As always, I hope you and your whānau are well as we head into April.The meetings so far have resulted in important and tangible progress on APEC’s work. We have also hosted the first ever international APEC SOM1 media conference, attracting over 40 international media who have gone on to give some good profile to both APEC 2021 and New Zealand’s policy direction.
A lot has happened since my last newsletter: the first Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOM1) and Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meetings (FCBDM) have now concluded. Over 3,300 officials registered to attend these meetings from around the APEC region – a fantastic level of engagement.
We’re now looking forward to the second Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting in May and June. The MRT meeting in particular is usually a space for important statements, like 2020’s statement to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, which can tangibly show APEC’s progress for the year.
The first Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1)
SOM1 brought together thousands of government officials from each of the 21 APEC economies, along with their support teams in March.
Talks focused on how to fast-track the regional response to COVID-19, in a bid to boost the recovery process. There was also intensive discussion about how APEC will carry forward commitments leaders made in 2020 and the development of a 20-year implementation plan, taking into consideration the challenges and risks exposed by the pandemic.
SOM Chair, Vangelis Vitalis said “as a region, we need to work together to ensure APEC effectively responds, not just to the immediate crisis, but also to the longer-term need to build a sustainable and resilient regional economy that benefits everyone.”
Watch Vangelis, APEC Secretariat Executive Director Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria and reporter Jehan Casinader discuss the work of SOM1 here.
Policy Dialogue: Valuing Indigenous Economies
This meeting was the first of its kind in APEC, bringing together Indigenous voices from Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand and Peru.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, described the dialogue as “pioneering work”, asking participants to “nurture the seed so that it may grow and flourish as we continue to work together on Indigenous issues. This work is important in improving the lives and well-being of all Indigenous Peoples across the Asia-Pacific region”.
One of the areas discussed at the dialogue, was the importance of data to understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Indigenous businesses and communities. This data could inform policy, and support the delivery of business support, building resilience for future challenges.
Measuring Indigenous economies is critical to illustrating the economic contribution of these businesses and communities to national economies to ensure the development of targeted and tailored policy responses.
Read more about the Dialogue here.
Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting (FCBDM)
APEC’s Finance and central bank deputies came together on March 17 & 18 to discuss the groundwork for sustainable fiscal management to boost recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. They also debated the costs and benefits of stimulus measures that finance ministries and central banks have put in place around the Asia-Pacific.
Dr Caralee McLiesh, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Treasury and Chair of APEC’s Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting said: “As member economies have worked to respond to the economic, social and health impacts of the pandemic, finance ministries around the region have been at the heart of government decision-making.”
The discussion from the FCBDM will continue towards the APEC Senior Finance Officials’ Meeting in June and their recommendations will be provided to APEC Finance Ministers in October this year.
Read more about the FCBDM here.
Looking ahead, we have a month of ad-hoc meetings in the lead up to SOM2 and the Ministers’ Responsible for Trade meeting. I look forward to updating you next month on our further progress.
If you’d like to read more about APEC 2021, here are three recent pieces:
A reminder of some key work coming up this year:
- Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in early June
- The Structural Reform meeting in mid-June
- Food Security Week in August
- Women and the Economy Forum in late September
- Work around Indigenous economies throughout the year
- Leaders’ Week in November. This is the year’s crescendo and includes the final Ministerial meeting, CEO Summit, Voices of the Future Conference and the Leaders’ Retreat.
Ngā mihi nui,
Deputy Secretary, APEC New Zealand
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.