Trade and sectoral officials from the 21 APEC member economies have begun convening in Papua New Guinea for the first time during its inaugural chairmanship in 2018, intent on channeling innovation to expand the reach of the Asia-Pacific’s growth resurgence.
Over the next 12 days, officials meeting in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, will introduce new joint initiatives to empower their people to tap digital breakthroughs and the opportunities for better jobs, wages and quality of life they can provide.
The proceedings will culminate with the First APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting on 8-9 March, to build on progress achieved during trade and sectoral policy consultations underway here towards improving access and application of digital technologies across APEC economies.
“Innovation is opening avenues to next generation development and growth in Papua New Guinea and throughout the Asia-Pacific,” explained Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu, 2018 Chair of APEC Senior Officials. “None of us can afford to see anyone at home get left behind by the digital revolution.”
“Connecting people, in all areas, to new digital frontiers is key to realizing technology’s potential to deliver better job prospects and living standards, and will be our laser focus in APEC as we move forward during Papua New Guinea’s chairmanship,” Ambassador Pomaleu continued.
Officials will work to boost network access and connectivity, governance conditions and education and skills training among APEC economies. Their aim is to enable more firms, including micro enterprises and startups, to participate in cross-border trade and supply chains as well as raise the employment outlook and productivity of the workforce in the digital economy.
They will also explore how technological inroads can be adapted to mitigate climate change and the higher frequency extreme weather that increasingly threatens lives and livelihoods in local communities all around the Pacific.
“APEC economies continue to make strides supported by advancements in market integration and digital development that are conducive to trade and growth,” said Dr Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.
“We will seek to take next steps in APEC during Papua New Guinea’s year as Chair to equip people with the tools and competencies to compete as innovation kicks into overdrive,” Dr Bollard concluded. “The sustainability and reach of new growth in the region will depend greatly on the success of our efforts to empower people with digital skillsets.”
The complete APEC SOM1 and Related Meetings schedule in Port Moresby from 26 February-9 March can be viewed here.
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