The APEC Economic Leaders' Economic Vision Statement at Blake Island, Seattle, USA in November 1993 stated, "Our environment is improved as we protect the quality of our air, water and green spaces and manage our energy resources and renewable resources to ensure sustainable growth and provide a more secure future for our people". This statement provides the mandate for APEC's work on sustainable development.
In March 1994 Ministers adopted an Environmental Vision Statement and a Framework of Principles for Integrating Economy and Development in APEC. The APEC Economic Leaders' Declaration for Action issued in Japan in November 1995 reaffirmed the integration of environment and sustainable development into APEC activities. The Economic Leaders' Declaration in Canada in November 1997 stated that "Achieving sustainable development is at the heart of APEC's mandate". Leaders also directed Ministers to develop specific initiatives to implement an initial work program for sustainable development in APEC that includes the themes of sustainability of the marine environment, clean technology and clean production, and sustainable cities. In the same year, APEC Environment Ministers endorsed the Action Plan for Sustainability of the Marine Environment, the APEC Sustainable Cities Program of Action, and the APEC Cleaner Production Strategy. Three sub-themes of sustainable cities, cleaner production, and sustainability of the marine environment were added to the ECOTECH priority themes. At their 1998 meeting in Malaysia, Leaders reiterated their commitment, "... to advance sustainable development across the entire spectrum of our workplan..."
APEC Ministers in 1996 decided that APEC Senior Officials should prepare an annual review of activities of sustainable development in APEC, to monitor the development and implementation of sustainable development initiatives as well as to coordinate and provide guidance to APEC fora. The APEC Secretariat was tasked to compile an annual overview of sustainable development work across APEC fora. This overview updates the stocktaking exercise on sustainable development for each year.
Although there has been no formal meeting of the Senior Environment Officials' group since the Environment Ministers' Meeting in 1997, since sustainable development is a cross-cutting issue, implementation of the related initiatives have been carried out by the relevant sectoral fora.
In the 2001 APEC Leaders' meeting, Leaders noted that many APEC Member Economies would be meeting in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 to reinvigorate the commitment to sustainable development in pursuit of enhancing economic growth, promoting human and social development and protecting the environment as interdependent objectives. Leaders pledged that APEC, which has undertaken a broad range of activities in this area, would consider how to contribute to the success of the World Summit and take forward the outcomes in its work program.
A consolidated report on the contribution of APEC to sustainable development was presented to the WSSD and acknowledged by the Ministers and Leaders.