Over 80 officials from 21 African countries, across Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America, together with European partners, participated in the first IORIS Steering Committee Policy Board and Working Group Meetings in the past few days (16-18 October) in Nairobi.

The meetings aimed at discussing the future governance of IORIS with partners from a policy, legal and technical point of view to submit recommendations for discussion at the next IORIS Steering Committee, scheduled to be organised in Sri Lanka, supporting the ambition of IORIS being adopted and governed.

Furthermore, from an operational perspective, participants analysed the Regional IORIS Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the Indo-Pacific to facilitate the exchange of timely and accurate information across the Indo-Pacific by all members. The adoption of the IORIS SOP will enhance information exchange within regions in a harmonised manner, using standard reporting methodology and terminology, hence facilitating the coordinating process among members, with the ultimate goal of making the seas more safe and secure.

The EU Ambassador to Kenya, Henriette Geiger, opened the event: “I am very pleased to be open this first important event in our IORIS endeavour. The establishment and commencement of activities of the IORIS Steering Committee Policy Board and Working Groups is another important milestone in the implementation of the Indo-Pacific governance of the IORIS platform. I note the presence at this event of representatives from Latin America, Pacific Islands, South East Asia and Indian Ocean countries. The gathering of 83 representatives from 21 countries from across Indo-Pacific is an outstanding achievement and a clear sign that the IORIS Community is consolidating and growing exponentially.”

Speaking during the opening ceremony, Mathias Chisambo, on behalf of CS Hon Mvurya, affirmed: “IORIS, the Indo-Pacific Information Sharing Platform, has continued to play an important role in enabling information sharing across the region where illicit maritime activities are transnational in nature. We are all aware that no country can singly combat illicit maritime activities, and the continued cross-border corporation will indeed increase maritime domain awareness necessary for efficient law enforcement. Your presence and participation in this meeting are critical, noting that we all will rely on your contributions to develop key recommendations for the upcoming high-level meeting of the Djibouti Code of Conduct in Cape Town at the end of this month. During the meeting, participants will review the applications of Regional IORIS SOPs for the Indo-Pacific and the use of the IORIS platform, considering your feedback.”

Closing the event, Bruno I. Shioso, OGW, Director General, Kenya Coast Guard Service, said: “(During the past days) we have provided very crucial inputs to important working documents that shall define the future of IORIS, as speaker after speaker reminded us to make IORIS part of our daily way of doing business. Therefore, as the users, we team up with the CRIMARIO II Secretariat and keep making invaluable contributions and iterations that shall lead to an improved and better interface that shall serve our nations and regions in the unforeseeable future. “

Furthermore, Martin Cauchi-Inglott, CRIMARIO project director, added: “We are moving towards the end of 3 successful days of activities, where we discussed how to use IORIS at the regional level and adopting several Regional IORIS SOPs and various legal templates to establish how IORIS can best serve your needs. We all agreed that we can use IORIS as a prime platform to exchange information concerning maritime security threats and safety challenges and support sustainable fisheries, being it fully complementarity with the information provided by other maritime domain awareness platforms. The IORIS Community is well-established and sustainable. Thank you all for your support and engagements, making the past 3 days very productive indeed!”