Building APEC’s Institutional Architecture: Crosscutting and Participatory Mechanisms for Sustainable Development

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Recommended Citation

David G. Morgan, "Building APEC’s Institutional Architecture: Crosscutting and Participatory Mechanisms for Sustainable Development", EASSNet, June 24, 2000, https://nautilus.org/eassnet/building-apecs-institutional-architecture-crosscutting-and-participatory-mechanisms-for-sustainable-development/

Some Preliminary Thoughts


David G. Morgan, M.A., LL.M*



At a March 1996 workshop in Vancouver, Canada -- "The Environment 
and the Economy in APEC: Realizing Convergence"1 -- a group of 
leaders of National Sustainable Development Councils (NCSDs) from 
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies determined 
that the best way to have sustainable development considerations 
integrated into the APEC agenda was through their persuading the 
given year's APEC host to invite representatives from the key 
sustainable development organizations of each APEC economy to 
convene in the host economy some months before the annual Summit. 
This 'Regional Environmental Cooperation Forum' would consider a 
sustainable development issue (or issues) that affect the region as such, 
or that is important to all the constituent economies, and that had been 
identified as an issue of particular concern to the year's host. The 
advice would be made available for the consideration of the Economic 
Committee, the Committee on Trade and Investment, APEC Senior 
Officials and the Leaders themselves, as applicable and appropriate.  
This conclusion reflected the participants' view that as the Summit host 
possesses significant latitude in crafting the APEC agenda for the year 
and is the catalyzing agent in APEC, the only viable way to have SD 
better integrated is through direction from the top. The Chairs of the 
NCSDs of both this year's and next year's APEC host (the Philippines 
and Canada, respectively) committed to trying to make the plan a 
reality.

What stands behind this determination? What does it reveal about 
APEC's present institutional architecture? Are there other, perhaps 
better, opportunities for having environmental considerations moved 
from the periphery of decision-making to the core? Each of these 
questions will be taken up in turn.

In the end, the author advocates the creation by APEC of an 
Environmental Eminent Persons Group as well as the convening of ad 
hoc Regional Environmental Cooperation fora of the sort outlined 
above.   The two would be complementary.  The Environmental 
Eminent Persons Group would have the task of developing and 
articulating a strategic vision for sustainable development in APEC, 
determining priority areas and suggesting solutions.  The Regional 
Environmental Cooperation Forum would suggest ways a particular 
issue could be implemented, using the participants' collective expertise 
in reconciling the sometimes competing, sometimes complementary 
goals of environmental and economic improvement and their collective 
experience with the complexities and trade-offs that inhere in the 
accommodation of diverse points of view and priorities.  



(1)	The Rationale for the 'Realizing Convergence' Decision: 
	The key elements of the proposed Regional Environmental 
Cooperation Forum are as follows:
 
(1)	It is to be comprised of selected members of National 
Sustainable Development Councils 	(NCSDs) from all APEC 
economies;

(2)	It is to be convened each year, some months in advance of the 
APEC Summit;

(3)	Members would consider a sustainable development issue (or 
issues) that affects the region as 	such, or that is important to all the 
constituent economies, and that had been identified as an 	issue of 
particular concern to the year's host; and

(4)	The advice would be made available for the consideration of 
the Economic Committee, the 	Committee on Trade and 
Investment, APEC Senior Officials and the Economic Leaders 
	themselves, as applicable and appropriate.


Of these four elements, the first is probably the most contentious: Why 
NCSDs? Why not others, either in addition to these individuals or 
instead of them? Viewed cynically, there is nothing surprising about 
members of NCSDs determining that they, in particular, would be 
ideally suited to offer good advice to APEC Leaders. However, there 
are compelling reasons for having NCSDs form at least the kernel of 
any ad hoc Regional Environmental Cooperation Forum. Because 
NCSDs are multi-stakeholder bodies, NCSD members can be expected 
to be fully familiar with the cross-cutting nature of environmental 
issues and with the complexities and trade-offs that inhere in the 
accommodation of diverse points of view and priorities. Secondly, 
NCSDs are traditionally established by the executive branch of the 
given government, and thus often enjoy an access to governmental 
decision-makers not parallelled by most non-governmental 
organizations. Third, there are powerful incentives to provide practical 
policy advice built in to the very nature of these organizations: in 
effect, their continued existence is predicated on their on-going utility 
to policy  makers. Additionally, there is an administrative value in 
limiting the number of would-be participants (and in having a coherent 
basis for so doing).   That being said, not all APEC economies have 
NCSDs and among those that do, there is a wide diversity among the 
NCSDs' structure, mandate and familiarity with APEC. There is no 
compelling reason to limit participation in the Regional Environmental 
Cooperation Forum to NCSD members. What is important is that, 
whoever participates, they possess at least most of the characteristics 
identified above.2

