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The 57th Governing Body Meeting (GBM) of the APO opened in Bangkok on 27 April 2015. Fifty-six delegates comprising APO directors and their advisers from 18 members, along with observers from the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Pan African Productivity Association (PAPA), Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Economic & Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), and Singapore Productivity Association (SPA) were in attendance.
Minister of Industry Chakramon Phasukavanich was the guest of honor at the event. In his inaugural address, he commented that, “Productivity enhancement could elevate our national competitiveness platform in all sectors, improve social equality, provide more opportunities and quality of life to our people, and also utilize our resources in the most effective and efficient ways.”
APO Director for Thailand Dr. Atchaka Sibunruang delivered the welcome remarks. She stated that, “This meeting is one of the most important steps for member countries in defining directions to enhance the productivity of each nation. The APO’s direction toward the year 2020 is considered very crucial to support the concept of sustainable development to balance the economic, social, and environmental aspects of our countries.”
APO Chair Jaya Mukunda Khanal was unable to attend the meeting due to a catastrophic earthquake in Nepal. First Vice Chair and APO Alternate Director for Pakistan Khizar Hayat Khan assumed the role as Acting APO Chair of the GBM. He started by extending condolences to the families of the earthquake victims. He added that, “We are also here to look ahead and share with fellow members the directions that our countries are taking to advance our economies and improve overall productivity. A lot has been achieved. A lot remains to be done. But I am confident that with our strong cooperation and commitment, we will overcome the challenges.”
The inaugural session was highlighted by the conferment of the APO Regional Awards 2015 on those who have contributed significantly to advancing the productivity movement in the Asia-Pacific region. This time, Secretary-General Mari Amano conferred the award on Jong-Chin Shen from the Republic of China.
During the plenary session, APO Alternate Director for Pakistan Khizar Hayat Khan was elected APO Chair for 2015–2016, with APO Director for the Philippines Margarita R. Songco and APO Director for Singapore Tan Kai Hoe assuming the position of First and Second Vice Chairs, respectively. Important GBM agenda items included the annual report of the Secretary-General, approval of the APO revised budget for 2016, report on the proposed roadmap to achieve the APO Vision 2020, and assessment of the proposals for new Centers of Excellence.
Photos courtesy of Thailand Productivity Institute.