Closing Ceremony of the 3rd APEC Ministers' Conference on Regional Science & Technology Cooperation

Mexico City, Mexico, 23 October 1998
  • Remarks by Ambassador Dato' Noor Adlan, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
HE Mr Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon
President of the Republic, Mexico
HE Mr Miguel Limon Rojas
Secretary for Public Education
The Hon Carlos Bazdresch Parada Director of the National Council of S&T Mexico
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is an honor to be invited to speak at this closing ceremony of the 3rd APEC Ministers' Conference on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation, more so in the presence of H E The President of the Republic of Mexico. Indeed your very presence, Sir, reflects the importance and proactive posture of Mexico towards APEC and through the painstaking efforts that your Administration have made in the logistical arrangements and substantive inputs to ensure the success of the Meeting. On behalf of the Hon APEC Ministers, Heads of Delegations attending the conference and my own behalf, we are also most appreciative of the warm and generous hospitality extended to us, including bringing us to your residence this morning.
The significance of this conference and meeting at this time cannot be overemphasised. It is of great importance. Since Vancouver, when the leaders were confronted with the Asian regional financial instability to address, the issue has not only remained with us but deepened, even taken on a larger and multi-crises dimension. Indeed, from being a regional problem, it has broadened, if not become a global crisis.
This has come perhaps at the best or worst of time. Next month in Kuala Lumpur, APEC will mark a decade of work on regional economic cooperation towards the building of an Asia-Pacific community through economic growth and equitable development based on the 3 pillars of its activities, (trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation and economic cooperation). In this quest we will then be joined by Peru, Russia and Vietnam, thus bringing in the other main economies in the region.
Intense growth in the economies of the Asia-Pacific region over the past decade has had far-reaching impacts on our societies. We now face a very different situation and proposition. Much as this posed severe challenges, it could also create and open opportunities. Indeed our ability to overcome and adapt to the new developments will determine the sustainability of growth and progress of APEC. Sweet will be the use of adversity.
The APEC IST process has been and continues to be a pace-setter and one of the most active. Many activities have been generated, which have in one way or another contributed to the achievement of APEC goals. In the last two days, this meeting had a focused and meaningful deliberations on the agenda before it. It met with the task at hand of drawing up the APEC Agenda for Science and Technology into the 21st Century and of its theme of "Partnerships and Networks: Capturing the Benefits of Innovation across APEC".
In doing so, the Meeting is not only responding to the clarion call of Vancouver but hitting the nail on the head. Science and Technology must be about people and for people. This takes on a particular relevance as we perhaps stand on the threshold of take off of change to an information and knowledge based society. We have to capture the benefits of the mind boggling technological advances and innovation to meet the humanistic concern and of meeting societal goals. The concerned and interested stakeholders of the region must connect not only with each other but also various components of society, instruments, efforts and responses. In other words, there must be a networking and outreach to increase the synergy of efforts. Underpinning all this is the acute awareness that only greater cohesion, coherence and strength in building our cooperation will make the difference. This is a prerequisite if APEC is to remain not only relevant but seen to be relevant.
Science and Technology have been the driving force to sustain growth and equitable development, for it is about innovation, empowerment productivity and capacity-building and the close linkages with trade and investment. They provide the cutting edge and an equaliser, more so in the downturn of our economic situation. Successful development depends very much on our efforts and ability to create an open and strong innovative system which can catalyze cooperation, partnerships and networks.
This 3rd APEC Ministers' Conference on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation has provided such an opportunity. We can go away from Mexico City with confidence, determination and a clear vision of the collective effort and focus of our action into the new millenium.
Thank you.