The second element of the Realizing Convergence proposal is that the 
Regional Environmental Cooperation Forum be convened each year at 
the initiative of the APEC host, some months in advance of the APEC 
Summit. The reason for this is quite straight-forward. The support of 
the APEC host is viewed as critical, as without it there is less likelihood 
that the outcomes of any meeting will influence APEC officials' 
agendas. By having the event proximate in time to the Summit, its 
outcomes are more likely to generate interest both within and without 
APEC circles and are thus more likely to be incorporated into final 
outcomes.

The third element is that members of the Regional Environmental 
Cooperation Forum consider a sustainable development issue (or 
issues) that affects the region as such, or that is important to all the 
constituent economies, and that had been identified as an issue of 
particular concern to the year's host. A number of important points are 
embedded in this third element.  One is that no more than one or two 
issues be considered at any one time. This is a practical consideration, 
anchored in the belief that in order for well-considered policy options 
to emanate from the gathering, participants' attention cannot be too 
diffuse. The reason for limiting discussion to issues that are either 
inherently regional or common to all economies within the region is 
perhaps too obvious to require elaboration. At the same time, it does 
bear emphasizing that APEC members tend to be very jealous of their 
respective 'sovereignty' and very reticent to have APEC transform into 
anything even vaguely supranational. No initiative would be acceptable 
that was not aimed either at addressing an inherently regional issue or 
one that, while in one sense local, affected all economies and was 
susceptible to amelioration through some form of international 
cooperation. The last component of this third element is likewise 
obvious: since the host Leader is the primary audience for the forum's 
outcomes and since the forum is convened at the initiative or at least at 
the sufferance of that Leader, it is only prudent to ensure that the topic 
is important to him or her. 

The final element of the Realizing Convergence proposal is that advice 
would be made available for the consideration of the Economic 
Committee, the Committee on Trade and Investment, APEC Senior 
Officials and the Economic Leaders themselves, as applicable and 
appropriate.   The rationale for this point is that there is no one 
institution within APEC that can house all of what might issue from the 
forum.3


(2) APEC's Institutional Architecture:

The proposal to establish an ad hoc Regional Environmental 
Cooperation forum stands against the reality of a core institutional 
deficiency within APEC: there is no one institution that can or does 
systematically consider how to address or anticipate the environmental 
consequences  of rapid economic growth in the various APEC 
economies and of the increasing economic integration among them. 
This growth and integration is remarkable. On average, Asian 
economies grew 6% in 1995. By the year 2020, if growth continues 
anywhere near its recent pace, China will have the world's largest 
economy (measured by GDP and by reference to purchasing power 
parity), the United States will have the second largest, and Japan, 
Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand will all be in the top ten.4 
According to World Bank estimates, foreign direct investment (FDI) in 
East Asia grew from $1.3 billion USD in 1980 to an estimated $42.7 
billion in 1994. In the same time period, portfolio investment went 
from zero to an estimated $17.6 billion. Total capital inflows tripled 
from 1990 to 1994 to reach an estimated $91 billion.5   
APEC also encompasses one of the most highly integrated economic 
regions in the world. Nearly 70% of total APEC trade is intra-regional. 
In East Asia, about 45% of total East Asian trade is with other East 
Asian countries.6 And while the significant increase in FDI has already 
been noted, it is also important that the flow of FDI within APEC is not 
only from its developed economies to its developing ones: in 1993, the 
share of FDI from developing Asian countries amounted to 45% of the 
total FDI stock of Asian countries.  In other words, almost every 
second FDI dollar in developing Asia comes from another developing 
country in the region.7

The impact of economic growth on the environment is complex and 
mixed.8  It is clear enough, however, that so long as environmental 
goods remain unpriced or inadequately priced, one cannot simply rely 
on market mechanisms to attain sustainable development. It is also 
clear that national responses -- however meritorious on their own terms 
-- will not be sufficient to deal with environmental issues in a region as 
economically integrated and interdependent as the Asia Pacific region; 
indeed, this very integration impedes many autonomous 'pro-
environmental' initiatives because of real or perceived (negative) 
competitiveness effects associated with going-it-alone in the context of 
porous borders.  In these circumstances, the lack of an institution within 
APEC with the mandate and capacity to identify, analyze and propose 
policy responses for sustainable development issues on a regional level 
is a grave problem.

