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by Ryuichiro Yamazaki
Colombo Plan Chair Arko Hanando Budiadi,
Deputy Chair Deependra Bahadur Kshetry,
Secretary-General Adam Maniku,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
On behalf of the Asian Productivity Organization, I would like to sincerely thank the Colombo Plan as well as the Government of Indonesia sincerely for the invitation to attend the 43rd session of its Consultative Committee Meeting as an observer.
As many of you may know, the APO was established in 1961 as a regional intergovernmental organization to contribute to the sustainable socioeconomic development of Asia and the Pacific through the enhancement of productivity in the industrial, agriculture, and service sectors and recently in the public sector as well. Last year, the APO celebrated its 50th anniversary, marked by a commemorative publication featuring the productivity journey of its member economies and their accomplishments, challenges, and aspirations. Furthermore, an international conference was held in Taipei last August, where productivity experts developed the Taipei Declaration on Productivity and Sustainable, Inclusive Development of the Asia-Pacific Region. The declaration provides the APO community with recommendations and a vision of future socioeconomic development in the region with the continuing role of productivity enhancement.
The relationship between the APO and Colombo Plan dates back to 1962, when the APO, soon after its own establishment, sought to tie up with various regional and international organizations. The collaborative efforts of our two organizations at the project level stretch over an extensive period and have covered diverse areas and subjects.
In this connection, productivity enhancement in agriculture and rural communities has been a long-standing focus area of APO activities as agriculture remains one of the core economic sectors and a driving force of development for many of our member countries. The APO and Colombo Plan have worked together on many projects in this area. Just during this year, three joint agriculture-related projects have already been implemented, and a fourth one to provide professionals with training on the development, promotion, and marketing of agrotourism products is scheduled for this December in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Since 1994, the APO has actively promoted Green Productivity as a concept to address environmental concerns within the overall framework of productivity enhancement. In June 2011, the APO and Colombo Plan jointly organized the Workshop on Renewable Energy in Fiji, building up both the knowledge and capacity of energy professionals for the productive use of renewable energy sources.
One of the strategic directions of the APO is developing SMEs because they are an important economic driving force. Similarly, the Colombo Plan continues to assist SMEs and small businesses to thrive in the globalizing era. Some joint projects have been undertaken in recent years supporting the development of rural-based tourism enterprises and the One Village, One Product Movement.
The Colombo Plan and the APO continue to benefit from our long relationship, because we share similar aspirations for regional growth, belief in the importance of building up human capital, and knowledge that best practice sharing is a proven approach for transferring and developing skills and knowledge. The APO greatly appreciates the cooperation extended by the Colombo Plan and looks forward to further opportunities for collaboration. As our two organizations, established more than 50 years ago, continue to serve the needs of this increasingly dynamic region, it is vital for the APO and Colombo Plan to continue working side by side.