Case Study: Hosting a Virtual APEC21

Challenged by the prospect of border closures during Aotearoa New Zealand’s host year, the Government made an early decision to host APEC21 virtually.

Although APEC is best known for the high-profile annual leaders’ meeting, it actually consists of hundreds of meetings spread throughout the year – so moving everything to a virtual format was no small task.

Fortunately, the Ministry was able to reorganise people and teams, and build and deploy the different capabilities needed to make a virtual APEC work.

Aotearoa New Zealand had an overriding objective to lead a collaborative regional response to the economic impact of COVID-19. And while there are still more meetings to be held before APEC21 wraps up in November 2021, a number of notable outcomes have already been achieved.

Inside one of the meeting rooms at the Wellington venue..
Inside one of the meeting rooms at the Wellington venue where New Zealand based
meetings are being held. Each meeting room has its own control centre and
up to 10 meetings can be held simultaneously. Credit: Olly Coleman/APEC 2021.

Two key ministerial meetings in particular, each attended by over 30 Ministers, marked real progress.

The MRT meeting, saw a commitment to reduce vaccine costs and speed up vaccine movement across borders. This means people can get vaccinated faster and more cheaply. The MRT meeting also reinvigorated the work of the WTO, as reflected in the MRT Statement. It represents one of the most ambitious statements from APEC Trade Ministers for some time.

Meanwhile, the Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting reset the agenda for removing barriers that stand in the way of people and economic opportunity. Less red tape that slows down business will enhance regional competition, and help people impacted by COVID-19 to transition to other work.

APEC21 pushed the boundaries of virtual technology and diplomacy, at the same time reinvigorating the forum’s relevance as an influential multilateral body.

APEC economies are committed to realising an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, for the prosperity of all our people and future generations. The Ministry will continue to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to this vision.

Haumi ē, Hui ē, Tāiki ē. Join, Work, Grow. Together.


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