Currently, APEC exists as a process of regular intergovernmental 
meetings at four levels: the Working Group and Committee level; 
Senior Officials Meetings (SOMs); Meetings of Foreign Affairs and 
Economic/Trade Ministers; and Economic Leaders Meetings 
(Summits).  There are currently three Committees (the Committee for 
Trade and Investment; the Economic Committee and the Budget and 
Administrative Committee), an Ad Hoc Policy Level Group on Small 
and Medium Sized Enterprises, a Task Force on Agriculture Technical 
Cooperation, and ten Working Groups (Trade and Investment Data 
Review; Trade Promotion; Industrial Science and Technology; Human 
Resources Development; Regional Energy Cooperation; Marine 
Resource Conservation; Telecommunications; Transportation; 
Tourism; and Fisheries).   Meetings of APEC Senior Officials are held 
quarterly.  Senior Officials coordinate the preparation of Ministerial 
and Leaders meetings and oversee the work programme mandated by 
Ministers and Leaders that is carried out by the Committee on Trade 
and Investment, the Economic Committee, the ten sectoral working 
groups and meetings of experts.  APEC Ministerials occur annually.  
The Foreign Affairs and Economic/Trade Ministers from APEC 
economies direct and evaluate the SOMs' work. APEC Summits have 
occurred every year since 1993 and alternate between ASEAN and 
non-ASEAN APEC economies.9
In recent years, a pattern has developed whereby there are also ad hoc 
meetings of Ministers from departments other than foreign affairs and 
trade, and also meetings of senior officials from those other 
departments in preparation for those (other) Ministerials.  For example, 
there have been meetings of Environment Ministers in 1994 and 1996 
and another such meeting is scheduled for 1997.  Finance Ministers 
have now met three times.  This is a welcome phenomenon, as high 
level meetings generate if not compel 'deliverables' and bring in some 
sectoral expertise.  However, the fact that -- in APEC parlance --  'the 
SOM' and 'the Ministerial' still refer to meetings of foreign affairs and 
trade officials and Ministers gives an indication of the relative 
importance of the Ministries within APEC and is testimony to the 
overriding focus of the APEC forum.10   Moreover, at least in the case 
of the Environment or Sustainable Development Ministerials, the 
absence of an Environment Working Group means that there is no 
APEC group from which initiatives can percolate up to Senior 
Environment Officials or Ministers of the Environment.   Likewise, 
there is no group that can be tasked with doing the ground work or 
follow-up associated with a particular initiative that may be accepted 
by those officials/Ministers.  Senior Environment Officials are 
therefore handicapped relative to their counterparts from other sectors.  
For example, in contrast to the situation that Senior Environment 
Officials and Environment Ministers find themselves in, APEC Finance 
Ministers are now advised by a group of senior financial market 
representatives -- APEC Financiers -- when Finance Ministers meet on 
an ad hoc basis. 

APEC is described as having two tracks: trade and investment 
liberalization and facilitation (TILF) on the one hand, and the economic 
and technical cooperation track (ECOTECH) on the other.11   Some 
activities of a given Working Group, for example, might relate to TILF; 
others might relate to ECOTECH. There can be no question but that 
APEC's most notable achievements have taken place under the rubric 
of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.  Economic and 
technical cooperation has been decidedly de-emphasized. To date, 
economic and technical cooperation has been a fancy way of describing 
disparate initiatives that have nothing in common other than being 
unrelated to trade and investment.12 There are any number of reasons 
for this. Without much doubt, APEC's genesis as an informal dialogue 
group for Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministers is part of the 
explanation.  Many also believe that APEC was at least temporarily 
captured by the trade liberalizing zeal of the Eminent Persons Group 
(EPG) under the able Chairmanship of Fred Bergsten.13  Perhaps the 
best explanation is that there has been little systematic thinking about 
what APEC can and should do under the rubric of economic and 
technical cooperation, and no one to champion a coherent agenda or 
approach. 

