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The Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC) (Hiran W. Jayewardene)


Wherever the intensity of human activity has increased, the emergence of management arrangements has been a prerequisite for rational utilization of such areas and their resources. So, in the international field, whether it be outer space, the polar regions or the deep ocean regions, international cooperative arrangements have evolved to circumscribe the limits of individual action and provide for cooperative use and joint management. Also, in the area of ocean space - the oceans - it may be seen as inevitable that intergovernmental arrangements would eventually develop as a basis for rational management.

In such a context, the process of Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC) may be seen as a pioneering ocean management movement initiated by countries of the region, joined by extra-regional user states. For reasons of comprehensiveness and effectiveness, IOMAC was founded on the concept of integrating relevant management disciplines in mandated fields, as well as integrating relevant national, regional, and global institutional elements in the regional management framework.

In furtherance of the primary commitment for the realization of the promised benefits to governments from the new ocean regime, IOMAC has consistently emphasized training as an essential tool in advancing national capabilities in the requisite fields of marine affairs. This would be essential for bringing about a true integration of the ocean sector in national development strategies.

Inspired by recognition of the finite character of the adjacent ocean and its resources, African and Asian states united in the context of a characterization of the Indian Ocean as the "village pond" in the largely underdeveloped African-Asian region of the world. In IOMAC the Indian Ocean was then seen as a unifying rather than a dividing medium as it had appeared before. In addition to promoting cooperation between Indian Ocean States and entities outside the region, including technologically-advanced States and international organizations, IOMAC since its inception, has opened new vistas on regional cooperation and facilitated the broadening of intra-regional contacts which promote closer cooperation between African and Asian countries on a regular basis. In the future, such contacts could provide the platform on which closer integration of the rim community could be forged.

Already, a number of far-reaching management measures for the ocean, such as its Declaration as a Sanctuary for Whales for All Time, Banning of Large-scale Drift Nets, Declaration of a New Era of Indian Ocean Exploration, Initiation of Process Leading to the Establishment of an Indian Ocean Tuna Management framework, or establishment of a regional network of focal points for marine affairs, represent significant progress by IOMAC in bringing about collective ocean management in the region.


1. Institutions for ocean management

Intergovernmental institutional arrangements for managing various aspects of ocean activities have evolved from time to time. Fisheries institutions such as WECAFC, IATTC, CECAF, ICCAT, FFA, and IOFC have developed mandates for specific regions and/or species. Conventional regimes have evolved in respect of environmental management of specific sea areas, as in the case of the Baltic Sea Convention or the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean. Under UNEP a number of "Regional Seas" environmental programmes have been established. In the field of marine scientific research, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) has a number of regional affiliates such as IOCINDIO, IOCARIBE, and WESTPAC.

The deliberations in the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea and the resultant 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, provided for a number of institutional arrangements ranging from the International Seabed Authority (part XI) through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (part XV) to the Regional and National Marine Scientific and Technological Centres (arts 275-277). While the provisions of the first two have attracted considerable international attention since the conclusion of the Convention (as in the deliberations in the Preparatory Commission), the last has remained in relative obscurity.

In the more traditional areas of marine activity such as the delineation of regimes, jurisdiction, marine research, and resource utilization - areas of immediate practical relevance to developing countries - there has been only limited activity in terms of efforts to realize the benefits of the 1982 Convention and to advance requisite national skills. Consequently, there have been no major institutional developments in this area. As noted above, the only directly relevant institutional arrangements envisaged under the Convention - although limited in scope to scientific and technological aspects - have not been utilized in the preparatory and post-Conference processes preceding entry into force.

IOMAC is perhaps the only regional initiative of its kind to have originated in the UNCLOS process. The very title of IOMAC-I: the First Conference which established the framework of IOMAC in 1985, was cast "in the context of the New Ocean Regime" - obviously referring to the regime ushered in by UNCLOS III.

The frequent references in the text of the 1982 Convention, especially in the context of regional cooperation, has drawn the interpretation that "an undertaking to cooperate is also an undertaking to act". (Pinto 1988) More recently, the ongoing international deliberations on the regime of the high seas has manifested a trend towards res communis and further development of the thesis on the obligatory character of international cooperation in its use and management.

