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2010-2015 Medium Term Work Goals

posted May 19, 2014, 8:17 PM by APEC Admin   [ updated Jul 9, 2014, 7:58 PM by Admin Web ]

The Health Working Group will continue to identify opportunities to improve health security and prosperity in the region and make a critical contribution to APEC’s human security and inclusive and secure growth agenda. In order to achieve this, the HWG should take a leadership and coordinating role, as the expert group on health issues in APEC. Any activities that will be carried out through the HWG should continue to relate to APEC core areas, particularly economic and technical cooperation.

The Health Working Group could consider the following recommended areas of engagement:

  • To further examine and address the links between health, trade and economic development and cooperation.
  • To continue to strengthen APEC member economies capacity to respond to public health emergencies and emerging public health issues.
  • To commit to broader and longer-term multi-sectoral cooperation and coordination between health experts and other sectoral experts.

The HWG should focus on a limited number of areas which could produce tangible results under the two-year terms of the Chair, as well as respond to specific Leaders directives. As a Working Group, it will be important to continue to identify areas of cooperation and capacity building that can be achieved, or substantially initiated, within this timeframe to ensure continued productivity and relevance of the HWG’s workplan.

The APEC Health Ministers recommended in June 2007 that future work in APEC builds from the immediate emergency management of current health threats to maintaining systems and strategies that will be able to respond, while ensuring that we continue to invest and build our technical and structural responses to address future threats to health security.

(1) Enhancing preparedness for and effective management of Emerging and Re-emerging infectious diseases, Vector-borne diseases, HIV/AIDS and Pandemics

Based on the results of the “HTF Report on the Implementation of the APEC Action Plan on the Prevention and Response to Avian and Influenza Pandemics”, the HWG will continue to work on key elements of the Plan. Priority areas that have been identified are:
  • continuity of business and essential services through a deepened engagement of the private sector remains a key priority for ongoing work. This is an area that has been identified as critical to maintaining economic and social stability during a pandemic and other health emergencies;
  • the momentum behind the multi-sectoral cooperation and collaboration must be maintained;
  • the need for coordinated, consistent and culturally relevant risk communication approaches and information has been highlighted;
  • address agriculture and trade issues through enhanced collaboration with other APEC fora, particularly with the Agriculture Technical Cooperation Working Group and APEC Business Advisory Council;
  • coordinated regional response to avian and human pandemic influenza by developing consistent approaches with international and regional organizations and civil society groups and ensuring non-duplication of efforts, is seen as important to ensuring an effective response.
APEC Ministers and Leaders also noted with concern the spread of HIV/AIDS, which requires a multi-sectoral approach and response. Enhanced cooperation within APEC and movement towards the goal of universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support was called for.

(2) Building the capacity of prevention of Non-communicable Diseases including Injuries
The non-communicable disease especially lifestyle related diseases including obesity and diabetes not only in the developed countries but also in the developing countries is highly recognized as a critical area, rising along with the economic growth.

(3) Strengthening health systems of economies including health financing, human resources and
health information technologies which would contribute to inclusive and secure growth
  • Strengthening health system will be a basis of stability of a social economy and sound economic growth. Considering the development of health systems as investment for the future, maintaining the essential services and fair access and establishing quality and effective health system to provide qualitative and effective health services encourage to secure improvement of health, stability of life and high qualitative labour force. 
  • IT has great potential to enhance progress on health care. Investment in health information technology would address health and related economic challenges facing the region. 
  • As stated in the APEC Leaders’ Meeting Statement in 2009, we will also strengthen our health systems and cooperate to prevent and control emerging infectious diseases in the world.
      (4) Other Priorities
      Other potential priorities which have only begun to be addressed, and where there is merit to continue this work in APEC might include:

      broader and longer-term coordination, especially between animal and human health experts, to reduce the risk of the emergence of other zoonotic diseases;

      where applicable, improving awareness of and capacity to implement international regulations and recommendations, as outlined in the APEC Health Ministers' Statement, 2007;
        • improving awareness of and capacity to implement international regulations and recommendations, such as the International Health Regulations, as outlined in the APEC Health Ministers Statement, 2007;
        • improving cooperation and capacity of economies to promote international trade and the continued movement of people and goods, as appropriate, in the event of a health emergency;
        • business continuity and the maintenance of basic infrastructure and services during a public health emergency;
        • enhancing human resources and information communication related to health emergencies;
        • building a regular communication network mechanism for exchanging up-to-date information on health-related issues;
        • building our current infrastructure to address all events that could threaten health security (APEC HMM Statement);
        • strengthening public health capacity: Members could collaborate to strengthen regional and domestic capacities for public health surveillance and response as well as epidemic preparedness in an effort to minimise morbidity, mortality and economic loss;
        • assessing the economic impacts of non-communicable diseases/lifestyle diseases, as appropriate;
        • examining the links between health, the environment and economic development by examining the economic impact of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases, pollution and water quality as a result of changes in the environment.

                        The HWG will also function as a gateway to technical experts and also as a central policy “think tank”, which will center on inter-sectoral policy coherence and communications. An initial broad goal is to enhance and strengthen networking for a better response to regional health threats, including sharing relevant information in an effective and timely manner. In order to put this into effect, the HWG proposes to hold a policy panel with other APEC fora to discuss issues from their perspectives at one of the HWG meetings each year. The policy think tanks could examine the following topics:

                        • a policy forum on business continuity and maintenance of basic infrastructure (with invitations to ABAC; SMEWG; TFEP etc)
                        • a policy forum on the economic impacts of non-communicable diseases ( LSIF; WHO; ABAC etc)
                        • a policy forum on vector-borne diseases (ATCWG; TFEP etc)

                        The final decision on the policy forum topics will be taken after the Terms of Reference and the workplan have been agreed to ensure that the topics meet the objectives of the HWG.

                        APEC HWG 2010-2015 Medium Term Work Plan