In a step to unify regional efforts to address the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce its socioeconomic impacts on Indian Ocean Rim countries, the UAE hosted the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Virtual Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials and Dialogue Partners on COVID-19: Responses, Cooperation, and Partnerships.
The meeting was chaired by Assistant Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdulnasser Alshaali.
During the meeting, IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners Senior Officials discussed a range of proposals to enhance cooperation in response to the spread of the virus within the Indian Ocean Rim. At the close of the meeting, the IORA Committee of Senior Officials adopted a Joint Statement on IORA Solidarity and Cooperation in Response to COVID-19.
The Assistant Minister underlined the importance of cooperation between IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in the region and highlighted the vital need to ensure that IORA is utilized as a platform to enhance dialogue and the exchange of information in combating the spread of the virus.
In his remarks, he stated: "During these challenging times, we must recognize the opportunity to enhance cooperation through stronger partnerships and effective coordination and planning."
He continued: "IORA must enhance and centralize knowledge on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic within the Indian Ocean Rim. The sharing of information on national measures implemented to combat the spread of the virus and limit its economic impacts would assist in boosting the recovery of trade and investment."
Alshaali also expressed his appreciation for the contributions of health personnel and all individuals working in essential roles for their effort, dedication, and sacrifice in combating the pandemic.
The UAE joined IORA in 1999 and assumed chairship of the association during the 19th IORA Council of Ministers meeting, which was held in Abu Dhabi on 7 November 2019 under the theme of "Promoting a Shared Destiny and Path to Prosperity in the Indian Ocean.