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Global Development Learning Network East Asia & Pacific Association Meeting

Speech by Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat Singapore | 18 November 2003

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by thanking you for the opportunity to present to you some possible areas of collaboration between the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) in the area of human capacity building.
Before we get to those possibilities I would like to outline for you what APEC actually is and how it works. I will then propose several areas in which our organizations could work together to play an active and effective role in supporting regional integration and development.
When the concept of APEC was established at the first ministerial meeting in 1989 the global economy was in a period of dramatic change. A new political and economic landscape was taking shape with a revolution in communications technology, and a dramatic expansion of global trade.
Over the past years, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation has been at the centre of efforts to promote economic growth and development in the Asia-Pacific region. We are now a forum of 21 member economies from all corners of the Asia-Pacific; from Australia, to east-Asia, to Russia and the Americas.
The 21 economies of APEC are home to more than 2.5 billion people. And very importantly, the economic landscape of APEC involves a combined gross domestic product of over nineteen trillion US dollars accounting for forty-seven percent of global trade.
Together, all 21 member economies are working to build a greater sense of social and economic community. APEC is building bridges throughout the region to develop common understandings, to share technologies, to trade and invest, and to build prosperity.
At APEC we have a simple objective, that is to play our part in improving the lives of these 2.5 billion people who live in the Asia-Pacific region. We do this by promoting the development of business and trade across the borders of APEC economies.
The driving ideal behind many of our APEC activities is what we call the "Bogor Goals." These are: "achieving free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region by 2010 for industrialized member economies, and the year 2020 for developing economies".
APEC is not only involved in facilitating free trade and reducing trade barriers. It is also involved in many areas of policy formulation in Asia-Pacific economies.
APEC's agenda has in recent years expanded in response to challenges brought about by globalization and the development of the new economy. APEC activities also include the sharing of skills and knowledge that will build the capacity of all member economies to enable them to interact in the global market place.
In its progress towards the Bogor Goals APEC channels its work through three areas:
  • Trade and investment liberalization;
  • Trade and investment facilitation; and
  • Economic and technical cooperation.
With respect to trade and investment liberalization APEC has been successful in removing barriers and opening markets for all member economies to expand trade and investment across their borders.
When APEC was first formed the average tariff rates of most economies was more than 10%. Now only three economies have tariffs at this level. Removal of these trade barriers has resulted in greater efficiencies for businesses and economies, and increased economic growth.
The second area, that of trade and investment facilitation is of great interest and importance. APEC is aware of the need to focus on non-tariff impediments to trade and investment. These are the impediments and frustrations that are often faced by businesses such as inconsistencies in customs procedures, border inefficiencies and a lack of clarity on laws governing trade and investment.
The area of trade facilitation is vast and covers a great many issues which affect international business operations. Issues include standards and conformance, competition policy, and government procurement, to mention a few. APEC cooperation in these areas aims to improve the trade and investment environment and reduce costs to business.
APEC's economic and technical cooperation or ECOTECH is the third area in which APEC progresses its agenda towards the Bogor Goals. We define ECOTECH as the pursuit of APEC's common objectives and goals through cooperative activities aimed at attaining sustainable growth and equitable development, while reducing economic disparities among APEC economies and improving economic and social well-being.
Economic and technical cooperation aims to facilitate the technical assistance needed for APEC members to benefit from trade and investment liberalization. ECOTECH activities support APEC's efforts to overcome the gaps between developed and developing economies and to promote equitable development.
Economic and technical cooperation programs assist all member economies to achieve prosperity through activities that strengthen the competitiveness of the business and government sectors.
Together, these three areas, trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and economic and technical cooperation assist all governments and businesses in our member economies to deal more efficiently across borders, and to become more competitive in the global economy.
As a voluntary forum APEC operates by consensus and gentle peer pressure and carries out its activities in a number of ways. Of particular relevance to today's discussions is the work conducted by 27 APEC fora. These APEC fora cover a number of issues ranging from agriculture to counter-terrorism, to micro, small and medium enterprises, customs and transportation to cite just a few.
