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7th APEC High Level Meeting on Health and Economy held

Released at: 16:31, 25/08/2017 APEC Viet Nam 2017

7th APEC High Level Meeting on Health and Economy held

Photo: apec2017.vn

Investment in health is investment in development, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam tells gathering on August 23.

by Van Long

The 7th High-level Meeting on Health and the Economy was held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 23, attended by some 200 delegates from APEC economies and international organizations.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam emphasized that Asia-Pacific faces challenges in human health and its population is ageing at a rapid pace. “An investment in health is an investment in development,” he told the gathering. “Sharing policy successes and failures and applying lessons learned is critical to moving APEC member economies towards the common goal of a healthy Asia-Pacific.”

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said that universal health coverage (UHC) is a specific target within the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and a platform that brings together programs and actions for health and development. Using available funds efficiently and strategically, arranging appropriate service delivery models, regulating health service quality and safety, and empowering people and communities regarding health awareness are all needed on the pathway to UHC, she added.

“APEC economies with similar levels of health expenditure achieve strikingly different health outcomes from their investments,” she went on. “Clearly, no single mix of policy options will work in every setting.” She also asked delegates to discuss the challenges of raising sufficient public revenue for health and strategies for using available funds in an efficient manner, exploring and harnessing public and private innovations in expanding access to healthcare services. Initiatives and partnerships that contribute to achieving the goals set forth in the Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020 were also discussed.

APEC delegates discussed the issue of health financing reform for public health towards sustainable development, with several member economies facing similar health financing issues, such as over-budgeting and poor access to health in rural settings. The discussion also focused on measuring the progress of returning public investment in health and enabling alternative health financing mechanisms in the region.

On the same day, SOM 3 and Related Meetings entered its sixth working day in Ho Chi Minh City, with 13 activities from the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), the Economic Committee (EC), the Chemical Dialogue (CD), the E-Commerce Steering Group (ECSG), the Group on Services (GOS), the Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC), the Intellectual Property Experts’ Group (IPEG), the Business Mobility Group (BMG), and the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2).

The CTI held two workshops: a Workshop on the Application of Global Data Standards (GDS) for Supply Chains, and a Conference on Advertising Standards.

The SCSC organized a workshop on strengthening the capacity of policy specialists in the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. Issues on the agenda included Trade Facilitation, International Standardization, Active Participation in International Standardization, Good Regulation, Technology Infrastructure Development, Food Safety, Commodity Chemistry, Proposals for the Mutual Recognition Agreement for Electrical and Electronics Equipment, Standards and Conformity Education, and Interaction with Enterprises.

The “Enhancing ABTC” Working Group (ABTC) - Business Mobility Group (BMG) also met on August 23, where delegates exchanged views on how to integrate the web content of ABTC and BMG into the apec.org page and were updated with reports on system and risk management for the ABTC Scheme.

Continuing the previous working days, at the ECSG meeting, delegates heard the Report on the Development of EU Data Protection Policy and E-Commerce Policies, and the Report of the Data Security Subcommittee. They also elected a new chair and worked on strategies for the coming year.

During the Workshop on Developing a Set of Non-Binding Principles for Domestic Regulations of the Services Sector (GOS), delegates discussed measures to promote regional economic integration, such as transparency in services, goods, and environmental services, green development, and issues for trade and new generation investment. They also highlighted the contributions of GOS towards the realization of the priorities of APEC 2017.

The CD organized a workshop on sharing experiences in chemical management. Issues such as priorities and challenges in the chemical industry and updates on regulations on chemical management in member economies were discussed.

The A2C2 held its seventh meeting on the same day. Main topics were updates on the APEC Supply Chain Capacity Building and the Report on the Implementation Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan 2 (SCFAP II), including action plans, objectives, and indicators for progress measurements. Representatives from the private sector also presented examples of chokepoints raised at SCFAP II and recommended solutions for governments and industry partners.

The EC hosted a workshop on Exploring Options for Future APEC-OECD Cooperation on Good Regulatory Practice, which focused on the application of the APEC-OECD Integrated Checklist, updated progress in law reforms related to the Checklist, and recommended measures for enhanced cooperation between APEC and OECD in the future.

The IPEG began its second working day with the Seminar on Opportunities and Challenges to Commercializing New Plant Varieties for Developing Economies and SMEs.

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