What constitutes human security
Human security refers to phenomena such as the random devastation caused by natural disasters, health pandemics or terrorist attacks on people or supply chains. Regardless of genesis, when security is thrown into question, human well-being is compromised both in the short and long-term. APEC's human security agenda deals with trans-boundary threats to people and economies from terrorism, pandemics, natural disasters and contamination of food supplies.
Why human security is important to APEC
APEC's agenda emphasises the economic dimensions of human security: it recognises that threats may potentially undermine APEC's efforts to raise living standards and reduce poverty in the region. APEC's agendas for human security and the economy are complementary: human security is essential to growth and prosperity. Conversely, economic stability enables better preparation for, more efficient responses to, and quicker recovery after attacks or disaster.
Targeted initiatives to address issues of human security
APEC recognises that human security threats require a coordinated and integrated response.
  • Emergency preparedness and recovery : As an immediate response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and to collectively prepare for future natural disasters, Senior Officials adopted the APEC Strategy Response to and Preparedness for Natural Disasters and Emergencies; and subsequently established the Task Force for Emergency Preparedness. In 2009, APEC Leaders reaffirmed the importance of enhancing human security and reducing the threat of disruptions to business and trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Recognizing the importance of its work, in 2010 the task force was upgraded in status to a working group.
  • Counter-terrorism : In October 2001, Leaders recognised the threat of terrorism to APEC's vision of free, open and prosperous economies and to the fundamental values that its members hold. The combat of terrorism has since remained a priority at all Leaders' Meetings. Resultant initiatives aim to counter terrorism and secure trade in the APEC region, and include cooperation on maritime and port security, customs and container security, and aviation security.
  • Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) : This initiative aims to secure and enhance the flow of goods and people through measures that protect cargo, ships, international aviation and people in transit. STAR programmes are designed to include the private sector, in recognition of the fact that the engagement and active participation of business is fundamental to the success of APEC's secure trade agenda.
  • Trade Recovery Programme : This programme identifies what economies need to do, in order to minimise disruption to trade flows in the event of a major terrorist attack on the supply chain, and how to ensure the rapid resumption of trade following such an attack.

Other counter-terrorism initiatives include workshops on cyber-security and terrorism, best practices in post-blast scene management, and the development of a best practice document aimed at upgrading the Protection of Critical Energy Infrastructure.