Broad goals are set out by APEC Leaders and Ministers at the annual APEC Leaders and Ministers' meetings, and are realized via a number of mechanisms. However, much of the operational activities are conducted by APEC fora which develop and implement projects.
Up to 250 projects are carried out by APEC fora over the course of a given year. The common thread that runs through all of these APEC activities is capacity building. Forty-nine percent of all APEC projects are focused on building capacity.
Capacity building is integral to ensuring that all APEC economies, regardless of the stage of development and readiness, are able to take advantage of the opportunities made available through APEC liberalisation. A brief sample of projects being run by some APEC fora may illustrate for you that commitment to capacity building.
APEC fora such as the Human Resources Development Working Group and the Telecommunications Working Group have exploited IT and distance learning to train thousands of people.
The APEC Telecommunications working group is currently using the Japanese International Cooperation Assistance NET system to implement human resource development and networking for e-government among educational institutions in APEC member economies. Over 3,500 people have downloaded curriculum based IT training materials from the APEC Telecommunications Vendor Training Materials Website . This contains corporate material from Cisco, Microsoft, IISSCC, and Intel.
The e-Security Task Group has also established a website of IT security and electronic authentication resources. New technologies such as broadband and wireless will provide additional opportunities for on-line training.
APEC's Human Capacity Building Promotion Program is a tripartite cooperation of government-business-academia. This is a three-year program based on the Internet, and provides three components:
  1. free online training for 1,500 IT professionals;
  2. a virtual classroom to support e-learning: and
  3. a cyber forum to encourage involvement of all APEC stakeholders.
Over 2,400 people from the region have applied for these training courses.
In order to ensure that APEC's economic and technical cooperation and capacity building is clearly focused four priority areas were set in 2003. These are:
  1. integration into the global economy;
  2. promoting the development of knowledge-based economies;
  3. addressing the social dimension of globalisation; and
  4. counter-terrorism capacity building.
It is in these areas that I believe APEC and the GDLN can work together. Let me elaborate a little and start with integration into the global economy.
This priority is aimed at enabling the people of the Asia-Pacific region to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by globalization. There are any number of ways in which we might look at doing this. I would like to focus on one means in particular, and that is increasing the participation of micro- enterprises into the global economy.
There is recognition of the untapped entrepreneurial capacity in the APEC region. Extending resources for the creation of micro-businesses in both developed and developing economies strengthens the foundations for a broader distribution of income, enhanced economic stability and greater community development.
APEC would like to promote micro-enterprise development with an emphasis on improved income distribution as a part of a social safety net policy.
Work is currently being conducted with APEC's Finance Minister's Process to share information and expertise in order to improve production capabilities of micro, small and medium enterprises, especially in the area of financing.
One of the many possibilities that could be considered for collaboration is a project that would investigate best practices for access to capital in the APEC region. That information could then be delivered to micro-entrepreneurs throughout the region.
Those of you who have had the opportunity to read the paper prepared by Thailand,Knowledge-Based Economies will know that APEC has made some progress in promoting the use of existing knowledge and technology.
For example the 2000 Brunei Goals aim to prepare each APEC economy and all people in the Asia-Pacific region to use the technology revolution as a passport to the fruits of globalisation.
The plan is to develop and implement a policy framework which will enable the people of urban, provincial and rural communities in every economy to have individual or community-based access to information and services offered via the internet by 2010.
As a first step toward this goal APEC aims to triple the number of people within the region with individual and community-based access by 2005. But this can not be accomplished by governments alone.
Infrastructure development and human capacity building, and technologies which are only now in their formative stages are needed. It requires a regime of outward-looking and market-oriented policies which can attract business investment and the cooperation and skills of universities, training and research institutions, colleges and schools.
Given the nature and scope of what needs to be done in this area APEC is committed to the development of joint activities with other international organizations in order to ensure that APEC economies and its peoples are able to adapt, adopt or generate their own knowledge in order to survive and prosper.
