Strengthening the capacities of the Indian Ocean Rim Association with a focus on disaster risk management, maritime safety and the blue economy

Project description

Title: Strengthening the capacities of IORA with a focus on disaster risk management and maritime safety and security
Commissioned by: Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: IORA Member States
Overall term: 2017 to 2020


The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is a regional forum in existence since 2017 that promotes the economic and social development of countries bordering the Indian Ocean. The organisation currently has 22 member states as well as nine dialogue partners, one of which is Germany. The IORA Secretariat is based on Mauritius.

As an organisation, IORA aims to recognise potentials and address challenges arising from the increasing geopolitical, strategic and economic significance of the region. The priority areas of the regional approach include, among others, the fields of disaster risk management, maritime safety and security and the cross-cutting issue of the blue economy, i.e. economic concepts that aim to allow sustainable use of the Earth’s maritime ecosystem.

However, the Secretariat’s organisational capabilities and expertise are limited, which results in a restricted ability to act and a lack of political visibility. Until now, it has therefore not been able to cover these priority areas appropriately.

The procedures for supporting the IORA Secretariat are based on a needs analysis of the organisation, which highlighted the current weak points of IORA and its Secretariat in relation to implementing the 2017–2021 Action Plan. The analysis also identified the potentials of the organisation.


The regional organisation’s ability to act and political visibility are increased. The countries bordering on the Indian Ocean cooperate more closely and stability in the region is strengthened.


Since July 2018, the ‘Strengthening the capacities of IORA with a focus on disaster risk management and maritime safety and security’ project has been supporting the IORA Secretariat with revising strategic documents and administrative directives, and thus improving the political and organisational capacities for action of the Secretariat.

The project also advises the Secretariat on improving its effectiveness in implementing the Action Plan and supports IORA with developing a strategy for PR work and communications, for example using video conference technology.

Furthermore, the project aims to promote the presence and capacity of IORA in the areas of disaster risk management, maritime safety and security and the blue economy. A financial contribution made it possible for the IORA Secretariat to appoint local experts from these specialist fields. The support in these technical areas is aligned to the IORA Action Plan with the activities formulated by the various working groups.

In 2019, the project is supporting three major IORA events – two in the area of disaster risk management as well as the first working group session for the cross-cutting issue of the blue economy. A regional training event on the topic of maritime safety and security is planned for the beginning of 2020.


Suggestions that were made at the first IORA strategic planning workshop in April 2019 were addressed by the management body of the regional organisation in June 2019. The main ones were

  • increasing IORA membership contributions;
  • the acquisition of project funding from various donors;
  • increased consideration of the climate crisis as an IORA action area.

Modelled on the example of the German project, other dialogue partners (France, the United States, the United Kingdom) have started developing their own projects to support IORA. New dialogue partners, such as the Republic of Korea and Turkey, have also joined.

Additional information