The “APEC Action Plan on the Prevention and Response to Avian and Influenza Pandemics” was developed in 2006 by the Health Task Force. The plan was endorsed at a special APEC Ministerial Meeting on Avian and Influenza Pandemics held in Da Nang, Viet Nam in May 2006.
Other guidelines on pandemics and HIV/AIDS were also developed—namely, the “APEC Functioning Economies in Times of Pandemic Guidelines” and the “Guidelines for Creating an Enabling Environment for Employers to Implement Effective Workplace Practice for People Living with HIV/AIDS.”
In addition, APEC Leaders have agreed to support the sharing of influenza specimens in a timely manner and to promote transparent, fair and equitable access to vaccines and other benefits that derive from them.
At the HWG's main meeting in August 2009, members supported the strengthening of cooperation with ASEAN, with a view to sharing information on regional experiences and initiatives. ASEAN representatives were invited to attend the HWG’s activities going forward and HWG members have endeavored to attend ASEAN meetings when invited.
The 2009 APEC Leaders' Declaration, reaffirmed the commitment of the Leaders to strengthen the region’s capacity against avian influenza and other potential emergency and sub-emergency diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Leaders also emphasized strengthening the region's health systems and cooperation between economies to prevent and control emerging infectious diseases.
In 2010, a new “Framework to Guide ECOTECH Activities” was put in place to guide the work of the HWG. "Human Security" was identified as one of the medium-term priorities for all APEC economies to work towards.
In February 2012, the HWG started an initiative to improve maternal and child welfare across the APEC region, to be carried out in 2012 and which focused on protecting women’s health and lowering infant mortality rates.
In June 2012, a High Level Dialogue on Health and the Economy was held in St. Petersburg, Russia. HWG members acknowledged health as an economic asset that should be preserved and enhanced to drive sustainable economic growth.
In April 2013, a Health Policy Dialogue on Getting to Zero on HIV and AIDS to Support Sustainable Growth in the Asia Pacific Region was held in Surabaya, Indonesia. Some recommendations were made to be sent to APEC Ministers for endorsement.
In July 2013, the HWG Strategic Plan was endorsed in Medan during the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM3).
In 2014, the “Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 Initiative” was endorsed during the Fourth APEC High Level Meeting on Health & the Economy (HLM4), providing guidance for the development of sustainable and high performing health systems to address the social and economic burden of disease.
In August 2015, a Roadmap for the Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 Initiative was developed by the Health Working Group (HWG) and the Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF).
The Fifth APEC High Level Meeting on Health & the Economy (HLM5) agreed that the Roadmap covers five critical success factors and relevant key actions to ensure that the initiative is implemented in a meaningful, sustainable and cost-effective way.
These critical success factors are:
- Government commitment to health
- Platforms for policy dialogue and stakeholder engagement
- Promoting prevention, control and awareness
- Inter-sectoral and cross-border collaboration
The Roadmap aims to mitigate threats to the region’s people, trade and economic security and should be adapted as appropriate by each member economy.
In February 2016, the HWG reviewed its draft 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and discussed draft “Guidelines for Engagement Between the Health Working Group and the Private Sector,” which deal with issues relating to the management of conflicts of interest, the guarantee of competitive neutrality and open and transparent engagement.
In August 2016, the HWG endorsed the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan for enhancing the KPI indicators and information sharing among members.
The group also endorsed the “Guidelines for Engagement between the HWG and the Private Sector” to avoid conflict of interest for private-sector participation.
The Sixth APEC High Level Meeting on Health & the Economy (HLM6) recommended the following to APEC Ministers and Leaders:
- Recognize the importance of implementing the HAP2020 Roadmap
- Welcome efforts to build more efficient and high-performing health systems by reducing waste, improving the quality of care, ensuring proper workforce planning, aiming for sufficient resources for health in domestic budgets, making high impact investments, and promoting public-private-academic partnerships
- Recognize the role of policy, regulatory, and legal frameworks in providing incentives for the discovery and development of new medicines and technologies
- Support the cooperation among universities, public research institutions, and the private sector on life science innovations
- Welcome future collaboration with Senior Finance Officials on the fiscal and economic impacts of ill-health