Kuala Lumpur, Nov 21 (IANS) The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have committed their efforts to combat the Covid-19 crisis and pushing for post-pandemic recovery in a coordinated manner.
At the virtually-held 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the bloc also launched a new long-term blueprint for regional cooperation, which envisions an “open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community”, reports Xinhua news agency.
In his opening speech on Friday, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said APEC would play a central role in spearheading post-pandemic recovery.
In a joint declaration later in the day, the APEC economic leaders announced their commitment to “stand united in our determination to enable the Asia-Pacific region to successfully recover from the pandemic and its economic impacts” amid one of the most “challenging health and economic crises”.
“We are committed to protecting our people’s lives and safeguarding their health. We resolve to further navigate the region towards recovery along the path of strong, balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth,” said the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, named after the capital city of Malaysia, the host of this year’s APEC meetings.
“Our coordinated action and cooperation are more important than ever to overcome the challenges of Covid-19 and realize new and emerging opportunities for prosperity for all,” it said.
The Malaysian premier said APEC’s immediate priority is to ensure readiness of the health and medical care institutions to provide critical treatment as well as to manage public health policies to contain the spread of the fatal virus.
Muhyiddin added that all leaders had noted their commitments to collaborate with and support each other for equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.
At the end of the meeting on Friday evening, the bloc’s economic leaders launched “APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040” which will replace the Bogor Goals to be expired this year.
Among the pledges, the APEC members are committed to continuing the work to deliver a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment.
Officials of the APEC economies are expected to complete a comprehensive implementation plan for the vision in 2021.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country, as the host of APEC in 2021, is committed to fostering an inclusive, sustainable and innovative future for the Asia-Pacific region.
“APEC 2021 will be the start of reigniting growth, implementing our new vision and setting a long lasting recovery across the entire region,” she said.
APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific.
APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.