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Human Resources Development

The goal of human resources development in APEC is to promote the well-being of all people and achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the region.

The Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) was established in 1990 and conducts work programs on developing human resources, focusing on issues ranging from education, capacity building to labor and social protection. In addition, the HRDWG has responsibilities to help build cultural awareness and promote gender equality as well as be responsible for including disability issues in its workplan. The mission of HRDWG is “Sharing knowledge, experience, and skills to strengthen human resource development and promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth.” The working group is guided by these three objectives:

  • Develop 21st century knowledge and skills for all
  • Integrate human resources development into the global economy
  • Address the social dimension of globalization

To accomplish these objectives, the HRDWG conducts its work program both through the working group directly and through its three networks:

  • The Capacity Building Network (CBN), which focuses on skills development, human resource management and vocational training through crosscutting collaboration to facilitate 21st century talents, enhance employability and provide quality employment.
  • The Education Network (EDNET), which focuses on fostering strong and vibrant learning systems across APEC member economies, promoting quality and equitable education to enable people of all ages to meet the challenges of rapid change in today’s world through enhancing competencies, accelerating innovation and increasing employability. For more details, please refer to the EDNET webpage available here.
  • The Labour and Social Protection Network (LSPN), which focuses on fostering strong and flexible labor markets and strengthening social protection, including social safety nets, through evidence-based interventions, collaboration, technical co-operation and the provision of labor market and social protection information and analysis to address sustainable human resource development across APEC member economies. 

Advancing APEC 2023’s theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All” and its three policy priorities of “interconnected”, “innovative” and “inclusive”, the United States proposed the theme of HRDWG in 2023 to be “Promoting Equitable and Inclusive Education and Skills Training Opportunities in the Asia-Pacific Region”.

On 7 July 2023, the 21 APEC member economies endorsed the “HRDWG Detroit Non-Binding Principles and Recommendations for Equality and Inclusion in Education, Training, and Employment.” It reflects shared priorities of all APEC economies through extensive consultations and builds upon the aspirations of APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 and the 2023 host year theme, as well as answers the call by the Aotearoa Plan of Action to equip all people with the skills and knowledge they need to adapt now and thrive in the future. Three action areas are outlined in the document: Education; Capacity Building; and Labor, Employment, and Social Protection as well as recommendations for achieving strong, balanced, secure, sustainable, and inclusive growth. This includes preparing everyone in the workforce to succeed by addressing skills gaps and strengthening employment training and incorporating the principles of equality and inclusion in all its projects while also supporting gender mainstreaming in APEC processes through greater cross-fora collaboration.

Last page update: September 2023


Siti HARLENA Harris Lee (Ms)
Program Director

Current Activities

Lead Shepherd Advisory Committee Virtual Meeting

Picture 1-LSAC Meeting new1The first Lead Shepherd Advisory Committee Virtual Meeting was convened on 19 January 2023 by Mr Zhao Li, the Lead Shepherd of HRDWG for 2023 to 2024 (USA). Current and former HRDWG leadership teams and the APEC Secretariat team actively participated in discussing the group’s 2023 work plan and related activities, and launching an ambitious agenda for HRDWG during the 2023 to 2024 term. Aligning with the APEC’s Putrajaya Vision 2040 to implement the Aotearoa Action Plan 2040, HRDWG’s theme for 2023 is “Promoting Equitable and Inclusive Education and Skills Training Opportunities in the Asia-Pacific Region”. Members of the Advisory Committee deliberated on strategies to ensure meaningful outcomes in priority areas, as well as potential deliverables and capacity building initiatives.

Key achievements and areas of focus:

  • Implementing the APEC Education Strategy, endorsed by the 6th APEC Education Ministerial Meeting in 2016, which sets the framework for guiding future projects and collaborative initiatives for the benefit of the region, based on the following three pillars:
    • Enhancing and aligning competencies to the needs of individuals, societies and economies
    • Accelerating innovation
    • Increasing employability.
  • The development and implementation of the APEC Framework on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age, which was endorsed at the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age held in May 2017 in Viet Nam. The Framework provides a platform for strengthening human resources development in the region, increasing worker preparedness for the digital age, and ensuring that labor market policies match the changing needs of the region’s labor market.
  • The implementation of the APEC Economic Policy Report for 2017 (AEPR) on Structural Reform and Human Capital Development, which was released by APEC in November 2017—the first time an AEPR has focused specifically on human capital development. This report contains a number of specific policy recommendations that HRDWG is currently working to implement in collaboration with the Economic Committee.
  • Advancing the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR) Implementation Plan 2016–2025 to facilitate the mobility of skilled labor and professionals, and to ensure the quality of skills and competencies that meet the supply chain demands of the region.

HRDWG’s project work

In support of these core areas of focus, the HRDWG’s three networks have a number of active APEC projects currently underway related to labor mobility, qualifications recognition, digital literacy, global competencies and youth employment, the details of which are accessible here.


The HRDWG’s lead shepherd serves as the working group’s chair and each network has one coordinator. The Lead Shepherd and Network Coordinators will have as their Co-Chair a representative from the HRDWG host economy who will serve in the co-chair capacity for one year.

The current HRDWG Lead Shepherd for 2023-24 is Mr. Zhao Li (USA). Contact: [email protected][email protected]; and [email protected]

(Five advisors to be copied are Mr. Patrick Del Vecchio, [email protected]; Ms. Karen Espino-Mitchell, [email protected]; Mr. Javier R. Iriart, [email protected]; Dr. George Pantazopoulos, [email protected]) and Ms. Vivian Chen, [email protected])

The Co-Chair for APEC HRDWG 2023 is Mr. Luke Rhine (USA). Contact: [email protected]
(Coordinating officer to be copied: Mr. Vikram Chaudhuri, [email protected])

The current Network Coordinators are:


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