A memorandum of understanding on China’s contribution to the sub-fund was signed virtually by China’s APEC Senior Official Lu Mei and Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat Rebecca Sta Maria, according to a release issued by the APEC Secretariat and received here on Wednesday.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to APEC members that requires a collective and inclusive response," Lu emphasized.
"APEC economies have strengthened cooperation to respond to COVID-19. The establishment of the sub-fund is part of these varied and continuous efforts as well as the contribution of additional resources across APEC to combat the pandemic," she stated.
"We hope that this sub-fund would assist APEC in combatting current and future pandemics, safeguarding the health and well-being of people, accelerating economic recovery, and harnessing new opportunities of the digital economy, which also contributes to the implementation of the APEC Putrajaya Vision," Lu remarked.
APEC is responding to COVID-19 with numerous policy measures and tools that address different pain points caused by the health and economic crisis.
Those initiatives range from high-level commitments to expert analyses and recommendations as well as innovative tools and practical projects.
The sub-fund on combating COVID-19 and economic recovery will be directed to support projects and initiatives to help member economies in their efforts to address and manage the economic impacts of COVID-19, strengthen public health systems and capacity building, expedite economic recovery, and build resiliency against future large-scale economic disruptions.
The sub-fund also aims to facilitate APEC economies to better adapt to available and innovative digital tools, such as tele-medicine, online education, and teleworking to boost economic recovery and growth.
Member economies can also tap into the sub-fund for activities that support capacity building for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and vulnerable groups to recover and build resiliency to economic disruptions caused by COVID-19.
"As we keep our focus on recovery, we see opportunities for member economies to deepen cooperation and work together for the prosperity of all our people," according to APEC Secretariat’s Executive Director, Rebecca Sta Maria.
"This sub-fund will support initiatives focused on recovery in APEC, ensuring that we remain the world’s most dynamic and interconnected region," she remarked.
Projects are a vital part of the APEC process. They help translate the policy directions of APEC Economic Leaders and Ministers into actions and help create tangible benefits for people living in the Asia-Pacific region.
APEC provides funding for over 100 projects each year, with around US$17.7 million available in 2021.
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