APEC members engage in economic and technical cooperation to facilitate the development and implementation of measures that promote trade, investment and sustainable growth, bridging gaps in their level of development and available resources.
The APEC Senior Officials' Meeting Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE) coordinates and manages APEC members' economic and technical cooperation (ECOTECH) agenda, which is outlined in the Osaka Action Agenda. In 1996, an APEC Framework for Strengthening Economic Cooperation and Development was adopted to guide members in implementing the Osaka Action Agenda.
The objectives of the SCE are to:
- Support implementation of APEC's ECOTECH activities by prioritizing work based on the commitments made by Leaders' and Ministers, and overseeing the work of APEC fora;
- Provide policy guidance on ways to contribute to APEC's ECOTECH goals;
- Coordinate ECOTECH objectives and priorities between the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and APEC ministerial meetings;
In 2010, Senior Officials endorsed a new Framework to Guide ECOTECH activities to guide APEC-funded capacity building and all ECOTECH activities. This framework adopted a holistic approach by:
- Revising APEC ECOTECH priorities
- Introducing a uniform set of criteria for all project funding, where funding is based on the link between proposals and APEC’s core objectives.
Within this framework, the following medium-term ECOTECH priorities are established for the period of 2015-2019 :
1. Developing human capital through capacity building
2. Developing and strengthening the dynamism of SMEs
3. Harnessing technologies for the future and supporting innovation
4. Inclusive growth - addressing the social dimension of globalisation, health, gender
5. Regional economic integration
6. Structural reform
7. Safeguarding the quality of life through sustainable growth
8. Human security.
These medium-term priorities will be reviewed again in 2019.
Additional Background on SCE:
The SCE was first established as the SOM Sub-Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation in 1998. In 2002, this was elevated to the SOM Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation. In 2005, the ESC was strengthened and transformed into the SOM Steering Committee on ECOTECH (SCE). In 2012, the SCE conducted an internal review of its working mechanisms and new Terms of Reference were endorsed.
Last page update: 16 June 2016
Implementing Capacity Building Policy
In 2015, the SCE and the SOM agreed on the “Policy on APEC’s Capacity Building through Economic and Technical Cooperation, which will guide capacity building policy of APEC. It has fifteen operational principles and five policy guidance on APEC-funded projects.
The SCE and the SOM also established a set of procedures to implement this Policy. A BMC Small Working Group will be set up to explore options to implement certain aspects of this Policy.
Promotion of cross-cutting agenda
SCE continued to promote cross-fora collaboration among the different working groups and task forces as well as even with CTI sub-fora. SCE-COW and Fora Chairs and Lead Shepherds’ Meeting for 2015 were held successfully with a good attendance by the fora. It provided an opportunity for the fora to share plans for potential cross-fora collaborations.
SCE Report on Synergies within ECOTECH Agenda, submitted in accordance with the decision by SOM in 2013, triggered lively discussions among the SCE members on how to improve collaboration. SCE made important decisions on its cross-cutting initiatives like extending the mandate of Travel Facilitation Initiative until 2017 and approving the updated Terms of Reference of Mainstreaming Ocean related Issues Initiatives. It agreed to establish another cross-cutting initiative by adopting the Terms of Reference of Group of Friends on Disability Issues.
Independent Assessment of APEC fora
The SCE supervises the Independent Assessment of APEC fora on a four-year rotating basis to identify ways to improve the operation and function of the group, and to strengthen their strategic priorities and direction for future work. In 2015, the SCE supervised the independent assessments of the following APEC fora:
- Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG)
- Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG)
- Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Working Group (SMEWG)
- Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI)
- In 2016, Independent Assessments are underway for the following working groups: Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group (ACTWG)
- Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) and High-Level Policy Dialog on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB)
- Policy Partnership on Women and Economy (PPWE)
- Telecommunications and Information (TELWG)
Recommendations to Improve SCE Effectiveness
Following the SCE’s survey of fora and economies, SCE and the Senior Officials’ Meeting endorsed a set of recommendations that are designed to improve the flow of information and increase coordination between SCE fora and help focus activity on areas of greatest value. Implementing the recommendations should lead to more time in SCE meetings being devoted to coordinating cross-cutting issues and achieving priorities and less time on routine reporting. The new approach is also designed to give fora Chairs and Lead Shepherds more opportunities to coordinate their work while reducing the burden of reporting.
ECOTECH Projects in 2013
In 2013, APEC committed to fund 84 ECOTECH projects proposed by the SCE and other APEC working groups and task forces to progress work in APEC's priority areas and support APEC's economic and technical cooperation agenda.
These projects focused on the five medium-term ECOTECH priorities identified by the SCE.
ECOTECH Projects by Priorities (period 2010 – 2013)
Reforming ECOTECH Activities
With the Framework to Guide ECOTECH Activities and in conjunction with the changes to APEC project management activities through the Budget and Management Committee (BMC), APEC has been able to adopt a more strategic and holistic approach to all ECOTECH activities.
It also helps APEC best utilise its resources to achieve the outcomes that are most important to members and to maximise APEC's contribution to the region.
One way this has been accomplished is by creating an Annual APEC Wide Funding Criteria for APEC projects which is used to help determine which project proposals will contribute most to the goals of APEC and should receive a higher priority for APEC funding.
Pham Quynh Mai (Ms)
Deputy Director General
Multilateral Trade Policy Department
Ministry of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam
Jonghan Park (Mr)