term, from among
candidates nominated by the Member States on the basis of
qualification, experience and suitability as laid down in the staff
regulations of the IORA Secretariat. He/she will be responsible to
the Council of Ministers for all activities of the Association.
He/she will participate in all meetings of the Council and will
perform such other functions as are entrusted to him/her by these
organs. He/she will provide an annual report to the Council of
Ministers on the work of the Association.
(vi) The staff of
the Secretariat will be appointed and governed in accordance with
the terms, conditions and procedures laid down in the Staff
Regulation approved by the Council of Ministers.
Each Member State of the
Association will set up appropriate National Focal Points for IORA
to co-ordinate and advance the implementation of its activities and
achievement of its objectives.
Specialised agencies may
be established by the decision of the Member States to promote
activities in cooperation with IOR-ARC Secretariat.
contribution by Member states will be determined on the basis of
criteria which will be adopted by the decision of Council of
arrangements will be made by Member States financing the
implementation of the Work Programmes. This will not exclude
external sources of financing where appropriate.
(c) A Special Fund will be
established as a financial mechanism for supporting and
complementing the funding of projects and programmes adopted by the
Secretariat will prepare the Budget for each year, and will submit
it to Committee of Senior Officials for its consideration and
recommendation for adoption by the Council of Ministers.
and amendment fo the Charter
The (revised) Charter as well as the Rules of Procedure, Staff
Regulations for the Secretariat and Financial Regulations for IORA,
will take effect from the date of the adoption by the Council of
This Charter may be amended at any
time by mutual consent of Member States. Any amendments will
be in writing and will require approval the Council of
This Charter has
replaced the 1997 Charter of IORA