New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will chair a 16 July meeting of APEC Leaders focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects.
“This is the first time in APEC’s history that leaders have held an extraordinary meeting at leaders’ level, and it reflects our desire to navigate together out of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis,” said Prime Minister Ardern.
“APEC economies have suffered their biggest contraction since the Second World War over the past year, with 81 million jobs lost. Responding collectively is vital to accelerate the economic recovery for the region.”
“Our region has already responded in significant ways, including removing barriers to the efficient distribution of vaccines and related goods, but there is still a lot of work to do to get through the crisis,” added Prime Minister Ardern.
“Leaders will share information so we can continue to build on our collective understanding of the region’s health response to COVID-19, and shape a collaborative economic response,” she continued.
Leading a regional response to the pandemic is one of New Zealand’s highest priorities as APEC Chair. It has been the focus of recent meetings of finance, structural reform and trade ministers, with all economies focused on international cooperation in responding to COVID-19 and laying the foundations for recovery.
“Containing COVID-19 through rapid, safe, and effective vaccination; micro- and macroeconomic policy settings to sustain businesses and workers; and building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies will all be on the agenda,” explained Prime Minister Ardern.
“I will be inviting discussion on immediate measures to achieve more coordinated regional action to assist recovery, as well as steps that will support inclusive and sustainable growth over the long term,” she added. “APEC Leaders will work together to get through the pandemic and promote a sustainable and inclusive recovery, because nobody is safe until everyone is safe.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, APEC has been responding collectively with numerous policy tools that address different pain points of the health and economic crisis.
These initiatives cover vaccines and essential goods and services, structural reform, as well as the resumption of safe and seamless cross-border travel.
Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, the APEC Secretariat’s Executive Director, emphasized that the pandemic provides more opportunities for greater cooperation among APEC members to ensure every economy recovers sustainably and inclusively from the crisis.
“Under the leadership of New Zealand as the host of APEC 2021, we are witnessing the urgency from member economies to join, work and eventually grow, together,” added Dr Sta Maria. “The top priority remains clear and that is to manage COVID-19 effectively and build back better.”
“The upcoming APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat is the first one in the forum’s history, and it is necessary for pushing forward our collective effort toward the region’s recovery,” Dr Sta Maria concluded.