The agenda of the proposed APEC Health Ministers' Meeting to discuss the SARS epidemic will be discussed at the upcoming APEC Senior Officials Meeting in Khon Kaen, Thailand.
Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda, said preparations for the meeting of APEC Health Ministers and identifying APEC's next steps in dealing with the SARS epidemic will be among important topics for APEC Senior Officials meeting in Khon Kaen next week.
"The details of the proposed Health Ministers' Meeting on SARS are due to be finalized by the Senior Officials of APEC economies," said Ambassador Milintachinda.
"It has been proposed that APEC Health Ministers will meet on the 28th of June. The precise details of the meeting will be finalized over the following two weeks.
"The job for APEC economies now is to learn from the SARS experience and the proposed Health Ministers' Meeting will provide such an opportunity.
"We anticipate the agenda will include the development of measures to further contain the epidemic while possibly identifying guiding principles to reduce the damage should similar cross-border issues arise in the future.
"SARS is more than a health issue as it has an enormous impact on the economic wellbeing of the region.
"Several APEC meetings had to be put on hold when concern and uncertainty surrounding the SARS epidemic was at its peak.
"Confidence is now returning to the region as governments and public generally come to better understand the virus.
"Hosting the APEC Senior Officials and Trade Ministers meetings on schedule in Khon Kaen is symbolic of this return in trust and confidence in each other.
"APEC meetings that were delayed are now being rescheduled and in the coming months we are all hoping travel will again pick-up and consumers will again start frequenting local businesses as usual."
Following the current round of APEC committee, working group, task force and other sub fora meetings, the APEC Senior Officials Meeting will take place in Khon Kaen, Thailand, on May 28-30. This will be followed by the Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade in Khon Kaen on June 2-3.
The agenda for the Khon Kaen meetings is available at: www.apecsec.org.sg