Russia and the APEC Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Understanding today on Russia's voluntary contribution of USD 3 million to the General Fund of the APEC Support Fund.

This untied contribution will add to APEC's budgetary expenditure for capacity building projects that will assist developing economies achieve APEC's goal to engage in trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. The contribution will support workshops and pilot projects that bring developing members up to speed - providing them with the technical expertise to adopt APEC initiatives from food safety testing to electronic customs systems at borders.

"APEC's success is built on our capacity building component and we appreciate Russia's commitment to support this critical element," explained Dr Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.

"New initiatives launched by APEC include a series of training workshops and projects to ensure that every member, particularly developing economies, gain the necessary know-how to implement the specific initiative in their economy," added Bollard.

For example, APEC's efforts to improve food safety standards across the region included in-laboratory training of scientists in developing economies on the latest technologies for salmonella or E-coli bacteria detection. Russia has also supported APEC's emergency preparedness initiatives through building cooperation on rapid medical response teams and enhancing small and medium enterprises' disaster resilience.

APEC provides funding for around 100 projects each year, with more than USD 11 million available for APEC projects in 2014. Over 2000 projects have been undertaken since 1993, when APEC initiated project work. At any moment in time, up to 150 projects may be in implementation. The majority of projects are focused on transferring knowledge and skills between members and building capacity so that each economy can move closer towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment

"Russia's financial contribution to APEC's capacity building projects reflects our strong support for achieving APEC's long-term goals of innovative, secure, balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific," said Ambassador Valery Sorokin, Russia's APEC Senior Official, at a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony in Beijing.

"Among other practically important endeavors in APEC, Russian scientists and experts have played an important role in providing expertise on technical training from satellite applications for emergency preparedness to piloting smart micro-grid projects for remote communities. We look forward to continuing our support of APEC's project activities as the major capacity building mechanism which enables APEC members to achieve our common goals," added Sorokin.

Russia's Memorandum of Understanding with the APEC Secretariat provides USD 1 million annually beginning in 2015 through 2017, resulting in a total of USD 3 million that will be added to the APEC Support Fund for capacity building projects. The Fund is administered by the APEC Secretariat and project proposals selected by APEC Working Groups. Any member economy can submit a proposal for project funding on a diverse range of topics from energy efficiency to simplifying customs procedures.

For more information on APEC projects, click here.

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