Oct 11, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Thursday inaugurated "The Indian Ocean: Defining our Future" Conference at the Temple Trees.
The two-day Conference, which aims to create a platform for Indian Ocean littoral states and major maritime users to discuss issues of mutual interest and concerns, is an initiative of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with the patronage of President Sirisena.
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.
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, which is 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 Conference is of special importance to Sri Lanka as a maritime hub and an immerging financial hub in the Indian Ocean region.
The conference, in which the policy makers, experts and senior state officials are participating, has been organized 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.
The inaugural address of the Conference was delivered by President Maithripala Sirisena while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered the keynote address.
A special speech was delivered by Ambassador Peter Thompson, the United nations Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Ocean Affairs.
U.S. Principal Deputy Asst. Secretary Alice Wells speaking at the event outlined U.S. priorities for and commitment to the Indo pacific region.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Opposition leader R. Sampanthan, Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana, State Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva, and experts of local and foreign invitees were present at this inaugural event.