2nd APEC Education Ministerial Meeting (AEMM)

Singapore, 06 April 2000
  • Remarks by Ambassador Serbini Ali, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Thank you.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
It is an honour to present Secretariat's report to this Ministerial Meeting and we hope the Report could provide useful background information to this Meeting.
The Report shows that the activities on human resources development/education are undertaken by many APEC Fora indicating the cross cutting nature of the issues and the diverse interest of 21 member economies of APEC.
Permit me, Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, to mention a few highlights of the report.
The theme of this 2nd APEC Education Ministerial Meeting - Education for Learning Societies in the 21st Century - augurs well with this year's APEC main theme - Delivering to the community, in particular two of the four priorities announced by Brunei Darussalam: Human Resources Development and Information and Communication Technology.
Both themes aim to catalyse the advancement of technology as well as taking APEC closer to the new opportunities brought by the technology itself. The themes would further facilitate efforts in meeting APEC long-term ambition to ensure community benefiting from its process, thus fulfilling APEC Leaders' commitment to enrich the lives and to improve the standards of living of citizens of the APEC region.
Recognising the importance of promoting investment in human capital, APEC Leaders continued to reaffirm their pledge to ensure that member economies are in the forefront of building and sharing their expertise in the effective development and application of knowledge that will be a key driver of future economic success.
They further directed their Ministers to give special attention to improving effective and coordinated delivery of APEC economic and technical cooperation and capacity building programs. Leaders further recognized that cooperation in such fields as e-education, science and technology and life-long skills development should be strengthened.
At Ministerial level, wide-ranging cooperation have been agreed and progressed. The Third APEC Ministers Responsible for HRD met last year in Washington and a full report on HRD activities will be presented to this Meeting by the HRD Lead Shepherd.
Also last year, Ministers responsible for Small and Medium Enterprises discussed how education could be used as effective ways of promoting and elevating growth and quality of the economy of the region. They discussed, among others, links between education and business in particular education as preparation for business and education itself as business. The Ministers further identified 5 areas where APEC could contribute towards enhancing capacity building process in the region.
APEC efforts are not confined to urban areas. APEC Food System, endorsed by Leaders last year, with an objective to promote rural infrastructure, disseminate technological advances in food production and processing, and most important placing high priority on rural education, will be further advanced. This is one of APEC 2000 work programs as decided by APEC Senior Officials who met last February in Brunei Darussalam, marking the beginning of Brunei's year as Chair of APEC Leaders/Economic Ministerial Meetings.
I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that other Sectoral Ministerial Meetings scheduled this year include the Trade, Energy, Telecommunications, Tourism, Small and Medium Enterprises, Finance, and joint Economic-Foreign Affairs. These Meetings are also expected to address and to further enhance individual as well as collective efforts that promote capacity building and in support of stronger education development into the 21st Century.
Likewise, APEC HRD activities such as those mentioned in the Report, would contribute towards efforts that facilitate transfer of technology and expertise, all within APEC economic and technical cooperation spirit, aiming at narrowing the development gap that exists among APEC members.
Finally, one agenda that is gaining recognition is the integration of Women and Youth into APEC process. This year, in conjunction with the Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting in Brunei, Women Leaders Business Network will be held.
Similarly, there are several activities involving and encouraging youth participations. Second APEC Youth Science Festival will be held here in Singapore. 1st APEC Youth Skills Camp in September, Korea and APEC Youth Networking in July, Bangkok. Brunei presented its initiative on APEC Young Artists' Exhibition in November this year, in conjunction with APEC Leaders/Ministerial Meeting
I sincerely appreciate and thank Honourable Ministers for this opportunity to present Secretariat's brief report to this Meeting.