The Economic Committee has recently been tasked with drawing up an 
inventory of ECOTECH initiatives as a first step toward the 
identification (and then -- one assumes -- eradication) of gaps and 
overlaps in Working Groups' activities.14  It has also made a brave 
attempt at classifying the various ECOTECH initiatives according to 
their nature.15 'Sustainable Development' is one of the ECOTECH 
categories identified by the Economic Committee.16  This is an 
important exercise, but ex post classification of initiatives, however 
elegant, is no substitute for coherent thinking up front. Currently, it is 
not within the Economic Committee's mandate, or, for that matter, the 
mandate of any other extant APEC institution to engage in this 
indispensable effort.17 
This, then, is the context of the Realizing Convergence proposal for the 
inauguration of an annual Regional Environmental Cooperation forum.

(3)	Are there other, perhaps better, opportunities for having 
environmental considerations moved from the periphery of decision-
making to the core?


The Realizing Convergence group advocated the Regional 
Environmental Cooperation Forum only after first considering and 
rejecting a variety of other mechanisms for better integrating 
sustainable development considerations into the APEC agenda.  It was 
put forward against an appraisal of the do-able rather than as an ideal, 
abstracted from institutional contingencies.   Some other mechanism 
considered were an environmental working group, an experts group and 
an environmental eminent persons group.

(I) Environmental Working Group: 
The creation of an Environmental Working Group is the most 
popularly-rejected of all recommendations: detractors no longer even 
feel it necessary for it to be advocated before pooh-poohing it. There 
are two quite different sorts of arguments made against it. First, there 
are those who reject it on the grounds that it would constitute 
'institution building'.  This group further breaks down into those who 
claim that there should be no further institution-building within the 
APEC architecture, and those who -- sensing that disinclination -- reject 
EWG proposals as  impractical. The second sort of argument is that 
creating an Environmental Work Group would have the unintended 
consequence of marginalizing the consideration of environmental 
issues in APEC, and run contrary to the principle of sustainable 
development and the goal of integrating environmental issues into 
decision-making across the whole range of issues taken up by APEC.  
At the Realizing Convergence workshop, the nay-sayers fell primarily 
into the second camp, though the pragmatic consideration was also 
voiced.  

(ii) Environmental Experts Group/ Eminent Persons Group:
The merits of establishing a body akin to an 'Eminent Persons Group' 
on the Environment were also considered. In addition to the expertise 
that this group would add, some felt that it would have the advantage of 
standing somewhat removed from the APEC institutional structure, and 
could make its recommendations directly to ministers.18 

A variation on this theme was also proposed. The Economic Committee 
was viewed by many as having the latent potential to become the 
institutional home for the furthering of a more coherent and effective 
technical and development cooperation agenda. It was argued that an 
experts group -- whether quasi-permanent or assembled on an ad hoc 
basis -- would be a valuable resource to the EC when it considered 
environmental issues.  This group would be less an EPG than a 
committee of recognized scientific experts who would serve as a 
resource on specific major issues.

In the end, both these options were rejected.  First, the leaders of the 
APEC National Councils on Sustainable Development felt that, while 
there is impetus within the Economic Committee for it to become the 
coordinating centre for environmental initiatives, some environmental 
issues -- for example, those related to trade and to investment -- would 
be considered by the Committee on Trade and Investment rather than 
by the Economic Committee.  Secondly, neither the Economic 
Committee nor the Committee on Trade and Investment exercise 
autonomous decision-making. Other than APEC Leaders, real authority 
and discretion is in the hands of the Senior Officials alone. It was 
viewed as more sensible to try to influence those with ultimate 
decision-making authority.  


The third reason given for rejecting an Environmental Eminent Persons 
Group was again the pragmatic point of not wanting to advocate a new 
institution in the face of what would likely be determined opposition. 
This was coupled with at least a majority view that, because the 
original Eminent Persons Group had proven to be a divisive element 
with the APEC institutional constellation, anything smacking of 
another EPG would be rejected out-of-hand. This was a majority view; 
at least one participant felt that there was no a priori hostility in APEC 
to the formation of a form of Eminent Persons Group, so long as its 
mandate (and membership) was different from that of the original EPG.  

In light of past institution building and the recent creation of the APEC 
Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and an Agriculture Technical 
Cooperation Task Force, it can no longer plausibly be maintained that 
APEC is not prepared to embark on institution building. Of course it 
may well be that APEC would not countenance the creation of an 
Environmental Working Group, but that would be for reasons other 
than those generally given when the issue comes up. The only 
principled basis for rejecting an Environmental Working Group is the 
one enunciated at the Realizing Convergence workshop: its creation 
would serve to marginalize environmental issues and would be 
inconsistent with the cross-cutting nature of sustainable development.  

