“We need a people-centered approach to development,” said Ambassador Luis Quesada, 2016 Chair of the APEC Senior Officials, on Friday when he opened a plenary of the region’s senior officials. 

APEC Senior Officials have been meeting in Lima this week to agree on member economies’ priorities for 2016. Earlier, on Thursday, they welcomed input from the private sector and academia. 

This comes just three weeks after APEC Leaders met in Manila where they agreed to new commitments to build inclusive economies; foster micro, small and medium enterprises’ participation in regional and global markets; build sustainable and resilient communities; invest in human capital development; and enhance the regional economic integration agenda. 

Chairing the meeting on Friday, Ambassador Quesada assured APEC members that there will be continuity in the process and a strong will to pursue the agenda. 

“Our region cannot be isolated from the rest of the world and from the global challenges we are facing,” said Ambassador Quesada. “We are living in a changing world and, therefore, we need APEC to be ready to continue delivering realizations based on its strategic pillars and its long-standing commitment to make of international cooperation a concrete tool to achieve growth and development.” 

Revealing APEC’s theme and priorities for 2016, Ambassador Quesada announced the theme, “Quality Growth and Human Development.” Priorities for APEC 2016 include: 1) advancing regional economic integration and quality growth; 2) enhancing the regional food market; 3) towards the modernization of micro, small and medium-size enterprises in the Asia-Pacific and 4) developing human capital. 

“In today´s world, prosperity is no longer based on the mere accumulation of material wealth but on knowledge,” he continued. “The knowledge economy is a tangible reality now and this stresses the importance of human capital as the main asset for economies to grow and develop.” 

Ambassador Quesada acknowledged the Philippines, host of APEC 2015, delivered major achievements that pave the way for more milestones in the near future. 

“This has been a year of major achievements,” he said. “The reaffirmation of APEC´s core principles is necessary at this point as a prerequisite to move forward.” 

“We look forward to working closely with Peru on the results of APEC 2015, particularly in ways APEC can contribute to inclusive and quality growth as envisioned in the Manila Leaders’ Declaration", said Undersecretary Laura Del Rosario who is the Chair of APEC Senior Officials until the end of the year.

“Our work moving ahead should focus on how APEC’s traditional trade and investment work can help each economy achieve its development goals, taking into consideration the human and environmental dimensions of economic growth.” she concluded. 

Peru will chair APEC throughout 2016 and host the 24rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. 

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