Underlined as essential to the priority of ‘Balance’ in the APEC theme for 2022 of “Open.Connect.Balance.” by host Thailand has been sustainability, or ensuring that economic practices carried out by the cooperation can be maintained into the future.
Two matters highlighted as pertinent to sustainability by Thailand this year were fishing and logging, major and important facets of the Asia-Pacific economy that are immensely dependent on natural resources.
During the First APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) in February, the Ocean Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) Meeting discussed initiatives aimed at combating illegal, unreported and unregulated, or IUU fishing along with and marine debris reduction.
Thailand took the opportunity of the meeting to propose sharing of knowledge and experience on small-scale fisheries data management for sustainable development and the organizing of technical workshops on marine debris.
The host economy has made significant strides in the area of IUU fishing since the issuance of the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries of 2015, which provided a comprehensive legal framework encompassing fisheries management, fleet management and the monitoring, control and surveillance of illegal fishing as well as enhanced traceability in the sector.
The Experts’ Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT) Meeting discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic had affected illegal logging and mitigating measures in the matter, and the promoting of legal timber trades through employment of innovations.
During the meeting, Thailand briefed experts’ group on its agendas to do with sustainable forestry, such as legal timber trade facilitation and sustainable forest resources management using developments based on the Bio-Circular-Green Economy model.
Noted by the host, was that “as APEC is the top destination for global forest product trade, it gives the region an additional responsibility in ensuring that forests are sustainably managed”.
Outcomes from the group forum informed the 5th APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry, where APEC member economies made clear an intention to curb deforestation and loss of biodiversity to aid in the fight against climate change.
It was highlighted that APEC economies exceeded their goal of increasing forest cover by at least 20 million hectares by 2020 across the region by adding 27.9 million hectares between 2007 and 2020.
The achievement empowered Thailand to encourage further adoption of the BCG model, so that environmental sustainability could be integrated into all facets of APEC economic activity.