The emergence of regional and global health epidemics - including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, avian influenza, and H1N1 influenza - impacts not only the health sector but also agriculture, trade, tourism, transportation and business. APEC's wide-ranging economic work program makes it uniquely positioned to address the multi-sectoral impact of today's health threats.

In October 2003, APEC established the Health Task Force (HTF) to help address health-related threats to economies' trade and security, focusing mainly on emerging infectious diseases, including naturally occurring and man-made diseases. In 2007, as a result of a review of the APEC fora, the HTF was upgraded in status to become the Health Working Group (HWG). To respond to the recommendations of the SCE, the HWG and Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) met in March 2011 in Washington DC, the United States to explore possible cooperation areas.

In 2015, a revised Terms of Reference (TOR) for HWG was approved by the SOM Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE). The goal and the objectives are as follows:

Mandate

The mandate of the Health Working Group is to work with partners to improve people’s health and well-being, aiming to promote trade, security, inclusive growth and development in the APEC region.

Goal

The goal of the Health Working Group is to help reduce the impact of health-related threats to the economy, trade, and security of member economies. The Health Working Group aims to strengthen health systems to increase their efficiency, responsiveness, and resilience to achieve and maintain Universal Health Coverage.

Objectives

  • To enhance preparedness and response to public health emergencies and disasters, including prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases;
  • To strengthen health systems to improve accessibility, sustainability, and quality of healthcare;
  • To support healthy populations across the life-course, including the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and improved maternal, newborn and child health;
  • To encourage and facilitate collaboration between health and other sectors and other APEC fora and international health bodies.
Last page update: 25 July 2016

Current Activities

The HWG first met this year in Lima, Peru on Feb 27-28.  Minister Velasquez pointed out that APEC is an extraordinary platform of opportunity to develop policies and international initiatives for the benefit of our regional health systems and populations’ health. The APEC Theme for 2016 “Quality Growth and Human Development” was introduced in this meeting, including the four priority areas: a) Advancing Regional Economic Integration and Quality Growth; b) Enhancing the Regional Food Market; c) Towards the modernization of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia-Pacific; and, d) Developing Human Capital. The joint session with other APEC fora and International organizations, including LSIF, PPWE,  SME, PAHO, and OECD.

The HWG expected deliverables for 2016 including:

  • Progress Report on the Roadmap implementation of the “Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020” Initiative
  • Endorsement of the Strategic Plan 2016-2020
  • Endorsement of the Guidelines for engagement of HWG and the private sector
  • Endorsement of the Working manual for health emergency response health hotline
  • APEC New Concept Notes approved in 2016 Session 2
  • Progress report on APEC On-going project
  • Welcoming of case studies to implement the recommendations of the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkits, and resources for how to make the economic case to governments and business case to businesses to invest in implementing Healthy Women, Healthy Economies policies and programs.

The HWG updated its Terms of Reference (TOR) in 2014. As to its membership, each economy may invite advisors, observers, and representatives from relevant international organizations to attend the HWG’s meeting and activities but the invitation and representation will be decided on a consensus by HWG members and will be in accordance with APEC Guidelines.

Dr. Victor Cuba (Peru) was elected as the HWG Chair 2016-2017.

Achievements

The APEC Action Plan on the Prevention and Response to Avian and Influenza Pandemics was developed in 2006 by the HTF. The Plan was endorsed at a special APEC Ministerial Meeting on Avian and Influenza Pandemics held in Da Nang, Viet Nam in May 2006. Other guidelines on pandemics and HIV/AIDS were also developed - namely, the APEC Functioning Economies in Times of Pandemic Guidelines and the Guidelines for Creating an Enabling Environment for Employers to Implement Effective Workplace Practice for People Living with HIV/AIDS.

In addition, APEC Leaders have agreed to support the sharing of influenza specimens in a timely manner and to promote transparent, fair and equitable access to vaccines and other benefits that derive from them.

At the HWG's main meeting in August 2009, members supported the strengthening of cooperation with ASEAN, with a view to sharing information on regional experiences and initiatives. ASEAN representatives were invited to attend the HWG meeting activities going forward and HWG members will endeavor to attend ASEAN meetings when invited.

In the 2009 APEC Leaders' Declaration, Leaders reaffirmed to build regional capacity for avian influenza and other potential emergency and sub-emergency diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis. Leaders also emphasized strengthening the region's health systems and cooperation to prevent and control emerging infectious diseases.

In 2010, a new Framework to Guide ECOTECH Activities was put in place to guide the work of the HWG. "Human Security" was identified as one of the medium-term priorities for all APEC economies to work towards.

