Leaders from APEC member economies on Sunday vowed to boost regional economic integration and food security, and to combat climate change and corruption, in a declaration issued after a two-day meeting in the Peruvian capital.
The theme for this year's meeting, "A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development," highlighted the importance of reducing the gap between developed and developing member economies, said the document, adopted at the 16th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). "We are committed to strengthening the social dimension of globalization and ensuring that all members and all sectors of our economies can access the skills and opportunities to participate in, and benefit from, regional and global trade and investment," it said.
In the declaration, the leaders said the current global financial crisis "is one of the most serious economic challenges we have ever face." "We will act quickly and decisively to address the impending global economic slowdown ... and will take necessary economic and financial measures to resolve this crisis," they said.
In a special statement on Saturday, the leaders said they discussed the impact of the financial crisis and the actions APEC members were taking, individually and collectively, to restore confidence in their economies and maintain the region on a path of long-term growth.
"We have already taken urgent and extraordinary steps to stabilize our financial sectors and strengthen economic growth and promote investment and consumption," the statement said. "We will continue to take such steps, and work closely, in a coordinated and comprehensive manner, to implement future actions to address this crisis," it said.
REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
On regional economic integration, the leaders said in the declaration that their goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region would be achieved through a series of unilateral reform measures combined with bilateral, regional and multinational liberalization.
The leaders welcomed progress made by member economies towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the region. "We reinforced our commitment to achieving the Bogor Goals to promote growth, development and a rapid recovery from the current global slowdown," they said.
On the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), the leaders commended the progress made in examining the prospects and options of a possible FTAAP as a long-term prospect. "We noted advice from ministers that while an FTAAP would likely be of economic benefit to the region as a whole, there would also be challenges in its creation," they said.
The leaders instructed ministers and officials to conduct further analytical work on the likely economic impact of an FTAAP and discuss the possible capacity building requirements for any possible further negotiations.
They also instructed officials to undertake initiatives designed to promote greater convergence among economies in key areas of APEC's trade and investment agenda, including areas such as customs administration, trade facilitation and cross-border services.
FOOD SECURITY, HUMAN SECURITY AND ANTI-CORRUPTION
The leaders expressed concerns about the impact that volatile global food prices, combined with food shortages in some developing economies, were having on APEC member economies' achievements in reducing poverty and lifting real incomes over the last decade. "We support a fully coordinated response and a comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue through the Comprehensive Framework for Action developed by the United Nations (UN) Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis," the declaration said.
Individual and collective policy responses to expand food and agricultural supply in the region should strengthen market forces to encourage new investment in agricultural technology and production systems, it said.
"We directed APEC to increase technical cooperation and capacity building that will help foster agricultural sector growth ... We directed APEC to help member economies develop science-cased regulatory frameworks to benefit from the potential of agricultural biotechnology," the declaration said.
On the region's anti-corruption combat, the leaders agreed to leverage their collective will to combat corruption and related transnational illicit networks by prompting clean government, supporting public-private partnerships, fostering market integrity, and transparent financial systems.
The leaders also pledged further efforts to enhance human security, combat terrorism and secure regional trade. "Terrorist acts can not be excused or justified by any alleged cause, conflict, oppression, or poverty," it said.
The leaders pledged full cooperation to ensure secure flow of people, goods and investments from disruption caused by terrorist acts. They urged continued efforts to help secure the region's economic, trade, investment and financial system from terrorist attack or abuse and trade-based money laundering.
On climate change, the leaders called for comprehensive manner through international cooperation under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2009 to address the issue.
"We reaffirmed our commitment to the Sydney APEC Leaders' Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development," they said, noting that reducing poverty was likely to become more difficult in those developing economies most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and related natural disasters.
"We support decisive and effective long term cooperation now, up to and beyond 2012 to address climate change under the UNFCCC, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities," they said.
The leaders also recognized the economic diversity and different domestic circumstances of individual APEC economies in addressing climate change.
They welcomed the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Network for sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation, and voiced their appreciation towards China's commitment to further financial support for this initiative.
Recognizing that climate change could impede economies' abilities to achieve sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty, the leaders said they strongly supported international cooperation and capacity building for mitigation and adaptation as objectives that should be equally pursued, including those that promote low-emissions technology development and transfer to, and financial support for, developing economies.
They also called for additional and coordinated efforts to better understand vulnerabilities caused by the impact of climate change on the oceans and the resources to help develop more effective adaptation strategies.
The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the energy needs of regional economies by promoting open energy markets and free energy trade and investment. "Such markets are crucial to the development of renewable sources of energy and the dissemination of low emission energy technologies, including new and alternative energy resources and technologies," they said.
The APEC leaders said they encouraged officials to promote such development and urged them to pursue regional energy efficiencies and maximize the potential development of clean energy technology.
They also recognized the economic diversity and different domestic circumstances of individual APEC economies in addressing climate change.
Nineteen leaders from the APEC member economies attended the summit, part of the Leaders' Week on Nov. 16-23.
Established in 1989, APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.