Jakarta (ANTARA) - APEC officials renew commitment to advance quality growth in Asia-Pacific by focusing on social dimension of economic growth, as some technical meetings get underway in Lima starting on February 24 to conclude on March 8.

Peru is leading the forum’s work this year with its overarching theme of "Empower. Include. Grow", as noted in a written statement issued by the APEC Secretariat and received here on Wednesday.

The chosen theme was born out of intensive consultations involving some 350 meetings with Peruvian stakeholders, including business associations, non-governmental organizations, universities, indigenous communities, and women associations.

“In deciding our theme and priorities for this year, we took into account the change and impact the international system has had from the successive sets of shocks in the last 15 years,” Ambassador Carlos Vasquez, the 2024 Chair of APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting, stated.

“The common theme that stood out from all these shocks is digital technologies. We have seen how technology advances rapidly, helping dampen the impact of these shocks to our economies," Vasquez stated.

“For this reason, we need to prepare our people, our citizens, and our communities, empowering them with the skills that they need to build resilience to future shocks and to thrive. This is not only relevant to Peru but also to all APEC member economies,” he emphasized.

“Only when we enable and include more people to participate in an interconnected global economy and global value chains, we can achieve quality growth that is inclusive, sustainable, just, and equitable," Vasquez remarked.

The meetings in Lima cover a diverse range of topics that underpin Peru’s priorities for APEC 2024 from trade liberalization, facilitation, and inclusion to regulatory quality to increase productivity and formality.

Special focus will also be placed on narrowing gaps through inclusive digital transformation, reducing food loss and waste, as well as developing and implementing low-carbon hydrogen.

The First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) on March 7-8 will provide the overall direction for APEC’s work, as senior officials are tasked with implementing the instructions jointly agreed by leaders and ministers in San Francisco when they met there in November 2023.

Senior officials will also set key elements needed to deliver Peru’s 2024 priorities, including the transition of informal actors to the formal economy.

Earlier this week, Peru’s Vice Minister of Economy Zósimo Juan Pichihua Serna hosted the APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting in Arequipa, focusing on sustainable finance and infrastructure, clean energy transition, carbon measures, as well as digital financial inclusion, among others.

“APEC is a member-driven organization, whose success reflects the commitment to deepen regional economic integration and focus on sustainable and inclusive growth,” Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat Rebecca Sta Maria remarked.

“From the 1994 Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment to the 2020 Putrajaya Vision of open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community, the common thread through all the host years is the focus on our people and future generations," she highlighted.

Peru chairs APEC for the third time this year and will host more than 160 meetings across five cities: Arequipa, Cusco, Trujillo, Pucallpa, and Lima.

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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