People, Place, Prosperity Discussed at APEC ForumBy Sofía Hanna | Wed, 02/17/2021 - 11:13
The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the private-sector arm of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and business leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific economies held a virtual meeting to discuss strategies that could help to rebuild these regions' economies following the pandemic. ABAC is a private-sector body that offers recommendations and advises APEC officials on private sector priorities and concerns.
"Overcoming the current adversity, whether restoring public health, reopening borders, securing economic recovery or achieving more equitable communities, demands constructive, creative and, above all, collaborative approaches," said Rachel Taulelei, Chair of ABAC, according to the official APEC news release. She then proceeded to explain that this year, the main focus must be on people, place and prosperity.
"People" was the first element to be discussed. The main issue to solve is ensuring people from Asia and the Pacific have access to COVID-19 vaccines, food supplies and essential goods. Women and indigenous population empowerment were also addressed, to boost the opportunities and economies of each country.
The discussion around "Place" revolved around safeguarding the planet. "We aspire to lead on climate change. We will be looking for ways to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, through boosting renewable energy, encouraging innovation and by weaning ourselves off environmentally-harmful subsidies," said Taulelei.
Regarding "Prosperity," the main goal is having free and open markets. This means developing a "free-trade area in the Asia-Pacific" with functioning supply chains and trade flows, while reopening borders and resuming travel, which will revive the region's economic growth, Taulelei added.
Digital tools will be fundamental to achieve these goals. ABAC mentioned emerging technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) that could allow greater opportunities. "Despite – or perhaps because of – the pandemic, we have the highest possible ambitions for this year. We cannot emerge unchanged from COVID-19 but nor should we want to. The Vision calls for an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040. The road to get there will not be easy. But the business of business is solving problems," reads the statement.
Solving issues like these have been imperative to face the pandemic. A few months back, as mentioned in several MBN articles, poverty rates were escalating and SMEs were at high risk due to the pandemic. By being considered in plans like APEC’s, solutions can start to be implemented.