Official Opening Ceremony of the New APEC Secretariat Building, 35 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore

Singapore, 06 September 2003
  • Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong,
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is indeed the highest honor for the APEC Secretariat to be graced with the presence of such distinguished company on the occasion of the twin milestones of the tenth anniversary of its establishment, and the official opening of a permanent building in Singapore.
The APEC Secretariat and Singapore share a decade-long history that began on 12 February 1992 when the temporary Secretariat premises were set up at the Alexandra Point building.
Over the past ten years, the APEC Secretariat grew with Singapore the economy that hosts it. From the initial staff of 24, we now have 49 staff from around the APEC region and 26 of which are Singaporeans. The Government of the Republic of Singapore has been a warm and generous host throughout this time.
This new Secretariat building is a very well planned facility. It has been purpose-built to enable the staff here at the Secretariat to provide the highest level of support and coordination to the APEC process. Our new home is fully equipped to host numerous events and meetings.
Right now around two hundred guests are watching this ceremony on closed circuit television at the International Conference Centre that is also part of this complex. We look forward to increasing the number of APEC events that can be hosted at the new building and at other locations in this complex.
This new APEC Secretariat building represents many things.
It is a demonstration of the Singapore Government's commitment to the APEC process of building a prosperous Asia-Pacific community.
This new building is also a mark of maturity for the APEC Secretariat.
When the idea of establishing a Secretariat for the APEC process was first put forward, it was intended that the Secretariat would be small, simple, and cost effective.
We believe that in the past ten years the APEC Secretariat has served a role, as a core support mechanism well, and from our new facility will continue to do so in the years ahead.
The opening of the new APEC Secretariat building attests once again to the close relationship between Singapore and Thailand that in 1992 and 1993 led to the establishment of the APEC Secretariat.
The APEC Secretariat truly reflects the process that it serves and as you may know, this process has seen its agenda dramatically expanded in recent years.
As the regional economy has become increasingly complex, the APEC process, and as a consequence, the APEC Secretariat's areas of work, have expanded to include many other areas that have a very direct impact on the economic health, from food to energy, from HRD to alien species, from SMEs to Counter-terrorism.
Each of these areas of APEC activity requires the support of the Secretariat in one way or another.
This includes the support of Secretariat personnel at meetings and events. This includes the overseeing the development and implementation of APEC sponsored projects that take place throughout the region. This includes the stronger role in the area of communications and outreach.
In support of all of our activities the APEC Secretariat has been equipped with Professional Staff Members seconded by APEC member economies.
This is quite a unique situation, and for myself and the ten Executive Directors that have served before me.
As an Executive director, I have to command respect and loyalty of staff of such diverse cultural backgrounds and skills. And they are paid by their governments.
Our professional staff members are motivated by pride in representing their economy well at the Secretariat, and in serving the APEC process better.
This is a unique model and it works.
Finally, I would like to reiterate the highest honour that the Secretariat receives on this occasion. We welcome you to our new home. We at the Secretariat will continue to serve you to the best of our ability.
Thank you.