Parliamentarians from Indian Ocean Commission countries meet in Seychelles to chart action plan
Phillip Monthy (Left) at the initial plans to reactivate the Indian Ocean Parliamentary Association In February. (National Assembly)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Members of parliament from countries of the Indian Ocean Commission have held statutory meetings in Seychelles to validate the Indian Ocean Commission Parliamentary Association (AP-COI) action plan and prepare activities for 2023.
The meetings held in Seychelles took place over the course of four days - from May 23 to May 26. This included the second meeting of the executive committee (COMEX), the Conference of Presidents of National Assemblies, and a plenary session.
AP-COI brings together parliamentarians from Comoros, La Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles. It was founded in November 2015 in Port Louis and after a few years of inactivity, it was re-launched in November 2022 under the impetus of the Indian Ocean Commission through the Governance, Peace, and Stability project.
In a press conference on Friday, a member of the Seychelles National Assembly, Philip Monthy said that the aim of AP-COI is to bring together the parliaments of the Indian Ocean Commission member countries.
This is so that "we work together as a block so as to outline and look at our common challenges and interests that our different islands are facing. This includes IUU [illegal, unreported and unregulated] fishing, drug trafficking, peace, and stability in the region. Coming together allows us to have a stronger voice on the international scene, especially on the African scene. An example of this is within SADC," said Monthy.
A parliament member of Madagascar, Aina Rafenomanantsoa, outlined that during the plenary session held on the last day of the meetings, members "approved the association's statutes and rules of procedure, the association's action plan, activities for 2023 and the AP-COI logo."
"We also validated a joint declaration to support our common interests," said Rafenomanantsoa.
This is expected to be carried to regional and international institutions including the African Union. The joint advocacy to be carried out at the level of the executive and consultative bodies of the African Union aims to better highlight the specific needs of the southwest Indian Ocean islands at the continental level.
Speaking of plans for 2023, Monthy said that there will be a parliamentary diplomatic formation that will be financed and organised jointly by the United Nations mission in Mauritius in October, and it will see the participation of parliament members.
"There is also a Governance Peace and Stability project being organised," said Monthy.
The Governance, Peace, and Stability (GPS) project, being funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), is being carried out at a cost of around €8 million over the course of two and a half years.
The GPS project aims to contribute to peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region. Its component in strengthening democratic institutions, including the AP-COI, provides support for the re-dynamisation and functioning of the AP-COI through technical and operational support.