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Health Working Group

The emergence of regional and global health epidemics—including severe acute respiratory syndrome, avian influenza and H1N1 influenza—impacts not only the health sector but also agriculture, trade, tourism, transportation and business. APEC's wide-ranging economic work program makes it uniquely positioned to address the multi-sectoral impact of today's health threats.

In October 2003, APEC established the Health Task Force (HTF) to help address health-related threats to economies' trade and security, focusing mainly on emerging infectious diseases, including naturally occurring and man-made diseases.

In 2007, after a review of the APEC fora, the HTF was upgraded in status to become the Health Working Group (HWG).

To respond to the recommendations of the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE), the HWG and Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) met in March 2011 in Washington DC, with the purpose of exploring possible areas of cooperation.

The HWG has launched several initiatives to introduce more substantive policy discussions into the working group’s activities as well better integrating APEC’s work within the broader global health agenda.

In addition to engaging with other APEC fora and international organizations like the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the Association of South East Asian Nations, the HWG has positioned itself as a regional health forum dedicated to demonstrating the value of health to economic growth and development and to building awareness of the return on investment on health innovation.

The HWG’s mandate, goal and the objectives are as follows:


The mandate of the Health Working Group is to work with partners to improve people’s health and well-being, aiming to promote trade, security, inclusive growth and development in the APEC region.


The goal of the Health Working Group is to help reduce the impact of health-related threats to the economy, trade and security of member economies. The Health Working Group aims to strengthen health systems to increase their efficiency, responsiveness and resilience to achieve and maintain universal health coverage.


  • To enhance preparedness and response to public health emergencies and disasters, including prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
  • To strengthen health systems to improve accessibility, sustainability and quality of healthcare
  • To support healthy populations across the life-course, including the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and improved maternal, newborn and child health
  • To encourage and facilitate collaboration between health and other sectors, other APEC fora and international health bodies

Last page update: June 2024


Dr. Alberto TEJADA
HWG Chair 2024-2025
Director General
Office of International Technical Cooperation
Ministry of Health, Peru
Email: [email protected]
HWG Chair’s Assistant
Multilateral Affairs Unit
Office of International Technical Cooperation
Ministry of Health, Peru
Email: [email protected]
Aurora TSAI (Ms)
Program Director

Current Activities

The APEC Health Working Group (HWG) plays a vital role in fostering health cooperation across member economies. As Peru takes centre stage as APEC's host economy in 2024, the HWG aligns its priorities with the theme "Empower. Include. Grow." This overarching theme focuses on three key areas:

  • Trade and investment for inclusive and interconnected growth
  • Innovation and digitalization to promote the transition to the formal and global economy
  • Sustainable growth for resilient development

HWG Priorities Reflecting Peru's Theme

Building on this foundation, the HWG has identified specific health priorities for 2024:

  1. Community Mental Health: Consistent with Peru's emphasis on inclusion, the HWG will continue implementing the 2021-2030 Roadmap to Promote Mental Wellness in a Healthy Asia Pacific. This initiative ensures access to mental health resources, fostering a more productive and healthy society. The focus in 2024 will be on:
    • Digitizing health data across the Asia-Pacific region
    • Strengthening specialized community mental health modules
  2. Vaccination Across the Life Course: The HWG will continue implementing the "APEC Action Plan on Vaccination Across the Life-Course." This plan aims to strengthen health system vaccination schedules, mitigating the resurgence of preventable diseases and protecting economies from new threats. Key focuses will be on:
    • Strengthening the vaccine supply chain
    • Emphasizing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for cancer prevention
  3. Climate Change and Health: New Health Threats: Recognizing the growing risks of climate change on human health, the HWG will work towards reducing these risks and achieving the Bangkok Goals (2022). Efforts will include:
    • Addressing new pandemic threats, focusing on managing epidemics and zoonotic diseases like dengue
    • Promoting an integrated One Health approach for outbreak responses to emerging and re-emerging diseases across the Asia-Pacific region
  4. Gender in Health: Aligned with the La Serena Roadmap (2019-2030), the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Initiative, and the Aotearoa Action Plan, the HWG prioritizes closing the gender gap in healthcare access. This includes promoting health systems that acknowledge the significant role women play in the economy and recognizing the value of traditional medicine knowledge held by indigenous populations. Specific actions will involve:
    • Developing gender-sensitive health services
    • Addressing issues like the epidemiological surveillance of migrant transit, focusing on protecting women and vulnerable populations

Sub-Working Groups and Collaboration

The HWG leverages its three sub-working groups on vaccination, digital health and mental wellness to achieve these priorities. Project updates from member economies, policy dialogues, and discussions on other crucial issues, such as exploring ways to synergize APEC's work regarding health supply chains, further contribute to the HWG's comprehensive approach to health challenges.

Recent Activities

The HWG convenes twice a year. The first HWG plenary meeting was held on 27-28 February 2024, in Lima, Peru. The meeting aligned its theme with Peru's priorities of "Empower. Include. Grow." 

A key focus was on emerging infectious diseases and pandemic preparedness. Members explored using digital health technologies for disease tracking and discussed best practices for mobilizing essential workers during health emergencies.

The HWG also addressed chronic health issues and gender equality. Discussions centered on revising the "Healthy Women, Healthy Economy Toolkit" for the post-pandemic era and renewing the roadmap for cervical cancer prevention. Additionally, the group explored the impact of climate change on health and potential solutions for building climate-resilient health systems.

The second HWG plenary meeting is scheduled to take place in Lima in mid-August, followed by the 14th APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy (HLMHE14) on 18 August.

13th High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy (SOM3, August 2023)

The HWG organized APEC’s 13th High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy (HLMHE13) on 6 August 2023, during SOM3 in Seattle, USA, chaired by Hon. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Health ministers and their representatives from 18 APEC member economies, along with panelists from the ABAC, WHO and various industries, shared their experiences in making the investment case for financing health systems, including Primary Health Care (PHC), and discussed the key challenges in mobilizing and allocating resources for integrated investments in health systems. They also provided recommendations to strengthen public-private partnerships and create sustainable financing models for health systems strengthening and PHC.

13th High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy

A roundtable on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) and Primary Health Care (PHC) was also held to address the intersection of PHC, universal health coverage, and pandemic preparedness and response, including specific successes, challenges, and lessons learned.

Regarding the HWG and APEC’s governance, the HLMHE13 agreed that the work of the Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee (RHSC), APEC Harmonization Center (AHC), and APEC Health Sciences Academy (HeSAy) should continue within APEC. The Chair asked health ministers to coordinate with their APEC senior officials and relevant agencies in their economies to finalize the form for these activities.

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