The shock of large increases in unemployment and the impact on the poor and vulnerable far outlasted the economic crisis of 1997. APEC's priority area "addressing the social dimension of globalisation" recognises the need to pay closer attention to the social impacts of the changes resulting from the continuous process of the ever-evolving economic marketplace.
Micro-enterprises have been widely recognized as highly effective at not only minimizing the costs of structural changes accompanying globalization but also in poverty reduction and wealth creation among socially disadvantaged groups.
Activities to consider here are research projects which look at needs assessment of micro-entrepreneurs, and then the development of activities which address those identified needs.
The last priority area is that of counter-terrorism capacity building. Terrorism looms as the major threat to the region's economies and development. It is one of the greatest challenges to APEC's goals of free trade and investment. Terrorism not only ruins lives and destroys property, but also undermines market confidence and reduces economic activity.
Failure to address terrorism will undermine all collective efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic growth. Without a secure environment in which to operate, development programs and poverty reduction strategies will be ineffective.
APEC economies have already identified areas in which counter-terrorism capacity building is needed. However, many of these are outside the scope of programs usually undertaken by international organisations. The following areas indicate only a small portion of the work that need to be done in the realm of counter-terrorism capacity building.
Port security: Of particular urgency is the need to train thousands of port and ship security officers in order to implement the International Maritime Organization?s International and Port Security Codes by July 2004. Aviation security: The priority is to provide training on security measures such as the identification and detection of incendiary explosive devices and explosives; measures to restrict access to airport facilities, profiling of passengers and baggage screening techniques.
So to summarize, these are the areas in which APEC will focus on in the upcoming years:
  • Integration into the global economy aimed at enabling the people of the Asia-Pacific region to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by globalization.
  • Micro-enterprise development with an emphasis on improved income distribution as a part of a social safety net policy.
  • Use of the technology revolution as a passport to the fruits of globalisation, and incorporation of new information and technology that will assist people to prosper in the developing knowledge-based economy.
  • Ensuring a secure environment in which to operate, so that development programs and poverty reduction strategies will be effective.
We within the APEC family are excited about the possibilities of collaboration and look forward to the years ahead in which APEC and the World Bank work together towards producing benefits for the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region.
I thank you for your attention.Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by thanking you for the opportunity to present to you some possible areas of collaboration between the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) in the area of human capacity building.
Before we get to those possibilities I would like to outline for you what APEC actually is and how it works. I will then propose several areas in which our organizations could work together to play an active and effective role in supporting regional integration and development.
When the concept of APEC was established at the first ministerial meeting in 1989 the global economy was in a period of dramatic change. A new political and economic landscape was taking shape with a revolution in communications technology, and a dramatic expansion of global trade.
Over the past years, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation has been at the centre of efforts to promote economic growth and development in the Asia-Pacific region. We are now a forum of 21 member economies from all corners of the Asia-Pacific; from Australia, to east-Asia, to Russia and the Americas.
The 21 economies of APEC are home to more than 2.5 billion people. And very importantly, the economic landscape of APEC involves a combined gross domestic product of over nineteen trillion US dollars accounting for forty-seven percent of global trade.
Together, all 21 member economies are working to build a greater sense of social and economic community. APEC is building bridges throughout the region to develop common understandings, to share technologies, to trade and invest, and to build prosperity.
At APEC we have a simple objective, that is to play our part in improving the lives of these 2.5 billion people who live in the Asia-Pacific region. We do this by promoting the development of business and trade across the borders of APEC economies.
The driving ideal behind many of our APEC activities is what we call the "Bogor Goals." These are: "achieving free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region by 2010 for industrialized member economies, and the year 2020 for developing economies".
APEC is not only involved in facilitating free trade and reducing trade barriers. It is also involved in many areas of policy formulation in Asia-Pacific economies.
APEC's agenda has in recent years expanded in response to challenges brought about by globalization and the development of the new economy. APEC activities also include the sharing of skills and knowledge that will build the capacity of all member economies to enable them to interact in the global market place.
In its progress towards the Bogor Goals APEC channels its work through three areas:
  • Trade and investment liberalization;
  • Trade and investment facilitation; and
  • Economic and technical cooperation.