2. Marine/ocean affairs: The new management discipline

One of the remarkable, but often overlooked, aspects of UNCLOS III was the marshalling of multi-disciplinary expertise through national delegations for confronting a myriad of assorted problems and issues in areas such as fisheries, oceanography, geology, geography, marine technology, finance, and economics - apart from the central legal discipline. Nevertheless, the process of negotiations - perhaps somewhat clouded by immediate issues of jurisdiction and the politically challenging task of completing part XI - possibly detracted from the Conference reflecting that experience in full. Hence, we have in articles 275-277, an acknowledgment of the role of marine science and technology. Even at the end of the Conference, "science and technology" was still seen as the essential discipline as emphasized in the Group of 77-inspired "Resolution on the Development of Marine Scientific and Technological Capabilities" - one of the resolutions appended to the Final Act of the Conference as annex VI. While some grappled with nomenclature such as "oceanology," it was left to developments in the aftermath of the Conference to give recognition to the broader concept of "marine affairs" as the general discipline on which ocean management of the future was to be founded. The International Ocean Institute (IOI) Training Programmes in marine affairs for developing countries and IOMAC, were perhaps the forerunners of this new approach to the oceans. The subsequent designation of the Office/Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea under the Secretary-General of the United Nations not only gave high-level status to the Law of the Sea and related matters, it also gave the formal endorsement of the United Nations to the new management concept for the oceans.

"Marine affairs" encompasses the range of ocean-related disciplines in an interdisciplinary framework. However, there is no precise content of general acceptability, the scope being determined by a particular mandate. In the case of IOMAC, six main areas of activity have been identified, namely, marine science technology and ocean services; living resources; non-living resources; ocean law policy and management; marine transport and communications, and the marine environment. By design, the IOMAC mandate was limited to the peaceful uses of the ocean.

3. IOMAC - The Indian Ocean Management Initiative

IOMAC developed from informal consultations in the closing stages of the Third Law of the Sea Conference regarding developing country perspectives on the follow-up to the Conference and realization of its aims for their benefit. Many countries were slow to recognize that mere assertion of rights in respect of vast sea areas and offshore resource potential would not endow them with those benefits. The principal challenge then, as it is now, was the effective integration of the marine dimension in national development strategies. In the Indian Ocean there was, initially, a need to assess the state of activities and identify national priorities and requisite measures for advancement in the marine sector. Above all, there was a necessity to determine a suitable forum for such deliberations. Several rounds of initial discussions in the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC) which provided the only appropriate general forum spanning the Indian Ocean - soon revealed the need for a dedicated forum within which Indian Ocean marine affairs could be properly addressed. With encouragement from a core-group of countries pledging their support for an Indian Ocean Conference, the Government of Sri Lanka which had initiated the discussions and studies on the Indian Ocean in AALCC in 1981, announced the convening of the First Conference on Economic Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the Indian Ocean in Marine Affairs in the context of the New Ocean Regime (IOMAC-I) in Colombo in July 1985. The Conference was preceded by an inter-agency consultation convened in May 1985 by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Law of the Sea for coordinating UN agency support to the Conference, and an Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting in Colombo in June 1985.

4. Background, history and basic aims

IOMAC was founded on the following three basic objectives which guided the First Conference:

a. Create an awareness regarding the Indian Ocean, its resources and potential for the development of the states of the region, and furthering cooperation among them, as well as with other states active in the region, bearing in mind the new ocean regime embodied in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

b. Provide a forum where Indian Ocean states and other interested nations could review the state of the economic uses of the Indian Ocean and its resources and related activities, including those undertaken within the framework of intergovernmental organizations, and identifying fields in which they would benefit from enhanced international cooperation, coordination, and concerted actions.

c. Adopt a strategy for enhancing the national development of the Indian Ocean states through the integration of ocean-related activities in their respective development process, and a policy of integrated ocean management through a regular and continuing dialogue and cooperative international/regional action with particular emphasis on technical cooperation among developing countries.

