The 56th Workshop Meeting of Heads of NPOs (WSM) convened in Singapore from 20 to 22 October 2015. It was attended by 35 NPO and agriculture delegates and 19 advisers representing APO members at the meeting alongside observers from the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), Pan African Productivity Association (PAPA), Singapore Productivity Association (SPA), Singapore Productivity Center (SPC), and the Solomon Islands. The main agenda items of the WSM include the adoption of the evaluation of 2014 projects, reconfirmation of the APO Program Plan for 2016, and discussion of the new APO Program Plan for the 2017–2018 Biennium.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education Low Yen Ling delivering the inaugural address.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education Low Yen Ling delivering the inaugural address.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education Low Yen Ling delivered the inaugural address. She noted that, “Productivity growth is critical in sustaining a country’s economic growth. It enables an economy to produce more value while using its resources more effectively, thus increasing its competitiveness.” When outlining the APO’s future direction, Parliamentary Secretary Low commented, “The APO’s 2020 vision is to transform into a leading international organization on productivity enhancement and enable member economies to become more productive and competitive. This mission will benefit APO members tremendously.”

APO Director for Singapore Chew Mok Lee giving welcome remarks.

APO Director for Singapore Chew Mok Lee giving welcome remarks.

APO Director for Singapore Chew Mok Lee welcomed delegates, stating: “Collectively, the APO and fellow NPOs have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the areas of productivity, economic development, and policymaking.” She added that, “We should draw on such institutional knowledge to support each other in our roles as NPOs to meet the needs of our countries and the overall socioeconomic development of the Asia-Pacific. Ultimately, we hope to bring the ideas generated during these three days to fruition.”

APO Secretary-General Mari Amano.

APO Secretary-General Mari Amano.

During the WSM, NPO Delegate from Singapore Chew Mok Lee was elected Chair and NPO Delegate from Malaysia Kamaruddin Mohamad as Vice Chair. APO Secretary-General Mari Amano reported on some of the initiatives that could be anticipated by APO members: “Public-sector productivity is set to take center stage with the approval of the Governing Body to designate the Development Academy of the Philippines as the Center of Excellence (COE) on Public-sector Productivity. The new COE will develop a master plan and implement activities to facilitate learning, innovation, and sharing of knowledge and best practices from the public sector on topics important to member countries.” On the international front, the Secretary-General added that, “We will be collaborating with the Development Centre of the OECD on the publication of a productivity outlook report, which will analyze productivity growth trends in APO economies and related policies. Publication is planned for mid-2016.”

During Plenary Session 1, the APO Secretariat reported on the Strategic Planning Workshop for APO Liaison Officers and Roadmap to Achieve the APO Vision 2020. That was followed by presentations on the criteria for and prioritization of 2017–2018 project lineups and proposed expansion of the APO Digital Learning Program.

During Plenary Session 2, each NPO presented its country’s innovation strategy and framework with some examples and gave suggestions on priority innovation areas or capabilities for future APO programs.

56th Workshop Meeting of Heads of NPOs.

56th Workshop Meeting of Heads of NPOs.

 Photos courtesy of SPRING Singapore.