In February 2012, the HWG initiative on improving maternal and child welfare across the APEC region will be carried out in 2012, focusing on protecting women’s health and lowering infant mortality rates.

In June 2012, a High-Level Dialogue on Health and the Economy was held in St. Petersburg, Russia. HWG members acknowledged that health is an economic asset that should be preserved and enhanced to drive sustainable economic growth.

In April 2013, a “Health Policy Dialogue on Getting to Zero on HIV and AIDS to Support Sustainable Growth in the Asia-Pacific Region” was held in Surabaya, Indonesia. Some recommendations were made to be sent to the APEC Ministers for endorsement.

In July 2013, the HWG Strategic Plan was endorsed in Medan during SOM3.

In 2014, the endorsement during the Fourth APEC High-Level Meeting on Health & the Economy (HLM4) of the “Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 Initiative” was providing guidance for actions to develop sustainable and high-performing health systems to address the social and economic burden of disease.

In August 2015, HLM5 agreed that the Roadmap for the “Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 Initiative”, developed jointly by the Health Working Group (HWG) and the Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF), cover five Critical Success Factors and relevant Key Actions to ensure that the Initiative is implemented in a meaningful, sustainable, and cost-effective way. Implementation of the Roadmap aims to mitigate threats to the region’s people, trade, and economic security and should be adapted as appropriate by each member economy. Critical Success Factors in the Roadmap are: 1) government commitment to health; 2) platforms for policy dialogue and stakeholder engagement; 3) promoting prevention, control, and awareness; 4) innovation; and, 5) inter-sectoral and cross-border collaboration.

In February 2016, HWG reviewed the draft 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and discussed the draft “Guidelines for engagement between the Health Working Group and the private sector”, which deal with issues relating to the management of conflicts of interests’, the guarantee of competitive neutrality and open and transparent engagement.

Contacts

Victor Cuba (Mr)

Director General
General Office of International Cooperation
Ministry of Health
Peru
Email: vcuba@minsa.gob.pe
Maria de los Angeles Zapata Rodriguez (Ms)

Bureau for International Cooperation
Department of International Cooperation
Ministry of Health
Peru
Email: mzapatar@minsa.gob.pe
David Wu (Mr)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
Email: dw15@apec.org

News

Health Bodies Unite Against Unethical Conduct
Ministers, Officials Maneuver to Stem Emerging Health Crises
APEC High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy
APEC Bolsters Health Safeguards as Zika Threat Looms
APEC Measures Women’s Participation in Regional Economy
Women’s Economic Participation Bolstered with Health Toolkit Launch
Emerging Health Threats Targeted in Asia-Pacific Roadmap
APEC Commercialization Push Augurs Enhanced Medical Innovation and Public Health
APEC Tech Startups Win Global Innovator Awards
Community Approach to Tackle Biggest Health Threat in Asia-Pacific
APEC boosting blood supply chain as demand surges
Health Ministers formulate vision for healthy Asia-Pacific 2020
APEC Health Ministers issue Statement on Health and the Economy
APEC lends support for health innovation, eyes greater worker productivity, economic sustainability
APEC 2012 ASPIRE Prize: health innovation
APEC Peru 2008: Outcomes
What APEC is Doing to Promote Capacity Building?
Healthy, wealthy and wise - Improving APEC's health security
Health Task Force Meeting Working to Increase Cooperation and Crisis Preparedness in the Asia-Pacific
APEC Senior Officials Conclude Meeting in Preparation for APEC Ministers' and Leaders' Meetings
Influenza Symposium to Strengthen Economic Protection
APEC Post Pandemic Response Exercise Workshop
The Social and Economic Implications of an Influenza Pandemic are Staggering. What are APEC Economies Doing to Prepare?
APEC Health Task Force Symposium on Avian Influenza and Preparedness for a Human Health Emergency in San Francisco July 28-29
APEC Avian Influenza Symposium Planned for July in San Francisco
APEC Health Task Force Promotes Regional Cooperation on Pandemic Disease Preparedness
APEC Health Task Force First Meeting
APEC Health Ministers' Meeting on SARS
Details of Health Ministers' Meeting on SARS to be set by APEC Senior Officials in Thailand

Events

21 Aug 2016 Health Working Group High Level Meeting (HLM) on Health and the Economy Lima, Peru
19 Aug 2016 Health Working Group Meeting Lima, Peru
17 Aug 2016 Health Working Group Healthy Women Healthy Economies Workshop Lima, Peru
27 Feb 2016 Health Working Group Meeting Lima, Peru