The First Conference commenced in July 1985 with a Consultative Phase (15-20 July 1985) and concluded with a Final Phase of Meetings of Experts and Officials followed by the Ministerial-level Meeting (26-28 January 1987), both Phases of the Conference being held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The first meeting of the IOMAC Standing Committee was held in Colombo on 28 January 1987 upon conclusion of the Conference. Since then the Standing Committee has had six other Meetings, with the Seventh Meeting of the Committee being held in July 1991. With the exception of the Sixth Meeting of the Committee which was held in Arusha, Tanzania, in conjunction with the Second Conference (IOMAC II) all Meetings of the Committee have been held in Colombo as the seat of the Secretariat. The Second Conference took place in Arusha, Tanzania, 3-7 September 1990.

Over 35 States from the Indian Ocean region and outside have participated in IOMAC activities together with 38 international organizations, offices and entities of the United Nations system, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations and entities.

As an exercise in the development of international organizations, IOMAC is characterized by a functional approach which preceded the process of formalization culminating in the adoption of the Arusha Agreement on the Organization for Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation of 1990. In an era of international endeavour based on a new approach to integrated marine affairs management, this practical approach has helped governments and organizations to participate, experience, and understand the nature and scope of such a framework for cooperation. This process of programme development and institutional consolidation was principally supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

At present the Arusha Agreement has been signed by nine countries (Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania) and ratified by five (Indonesia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). Eight ratifications would be needed for entry-into-force. In the meantime, the IOMAC Technical Cooperation Group has begun to be activated following the Arusha Resolution, and a number of IOMAC activities, including the IOMAC-IOI Training Programme, are being implemented.

The organizational framework for Indian Ocean marine affairs cooperation

1. Principles of cooperation

The main task of the First Conference at its Consultative Meeting in July 1985, as preceded by the Preparatory Meeting in June of that year, was to give form and content to the basic concept of cooperation underlying the objectives of association of IOMAC. The IOMAC Declaration adopted by the Ministerial-level Final Phase of the First Conference in January 1987 set out the Framework of Cooperation in the form of an elaboration of the principles of IOMAC. These principles deal inter alia with integration of the marine sector into national development strategies; rights and needs of the land-locked and geographically disadvantaged States; acquisition and dissemination of information; harmonization and strengthening of management arrangements; designation of national focal points; development of maritime transport services; cooperation within international organizations; cooperation at international conferences; operational arrangements; and action to implement. The Second Conference in Arusha in 1990, reviewed the 1987 principles, and assigned the matter to the Standing Committee for further consideration.

2. Membership and participation

Participation in IOMAC since the First Conference has been guided by objective criteria based on the practice of the General Assembly of the United Nations in the Ad Hoc Committee on the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace. This provides for the following categories: 1 Indian Ocean States - a littoral States, and b hinterland States; and 2 major maritime users.

Considerable debate and discussion has taken place with regard to the inclusion of the latter category of Major Maritime Users (MMUs). Since the area coming within the purview of the organization includes and extends beyond the limits of national jurisdiction to encompass the high seas, it is arguable that an effort to move to coastal state management of the ocean as a whole, while excluding other users with legitimate rights therein, would tend to go in the direction of creeping jurisdiction and a revival of mare clausum. At the same time, there is no doubt of some concern that developing country interests would be subjugated in a framework also accommodating developed countries making up the category of MMUs. Sometimes the issue is also cast as a political bogey in the context of intra-regional strategic perceptions. On the other hand, some MMUs have argued that the MMU claim of interests may not only be equal to, but could even surpass that of coastal States in terms of areal extent and intensity of user activities. The concern regarding MMUs would appear to be greatly diminished in the light of the reality of day-to-day intercourse with developed countries, and the growing realization of the need for shedding post-colonial antipathy, interdependence, reduction of international tension, and building mutual confidence through cooperation. IOMAC has gone some way towards building such confidence through the mechanism of the Technical Cooperation Group (TCG). At present Australia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, The Netherlands, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are participating in the TCG.

In fact, precedents of developed country participation in other regional organizations, and even the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission (IOFC), and present discussions on an Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), would tend to recognize the value of accommodating all principal actors in management. An ancillary issue is the claim of some MMUs for recognition as littoral States on account of territorial possession in the Indian Ocean.

