The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world oceanic division, covering over 20% of the water of the earth surface. It is home to over 30% of the world total population and is highly diverse culturally and in socio-economic status. The IOR is rich in ocean resources which support important economic activities such as fisheries (the third largest capture fisheries), tourism and oil and gaz. It is also a strategic hub for international shipping specifically for oil and manufactured goods. At the same time the IOR harbors some of the most pristine and unique marine environments including areas of global significance.
Against this background, blue economy has emerged as a driver for the sustainable development of oceans in the region, as evidenced by recent regional and international policies and fora. What can a blue economy approach contribute to the future prosperity of the IOR? What are the opportunities and the challenges to realize a shared blue economy vision? What are the priorities and institutional mechanisms for effective regional cooperation on blue economy? What can ASEAN countries contribute to and benefit from a prosperous blue economy future in the Indian Ocean Region?
The seminar will briefly review current status and opportunities for maritime activities, update on recent international and regional development in blue economy policy and initiatives and explore with participants some key issues facing IOR to realize a sustainable blue economy to inform a constructive dialogue between ASEAN and IOR nations and the development of road map for blue economy over the next decade.
About the Speaker:
Dominique Benzaken is an International Public Policy Specialist currently appointed by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) as a Senior Advisor to the Seychelles Government on ocean governance and the implementation of the country’s Blue Economy. In this role, Benzaken draws on 20 years’ experience in Public Policy and International Affairs with government, non-governmental organisations, and intergovernmental organisations. Her areas of expertise are oceans and coasts, climate change, sustainable development, and islands. She specialises in policy analysis and advice, networking and building partnerships, negotiation and advocacy, innovative solutions, and mentoring. Her recent international assignments have included a two-year posting in Washington, D.C., as an International Marine Policy Advisor with the Nature Conservancy; a three year stint in Switzerland as coordinator of the European Union Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories Programme on biodiversity and climate change with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and a three-year stint in Samoa as a coastal and marine adviser for the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP). Benzaken has a Bachelor of Science with a major in Zoology and a Master’s degree in Tropical Ecology from James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.