With respect to trade and investment liberalization APEC has been successful in removing barriers and opening markets for all member economies to expand trade and investment across their borders.
When APEC was first formed the average tariff rates of most economies was more than 10%. Now only three economies have tariffs at this level. Removal of these trade barriers has resulted in greater efficiencies for businesses and economies, and increased economic growth.
The second area, that of trade and investment facilitation is of great interest and importance. APEC is aware of the need to focus on non-tariff impediments to trade and investment. These are the impediments and frustrations that are often faced by businesses such as inconsistencies in customs procedures, border inefficiencies and a lack of clarity on laws governing trade and investment.
The area of trade facilitation is vast and covers a great many issues which affect international business operations. Issues include standards and conformance, competition policy, and government procurement, to mention a few. APEC cooperation in these areas aims to improve the trade and investment environment and reduce costs to business.
APEC's economic and technical cooperation or ECOTECH is the third area in which APEC progresses its agenda towards the Bogor Goals. We define ECOTECH as the pursuit of APEC's common objectives and goals through cooperative activities aimed at attaining sustainable growth and equitable development, while reducing economic disparities among APEC economies and improving economic and social well-being.
Economic and technical cooperation aims to facilitate the technical assistance needed for APEC members to benefit from trade and investment liberalization. ECOTECH activities support APEC's efforts to overcome the gaps between developed and developing economies and to promote equitable development.
Economic and technical cooperation programs assist all member economies to achieve prosperity through activities that strengthen the competitiveness of the business and government sectors.
Together, these three areas, trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and economic and technical cooperation assist all governments and businesses in our member economies to deal more efficiently across borders, and to become more competitive in the global economy.
As a voluntary forum APEC operates by consensus and gentle peer pressure and carries out its activities in a number of ways. Of particular relevance to today's discussions is the work conducted by 27 APEC fora. These APEC fora cover a number of issues ranging from agriculture to counter-terrorism, to micro, small and medium enterprises, customs and transportation to cite just a few.
Broad goals are set out by APEC Leaders and Ministers at the annual APEC Leaders and Ministers' meetings, and are realized via a number of mechanisms. However, much of the operational activities are conducted by APEC fora which develop and implement projects.
Up to 250 projects are carried out by APEC fora over the course of a given year. The common thread that runs through all of these APEC activities is capacity building. Forty-nine percent of all APEC projects are focused on building capacity.
Capacity building is integral to ensuring that all APEC economies, regardless of the stage of development and readiness, are able to take advantage of the opportunities made available through APEC liberalisation. A brief sample of projects being run by some APEC fora may illustrate for you that commitment to capacity building.
APEC fora such as the Human Resources Development Working Group and the Telecommunications Working Group have exploited IT and distance learning to train thousands of people.
The APEC Telecommunications working group is currently using the Japanese International Cooperation Assistance NET system to implement human resource development and networking for e-government among educational institutions in APEC member economies. Over 3,500 people have downloaded curriculum based IT training materials from the APEC Telecommunications Vendor Training Materials Website . This contains corporate material from Cisco, Microsoft, IISSCC, and Intel.
The e-Security Task Group has also established a website of IT security and electronic authentication resources. New technologies such as broadband and wireless will provide additional opportunities for on-line training.
APEC's Human Capacity Building Promotion Program is a tripartite cooperation of government-business-academia. This is a three-year program based on the Internet, and provides three components:
  1. free online training for 1,500 IT professionals;
  2. a virtual classroom to support e-learning: and
  3. a cyber forum to encourage involvement of all APEC stakeholders.
Over 2,400 people from the region have applied for these training courses.
In order to ensure that APEC's economic and technical cooperation and capacity building is clearly focused four priority areas were set in 2003. These are:
  1. integration into the global economy;
  2. promoting the development of knowledge-based economies;
  3. addressing the social dimension of globalisation; and
  4. counter-terrorism capacity building.
It is in these areas that I believe APEC and the GDLN can work together. Let me elaborate a little and start with integration into the global economy.
