Muscat – H E Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi, Foreign Minister, took part in the fifth edition of the Indian Ocean Conference in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
This year’s conference, chaired by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, discussed various issues related to the Indian Ocean, including the environment, development of economic partnerships and combating COVID-19 through international cooperation.
Delivering a speech at the opening of the conference, H E Sayyid Badr emphasised the importance of multilateral action and collective cooperation across the Indian Ocean and interaction between its surrounding peoples and countries.
He stressed the importance of work to develop policies to respond to the challenges of climate change and the need to conserve nature and biodiversity in the Indian Ocean for the benefit of future generations while stopping the damage already caused by overfishing and pollution.
“Climate change is already having a detrimental impact through the increased frequency of what used to be viewed as freak weather conditions. Several major cyclones have hit Oman in the last 15 years; all have inflicted significant damage. I know that Oman is not the only country represented here today which has already suffered the consequences of climate change,” he said in the speech.
He added that for Oman, the biggest component in the response to climate change is diversification of the economy.
“The Indian Ocean, as a secure environment for free trade, will facilitate innovation, maximise development and diversification.”
The minister also reviewed the policies of Oman to develop special economic zones, including the Port of Duqm, as well as other ports such as Sohar in the north and Salalah in the south. He noted that the Port of Salalah has already become the tenth largest port in the world in terms of size.
H E Sayyid Badr also spoke of the importance that Oman attaches to the rule of law and the pursuit of collective cooperation as the key to maintaining security at sea.
A number of ministers, senior officials and academics representing different countries of
the world participated in the conference.