New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has chaired a meeting of Leaders representing the 21 APEC economies overnight.
“For the first time in APEC’s history Leaders have come together for an extraordinary meeting focused exclusively on COVID-19, and how our region can navigate out of the worst health and economic crisis in living memory,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Front of mind for leaders is achieving widespread access for vaccines globally and working collaboratively to provide them to everyone as soon as possible.
“Our discussions moved us beyond vaccine nationalism. Now we are focusing on all aspects of contributing to the global vaccination effort – making vaccines, sharing vaccines and using vaccines.
“Nobody is safe from this virus until everyone is safe. Ensuring both global vaccine access and uptake is as high as possible in the shortest time possible gives our regional and individual economies the greatest chance to accelerate recovery, and will support greater economic stability.
“We are also pushing for collaborative and practical solutions on safely reconnecting with the world by continuing to explore options including vaccine passports, travel green lanes and quarantine-free travel bubbles. This is a challenge to which we are working hard to find creative solutions.
“We have the opportunity to build back better and emerge from this crisis more inclusive, more sustainable and more adaptable than ever, and in order to achieve this as fast as possible – we need to do it together,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Leaders also discussed a range of other matters relating to the pandemic including:
• Individual domestic approaches to the ongoing management of COVID-19;
• The evolving strains and health dimensions of COVID-19, with APEC helping speed the flow of vaccines;
• Fiscal and monetary tools available to sustain economies through the pandemic, with the importance of keeping markets open to one another.
Leading a regional health, trade and economic response to the pandemic has been one of New Zealand’s priorities as APEC 2021 Chair. Today’s meeting builds on progress made at APEC Trade, Structural Reform and Finance Ministers’ meetings from last month and sets a strong foundation for when APEC Leaders meet again in November.
“Leaders have set strong expectations of the outcomes we want in November to support the COVID-19 recovery. These include making sure that APEC economies have lowered tariffs on vaccines moving across borders, and that economies have accelerated digitalisation of border paperwork, reducing costs on businesses,” Jacinda Ardern said.