KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — The 27th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) concluded today with its 21 member economies agreeing to cooperate constructively in combatting COVID-19.
The areas of cooperation include research and development as well as production, manufacturing and distribution of diagnostic tests, essential medical products and services, therapeutics and vaccines, the APEC leaders said in a joint declaration — the 2020 Kuala Lumpur Declaration — issued after the virtual meeting.
Therefore, APEC economies will emphasise on science, technology and innovation, which is crucial to the region’s post-COVID-19 recovery.
The leaders also highlighted the importance of facilitating equitable access to safe, quality, effective and affordable vaccines and other medical countermeasures that are vital to safeguard people’s health and well-being, while incentivising innovation.
“We acknowledge that the role of extensive immunisation against COVID-19 is critical in order to bring the pandemic to an end,” they said.
On digital economy, the APEC economies recognised the importance of the development and contribution of digital technologies in safeguarding people’s health and protecting the region from health threats, and enhancing resilience, scalability and sustainability of health systems, thereby moving towards universal health coverage.
They will also strive to ensure the region is able to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts.
“We resolve to further navigate the region towards recovery along the path of strong, balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth.
“Our coordinated action and cooperation are more important than ever to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 and realise new and emerging opportunities for prosperity for all,” they said.
While expressing deepest condolences to those who have suffered and lost loved ones due to the pandemic, the leaders recognised the need to enhance stimulus measures that facilitate economic recovery and job creation.
“We acknowledge the need to support developing economies in combatting COVID-19,” they said, adding that APEC economies will work together to ensure trade and investment can continue to flow in these trying times.