Workshop on Establishing a Centre of Excellence on Ocean Sciences and Environment for the Indian Ocean Rim Countries
The IPS, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs organized a regional workshop on “Establishing a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on Ocean Sciences and Environment for the Indian Ocean Rim Countries” from 30 June to 1 July 2014 at Hilton Colombo. The workshop intended to identify specific priority areas of focus of the proposed CoE, discussed the preliminary structure and implementation arrangements of the proposed CoE with representatives from Member States and obtained their comments and suggestions. Another objective was to establish a network among relevant institutions based in member countries to exchange and share ideas in relation to ocean sciences and environment.
Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka was the chief guest at the event. Minister Peiris emphasised the necessity to enhance South-South cooperation among IORA member countries in order to share experiences, skills and resources. In this regard, the Minister particularly noted the relevance of the ‘Blue Economy’ in ensuring sustainable inclusive economic development that would be beneficial to all.
The welcome address was made by Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director, IPS. Dr. Kelegama highlighted that high growth in IORA countries has also translated into negative impacts on the Indian Ocean. He observed that individual country approaches are insufficient and regional cooperative action to address these issues is vital to achieve sustainable solutions.
His Excellency K.V. Bhagirath, Secretary General of IORA, Guest of Honour at the event, stated that the CoE will strengthen IORA knowledge and research capacities and would become a mutually beneficial exercise in regional cooperation.
The key note speaker of the event was Prof. Charitha Pattiaratchi, Winthrop Professor at The University of Western Australia. Several areas of possible cooperation and the need for capacity building within the IORA countries to enable knowledge sharing and to learn from each other were highlighted in his presentation.
IPS researchers, Dr Athula Senaratne, Research Fellow; Kanchana Wickramasinghe, Research Officer; and Chatura Rodrigo, Research Economist also made presentations at the workshop.