A first for APEC: Leaders to gather virtually for extraordinary informal meeting
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will meet virtually with her Asia-Pacific counterparts in a first-of-its-kind meeting on July 16.
It will be the first ever Informal Leaders’ Retreat held by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, a collection of 21 economies around the Pacific Rim. It includes China, Australia, Russia and the United States. Leaders traditionally gather once in the year, during Leaders’ Week in November.
This year alone, APEC has responded in significant ways to the Covid-19 pandemic, including removing barriers to the efficient distribution of vaccines and related goods, but there is still a lot of urgent work to do to get through the crisis.
That outstanding work forms the basis of the informal retreat, chaired by the Prime Minister.
It will give leaders the opportunity to discuss immediate measures to assist recovery, as well as steps that will support inclusive and sustainable growth over the long term. On the agenda will be containing Covid-19 through rapid, safe, and effective vaccination; micro- and macro-economic policy settings to sustain businesses and workers; and building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies.
The APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat will allow leaders to signal their shared commitment to cooperating during this crisis for the benefit of the region, as well as laying the groundwork for a future-looking discussion, centred on implementing the Putrajaya Vision 2040. The Vision is APEC’s biggest piece of work since the 1990s and will replace the Bogor Goals. It will become a 20-year roadmap for the Asia-Pacific.
A regional response to the pandemic has been a focal point of New Zealand’s host year.
APEC-wide, GDP contracted by 1.9 percent in 2020, the biggest fall since World War II. While economic growth is recovering, about 81 million jobs have been lost due to the pandemic.
The region is home to 2.9 billion people, represents 60 per cent of world GDP and 48 per cent of world trade (according to 2018 figures).
Virtual media conference
At the end of the meeting, the Prime Minister will hold a media conference, starting at 1.30am on Saturday, July 17.
Media who have already completed the APEC 2021 accreditation process will be automatically registered for the APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat virtual media conference.
New Zealand-based media will have the option of participating in the media conference in person, in Wellington. Contact the media team at APEC2021media@mfat.govt.nz.
All media who are part of an APEC media delegation must be registered by their economy’s Media Accreditation Officer, via the APEC 2021 Registration Portal.
If you are unsure if you have already been accredited, or how to access the APEC 2021 participation portal, email APEC2021Support@mfat.govt.nz.