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* Sri Lanka hosts IORA workshop to establish a Centre of Excellence on Ocean Sciences & Environment
Sat, Jun 28, 2014, 11:56 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka will host a workshop for the IORA member states on establishing an Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Centre of Excellence on Ocean Sciences and Environment next week.

The two-day workshop will be convened at Hotel Hilton, Colombo on 30th of June and 01st of July 2014.

The Ministry of External Affairs, along with the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) is organizing the workshop for the IORA member states to discuss the modalities of establishing the Centre of Excellence (CoE).

The workshop aims to present the structure and implementation of the proposed CoE among the member countries and local partners, and get their comments and suggestions.

Establishing a network between the member countries to exchange and share ideas in relation to Ocean Sciences and Environment, via the proposed CoE, and identifying specific priority issues that the CoE has to focus on in its initial stage, which can be fed into the formulation of a regional action plan are the other goals of the workshop.

The priority issues include matters related to bio-security, climate change, energy, and other oceanic resources.

The project gives effect to the vision outlined in the Mahinda Chintana to promote Science and Technology and also to transform Sri Lanka into a regional knowledge hub, the External Affairs Ministry said.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L Peiris reiterated Sri Lanka's commitment to host the Centre at the Meeting of the IORA Council of Ministers in Perth, Australia in November 2013. Sri Lanka's offer has already been endorsed by the IORA member countries.

The proposed Centre envisions building scientific and technological capacity in ocean sciences research and sustainable collaborative utilization of ocean resources. It will support regional collaboration among Indian Ocean Rim countries and serve as a partnership for institutions that support scientific and socio-economic research in relation to the Indian Ocean region.

The Indian Ocean Rim region, which is home to nearly one-third of the world's population, carries high economic significance due to its strategic location.

IORA, which was earlier known as the Indian Ocean Rim - Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) prior to 2013, is a group of 20 countries that border the Indian Ocean Rim, spanning three continents, Africa, Asia and Australia. Sri Lanka is a founder member of the organization.

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