CANBERRA: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum on Saturday launched the Putrajaya Vision 2040 implementation plan for future cooperation and a more united Asia-Pacific region, injecting a strong dose of stimulus into the global economy.
Such a plan, with the aim of building an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific region, is in urgent need of regional cooperation and solidarity for it to be a success.
Currently, one of the biggest challenges facing the world is the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already taken away over five million lives globally. Cooperation is the key to containing the still rampant epidemic.
Countries in the Asia-Pacific region need to forge synergy in testing, medicine and treatment as well as vaccine development to help the entire global community defeat the deadly pathogen at an early date.
As the global economic recovery has been largely hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic, a more united and prosperous Asia-Pacific region could also become an engine for global economic growth in a post-pandemic world.
"APEC, along with the global economy, is in uncharted territory, where recovery is underway even amid an ongoing pandemic," said Dr. Denis Hew, director of the APEC Policy Support Unit.
"APEC economies should also think ahead toward facilitating a gradual and steady economic reopening to revive viable sectors such as travel and tourism, reinvigorate manufacturing industries and herald the emergence of new jobs, markets and businesses that could prove more sustainable as well as profitable," Hew suggested.
Facts have proven that countries need to lower barriers and enhance exchanges with an open spirit to create conditions for a more dynamic economy in the region.
Statistics show that growth in the region has soared with real GDP rising from $19 trillion in 1989 to $46.9 trillion in 2018, during which average tariffs fell from 17 percent to 5.3 percent, and the APEC region's total trade increased over seven times.
APEC's member economies are home to around 3 billion people, representing about half of global trade and 60 percent of the world's total GDP.
Currently, the Asia-Pacific region is among the first to witness an economic recovery. The economy of the APEC region is expected to grow by 6 percent in 2021 and will settle at 4.9 percent in 2022, according to the latest APEC Regional Trends Analysis (ARTA) report.
It is expected that with enhanced economic cooperation, APEC members could inject fresh impetus into the global economy.
Another pressing issue facing the Asia-Pacific region as well as the international community is climate change. The existential threat of climate change will affect the financial systems of APEC economies as well as supply chains and consumer behavior.
Even in the best-case scenario, according to the ARTA report, APEC can expect GDP losses of up to 11.3 percent by 2050 due to climate change.
To pursue a more sustainable development, APEC members need to seek harmonious coexistence between man and nature, actively respond to climate change, promote green and low-carbon transition, and foster a community of all life on Earth.
"Tackling climate change requires a holistic approach across a range of areas and issues, including ensuring that implementation of green policies addresses its negative side effects," said Emmanuel San Andres, an analyst at the APEC Policy Support Unit.
Over the past decades since APEC's founding, by acting in solidarity, members of the bloc have played a key role in anchoring regional and global stability at critical moments.
The task this time is no less arduous and challenging. But still, as long as APEC members stick to greater solidarity and closer cooperation, the goal of building an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific region can surely be achieved to benefit more people in the region and beyond.