Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC): Regional Economic Forum
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific.
The basic concept behind the formation of this regional economic forum was to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.
Functions of APEC
Multilateral Economic Forum: It operates as a cooperative, multilateral economic and trade forum. It is the only international intergovernmental grouping in the world committed to reducing barriers to trade and investment without requiring its members to enter into legally binding obligations. APEC achieves its goals by promoting dialogue and arriving at decisions on a consensus basis, giving equal weight to the views of all members.
Host Economy: Every year one of the 21 APEC Member Economies plays host to APEC meetings and serves as the APEC Chair. The APEC host economy is responsible for chairing the annual Economic Leaders' Meeting, selected Ministerial Meetings, Senior Officials Meetings, the APEC Business Advisory Council and the APEC Study Centres Consortium. Until 2009, the host has also filled the Executive Director position at the APEC Secretariat. From 2010, the appointment will be made on a fixed-term basis (3 yrs) and will be open to candidates from all Member Economies.
Funding: It is not a donor organisation but member economies provide voluntary contributions to support projects that advance APEC's trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation goals and to meet capacity-building needs, especially for APEC developing economies. Projects generally -
- Relate to the priorities of APEC Economic Leaders and APEC Ministers
- Cover the interest of at least several APEC member economies
- Build capacity
- Improve economic efficiency, and
- Encourage the participation of the business sector, non-governmental institutions and women.
Administrative structure of APEC
- APEC Secretariat: It provides coordination, technical and advisory support as well as information management, communications and public outreach services. It is based in Singapore and operates as the core support mechanism for the APEC process.
It performs a central project management role, assisting APEC Member Economies and APEC fora with overseeing more than 250 APEC-funded projects. APEC's annual budget is also administered by the APEC Secretariat.
- Staffing: It is headed by an Executive Director, Dr Alan Bollard. 2009 marked the last year when the position will be held on an annually rotating basis by an officer of Ambassadorial rank from the host economy. From 2010 the appointment has been made on a three-year fixed-term basis and is open to professional candidates from any of APEC's 21 member economies.
The Secretariat of APEC is staffed by a small team of program directors, seconded from APEC Member Economies. In addition, professional staff fulfil specialist and support functions at the APEC Secretariat.
- ISO Certification: In 2002, the APEC Secretariat obtained ISO 9001 Quality Management Certification. This recognises the continuous efforts made by the APEC Secretariat to provide improved administrative and support activities. The APEC Secretariat is the first multilateral trade-related secretariat to attain ISO certification.