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55th Governing Body Meeting: Closing Statement [21-23 May 2013, Tokyo, Japan]

Closing Statement
by Ryuichiro Yamazaki
APO Secretary-General

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Directors, Ladies, and Gentlemen:

At the outset, I would like to thank the Directors and delegates for your cooperation in making this 55th Session of the APO Governing Body Meeting (GBM) very substantial and successful.

With regard to the issue of the new membership contribution formula, I would like to thank the task force members for engaging in intensive discussions and presenting their comprehensive recommendations to the GBM. We have not fully resolved the issue but have taken an important step in the right direction. As decided at the GBM, if member countries are not able to reach a consensus on the special one-time measure, packaged together with the new, long-term six-year average GNI formula, after the agreed deadline, then the current three-year average GNI formula will be applied.

I am also pleased to note that member countries have given in-principle approval for the revised APO budget for 2014. To reiterate, the 2014 budget will be further revised after this year’s WSM discussions and factoring in other financial considerations, including the prevailing dollar-yen exchange rate.

The ideas that the APO Directors have presented at this GBM are very valuable and useful, such as developing cross-industry productivity programs, customizing more programs for NPOs, increasing efforts to improve service-sector productivity, facilitating information sharing among NPOs, and embarking on regional benchmarking initiatives. Directors have also reaffirmed the importance of public-sector productivity and the role of governments in modernizing and reducing regulations that impede the growth of business. Many directors have also strongly encouraged the APO to reinvent itself by developing alternative revenue streams to boost revenue and expand its activities aggressively.

There were just too many excellent points for me to capture them all here now, and hence the Secretariat will consolidate and categorize these ideas for further brainstorming and discussions at the Liaison Officers’ Strategic Planning Workshop in June and at the WSM in October so that we will be able to follow up more effectively.

I would like especially to express my deep gratitude to outgoing Chair Azman Hashim, the APO Director for Malaysia, for his strong leadership in guiding the APO through the successful office relocation last year, and also for chairing the task force that facilitated the agreement on the new membership contribution formula.

My special thanks also go to the incumbent APO Chair Yamaaranz Erkhembayar, the APO Director for Mongolia, First Vice-Chair Krishna Gyawali, APO Director for Nepal, and Second Vice-Chair Shahid Rashid, APO Director for Pakistan, for their leadership during the GBM.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Masaji Matsuyama, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for gracing our GBM and for strongly supporting APO activities that improve the productivity of member country SMEs and societies.

I would also like to convey my special gratitude to Japan, our host country, in particular APO Director for Japan Kunio Umeda, APO Alternate Director for Japan Mitsuhiro Wada, and President of the Japan Productivity Center Masayoshi Matsukawa for their warm hospitality, and to their staff who had worked very hard behind the scenes to ensure that this GBM proceeded smoothly.

Finally, I would like to express my warmest regards and deepest gratitude to all our APO member governments and their respective NPOs for the support that you have all kindly rendered to me as Secretary-General. I will continue to do my best to fulfill my responsibilities until my very last day in office in mid-September and conduct a smooth handover to new Secretary-General Mari Amano.

In closing, I sincerely wish everyone a safe and pleasant journey home.

Thank you.

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