|Meeting of the Group of Friends on Disability within SOM2 framework. - VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Khang|
HÀ NỘI – The second APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 2) and related meetings began in Ha Noi yesterday, with participants discussing various issues of regional interest.
They include trade and investment liberalisation, business facilitation, human resource development, education, network economy, food safety, science, technology and creativity, mining, the automobile industry and urbanisation.
During a series of events which will last until May 21, APEC delegates are expected to speed up the implementation of long-term co-operation programmes and plans in key areas and reach consensus on documents to be submitted to ministers for approval. This will lay a foundation for documents for the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting and APEC Ministerial Meeting in central Đà Nẵng City in November.
A multi-stakeholder dialogue on APEC towards 2020 and beyond, a high-level policy dialogue on human resource development in the digital age, a Pacific Economic Cooperation Council meeting, a Senior Finance Officials Meeting and the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting will also be held.
The first working day saw meetings and workshops on mining, export, food safety, women’s role in the economy, and the disabled.
At the first Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) Meeting to discuss women’s role in the global economy, participants heard that women make immense contributions to development in the 21 APEC economies.
In her opening remarks, Hoàng Thị Thu Huyền, Deputy Director of the Gender Equality Department under Việt Nam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) said APEC member economies employed about 600 million women, with more than 60 per cent working in the formal sector, contributing up to US$89 billion annually to APEC.
Huyền, also chair of PPWE 2017, said APEC economies were working to remove barriers encountered by women as their potential to contribute to the region had not been realised.
She added that this goal was being realised through the efforts and leadership of the PPWE.
The meeting also aims to ensure the realisation of PPWE outcomes from 2016 and recommend steps to remove barriers faced by women.
MoLISA Deputy Minister Doãn Mậu Diệp applauded the PPWE’s work in the past ten years in showing the importance of women in the economy. The PPWE has contributed to closer ties between the public sector and private sector, as well as to mainstreaming policies and programmes on women’s economic empowerment in APEC activities, he said.
However, "more needs to be done to make APEC co-operation more beneficial to all women to ensure that no woman is left behind by social and economic growth, and that women can contribute to the development of APEC economies," he stressed.
A workshop was held in the framework of SOM2 yesterday to look into export certificates and their role in facilitating trade in safe food products in APEC.
The two-day workshop was organised by the Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance, the Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the Partnership Training Institute Network.
Participants spent the first day discussing topics such as developing baseline assessments and self-reporting among APEC economies in implanting principles for certification set by the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems.
They also held dialogues on using innovative options to improve communication and information flow related to export certificates and discussed past deliverables included in the APEC Export Certificate Toolbox and suggested possible updates.
They were provided with information on useful tools when considering export certificate regulations, including the use of good regulatory practices, using Codex guidance to determine when an export certificate is necessary, ways to streamline requirements, appropriate use of technology and elimination of unnecessary certificates.
Promoting rights of the disabled
At a meeting of the Group of Friends on Disability (GoFD), also in the framework of SOM2 yesterday, APEC delegates shared experience in promoting the rights of the disabled.
On behalf of the host country, Việt Nam’s MoLISA Deputy Minister Doãn Mậu Diệp praised the outcomes of the meetings of GoFD over the past years. He said the outcomes have laid an important foundation for co-ordination in APEC on issues relating to the people with disabilities in economic development. – VNS