As regards an 'Environmental Eminent Persons Group': the merits and 
demerits of this option have not yet been fully addressed. To date, the 
only comments have been of the order of  'APEC is probably 
unprepared to consider the creation of such a body'. In the face of a 
broadening consensus that environmental degradation is becoming or 
has the potential to become a limiting factor on future economic growth 
in the region and in view of the complexity inherent in addressing the 
cross-cutting theme of sustainable development in the context of a 
regional, cooperative organization, the assumption that 'APEC is 
probably not ready' at least needs to be tested.  It is true that the 
environmental EPG will not get off the ground unless a lot of good 
work is put into defining the proposed nature, composition, mandate, 
and possibly duration of the environmental EPG. In the author's 
opinion, an Environmental Eminent Persons Group (EEPG) holds great 
promise, not as an alternative to a Regional Environmental Cooperation 
Forum, but in addition to it.   

The principal focus of the EEPG, at least initially, would be to 
articulate the priorities for a coherent sustainable development strategy 
for APEC. While the stocktaking currently being undertaken by the 
Economic Committee is a valuable resource, the EEPG's exercise 
would be somewhat different: its focus would be first principles as it 
were; evaluating the extent to which current activities satisfy the 
identified needs and priorities would be an important, but second-order, 
concern.  At the Realizing Convergence workshop, a considerable 
amount of time was spent coming up with substantive action areas that 
merited priority attention.19 To my mind, while this was valuable and, 
in the circumstances, necessary, this sort of strategic thinking would 
better be housed in the EEPG.  The Regional Environmental 
Cooperation Forum might take up one of the issues or sub-issues 
identified by the EEPG and of interest to the particular year's APEC 
host, and endeavour to find practicable solutions on the basis of the 
participants' collective experience with multi-sectoral fora, with the 
cross-cutting nature of environmental/ sustainable development issues, 
etc.  

Because the EEPG would not be an official APEC body and would not 
be governmental, it  would be somewhat less constrained than are 
official delegations to suggest priorities that are or may be 'sensitive'.  
While inevitably there would be an element of self-screening by the 
EEPG, it would largely fall to Ministers and Senior Officials to accept 
or reject proposals or priority areas on the basis of sensitivity or some 
other consideration: they, rather than the EEPG, would be the 
gatekeeper.  This division of responsibilities between the non-
governmental EEPG and the governmental and intergovernmental 
mechanisms would be of considerable value to both these sets of 
players.  The EEPG could create a sustainable development plan, 
grounded but not mired in awareness of shifting political contingencies; 
and the APEC Ministers would have access to that strategic thinking 
and planning  without having to shoulder ultimate responsibility.

The composition of the EEPG requires some thought. For both political 
and practical reasons, it should reflect APEC's diversity, though there is 
no compelling reason to insist that all economies have someone on the 
EEPG.  It may be best to limit the number of people on the EEPG 
itself, and permit/encourage  EEPG members to reach out to the expert 
community on particular issues. In this way, the EEPG would 
consititute a core, enriched by a changing constellation of experts on an 
as-needed basis. 

Just as with the Eminent Persons Group, APEC Ministers would not 
need to establish the Environmental Eminent Persons Group as a 
permanent body.  It could be given an original mandate of one or two 
years and have its mandate extended on a discretionary basis thereafter 
should Ministers continue to find its output helpful.   This would 
accommodate the Ministers' reluctance to establish a permanent body 
with the ongoing financial support implications such a body would 
entail.  Presumably, it would also serve to focus the minds of the EEPG 
members!

*David Morgan is a Policy Advisor at Canada's National Round Table 
on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE). The view expressed in 
this paper are his alone, and are not to be taken as representing those of 
the NRTEE or any of its members.  The paper is sub (sub) titled 'Some 
Preliminary Thoughts' because it is a work-in-progress.  I deeply regret 
not being able to personally attend the conference to get response to 
some of the ideas contained in this paper from people very much more 
expert than me.  