In Arusha, the IOMAC II Resolution adopting the constituent Agreement for the Organization "considered that at this stage membership in the Organization should be open only to coastal and hinterland States of the Indian Ocean" and further considered it "desirable that States other than coastal nor hinterland States of the Indian Ocean and particularly such states as are active in the Indian Ocean, should also participate in the activities of the Organization for purposes of ensuring the widest possible international cooperation." The Conference requested the Standing Committee through the Secretary-General to undertake consultations with States that are not coastal or hinterland states of the Indian Ocean with respect to their participation in or cooperation with IOMAC.

The following States from the Indian Ocean region have participated in IOMAC: Arab Republic, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

3. Institutional framework

The institutional framework of IOMAC is comprised of the following elements: the Conference which functions as the plenary, the Standing Committee which is the executive body, the Technical Cooperation Group (TCG) providing for cooperative exchanges with developed countries from outside the region, and the Secretariat which performs the regular functions of such a body. In addition, IOMAC has put into place a Network of IOMAC Focal Points in governments within the region and outside, as well as in participating international organizations.

4. IOMAC Conference and Chairmanship

At the Final Session of the First Conference (IOMAC I) in January 1987, the Conference requested the Committee to make arrangements to convene the next meeting of the Conference preferably within two years but not later than January 1990. The Second Conference (IOMAC II) was held in Arusha, Tanzania in September 1990. The venue and date for the Third Conference (IOMAC III) to be held in 1995 is to be decided by the Standing Committee.

The Chairmanship of the Conference passed from Sri Lanka which had hosted the First Conference, to Tanzania - the host country for IOMAC II thus setting a precedent for rotation of the Chairmanship in accordance with the practice of certain other organizations such as the Non-aligned Movement (NAM).

5. The Standing Committee

The Standing Committee was established in 1987 by the First Conference. It was originally envisaged that the Committee would initially consist of 10 members nominated by the Conference to represent the major geographical areas and principal ocean-related interests (that is, landlocked, geographically disadvantaged, mainland coastal, and archipelagic States). They would hold office inter-sessionally up to the next IOMAC Conference. The Conference provided that the Committee shall be open-ended and shall meet as often as necessary for the performance of its functions and shall determine procedures, the agenda, and venue of its meeting. The Conference established the Standing Committee with primary responsibility for taking action as may be necessary for policy level guidance on the implementation of the Programme and Plan of Action and furthering cooperation through the framework of IOMAC.

Participation in the Standing Committee very soon surpassed the numbers envisaged by the First Conference with 17 participants at the initial meeting in January 1987 (regarded as the original Members of the Committee), which has progressively increased in participation through 15 (in 1987), 21 (in 1988), 22 (in 1989), 25 (in 1990), and 28 (in July 1991). The Committee meetings in 1992 and 1993 were equally very well attended.

Article 8 of the Arusha Agreement governs the Standing Committee as follows:


1. The Conference shall determine the size and elect members of the Committee, from amongst the Members of the Organization, and shall endeavour to ensure that the major geographical areas and the principal ocean-related interests (namely, landlocked, geographically disadvantaged, mainland, coastal and archipelagic) shall be represented in the Committee.


2. The Committee which shall be the executive body of the Organization shall:

a. Provide the necessary policy guidance for the implementation of the Programme of Cooperation and Plan of Action of the Organization, and for the furtherance of cooperation through the framework of the Organization.

b. Consider the implementation of decisions taken by the Conference.

c. Supervise the administration and finances of the Organization.

d. Submit to the Conference, for its approval, the budget estimates and accounts of the Organization, together with comments and recommendations.

e. Submit to the Conference, for its approval, proposals for programmes and activities of the Organization.

f. Authorize the Secretary-General to take whatever steps the Committee considers necessary for achieving the objectives of the Organization.

g. Establish its rules of procedure except as otherwise provided in this Agreement.

h. Exercise such other functions as may be referred to it by the Conference.


a. The Committee shall meet in regular session once a year.

b. The Committee shall meet in special session whenever a majority of the members of the Committee request the convening of a special session.

c. A quorum for meetings of the Committee shall be two-thirds of the members of the Committee.

d. The Committee shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman.

e. Members of the Organization not elected to the Committee may participate at its meetings without a vote.

f. The Committee shall endeavour to reach its decisions by consensus. Where consensus is not possible, decisions of the Committee shall, unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, be made by a majority of its members present and voting.

g. Representatives of governments not members of the Organization, representatives of the United Nations and the appropriate agencies and bodies of the United Nations, representatives of such other international and national governmental and non governmental organizations as the Committee may deem appropriate, and experts in fields of interest to the Committee may be invited to attend meetings of the Committee as observers. If one-third of the members of the Organization objects to the invitation of an observer to the Committee that observer shall not be invited thereafter.

