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Australia commits to supporting Indian Ocean sustainability

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Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs

Australia commits to supporting Indian Ocean sustainability

The Australian Government committed to supporting sustainability in the Indian Ocean at the Ministerial meeting of Indian Ocean countries held in Gurgaon, India, yesterday.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Richard Marles said issues of ocean sustainability, such as sustainable fisheries management, adaptation to climate change, food security and economic integration, were critical for the future development of Indian Ocean countries.

“By working together we can respond to common challenges,” Mr Marles said.

Mr Marles announced that Australia would provide $1.3million in support for capacity building measures that include improving ocean forecasting, strengthening adaptation to climate variability, and developing capacity in marine and fisheries management and maritime regulation and security.

“These initiatives will help Indian Ocean countries address the common and intersecting challenges of food and water security, maritime safety, healthy oceans, changing climate, economic integration, and disaster preparedness,” Mr Marles said.

Australia will also provide support for IOR-ARC officials undertaking courses in Australia on maritime regulation, enforcement and security, and for a meeting of Disaster Risk Reduction Officials from Indian Ocean countries.

Australia assumed the role of Vice Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) in 2011 and will take over as Chair after India in late 2013 for a two year term.

“Australia is helping the developing states of the Indian Ocean rim to identify, develop and implement appropriate strategies to address country-specific needs. Individual countries will also be better able to represent their interests in international forums, with immediate and long term benefits for the region.

“Through these initiatives we can take further practical steps towards genuine regionalism - revitalising and rejuvenating cooperation in the Indian Ocean,” Mr Marles said.

3 November 2012 Media contact: Pauline Braniff 0466 745 623 Pauline Braniff Media Adviser 0466 745 623 Office of the Hon Richard Marles MP Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Member for Corio 17a Yarra Street Geelong 3220