1Hereinafter, the 'Realizing Convergence' workshop. The final report of 
the March 25-26 workshop is available by mail at: NRTEE, 1 Nicholas 
St., Suite 1500, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 7B7. A somewhat abridged 
version is available at internet site: http://www.nrtee-trnee.ca

2This could be achieved by having each APEC economy decide for 
itself which was the appropriate institution(s) to send to the forum (with 
perhaps a maximum of two from each). The downside of this approach 
is that the choice(s) would almost inevitably become politicized and 
create a credibility issue. 

3This point is developed in the second section of this paper.  At this 
point, it will suffice to mention that while many have viewed the 
Economic Committee as a logical home, environmental issues related 
to trade and investment would more logically be taken up under the 
auspices of the Committee on Trade and Investment. 

4Richard Halloran, "The Rising East"  Foreign Policy, No. 102 (Spring 
1996) 1 at pp. 10-11. Figures derive from the Central Intelligence 
Factbook 1995 and World Bank growth estimates. These are estimates 
based on current trends, and do not represent forecasts as such. To take 
one example, these estimates take no account of the potential constraint 
that environmental degradation constitutes on future growth 
possibilities. 

5Ibid, pp. 11-12.

6Lyuba Zarsky, "APEC and the Environment: Guiding Principles, 
Innovative Strategies" a paper delivered at the "The Environment and 
the Economy in APEC: Realizing Convergence" workshop, organized 
by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, the 
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the Philippine Council for 
Sustainable Development in Vancouver, Canada, March 25-26, 1996. 

7Karl P. Sauvant (Chief Research and Policy Analysis Branch, 
Division on Transnational Corporations and Investment, UNCTAD), 
remarks made on Oct. 2, 1995, at the APEC Investment Symposium in 
Bangkok, Thailand. 

8In "APEC and the Environment: Guiding Principles, Innovative 
Strategies", Lyuba Zarsky does a good job of outlining and explaining 
the principal interrelationships without glossing over the ambiguities 
and complexities. 

9The United States was the site of the first Summit;  Indonesia was the 
host in 1994; Japan in 1995; and the Philippines in 1996. Canada will 
be APEC host in 1997, and Malaysia in 1998

10APEC was originally an informal 'dialogue group' for Foreign 
Affairs and Trade Ministers to discuss regional trade, investment and 
economic cooperation.  It has come to be the primary regional vehicle 
for promoting open trade and practical economic cooperation. 

11This is the current way of describing APEC activities; 'traditionally', 
one spoke of the three pillars of trade and investment liberalization; 
trade and investment facilitation; and economic and technical 
cooperation. 

12 A short schematic of APEC initiatives that related to sustainable 
development is included as an Appendix to this paper.  This is taken 
from Annex 1 of The Report by the Economic Committee on the State 
of Economic and Technical Cooperation in APEC (DRAFT: August, 
1996) 

13 In the author's opinion, this latter phenomenon is at least partially 
attributable to the fact that the EPG was able to develop coherent action 
plans and realizable interim goals, and present them as a package that 
could be endorsed 'as is' or with minimal modification. Without an 
equivalent amount of upfront work being done by other groups on 
different issues, the EPG did not so much capture APEC as it displaced 
other, less well thought-out (but perhaps equally or more valid) 
initiatives and agenda.

14The Economic Committee is doing this in response to a request from 
APEC Senior Officials at their meeting in Manila on February 6-8, 
1996.

15Report by the Economic Committee on the State of Economic and 
Technical Cooperation in APEC (DRAFT: August 16, 1996). The 
Report itself confirms the assessment of ECOTECH initiatives, stating: 
"Economic and technical cooperation (ICHTHYIC) has not generally 
been used as a defined concept. In the APEC context, ECOTECH is 
defined by the specific activities that have been grouped under this 
rubric." (p. 36) 

16Sustainable Development initiatives are classified according to 
whether they pertain to the Environment, to Food and Energy, or to 
Achieving Prosperity . Under the subcategory of Environment, the 
Economic Committee lists initiatives relating to the following: green 
GDP, the three main items identified at the Philippines' Sustainable 
Development Ministerial of July, 1996 (clean pacific, clean 
production/clean technology, sustainable cities), sustainable forestry, 
preserving biodiversity, and energy as a sector specific issue. Nothing 
has yet been undertaken with regard to sustainable forestry or the 
preservation of biodiversity. 

