Economics, health, women equality and transport at APEC's SOM3

Monday, October 10, 2011
Delegates ended APEC's SOM 3 and related meetings with action plans for connecting economies seamlessly, reducing diseases, empowering women and building better transportation systems.

The 2011 Senior Officials Meeting 3, were in San Francisco, USA, 11-26 September.

The senior officials plan to address barriers to trade and investment, and plan to present their findings at the Leaders Meeting in November. One of the ideal intentions is to "move economies in the region closer to achievement of the vision of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), a next-generation trade agreement, removing barriers to trade throughout the APEC region," according to a release from APEC.

Other meetings involved leaders in specific areas, including health, women, transportation and the environment.

Chronic Health

At the APEC Health Systems Innovation Dialogue, attended by APEC ministers and other high level officials, leading academics and health industry CEOs, leaders concluded that combating chronic diseases, such as cancer, asthma and diabetes, is already one of the major sources of death in the region and is expected to become worse. US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said that chronic diseases have accounted for 7 out of 10 deaths in the USA and 16.5 million deaths per year in 2008 in the entire Asia-Pacific region, with worldwide deaths predicted to be 52 million by 2030.

"Chronic disease lowers productivity and raises absenteeism," Sebelius said. "If you don’t feel the impact of chronic disease in rising health care costs, then you’ll feel it in lower productivity from your employees or a rising number of sick days." Further, depression and Alzheimer's haven't been included in most current chronic disease analysis but "will become significant elements," according to a release from APEC.

Women and the Economy Summit
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave the keynote address, and about 60 leading women from across the region presented at the Women and the Economy Summit, 13-16 September. Delegates signed the San Francisco Declaration and leaders will make a presentation of policy recommendations at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November.

"Laws, customs, and the values that fuel them all act as roadblocks to full inclusion," Clinton said. "In the United States and in every economy in APEC, millions of women are still sidelined, unable to find a meaningful place for themselves in the formal workforce."

Click for APEC's summary of the summit.

Further, at the 7th APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting, ministers discussed ways to encourage women to work in transportation.

Transportation ministers talked about the importance of public transportation as economic engines to growth and as cogs to improving the environment, but issues of safety, regulation and cooperation were also high on the agenda. The full Transportation declaration is available here.