In practice, the meetings of the Committee held on an annual basis, has created a regional forum which brings a growing number of delegates and experts from Asian, Arab and African States together regularly, and has helped create new professional and personal ties within the region. The Committee's deliberations provide participating states and other entities an opportunity to review and maintain an overview of activities in the respective sectors of marine affairs in the region, and to plan, implement, and monitor various cooperative activities. The concurrent meetings of the Technical Cooperation Group (TCG), which is becoming more active, has also served to focus greater attention on the meetings and work of the Committee.

6. The Secretariat

Since the Preparatory Phase of the First Conference the Government of Sri Lanka has provided host facilities for the Secretariat. At the Second Standing Committee Meeting in 1987 the Committee approved the provision of an independent and permanent location for the Secretariat in Colombo. For the purpose of formalizing these arrangements and securing the appropriate host facilities, in addition to facilities pledged to the Committee, a host facilities agreement between the Secretariat and the Government of Sri Lanka will give effect to these decisions.

Article 9 of the Arusha Agreement provides for the Secretariat composed of the Secretary-General, who shall be the chief administrative officer of the Organization, and such staff as the Organization may require.

The Secretary-General shall, as chief administrative officer, be responsible, under the guidance of the Committee, for the administration of the Organization and its programmes. The provisions detail the functions of the Secretary-General and provide, inter alia, that he shall ensure that the Organization shall be an effective and dynamic channel of cooperation in marine affairs in the Indian Ocean.

7. The Technical Cooperation Group (TCG)

At the Second Standing Committee Meeting it was decided, inter alia, to establish a Technical Cooperation Group which would provide for the participation of States with advanced capabilities in marine affairs and also prospective donor States. Accordingly, the Secretariat identified and invited such countries to be associated with the Standing Committee at its future meetings with a view to jointly identifying areas of possible cooperation and procedures for interaction. The creation of this Group in 1988 has provided a forum for a regular dialogue between Indian Ocean States and participating technologically advanced States interested in the Indian Ocean. Initial participation of these countries essentially as observers, has gradually progressed to a more active level of contact.

8. Network of focal points

It is required that participating States of IOMAC should designate and notify other participating States the national entity primarily responsible for coordination of its marine activities and the maintenance of marine affairs cooperation on the regional and global levels through a network of such entities. This process of establishing an international network of focal points within the Indian Ocean and globally has been underway since the completion of the First Conference in 1987. Both States and international organizations have responded to the formal communication from the Secretariat requesting the early designation of focal points. The Secretariat maintains regular contact with governments through their respective national focal points. Communications relating to the announcements of IOMAC meetings, workshops, training programmes and other activities, are regular items of such contact.

9. Cooperation with international organization

Since the inter-agency consultations in Geneva in May 1985 which preceded even the First Conference, the IOMAC process has evolved in very close cooperation with international organizations concerned with marine activities, in particular, the United Nations and other interested organizations.

The following 38 entities have so far been associated with IOMAC activities:

Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC)

Commonwealth Secretariat

Division of Global and Interregional Projects, UNDP

Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO)

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD)

International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB)

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Ocean Institute (IOI)

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)

International Whaling Commission (IWC)

Issue-based Indian Ocean Network (IBION)

Law of the Sea Institute (LSI)

Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS)

Office of the Special Representative

Organization of African Unity (OAU)

Project Jonah (Australia)

Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP

Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNDP

UN Ad hoc Committee of the Indian Ocean Peace Zone

UN Department of Political and Security Council Affairs

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UN Division for Outer Space Affairs

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

UN International Economic and Social Affairs Department

UN Legal Counsel

UN Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea

UN Revolving Fund for Natural Resources Exploration

United Nations University

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Programmes and activities

The IOMAC programme of cooperation was developed on the basis of the identification of national priorities at the Preparatory Meeting in June 1985, and deliberations thereon at the Consultative and Final Phases of the Conference in July 1985 and January 1987. In view of the considerable range of varying national requirements and wide scope of activities envisaged, it was found necessary to draw from the programme salient items of common interest which were brought together in a more focused plan of action. For purposes of practical implementation the Secretariat prepares and implements a work programme under the guidance of the Standing Committee.

