Workshop on ‘Cooperation for Maritime Security’ for IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners delivered in Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Max Planck Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the IORA Secretariat, held its first out of a series of planned activities devoted to issues of maritime safety and security for IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners.

Immediately after the Third Meeting of the IORA Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security (WGMSS) held on 20 March 2023, the Foundation conducted the workshop, entitled ‘Cooperation for Maritime Security’ on 21-23 March 2023. The workshop, within the frames of the project on The Implementation of UNCLOS: Supporting Maritime Governance in the Indian Ocean (Part IV), was co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka (MoFA) and the IORA Secretariat in Colombo. 19 out of 23 IORA Member States as well as 5 IORA Dialogue Partners nominated their representatives for in-person and virtual participation in the workshop. Both the WGMSS and the workshop were held with the generous support of the German Federal Foreign Office.

Opening remarks were provided by Mr M. R. Hassen (Director General, Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change, MoFA) and Ambassador H. Seubert (Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Colombo, Sri Lanka). The workshop kicked off with the introductory sessions on the allocation of jurisdictional powers of States. Further programme continued to focus on a better understanding of the legal framework for addressing specific security matters and key priorities of IORA Member States. Presentations were followed by practical sessions, providing participants with an opportunity to share their views and opinions on national and regional maritime security priorities and uncertainties as well as apply the legal provisions previously discussed to hypothetical cases. In addition, two sessions in the format of roundtable discussions were led by Dr N. Klein (Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales) and Dr Asyura Salleh (Programme Support Officer, Global Maritime Crime Programme, UNODC) covering respectively operational and environmental non-traditional security threats. In addition to numerous sessions delivered by Foundation staff, the programme included presentations by speakers from Sri Lanka Coast Guard and Navy and practical sessions, including those led by representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Foundation looks forward to the continued cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, other IORA Member States, and the IORA Secretariat on diverse issues of the law of the sea.