This priority is aimed at enabling the people of the Asia-Pacific region to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by globalization. There are any number of ways in which we might look at doing this. I would like to focus on one means in particular, and that is increasing the participation of micro- enterprises into the global economy.
There is recognition of the untapped entrepreneurial capacity in the APEC region. Extending resources for the creation of micro-businesses in both developed and developing economies strengthens the foundations for a broader distribution of income, enhanced economic stability and greater community development.
APEC would like to promote micro-enterprise development with an emphasis on improved income distribution as a part of a social safety net policy.
Work is currently being conducted with APEC's Finance Minister's Process to share information and expertise in order to improve production capabilities of micro, small and medium enterprises, especially in the area of financing.
One of the many possibilities that could be considered for collaboration is a project that would investigate best practices for access to capital in the APEC region. That information could then be delivered to micro-entrepreneurs throughout the region.
Those of you who have had the opportunity to read the paper prepared by Thailand,Knowledge-Based Economies will know that APEC has made some progress in promoting the use of existing knowledge and technology.
For example the 2000 Brunei Goals aim to prepare each APEC economy and all people in the Asia-Pacific region to use the technology revolution as a passport to the fruits of globalisation.
The plan is to develop and implement a policy framework which will enable the people of urban, provincial and rural communities in every economy to have individual or community-based access to information and services offered via the internet by 2010.
As a first step toward this goal APEC aims to triple the number of people within the region with individual and community-based access by 2005. But this can not be accomplished by governments alone.
Infrastructure development and human capacity building, and technologies which are only now in their formative stages are needed. It requires a regime of outward-looking and market-oriented policies which can attract business investment and the cooperation and skills of universities, training and research institutions, colleges and schools.
Given the nature and scope of what needs to be done in this area APEC is committed to the development of joint activities with other international organizations in order to ensure that APEC economies and its peoples are able to adapt, adopt or generate their own knowledge in order to survive and prosper.
The shock of large increases in unemployment and the impact on the poor and vulnerable far outlasted the economic crisis of 1997. APEC's priority area "addressing the social dimension of globalisation" recognises the need to pay closer attention to the social impacts of the changes resulting from the continuous process of the ever-evolving economic marketplace.
Micro-enterprises have been widely recognized as highly effective at not only minimizing the costs of structural changes accompanying globalization but also in poverty reduction and wealth creation among socially disadvantaged groups.
Activities to consider here are research projects which look at needs assessment of micro-entrepreneurs, and then the development of activities which address those identified needs.
The last priority area is that of counter-terrorism capacity building. Terrorism looms as the major threat to the region's economies and development. It is one of the greatest challenges to APEC's goals of free trade and investment. Terrorism not only ruins lives and destroys property, but also undermines market confidence and reduces economic activity.
Failure to address terrorism will undermine all collective efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic growth. Without a secure environment in which to operate, development programs and poverty reduction strategies will be ineffective.
APEC economies have already identified areas in which counter-terrorism capacity building is needed. However, many of these are outside the scope of programs usually undertaken by international organisations. The following areas indicate only a small portion of the work that need to be done in the realm of counter-terrorism capacity building.
Port security: Of particular urgency is the need to train thousands of port and ship security officers in order to implement the International Maritime Organization's International and Port Security Codes by July 2004.

Aviation security:
The priority is to provide training on security measures such as the identification and detection of incendiary explosive devices and explosives; measures to restrict access to airport facilities, profiling of passengers and baggage screening techniques.
So to summarize, these are the areas in which APEC will focus on in the upcoming years:
  • Integration into the global economy aimed at enabling the people of the Asia-Pacific region to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by globalization.
  • Micro-enterprise development with an emphasis on improved income distribution as a part of a social safety net policy.
  • Use of the technology revolution as a passport to the fruits of globalisation, and incorporation of new information and technology that will assist people to prosper in the developing knowledge-based economy.
  • Ensuring a secure environment in which to operate, so that development programs and poverty reduction strategies will be effective.
We within the APEC family are excited about the possibilities of collaboration and look forward to the years ahead in which APEC and the World Bank work together towards producing benefits for the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region.
I thank you for your attention.

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