1. The programme of cooperation

The programme of cooperation is based on the deliberations of the Consultative Phase of the First Conference and provides an identification of areas for cooperation in respect of each of the principal sectors of IOMAC activity. The Second Conference reviewed the programme of cooperation and provided an appraisal and supplementary guidelines for future activities.

2. Plan of action

In the plan of action, specific areas of cooperation are identified for implementation on an immediate, medium- or long-term basis. The First Conference noted that certain items for immediate implementation could of necessity also have a medium- and/or long-term character. It was further provided that elements of the programme of cooperation would be drawn on from time to time in the context of implementation of the plan of action for purposes of further elaboration and augmentation thereof under the aegis of the Standing Committee and in the context of the framework for cooperation.

3. Work programme

Rapid implementation of a wide-ranging work programme has been a major achievement of IOMAC. Initiation of a number of new activities in areas not fully addressed by earlier and existing programmes as well as organizational mandates has served to demonstrate the usefulness and effectiveness of a collective regional undertaking committed to serving national needs. IOMAC has moved to organize comprehensive programmes of activity in each of the principle sectors through expert meetings followed by practical measures.

One of the earliest undertakings of IOMAC in the technical sphere was with regard to introducing space technology applications to marine resources. Undertaken in collaboration with the Outer Space Affairs Division of the United Nations, and later the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) of Pakistan, a series of preparatory technical meetings paved the way for the region. It is interesting that IOMAC's first venture in building national capabilities was in what is regarded as a high-technology area, rather than in a basic discipline such as marine science. In a way, to borrow a phrase, it is perhaps to "leap-frog into the future" and may inspire some confidence for many developing States in the region that are late starters in marine affairs.

One of the motivating factors for IOMAC was an unsuccessful effort to build a CCOP (Committee for Coordination of Offshore Prospecting for Mineral Resources) in the Indian Ocean, as in the case of the very successful organizations of this sort presently operating in East Asia and the South Pacific. Although IOMAC emerged with wider aims, the improved climate for cooperation in the marine sector was brought about by greater awareness of the Ocean's resource potential and paved the way for an unprecedented mandate for initiating cooperative activities in respect of nonliving resources, at the IOMAC Technical Group on Offshore Prospecting for Mineral Resources in the Indian Ocean held in Karachi, in July 1988.

The following are the salient aspects of IOMAC activities in each of the principal sectors in terms of organizing for work and implementing activities:

MARINE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND OCEAN SERVICES. "A New Era of Indian Ocean Exploration": On a proposal made by Tanzania, the Conference adopted the Resolution on a New Era of Indian Ocean Exploration which called for a systematic, coordinated long-term collective international effort to explore the Indian Ocean along the lines of the International Indian Ocean Expedition (1962-1965). However, this new effort was required to concentrate on near-shore areas and to give emphasis to the needs of developing States, as well as to secure their participation.

Taken in the light of the seaward extension of national jurisdiction and the new framework for the conduct of marine scientific research under the Law of the Sea Convention of 1982, the IOMAC Declaration of a New Era of Indian Ocean Exploration may go some way in providing reassurance to major nations conducting marine scientific research, as much as it seeks to strengthen developing Indian Ocean states capabilities in this field.

As a sequel to the Arusha Declaration of a New Era of Marine Science, a major IOMAC international marine science symposium was held in 1992. This provided an opportunity to review existing programmes, national priorities and new avenues for cooperative activities in the region.

Space Technology Applications: In addition to the important IOMAC-UN Technical Workshops held in Colombo (1986) and in Karachi (1989), IOMAC has prepared a manual on Remote Sensing Applications for the Indian Ocean region, and is initiating a number of pilot projects, as well as a training workshop held in the region in 1992.

