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.
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.