In 2008, the SOM-level Steering Committee on Economic and Technical
Cooperation (SCE) began exploring innovative ways to enhance capacity
building activities in APEC as well as reviewed progress of the
outstanding issues of the SCE fora review such as the implementation of
the new guidelines and the independent assessment of working groups and
Over the past year, a total of 77 APEC-funded
ECOTECH projects were implemented by the SCE, APEC working groups,
committees and taskforces.
The SCE's key achievements this
year include the launch of an exercise to strengthen the Committee's
policy guidance role, the development of strategies to step up APEC's
cooperation with other multilateral organizations, as well as
exploration of alternative tools for capacity building.
the outstanding achievements, APEC managed to implement a more strategic
direction to reinforce the role of the SCE policy guidance. It also
developed strategies to improve cooperation with other international
organizations" confirmed Luis Quesada, Peru's Senior Official.
this way, Peru was monitoring the data collection, analysis and
evaluation to provide the Senior Officials with the necessary inputs for
decision making on the future work of APEC fora including
restructuring, disbanding or merging the existing bodies to
mainstreaming their objectives."
As part of the process of
independent fora review, SCE reviewed the independent assessments of the
Marine Resource Conservation Working Group and the Gender Focal Point
Network this year. These independent assessments offer an objective
evaluation of the work of the various subfora and provide useful
recommendations on whether and how to align their existing scope of work
with APEC's broader objectives.
Guided by an earlier survey on
the current state of cooperation between APEC and the multilateral
organizations as well as strategic policy options to improve engagement
with them, the SCE resolved to enhance APEC's collaboration with these
organizations. The need to apply the lessons learned from cases of
successful engagement, and the need to improve the "machinery" of the
engagement through better program development, coordination and tasking
is important. Our efforts this year will culminate in an SCE Policy
Dialogue with Multilateral Organizations in early 2009 in Singapore.
year, SCE also explored work placements and twinning arrangements as a
way to enhance capacity building in APEC. Twinning is a process that
pairs an individual, organization or network with other individuals,
organizations or networks of similar function in order to transfer
knowledge and build capacity. Specific twinning activities include staff
exchange, short and long term placements, advice or consulting
services, information sharing, study tours, mentoring, and training.
Australia assisted with a great deal of legwork by developing a toolkit
to guide economies' participation in such programs. The SCE invited its
members to actively consider developing pilot twinning programs that
can be launched in 2009. These programs present a versatile tool to
facilitate capacity building within our region, not only as
traditionally understood between a developed and developing economy, but
also between two similar economies or within a network of more than two
Finally, for APEC to develop more meaningful
economic and technical capacity building projects that directly address
the needs of member economies, we first need to figure out what the
priorities are. The SCE's key role is to provide policy guidance on
ways to contribute to APEC's ECOTECH goals. Singapore, as SCE Chair, put
forward a paper in August to outline the current state of economic and
technical cooperation (ECOTECH) activities within APEC. Areas of focus
such as the development of a goal-oriented framework to guide ECOTECH
activities, implementation of multi-year projects and leveraging on
APEC's partnership with other multilateral organizations and private
sector were proposed so that SCE could provide further strategic
The SCE tasked its various subfora to conduct a
detailed stock-take of their existing capacity building activities to
provide a clearer picture of the gaps that need to be filled. This
stock-take will serve as a basis for SCE to develop a forward-looking,
longer-term work plan on capacity-building.
There is much scope
to enhance the effectiveness of ECOTECH activities in APEC. Most
importantly, capacity-building should be viewed from a long-term
perspective. Broadening the traditional definition of projects from
one-off workshops and seminars to encompassing multi-year projects will
allow for more lasting and impactful outcomes.
As host of APEC 2008, Peru has placed an emphasis on capacity building for the region.
is widely accepted that economic and technical cooperation is one of
the most important means to address the gap between developed and
developing economies," said Mr. Quesada.
I want to take this
opportunity to commend the hard work put in by all the various subfora
as well as the APEC Secretariat and thank them for all the contributions
they made to fulfilling APEC's ECOTECH objectives. I would also like to
welcome Japan as the new Chair of the SCE in 2009 and wish them all the
best for their work in the coming year. Written by Mr.
Mr. HO Meng Kit, Chair of the APEC SOM Committee on Economic and
Technical Cooperation, Singapore's Deputy APEC Senior Official and
Deputy Secretary (Management) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.