Regional Public Goods

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on human resource development, health and environment

Human Resource Development Working Group The goal of human resources development in APEC is to promote the well-being of all people and achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the region. The Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) was established in 1990. The HRDWG plays an important role in building the region’s human capacity. It implements initiatives on education, labor and capacity building in aid of its mission to share knowledge, experience and skills to strengthen human resource development across the region to promote sustainable economic growth. The working group is guided by these three objectives:

  • Develop 21st century knowledge and skills for all
  • Integrate human resources development into the global economy
  • Address the social dimensions of globalization


To accomplish these objectives, the HRDWG conducts its work program through three networks:

  • The Capacity Building Network (CBN), which focuses on skills development, human resource management and vocational training through cross-cutting collaboration to facilitate 21st century talents, enhance employability and provide quality employment. Details here.
  • The Education Network (EDNET), which focuses on fostering strong and vibrant learning systems across APEC member economies, promoting quality and equitable education to enable people of all ages to meet the challenges of rapid change in today’s world through enhancing competencies, accelerating innovation and increasing employability. Details here.
  • The Labour and Social Protection Network (LSPN), which focuses on fostering strong and flexible labor markets and strengthening social protection, including social safety nets, through evidence-based interventions, collaboration, technical co-operation and the provision of labor market and social protection information and analysis to address sustainable human resource development across APEC member economies. Details here.

Recognizing that human resources development is a cross-cutting issue, the HRDWG coordinates with several other APEC working groups such as the Committee on Trade and Investment, the Economic Committee, the Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group, the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation, the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy and the APEC Business Advisory Council. Points of collaboration with these other groups include:

  • Building human capital for business sectors
  • Implementing the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap
  • Implementing the 2017 APEC Economic Policy Report on Structural Reform and Human Capital Development
  • Advancing women’s economic participation in the region
  • Conducting skills mapping research exercises in the APEC region
  • The HRDWG also cooperates with other international organizations such as the Association of Pacific Rim Universities; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and the International Labor Organisation. Health Working Group The emergence of regional and global health epidemics—including severe acute respiratory syndrome, avian influenza and H1N1 influenza—impacts not only the health sector but also agriculture, trade, tourism, transportation and business. APEC's wide-ranging economic work program makes it uniquely positioned to address the multi-sectoral impact of today's health threats. In October 2003, APEC established the Health Task Force (HTF) to help address health-related threats to economies' trade and security, focusing mainly on emerging infectious diseases, including naturally occurring and man-made diseases. In 2007, after a review of the APEC fora, the HTF was upgraded in status to become the Health Working Group (HWG). To respond to the recommendations of the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE), the HWG and Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) met in March 2011 in Washington DC, with the purpose of exploring possible areas of cooperation. In 2015, a revised terms of reference for the HWG was approved by the SCE. The HWG’s mandate, goal and the objectives are as follows: Mandate The mandate of the Health Working Group is to work with partners to improve people’s health and well-being, aiming to promote trade, security, inclusive growth and development in the APEC region. Goal The goal of the Health Working Group is to help reduce the impact of health-related threats to the economy, trade and security of member economies. The Health Working Group aims to strengthen health systems to increase their efficiency, responsiveness and resilience to achieve and maintain universal health coverage. Objectives

    • To enhance preparedness and response to public health emergencies and disasters, including prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
    • To strengthen health systems to improve accessibility, sustainability and quality of healthcare
    • To support healthy populations across the life-course, including the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and improved maternal, newborn and child health
    • To encourage and facilitate collaboration between health and other sectors, other APEC fora and international health bodies