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ISOM: The informal meeting that sets the tone of the year

APEC 2021 Deputy Secretary Andrea Smith.

From December 9-11, the Informal Senior Officials Meeting (ISOM) will open APEC 2021 and set the scene for New Zealand’s host year.

Key note presentations from the opening day will be streamed on the APEC website after 4pm It features addresses from World Bank Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships Mari Pangestu; Richard Baldwin, Professor of International Economics, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies; Ma Jun, Chairman, Green Finance Committee of China Society for Finance and Banking; and Denis Hew, Director, APEC Policy Support Unit.

APEC 2021 Deputy Secretary Andrea Smith says New Zealand aims to hold onto the spirit of the traditionally in-person meeting, while also embracing the shift to digital diplomacy.

“This year is different, but our goal is to retain the essence of APEC, starting with ISOM. This event is an ideal way to kick off fresh discussions on the things that matter to Asia-Pacific economies now. For APEC economies this year, talks will be focused on COVID-19, and supporting the region’s economic recovery.”

At ISOM, the APEC economies discuss and prioritise all the work that will take place throughout the following APEC year. From 9 -11 December, New Zealand’s APEC Senior Official Vangelis Vitalis will virtually host a series of events, including a symposium, which brings together global thinkers on issues important to APEC, and an informal plenary meeting.

“APEC is non-binding, which is part of its strength. It provides a forum where economies work together and talk together for the better. ISOM is an important opportunity to set expectations for the year ahead,” Ms Smith says.