LIVING RESOURCES. Tuna resources: The IOMAC I Preparatory Meeting as well as the First Conference at its Consultative Phase in 1985, and the Final Phase in 1987, for the first time took cognizance at intergovernmental level of the rapid development of a major industrial-scale distant water tuna fishery in the Indian Ocean in the early 1980s, and called for the early establishment of an appropriate regulatory body for management of Indian Ocean tuna.

Subsequent IOMAC meetings, especially at the Standing Committee, have kept relevant developments under review, and have acted as a catalyst for deliberations on the establishment of such a body now likely to emerge under the auspices of FAO in the form of the proposed Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). In January 1989 a group of IOMAC fisheries and legal experts met in Jakarta to prepare common positions for intergovernmental deliberations on the subject. In this context, IOMAC has consistently maintained the importance to be attached to the participation of distant water fishing nations in a future management regime that would ensure its effectiveness, as well as emphasized the importance of providing for the increased participation of developing Indian Ocean States in harnessing the resource.

IOMAC Declaration banning the use of large-scale drift nets: The Seventh Meeting of the IOMAC Standing Committee adopted a Declaration banning the use of large-scale drift nets in the Indian Ocean.

NON-LIVING RESOURCES. Offshore prospecting for mineral resources: In July 1988 the IOMAC Meeting on Offshore Prospecting for Mineral Resources in the Indian Ocean hosted by the Government of Pakistan in Karachi, generated a strong intergovernmental mandate for initiating a programme of cooperation in this field, with the collaboration and assistance of states with technologically advanced capabilities in this field.

INDIAN OCEAN LAW, POLICY, AND MANAGEMENT. Marine Affairs Management Training: IOMAC regularly conducts marine affairs management training in collaboration with the International Ocean Institute (IOI). The annual IOMAC-IOI Marine Affairs Training Programmes have been held in Arusha, Kuala Lumpur, Cairo, and Mauritius. Each 10-week course accommodates 25 participants from developing Indian Ocean States and provides training in integrated management to mid-level career officers responsible for managing marine activities in their countries.

MARITIME TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS. Formation of an Association of Shipping and Port Authorities in the Indian Ocean: The Second Conference endorsed a number of proposals made by the IOMAC Meeting of Experts in Shipping and Port Development hosted by the Government of Kenya and held in Mombasa in August 1990. A number of important recommendations made by the meeting for promoting cooperation in shipping and port development were endorsed by the Second Conference. In July 1991, the Seventh Meeting of the Standing Committee adopted and recommended for governmental approval, terms of reference for the IOMAC Association of Shipping and Port Authorities. It is envisaged that some of the cooperative measures identified would be taken up for implementation by the Association.

MARINE ENVIRONMENT. Dumping of hazardous waste and toxic materials; pollution of the sea by oil; and potential adverse impact on the marine environment of proposed deep seabed mining are the relevant issues. In 1988, the third meeting of the IOMAC Standing Committee reviewed these specific aspects of concern to Indian Ocean countries and recommended that the Secretary-General identify an effective mechanism to monitor and develop regional capabilities of coastal States for prevention of such environmental hazards with assistance from the competent international agencies.

Establishment of a regional network for marine pollution monitoring: Following consultations between IMO and the IOMAC Secretariat, the Seventh Meeting of the Standing Committee requested the Secretariat to take necessary steps in consultation with IMO, UNEP and other interested entities for the early establishment of an Indian Ocean network.

Indian Ocean Environment Conference: Presently preparatory work is under way for the convening of the IOMAC Indian Ocean Environment Conference. The Conference will review the health of the Indian Ocean, identify environmental problems, and determine a common programme for cooperation in this field.

INTERESTS AND NEEDS OF LAND-LOCKED STATES. Accommodation of the interests of land-locked nations in the context of marine affairs was recognized very early by IOMAC as a logical corollary to the rights of land-locked countries in respect of access to living resources, and access to and from the sea. Although a technical meeting on the subject was planned under the joint coordination of Uganda and Nepal, this has been deferred in favour of an expert study on key issues and current trends.

