The European Union has been the leading development partner of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) for over 35 years. Through more than 40 development projects across 10 sectors and a total budget of 256 million euros, the European Union has been supporting the IOC and its Member States in progressing towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Development Cooperation

For the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2021), the IOC, which is part of Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean regions, is implementing projects in three sectors:  

  • Peace, security and regional stability.  
  • Regional economic integration and trade facilitation by integrating markets, promoting investment and improving production capacities. 
  • The management of natural resources, such as drought resilience and biodiversity conservation. 

Institutional Capacity Building

The overall mandate of the IOC is to enhance regional cooperation and integration and to promote the interests of the region for sustainable development. In this context, the Secretariat and the IOC Member States have to work further to address current and future challenges in priority areas of cooperation. The EU is investing in the institutional capacity building of the IOC Secretariat and its Member states to implement the regional organisation's Strategic Development Plan, and thereby contribute to the economic development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and promote their regional integration in a sustainable manner.

Maritime Security and Port Safety 

The EU is a key security provider in the Western Indian Ocean region with the EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta, the first EU naval operation launched in 2008 to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia. The European Union has built strong partnerships with the region, to increase ownership and ensure sustainability in the area of maritime security. One of them is the MASE programme that emanated from a request of the Ministers of the Region in 2010. The programme is implemented by 4 regional organisations, including the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). With this programme, the EU supports the operations of the Regional Centre for Operations Coordination (RCOC) based in Seychelles and the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar with equipment and training.

The EU also contributes to joint missions to combat maritime crimes undertaken under the aegis of the RCOC. Another such partnership is the programme to enhance Maritime Port Security for the Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean region. Its objective is to reinforce the capacities of port authorities and improve port infrastructures in line with international regulations on maritime governance in order to improve maritime safety and security in the region. 

Sustainable Fisheries and Blue Economy

The contribution of fisheries and aquaculture in Africa to economic growth in the agriculture sector is estimated at 6 % of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector also employs some 50 million people of which 12.3 million are in direct employment. For the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Member States, the contribution of the fishery sector to their economies reaches on average 15.6 % of the agricultural GDP.  

For over a decade, the EU has been assisting the Member states of the IOC as well as several African countries through successive programmes to promote sustainable fisheries in the EA-SA-IO region -  support sustainable management and development of fisheries, while addressing climate change resilience and enhancing marine biodiversity. The latest programme is E€OFISH. 

The EU Response to COVID-19

When the coronavirus epidemic hit the IOC Member States (the Union of the Comoros, Réunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles), the EU rapidly reallocated part of its resources to reinforce the SEGA One Health network that enables the sharing of epidemiological information provided by the IOC member states’ surveillance departments. The network has been activated in the context of the coronavirus and allows the IOC Member States to enhance their response to the pandemic.  

The SEGA One Health network has been set up with the support of Agence Française de Développement to enhance the response capacity of IO Member States to the epidemiological crisis.