Projects are a vital part of the APEC process. They help translate the policy directions of APEC Economic Leaders and Ministers into actions and help create tangible benefits for people living in the Asia-Pacific region.
APEC provides funding for over 100 projects each year, with around USD17.7 million available in 2021.
The APEC Secretariat administers two project funding sessions per year. APEC projects are funded from one of a number of project funding accounts and are selected on a competitive basis against established eligibility and scoring criteria. Each APEC project funding source is allocated to a specified APEC forum for the purposes of eligibility and scoring. These fora are described as the Responsible APEC Fora (RAF). The final funding decision is taken by APEC’s Budget and Management Committee, or APEC Senior Officials, if the project is sufficiently large. The APEC Secretariat provides specialist advice on improving project quality and also assists members with implementation.
Projects typically include workshops, symposia, publications and research. They are open to participation from all 21 APEC member economies. As well as engaging with public and government sector organisations in member economies, external stakeholder engagement is encouraged. Many projects currently use virtual and remote delivery mechanisms in response to the travel constraints borne by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Important Changes to Project Guidelines
The Concept Note, Project Proposal, Monitoring Report and Completion Report templates are regularly reviewed. Please make sure you use the version of the template that applies to the year that you apply for funding. You will find the correct versions of these templates in the PO Toolkit.
Substantial change were made to the APEC Project Concept Note and Project Proposal templates in 2019. A Quick Guide to the 2019 Changes is here. A detailed guide to the changes can be found here. Both these documents are mandatory reading, if you want to make sure your project has the best chance for success. In your Concept Note, you only need to define the overarching objective or goal of your project in sentence form (100 words or less). You will have the opportunity to list the specific outcomes and outputs of your project in the Project Proposal. Be careful to avoid confusing the objective of your project with the project’s outcomes and outputs.
The Project Completion Date (PCD) was introduced in 2019 and replaces the ‘expected completion date’ that is stated on earlier versions of the Concept Note and Project Proposal templates. The PCD is the express date by which all aspects of project implementation, including disbursements, are to be completed.
Furthermore, from 2019, projects selected in the second annual project session (Project Session 2) will be given the same amount of implementation time as projects selected in the first annual project session. This means all projects will have around 18-21 months to complete.
These changes are reflected in the current edition of the Guidebook on APEC Projects. The current version is Edition 15 and you can find a copy here. A summary of the differences between Edition 15 and the preceding edition can be found here. An addendum to Edition 15 was made in December 2020 in relation to recording project events and can be found here.
APEC Project Focus and Themes
Most APEC projects are focused on transferring knowledge and skills between members and building capacity so that each APEC member economy can move closer towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment. This includes by:
- Promoting and accelerating regional economic integration,
- Encouraging economic and technical cooperation,
- Enhancing human security, and
- Facilitating a favourable and sustainable business environment.
Information about individual APEC projects that are currently being implemented or have already been completed can be found on the APEC Project Database.
APEC projects are managed and implemented across all 21 member economies in accordance with the Guidebook on APEC Projects. The Guidebook and the procedures described within are continuously revised to improve project planning and implementation. If you have any questions about whether you are using the most up-to-date versions please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat.
From 2019, all APEC projects will be afforded 18-21 months to implement, irrespective of whether the project is selected in the first or second project session of the year. For example, projects selected in Project Session 1 2020 must aim to complete by 31 December 2021. Projects selected in Project Session 2 will not be required to complete by 31 December 2021, but will instead be allowed to complete by 30 June 2022.
The actual commencement date of any project is still subject to satisfactory findings during the Secretariat quality assessment process and the date that final approval is given to a project by BMC. POs should factor these considerations into project timelines.
APEC encourages the involvement of the private sector, universities and governments in the region in its projects. Typically, requests for proposals/tenders to implement projects are advertised on the APEC website. Current requests for proposals/tenders, if any, are listed here.
Responsibility for the management of the project rests with the PO, including ensuring adherence to funding guidelines and project milestones. The PO may form a steering committee for the project, depending on the project’s complexity. The steering committee or PO must finalise the details of the project, including the timing and venue of events, participants, and any contracting.
The PO should keep the relevant APEC Program Director and Program Executive regularly informed of progress in implementing the project (at least every two months).
All APEC-funded projects are formally monitored to ensure that they are progressing in line with the timeframes, budgets and methods presented in the project proposal. Projects commencing from 2018 onwards are formally monitored once-yearly. The PO must complete and submit a Monitoring Report Template by the nominated date advised to the PO by the Secretariat in the project Letter of Acceptance. However, please note that projects which commenced in 2017 or earlier are required to submit monitoring reports twice a year (1st of February and the 1st of August).
If your project was selected in 2018 or earlier, please use this version of the Monitoring Report.
If your project was selected after 2018, please use this version of the Monitoring Report.
The full reports are presented to the relevant forum, and a summary report is presented to the Budget and Management Committee (BMC). The Secretariat reports projects to BMC that have not met the monitoring reporting requirements. POs that fail to submit monitoring reports may not put forward new concept notes or proposals until all overdue reports are submitted.
Both the relevant forum and the BMC may take action to manage projects that are not being implemented in line with timelines or expectations.
Please note that all projects selected in 2019 and beyond must comply with the requirements of the Project Completion Date (PCD). POs should plan ahead to ensure that all aspects of project implementation, including the lodgement of financial claims, are finalised before the PCD. The PO must complete and submit a Completion Report to the Secretariat within two months of the completion of the project.
POs may submit extension requests using the APEC Project Design Amendment and Extension form but every effort and care should be taken to ensure projects are delivered in accordance with the BMC-approved Project Proposal.
The PO must complete and submit a Completion Report within two months of the completion of the project.
POs must submit Completion Reports to the Secretariat through the Program Director for their forum. The Secretariat will review the Completion Report and may revert to the PO for clarifications, if required. Once the Completion Report is found satisfactory by the Secretariat, it will be circulated in the forum for comment and finalisation by the Program Director.
If your project was selected in 2018 or earlier, please use this version of the Completion Report
If your project was selected after 2018, please use this version of the Completion Report.
The Secretariat reports projects to BMC that have not met completion reporting requirements. Following SOM authorisation, BMC will bar any forum that has not submitted a completion report from putting forward new concept notes or proposals until all overdue reports are submitted.
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