The 2002 APEC Senior Officials' Report on Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) is being presented to Ministers and Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Los Cabos, Mexico this week.
The ECOTECH agenda is the body of projects and cooperative APEC activities created to encourage sustainable growth and equitable development, while reducing economic disparities among APEC economies.
This year's report identifies an increase in the proportion of projects devoted to building the skills of people in APEC economies.
Chair of APEC's ECOTECH Sub-Committee, Ambassador Elard Escala, said that over the past year 60% of the total of 128 ECOTECH projects were focused on the theme of 'developing human capital'.
"The challenge for ECOTECH over the past year has been to implement projects that enable people to have access to information, education and training," Ambassador Escala, said.
These human capacity projects empower people to take full advantage of the New Economy and to contribute more effectively in forums such as the WTO.
"For example, the APEC Human Capacity Building Promotion Program provides free online training for 1,500 senior IT professionals. The program provides a virtual classroom to support e-Learning in the Asia-Pacific region also has a cyber forum so as to encourage the involvement and feedback of all stakeholders."
"The APEC Education Foundation and the related Consortium for APEC Cyber Education Cooperation offer further opportunities for the advancement of cooperation in education and human capacity building efforts."
Ambassador Escala described 'Teleworking' as another area that APEC has focused on to achieve ECOTECH goals.
Through information sharing and the development of best practices models, traditionally disadvantaged groups such as women organizations, have greater avenues for seeking employment.
While the IT revolution offers opportunities for people with disabilities to overcome some physical limitations it can also amplify and compound their disabilities.
In order to ensure that people with disabilities, particularly youth, are not left behind or overlooked in today's IT-based society, an 'APEC Information and Technology Camp for Youth with Disabilities' was held in Seoul, Korea, in August 2002.
"Through these and any new priority areas that may be identified by APEC Ministers and Leaders at their meetings this week we will continue to make ECOTECH deliver real benefits and to make a real difference to the people of our communities."