WELCOME REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR VIKA KHUMALO ON THE OCCASION OF THE 10TH MEETING OF THE IORA ADVISORY COUNCIL

WELCOME REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR VIKA KHUMALO ON THE OCCASION OF THE 10TH MEETING OF THE ADVISORY COUNCIL

IORA REGIONAL CENTRE FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER (RCSTT)

TEHRAN, IRAN

22 APRIL 2019

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the government of the Republic of South Africa as Chair of the Indian Oceans Rim Association, wish to welcome you to the 10th Meeting of the Advisory Council.

It is fitting that this conference is taking place during a time in which we are enjoying the burst into the scene of the 4th Industrial Revolution (FIR) which refers to the fusion of technologies in the physical, digital and biological domains leading to the creation of new technologies that will usher in a new industrial era characterised by exponential growth, inter – connectedness, increased human productivity and the blurring of the lines between man and machine and this has led to the rise and advancement of artificial intelligence.

The FIR is different from previous industrial revolutions in velocity, scope and systems impact. The technologies and paradigms driving FIR will impact all sectors – society, government, logistics, healthcare, service provision, business etc. Players upstream & downstream of manufacturing will have to adapt.

It is critical that broader society, NGO’s, Media etc are well informed and engaged. FIR also tends to move toward globalization and integration across value chains creating further implications for trade and cross boundary policy.

Ladies and gentlemen, this conference reflects our commitment, as the countries of the Indian Oceans Rim Association to create an Indian Ocean Region characterised by peace, stability and development within which to pursue the goal of (economic) cooperation for the wellbeing and development of the countries and peoples of the Indian Ocean Rim.

You will recall that Minister Sisulu (Chair) and Deputy Minister Landers (SA) attended the 18th COM and related meetings in Durban, at the Elangeni and Maharani Hotels on 2 November 2018. The meeting was preceded by the 20th Meeting of the IORA Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) from 31 October–1 November 2018. There was excellent representation with 13 countries at Min/DM level. High Commissioner Mandela-Dlamini (Mauritius) also attended as a Special Guest to commemorate the legacy of Nelson Mandela. 

A number of silent outcomes were achieved during this time such as the adoption of a Special Declaration to commemorate the Centenary, and launch the IORA Nelson Mandela “Be the Legacy” internship programme as a contribution to empowering and capacitating the youth of the Indian Ocean Region.

Furthermore, Bangladesh was elected Vice-Chair for the period 2019–2021 and will assume the Chair from the UAE from 2021-2023. COM also approved the Maldives as 22nd Member State and Turkey and South Korea as 8th and 9th Dialogue Partners amongst other silent outcomes.

Your excellences, it is worth noting that Iran has been an important IORA Member State. The chair would then like to extend appreciation to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for hosting the RCSTT which was established on 28 October 2008 and is a Specialised Agency of IORA. South Africa supports the RCSTT in Tehran to develop research, exchange experience and the transfer technology amongst the Member States of the Association.

The RCSTT plays an important role in enhancing cooperation within the Science and Technology Priority Area of the Association and includes human resource development programmes, as well as supporting development of new technologies, joint cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen, as chair I would also like to extend appreciation to the RCSTT for the events and projects that they have organised to date that include several regional capacity building programmes such as workshops, conferences, as well as training programmes for the IORA Member States.

In addition, RCSTT has already concluded the following MOUs:

  1. The Institute of Seawater Desalination and Multipurpose Utilization (ISDMU) of the State Oceanic Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SOA) on Technical Cooperation, Technology Transfer and Commercialization. (The MOU focus on desalination technologies.)
  1. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP), a research institute with its head quarter in Lucknow, India, on Technical cooperation, technology transfer and commercialization. (The MOU focus on medicinal plants.) and recently with;
  1. The Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa to Coordinate the Water and Sanitation Research and Innovation amongst the IORA Member States on 1 November 2018 in Durban, South Africa.
  1. The IORA Action Plan 2017-2021 calls for the strengthening of the RCSTT and support the Specialised Agency to promote science and technology in the Indian Ocean Region and trust that Member States and Dialogue Partners would work towards this objective. The Chair is looking forward to integrating RCSTT into the activities of the Working Groups that have been recently established such as the WG on the Blue Economy.

Iran is a major partner of IORA and we appreciate, particularly, the support Iran has extended to the RCSTT.

Your Excellency’s, I once again welcome you all and wish that our engagements yield fruitful results.

I thank you.

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