SOM Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation
APEC members engage in economic and technical cooperation to facilitate the development and implementation of measures that promote trade, investment and sustainable growth, bridging gaps in their level of development and available resources.
The APEC Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE) coordinates and manages the APEC members' economic and technical cooperation (ECOTECH) agenda, which is outlined in the Osaka Action Agenda. In 1996, a Framework for Strengthening Economic Cooperation and Development was adopted to guide members in implementing the Osaka Action Agenda.
The objectives of the SCE are to
- Support the implementation of APEC's ECOTECH activities by prioritizing work based on the commitments made by Leaders and Ministers, and overseeing the work of APEC fora
- Provide policy guidance on ways to contribute to APEC's ECOTECH goals
- Coordinate ECOTECH objectives and priorities between the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and the APEC ministerial meetings
In 2010, Senior Officials endorsed a new Framework to Guide ECOTECH Activities for APEC-funded capacity building and other ECOTECH activities. This framework adopted a holistic approach by
- Revising APEC ECOTECH priorities
- Introducing a uniform set of criteria for all project funding, where funding is based on the link between proposals and APEC’s core objectives
Within this framework, the following medium-term ECOTECH priorities are established for the period of 2015–2019:
- Developing human capital through capacity building
- Developing and strengthening the dynamism of SMEs
- Harnessing technologies for the future and supporting innovation
- Inclusive growth—addressing the social dimension of globalization, health and gender
- Regional economic integration
- Structural reform
- Safeguarding the quality of life through sustainable growth
- Human security
In addition, the SCE serves a coordinating role between its sub-fora to further host year goals and priorities.
The SCE was first established as the SOM Sub-Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation in 1998. In 2002, the sub-committee was elevated to the SOM Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation. In 2005, the ESC was strengthened and transformed into the SOM Steering Committee on ECOTECH (SCE).
In 2012, the SCE conducted an internal review of its working mechanisms and new terms of reference was endorsed and reconfirmed in 2018.
Under the SCE are 15 sub-fora:
- Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG)
- Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts’ Working Group (ACWG)
- Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CTWG)
- Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG)
- Energy Working Group (EWG)
- Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT)
- Health Working Group (HWG)
- Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG)
- Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG)
- Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI)
- Policy Partnership for Women and the Economy (PPWE)
- Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG)
- Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TELWG)
- Tourism Working Group (TWG)
- Transportation Working Group (TPTWG)
The SCE remains actively involved in coordinating issues across its sub-fora and between SCE sub-fora and other committees. The SCE is currently overseeing the development of implementation plans for the La Serena Roadmap on Women and Inclusive Growth; the APEC Roadmap on Marine Debris and the APEC Roadmap on Combatting Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) Fishing. In addition, the SCE is the committee responsible for overseeing various activities on remote areas, mining, smart cities and the circular economy.
Development of a new system to assess SCE Fora
In 2018 the SCE developed a new standardized system to assess SCE fora. The annual assessments of 2018 were conducted by an assessment team comprising the representatives from the preceding, current and next year’s SCE chairing economies—as well as any other volunteering economies and with assistance from the Secretariat. Assessments were based on the data and information produced through the standardized program for a group of SCE sub-fora, pursuant to their terms of reference and the decisions of the SCE. This program was further refined in 2019 with seven sub-fora being assessed: the Experts’ Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade; Emergency Preparedness Working Group; Health Working Group; Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation; Oceans and Fisheries Working Group; Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group; and Tourism Working Group.
The SCE endorsed a schedule and timeline for a full cycle of assessments of all fora by 2020 at the third meeting of that year (SCE3).
Promotion of crosscutting agenda
The SCE and the APEC Secretariat have been facilitating cross-forum collaboration through the SCE Committee of the Whole (COW), through the Lead-Shepherds and Chairs’ Meeting, through a crosscutting map of initiatives, and through identifying areas to create synergies for cooperation.
The SCE has continued to promote such collaborations. These efforts have seen a marked increase in the number of crosscutting agendas across SCE fora and APEC Committees, such as:
- Structural Reform and Gender (collaboration between EC and PPWE)
- Compendium on Methodologies for SMEs Internationalization (Collaboration between CTI and SMEWG)
- Food Security Symposium—which included the 2nd ACTWG, HLPDBT, OFWG, PPFS Meeting
- Workshop on Promoting Regional Connectivity of Professionally Qualified Engineers in APEC (collaboration of GOS and HRDWG)
- Healthy Women and Healthy Economies (PPWE and HRDWG)
- Implementing the APEC Women in STEM Framework (PPWE and PPSTI)
- The continued encouragement of cross-forum meetings and cross-forum participation
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SOM Senior Officials' MeetingPutrajaya, Malaysia
Mr Mark TALBOT
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms T. Renee WATKINS