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, five areas were identified as medium-term ECOTECH priorities:
- Regional economic integration
- Addressing the social dimensions of globalisation (inclusive growth)
- Safeguarding the quality of life through sustainable growth
- Structural reform
- Human security
These medium-term priorities will be reviewed again in 2015.
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.
Survey to Improve Effectiveness of SCE Work
In 2013, the SCE focused on developing and improving APEC’s approach to delivering Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH). A survey of fora and economies was conducted that focused on the effectiveness of SCE’s work, capacity building and communication. The results of the survey were considered at third SCE meeting in Medan in July. The SCE continues to coordinate work on cross-cutting issues including travel facilitation and ocean issues.
Improving SCE Effectiveness
In line with the priorities outlined in the new Framework to Guide ECOTECH Activities, the SCE is focusing on encouraging improvements of the work of its fora and ensuring that the work done at all levels aligns with the broader vision and objectives of APEC and remains responsive to the directions set by APEC Leaders and Ministers.
Towards this goal, the SCE has requested that all working groups and task forces complete a draft strategic plan. Materials to assist in this process have been provided to all fora including a strategic planning checklist and process guide. The APEC Technical Assistance and Training Facility (TATF) provided access to a consultant to help with this process and Program Directors at the APEC Secretariat were trained to help fora develop strategic plans. All fora are actively developing the plans and many should be completed and endorsed by the first SCE meeting in 2014.
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. During 2013, the SCE supervised the independent assessments of the following APEC fora:
- Counter-terrorism Task Force (CTTF)
- Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT)
- Energy Working Group (EWG)
- Transportation Working Group (TPTWG)
The recommendations of each Independent Assessment were provided to the SCE and the fora for agreement on how to move forward. The outcomes were reported in the 2013 Senior Officials’ Report on Economic and Technical Cooperation. Updates on the implementation status of these recommendations are being considered by SCE during 2014.
In 2014, Independent Assessments are underway for the following working groups and task forces:
- Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG)
- Tourism Working Group (TWG)
- Health Working group (HWG)
- Mining Task Force (MTF)
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)