57th Workshop Meeting of Heads of NPOs [19–21 October 2016, Malaysia]
Statement by APO Secretary-General
by Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn
It is a great honor for me to attend this distinguished gathering of Heads of NPOs and Agriculture delegates for the first time as the SG of the APO.
I would like first to express my gratitude to the Government of Malaysia for its generosity in hosting this year’s WSM in Putrajaya. We were honored by the presence of the Guest of Honor, Second Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Chuan who delivered the inaugural address earlier. I would also like to express our deepest appreciation to our host and longest serving APO Director, Tan Sri Azman Hashim, Chairman of Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC), and Dato’ Razali Hussain, Director General of MPC, for the warm hospitality extended to the delegates.
I was already deeply involved in APO activities before being appointed to the post of Secretary-General at GBM in Jakarta in April this year. As the SG, my immediate priority is to ensure that we follow through to achieve the goals of the APO Roadmap to Achieve Vision 2020. In addition, with the GB’s endorsement, I would like to steer the APO to develop and implement cutting-edge and future-oriented initiatives to stay relevant to the next generation needs of your economies.
For this WSM, one of the main objectives is to discuss and endorse the 2017–2018 biennium program plans for which the GBM has already approved the preliminary budget. Some of you may recall that the 2017–2018 biennium was first discussed at the WSM held in Singapore last year. Last year’s WSM had also already endorsed the program approach which clusters projects that have common goals of enhancing productivity. I request that delegates refer to the written version of my statement which contains the focus areas of these programs which cover manufacturing, public sector, agriculture, food, research into future trends, and productivity measurement and monitoring. In addition, under Agenda 8, the Secretariat will present more details of the programs to illustrate the alignment of these programs to the roadmap.
The Secretariat revised the 2017–2018 Program Plans taking into account the recent US dollar-to-yen exchange rates to obtain the best lineup of projects within the budget available. The lineup for 2017 features 72 multicountry projects on the priority list and another 16 on the out-of-ranking list, while the lineup for 2018 features 70 multicountry projects on the priority list and 22 on the out-of-ranking list. We will be reconfirming the 2017–2018 project lineup during the planning sessions tomorrow.
Achievements of 2016 Projects to date
My written statement contains highlights on the progress of this year’s activities. Suffice to say, 2016 will be a busier year as we have about 20 more multicountry projects to complete compared to 2015. Since the complete details will be provided in my annual report to the Governing Body next April 2017, I will not go into the details but briefly highlight the following achievements:
APO organized several high-profile conferences on Higher Education, Business Excellence for the service industry, Technologies Driving Future Agricultural Productivity, Food and Agribusiness, and the International Asia EnviroEconomics Conference held in conjunction with the EPIF 2016 in Bangkok which produced the Bangkok Outcome Document. The EPIF itself was a great success, attracting around 45,000 visitors to the booths of 130 exhibitors, and receiving media coverage in 15 countries.
We cooperated with UNDP and leveraged the two APO Centers of Excellence to organize a training course on Business Excellence for the Public Sector in Fiji. We also cooperated with CIRDAP and IFOAM to organize another training course on Organic Agroindustry. The aim is to continue furthering our cooperation with the UNDP as well as CIRDAP and IFOAM. We are also negotiating with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Agriculture Center on similar collaborations for agricultural projects in 2017.
The current e-learning platform will migrate to a new digital-learning system and be relaunched as the APO Institute of Productivity, or APOiPRO, to reflect the variety of e-learning formats including videoconferencing, Internet-based platforms for “live” sessions, and self-learning e-courses. The Secretariat will announce more details on this later this year.
With cash grants provided generously by the governments of the ROC, Japan, and the ROK, we were able to organize projects on female workforce participation, labor-management relations, and energy efficiency and conservation, as well as projects for the agriculture and food sectors on agricultural innovations, food safety management, and cold-chain systems. In addition, METI of Japan has also recently provided a new 1 billion Japanese Yen cash grant for a 3-year training program, the details of which will be presented later by the Secretariat. On behalf of the APO, I would like to thank those governments for their continuous strong support.
Following an agreement signed between the APO and the CTA of Colombia, we recently completed a customized training course for the development of Colombian productivity practitioners and independent consultants. This win-win international partnership will enable the CTA to play a similar as the APO in Latin America which will allow us a springboard to spread the productivity movement into Latin America.
We look forward to the final productivity publication later this year which was done in collaboration with the OECD Development Centre, UN-ESCAP, and Economic Research Institute. This joint publication will feature selected APO economies, with Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam in the inaugural edition. We hope to influence the productivity policies of member economies through this collaboration.
Vision of the Secretary-General for the Secretariat
As the new Secretary-General of the APO, I am committed to guide the APO to achieve the goals of the APO Roadmap 2020. At the same time, it is also essential that we constantly reshape the roadmap to adjust to fast changing global trends. For the APO to achieve its vision of being a leading organization on productivity, we must focus on the future. A McKinsey Global Institute report published in February 2016 stated that soaring flows of data and information now generate more economic value than the global goods trade and that virtually every type of cross-border transaction has a digital component. The report also highlighted trends such as intangible flows of data and information, greater participation by emerging economies, growing role of small enterprises and individuals, more knowledge-intensive flows, etc, all of which are relevant to the mission of the APO.
We now live in a digitally connected 21st century world, and we have instant global access to all types of information. There is no shortage of ideas to improve productivity and competitiveness of economies; what we should focus on is to prioritize these ideas by studying and identifying challenges faced by APO economies and developing impactful programs to address these critical issues. In this digital era, we must leverage digital technologies. For a start, the Secretariat will work with you to develop new projects such as the Internet of Things and SMART initiatives for Industry, Agriculture and Services. Successful implementation, not just great ideas, will be the key to the success of the APO. With these exciting new projects, we hope to encourage more interest, participation and hosting by member countries and ensure that APO stays relevant to you.
The urgency to modernize the Secretariat to meet these challenges has never been greater. The Secretariat will improve its digital infrastructure to improve its productivity, deliver more visible results, strengthen our knowledge management and knowledge networks to benefit member countries. We will also develop our human resources and adopt modern management practices. We aim to be a nimble and mobile Secretariat, able to quickly and effectively respond to the needs of the member countries.
We all play a part to build a successful and inclusive APO. That is why I am very much looking forward to our discussions over the next three days. In closing, I would once again like to thank the Government of Malaysia for its hospitality and generosity in hosting this WSM.