27th Human Resource Development Working Group Meeting

Pattaya, Thailand, 20 June 2005
  • Speech by Ambassador Tran Trong Toan, Deputy Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Honourable Minister,
Dear Dr Chira, HRDWG Lead Shepherd
Distinguished delegates from APEC Member Economies,
1. It is my great honour and pleasure to be here at the 27th Meeting of the APEC Human Resource Development Working Group, which is taking place in the very beautiful land of Pattaya. May I warmly welcome you all to this important event and wish our meeting a sound success.
2. APEC has undergone an important stage of development and now is heading for the noble goal of building a stable, prosperous and secure community in the Asia-Pacific region for the sake of our peoples. At the meeting in Santiago, Chile last year, APEC Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to achieve sustainable and equitable growth, and to reduce economic disparities in our region. For that purpose, Leaders pledged to fulfill the APEC Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, to enhance human security, to promote good governance and to contribute to the building of a knowledge-based society. Now in 2005, as we mark the half-way point between the creation of APEC in 1989 and the target date of 2010/2020 for our Bogor Goals, APEC is in the process of taking stock of our achievements and setting a course for the future. It is clear from the process of APEC's development that despite significant achievements having already been recorded, the easy part is over and now, in the new junctures in the region and the world over, APEC must embark upon the more challenging stage of stepping up trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, creating a more secure business environment and fostering sustainable community building.
3. All this can not be achieved without an indispensable element that is human resource, especially when APEC as a whole and its members are on the right track of building a knowledge-based economy for the betterment of our people. Ultimately, for us to achieve our goals, it is our human resources capacity that is the major factor in determining the success of the APEC process. On the other hand, while our goals are often stated in economic terms, the people of our region benefit in a range of tangible ways through greater employment opportunities, increased skill levels and improved living standards. Thus, human factor is the driving force of the development process while at the same time being the noble goal of all our development efforts. Human resource development is becoming more and more pressing need and decisive factor in the APEC region.
4. The work of the Human Resource Development Working Group has contributed, in a direct and important way, to the core mission of the overall Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation process. To prepare our APEC people through HRD efforts has become all the more urgent task in order to facilitate the implementation of the Bogor Goals of open and free trade and investment, creating a more secure business environment and enhancing community building.
5. In this context, the main theme for this pivotal APEC year hosted by the Republic of Korea "Towards One Community: Meet the Challenge and Make the Change" is highly relevant and set new requirements for the human resource development in our cooperation process. Together we can build on the successes of the past, and further develop our regional human resource capacity to help meet the challenges that lie ahead.
6. In recent years, education and human capacity building in general has played an essential role in helping people in APEC Member Economies and contributing to achieving the APEC goals. The important work being done by the Human Resource Development Working Group was recognized in Santiago last year by APEC Leaders and Ministers. Leaders also commended APEC's efforts in the field of education and applauded initiatives undertaken to empower vulnerable people, particularly through social safety nets and workforce retraining. Leaders and Ministers will again have the opportunity to look at your achievements for the year when they meet in Busan in November. This meeting today in Pattaya will provide significant input to the upcoming discussions by Leaders and Ministers.
7. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Chira as the Lead Shepherd of the HRDWG, the Working Group and the three networks, that is, the Education Network; the Capacity Building Network; and the Labour and Social Protection Network for their dedication, hard work and commitment to helping APEC meet its goals.
8. The APEC Secretariat will continue to provide our utmost support and cooperation to the HRDWG. We have a dedicated new Professional Staff Member, Michelle Lowe, to lead the Secretariat's support for the Group.
9. To conclude, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Lead Shepherd of the HRDWG and the Host for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements. I look forward to interesting and fruitful discussions at this Meeting.
Thank You.