TRAINING, INFORMATION, AND OTHER FIELDS RELEVANT TO COOPERATION IN MARINE AFFAIRS. Indian Ocean Marine Affairs and Aquatic Resources Information System (IO-MAARIS): Work on the establishment of IO-MAARIS commenced in 1987, at the Second Meeting of the Standing Committee. The Committee reviewed and endorsed the IOMAC/UNCTAD/UNDP sponsored Mission Report which detailed three major components of the proposed system - i.e., the institutional element involving the creation of three nodes in the region as a first step; a training and educational element; and outputs element. The IOMAC Information Workshop held in Jakarta in February 1990 reviewed and identified a number of practical measures for putting into operation the proposed information system. At present the Secretariat publishes an Indian Ocean Newsletter which provides an update on IOMAC activities and other related developments.


IOMAC Work Programme 1986-1995

Date Activity Venue Status/comments
15-19 September United Nations Regional Meeting of Experts on Space Technology Applications in the Indian Ocean Region. Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-1/ A/25
26-28 January First Conference on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Marine Affairs in the Indian Ocean in the Context of the New Ocean Regime(IOMAC-1 ) Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-1/ A/27
2 February-10 April IOI Training Programme in Management and Conservation of Marine Resources - Class C Regional Cooperation and Development in the Indian Ocean. Arusha, Tanzania Concluded
11-14 July First Meeting IOMAC Technical Group on Offshore Prospecting for Mineral Resources in the Indian Ocean. Karachi, Pakistan Concluded IOMAC/ TM-1/A/1 (Report) IOMAC/ TM-1/A/2 (Documents)
10 October-16 December IOMAC-IOI Marine Affairs Training Programme Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Concluded
22-24 November IOMAC Standing Committee 3rd Meeting Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-1/ SC-3/9
20-24 January IOMAC Meeting of Legal and Fisheries Experts and Second Meeting on IOMAC Statutes Jakarta Indonesia Concluded Report No. IOMAC/ TM-2/A/1
2-6 July UN/IOMAC Workshop on Oceanographic/Marine Space Information Systems Karachi, Pakistan Concluded Report No. IOMAC/ TM-3/A/1
17-21 July IOMAC Standing Committee 4th Meeting Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-1/ SC-4/7
10 October-15 December Second IOMAC-IOI Training Programme in Marine Affairs Cairo, Egypt Concluded
5-9 February IOMAC Information Workshop Jakarta, Indonesia Concluded Report No. IOMAC-1/ TM/4/5/Rev. 1
2-5 May 5th IOMAC Standing Committee Meeting Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-1/ SC-5/6/Rev. 1
27-31 August Regional Workshop on the Development of Cooperative Arrangements among IOMAC Countries in the area of Shipping Ports, and Multi-modal Transport Mombasa, Kenya Concluded Report No. IOMAC-1/ TM-5/10
3-7 September Second Conference on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the Indian Ocean in the Context of the New Ocean Regime(IOMAC-II) and 6th Meeting of the IOMAC Standing Committee Arusha, Tanzania Concluded Report No. IOMAC-II A/10
15-19 July Seventh Meeting of the IOMAC Standing Committee Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-II/ SC/12/Rev. 1
7 October-13 December Fifth IOMAC-IOI Training Programme in Marine Affairs Mauritius In progress
19-23 October International Scientific Workshop on Marine Scientific Cooperation on the Indian Ocean Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-II TM-6/1
26-30 October Eighth Meeting of the IOMAC Standing Committee Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-II/ SC-8/14/Rev. 1
12-19 November Ninth Meeting of the IOMAC Standing Committee, Technical Cooperation Group (TCG) and the In augural Meeting of IOMAC Association of Shipping and Ports Authority Colombo, Sri Lanka Concluded Report No. IOMAC-II/ SC-9/13/Rev. 1
1994 Tenth Meeting of the IOMAC Standing Committee and the Second Meeting of IOMAC Shipping and Ports Authority Colombo, Sri Lanka Dates to be confirmed
1995 Third Conference on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Marine Affairs in the Indian Ocean in the Context of the New Ocean Regime (IOMAC-III)   Dates and venue to be confirmed
  Indian Ocean Environment Conference   Dates and venue to be confirmed
  IOMAC-IOI Marine Affairs Training Programme Indonesia Dates to be confirmed

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