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What is APEC and what does it have to do with vaccine supply?

Over the weekend, there was a Summit (that Prime Minister Scott Morrison was part of), known as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). There, leaders discussed a range of economic issues but specifically looked at global vaccine supply.

What is APEC?

APEC is an economic forum of 21 member states, including Australia, who are part of what is known as the ‘Pacific Rim’, which is a geographical outline of nations surrounding the Pacific Ocean. Some of the participating economies include Australia, Canada, Japan, the U.S, China, Singapore, Mexico, Russia and New Zealand. Various topics and issues are addressed by the forum, however, topics mostly revolve around trade and economic issues.   

It is important to note, within APEC, there are no binding commitments or treaty obligations. All commitments and pledges are done so on a voluntary basis. 

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit 2021 

Over the weekend, a virtual summit was hosted by New Zealand. At the meeting, the leaders discussed a range of topics including the pandemic, economic recovery, labour shortages and the ongoing supply chain issues. From the meeting, a ‘2021 Leaders’ Declaration’ was established.

What was in the Declaration?

Global vaccine supply was specifically mentioned as a priority in relation to the ongoing recovery of COVID-19. The leaders committed to further support global efforts that share vaccines equitably, as well as expand vaccine supply and manufacturing in countries that need further access to COVID-19 vaccines. However, there were no specific target metrics attached to the pledges made with supporting global vaccine efforts. 

Another key aspect of the Declaration was that the nations pledged to work together with leaders acknowledging, “the need for urgent and concrete action to transition to a climate-resilient future global economy and appreciate net-zero or carbon neutrality commitments in this regard.” The Declaration specifically looked to adopt renewable energy and other technologies to reduce the need for fossil fuels. However, within the declaration, no specific targets, goals or numbers were shared.  

APEC is the last multilateral meeting of the year following the G20 Summit in Rome and the Glasgow Climate Conference in Scotland. Next year’s meeting is set to be hosted in Thailand. 

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