Max Planck Foundation Supports Sri Lankan Track 1.5 Dialogue on ‘The Indian Ocean: Defining Our Future’

Academics and Government officials from 40 countries discuss oceans governance and regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean.

From 11 to 12 October 2018, the Foundation supported and participated in the Sri Lankan Track 1.5 Dialogue entitled 'The Indian Ocean: Defining Our Future', alongside Government officials from 40 countries, academics and other stakeholders, organised by the Prime Minister's Office of Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

The Conference is a crucial component of the Sri Lankan Prime Minster, HE Ranil Wickremesinghe's agenda to improve ocean governance and regional cooperation between Indian Ocean littoral States, as well as other major maritime users. Addressing the plenary during the Keynote Speech, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe emphasised the importance of developing a rules based order to promote freedom of navigation and digital connectivity in the Indian Ocean.

In roundtable sessions, government officials, academics and other stakeholders addressed four substantive areas. (1) The Indian Ocean Economy: The New Global Growth Pole; (2) Life Below Water: Reframing the Oceans as Development Spaces; (3) An End to Uncertainty: Safety and Security at Sea; (4) Reinforcing International Law in the Indian Ocean: UNCLOS and Emerging Issues. The Foundation provided two Issue Papers to support the fruitful roundtable discussions.

It is expected that the Conference Report will reflect key elements of the discussion and contribute to the upcoming Ministerial Conference on the future of the Indian Ocean to be held in Sri Lanka in 2019.