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APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Human Capacity Building draws to a close

May 9, 2015, Manila, The Philippines – The adoption of the Port Moresby Joint Statement on The 2015 High Level Policy Dialogue on Human Capacity Building was a fitting conclusion to the two-day Policy Dialogue jointly hosted by the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The representatives of the different APEC economies considered the adoption of strategies and actions to address the challenges brought about by the globalization of economies. These include measures to develop the 21st century workforce, align education and training to the needs of industry and develop the skills of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to increase productivity and link them to the global value chain.

Convened at the Laguna Hotel, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 6–7 May 2015, the event drew around 100 participants composed of APEC high-level representatives responsible for human resource development and trade and industry, business leaders from ABAC and other representatives from business and academia. Also present were the representatives of ILO and Asia Society as plenary speakers.

With the theme: “Investing in Human Capital, Building Inclusive Economies”, the two day high level dialogue consisted of plenary presentations by select group of experts that revolve around topics of primary concern among APEC economies. Developing the 21st century workforce as key to inclusive and sustainable growth ushered in the discussions for the first day. Lead-off speakers delivered paper presentations on the aspect of skills for green jobs, relevance of 21st century skills to new and emerging global economy, and implications of the changing nature of work for inclusive growth.

The second policy issue deliberated upon concerns aligning education and training to industry needs in the 21st century in order to facilitate not only trade and investment but also employment. Figuring prominently in the discussions was on Qualifications Referencing Framework to provide a common reference point that will facilitate mutual recognition of jobs and skills/qualifications and support labor mobility within the APEC region. Equally important is the vital role played by the private sector in identifying, assessing and certifying the skills and competencies in demand for the local and regional labour markets.

Enhancing skills of SME workers as critical to competitiveness and linking to global value chain was amply tackled in the third plenary session. In order to enable the SMEs to fully benefit from the opportunities provided by international trade, primacy must be given to the human capacity building needs of SME workers.

Contributing immensely to the plenary discussions were the economy presentations on key policy initiatives on the three identified thematic areas. Sharing of APEC economy experiences and best practices on skills development, industry-academe-government collaboration and improving the productivity of SMEs further enrich the learning of the participants.

The exchange of ideas and sharing of experiences and best practices in the Policy Dialogue provides further impetus for the continuing and collaborative work on human capacity building within the APEC region. Monitoring the progress of identified initiatives would be vital in the achievement and realization of the desired outcomes.

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