17The summary of Sustainable Development initiatives in the 
Economic Committee's Draft ECOTECH Report graphically displays 
their fractured and almost random nature.  This section of the Report 
(pp 45-46) is therefore excerpted verbatim.  The Report reads: 
"APEC work on sustainablility issues has flowed from the APEC 
Leaders Economic Vision Statement at Blake Island in 1993 which 
made sustainable development a central APEC objective and the 
Environmental Vision Statement and Framework of Principles for 
integrating economic and environment issues by APEC Environment 
Ministers in Vancouver in 1994.
"Most generally, all APEC fora have been asked to consider 
environmental impacts in their regular work.  A preliminary report on 
this has been submitted to Senior Officials.  The Economic Committee 
meanwhile has launched a project on the use of economic instruments 
for environmental protection which will result in dissemination for 
general application in the region of 'best practices' in utilization of these 
techniques.  And the HRD WG [Human Resource Development 
Working Group] has a broad program on developing the human 
resource capacity to manage sustainable development.
"More specifically,
-	the Marine Resources Conservation Working Group has 
sustainability of the marine environment as its main focus;
-	the Energy Working Group has endorsed 14 non-binding 
principles for rational energy consumption and adopted an action 
program to integrate environmental considerations alongside specific 
work on clean coal technologies and renewable energy;
-		the Industrial Science and Technology Working 
Group has held two symposia on environmental technology 
cooperation;
-	the Tourism WG plans to promote best practice models in 
implementing the concepts of environmental, cultural and social 
sustainability in tourism development;
-   	the Ad Hoc Policy Level Group on Small and Medium-Sized 
Enterprises is compiling information on policies and practices for 
sustainable development to be used as guidelines for the SMEs in the 
region.
"The initiation of the Sustainable Development Ministerial has 
intensified the work in this area and given it 3 focal points: clean 
production, a clean Pacific and Sustainable Cities.
"In addition, pursuant to the Leaders' Meeting in Osaka...a work 
program on the impact of the Asia Pacific region's fast-expanding 
population and rapid economic growth on food and energy resources 
and on the environment has been launched in the Economic Committee.
"Issues directly related to poverty alleviation and social issues have by 
and large not been directly addressed within APEC.  Fundamentally, 
the basic premise underlying APEC's economic and technical 
cooperation has been that the economic growth and development is the 
best approach to eradicated poverty on an economy-wide basis and 
accordingly has been the priority.
"Nonetheless, some direct attention to the social agenda has been paid 
in the context of a number of APEC programs.  In particular, the HRD 
WG's activities promoting basic education and the Infrastructure 
Dialogue's consideration of accessibility to basic infrastructure and 
gender impacts contribute directly to poverty alleviation."

18In 1992, APEC Ministers decided to set up an independent, non-
governmental Eminent Persons Group to develop a vision of trade in 
the region to the year 2000.  The EPG subsequently submitted three 
major reports, one for each of the ensuing three years.  The 1993 EPG 
Report was formulated prior to the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of 
multilateral trade negotiations, and its greatest emphasis lay in 
supporting the ongoing GATT negotiations and in contemplating 
alternatives in the event of the failure of those negotiations.  The 1994 
Report was significant in at least two major respects.  First, it proposed 
a two-track time line for full trade liberalization, with industrialized 
economies within APEC to achieve full liberalization by 2010 and the 
others by 2020.  Second, it advanced what would prove to be a much 
more contentious proposition: that individual economies within APEC 
should be able to determine whether to extend the benefits of APEC-
motivated trade liberalization to non-APEC countries.  This latter 
proposition has now been rejected explicitly.  At the Economic Leaders 
Meeting in Osaka, Japan in November, 1995, Leaders stated that the 
outcome of trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-Pacific 
region will be the actual -reduction of barriers not only among APEC 
economies but also between APEC and non-APEC economies.  The 
final EPG Report, "Implementing the APEC Vision" was completed in 
August 1995.  It is a more mundane report, focussing as it does on 
implementation of existing APEC commitments (political) rather than 
on breaking new ground.  Among other recommendations, this report 
suggested that macroeconomic and monetary cooperation be considered 
alongside trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and 
economic and technical cooperation.
The EPG occupied a unique position within APEC, and took full 
advantage of its advisory mandate to articulate a coherent, if often 
controversial, vision for the future of APEC.  The EPG was able, 
through its focused and helpful work product and through the force of 
personalities, to help shape the very way APEC now conceives of itself.

19In the end, the 'short list' was energy, urban infrastructure and natural 
resources management (especially agriculture and forests).

 


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