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Statement by APO Secretary-General
by Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn
Guest of Honor, Minister of Manpower, Republic of Indonesia H.E M. Hanif Dhakiri;
APO Director for Indonesia Bambang Satrio Lelono;
Distinguished NPO and Agriculture Delegates; and
Advisers, Observers, and Guests:
It gives me great pleasure to welcome the Heads of National Productivity Organizations (NPOs) and Agriculture delegates to this Workshop Meeting of Heads of NPOs (WSM). I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for its generosity in hosting this year’s WSM in Yogyakarta.
We are very grateful that H.E M. Hanif Dhakiri was able to grace this important meeting with his presence. I would also like to express our gratitude to APO Director for Indonesia Bambang Satrio Lelono for hosting this meeting and the warm hospitality extended to the delegates.
At the last WSM held in the ROK, I highlighted the challenges that the APO must overcome to meet the goals of the Roadmap to Achieve the APO Vision 2020 as digital technologies continue to dramatically shape the future of productivity. The need to accelerate the transformation of APO approaches to improve the productivity of our member economies has never been greater in the 57 years of our history.
I am therefore pleased to report that we have taken a huge leap forward with the endorsement of the key business transformations by the APO Governing Body. The Strategic Planning Workshop (SPW) involving APO Directors and NPO Heads played a crucial role in obtaining the Governing Body’s endorsement after a lively debate that concluded that the objectives of the APO Convention had not yet been fully met in fulfilling its productivity mission. The SPW endorsed the key business transformations and requested detailed action plans.
I would like to emphasize that the transformation is a journey. We are not going to achieve all the key transformations overnight but will do so progressively in collaboration with member governments, which also need to play their part to ensure success. The major objective of this WSM is therefore to discuss how the APO can translate recommendations into action plans while balancing the commitments already made by member governments to the 2019/2020 Program Plans.
The format of the strategic planning sessions during the WSM has also been changed. While we still need to reconfirm the projects that we want to undertake during the next two years, the Secretariat will provide an overview of every major program to describe the objectives, expected outcomes, and detailed implementation plans. The focus will shift from discussing the hosting of projects, which is mainly an administrative matter, to the actual action plans that are more strategic and relevant to delegates.
During the strategic planning sessions, the Secretariat will explain the implications of the six key transformations that the Governing Body has endorsed for the 2019/2020 Program Plans. Implementation of the Specific National Program (SNP) is already in progress after receiving your endorsement last year. The SNP will become the primary vehicle for the APO to co-create national productivity initiatives aligned with the specific needs of member governments. Such initiatives focus on national-level impacts with advice from experienced international experts. The Secretariat has been engaged in in-depth discussions with several member governments and expects to announce the official launches of national initiatives in the coming months.
Another initiative that has gained traction is the Accreditation Body Program. Before the end of this year, we aim to establish an Accreditation Body Advisory Council comprising eminent representatives from member governments, academic institutions, and industry bodies. This initiative will support member governments in developing new productivity knowledge and enhancing the APO’s standing as a leading productivity organization worldwide.
As part of the plan to implement the key business transformations, the Secretariat will also propose new projects and activities to strengthen the existing smart transformation and capacity development initiatives. Acknowledging the point made by SPW delegates on trade-offs, the Secretariat will recommend the discontinuation of some projects that may have become less relevant to current needs for the consideration of the WSM.
The six key business transformations are intended to steer the organization back to the original objectives stated in the APO Convention. To implement them successfully, we will require the strong cooperation and collaboration of member governments. Internally, it is also equally critical for the Secretariat to equip itself with new technical competencies and new platforms to lead member countries in mastering emerging productivity fields.
As reported to the Governing Body, there are four additional key business transformations that are internal to the Secretariat. A three-pronged strategy will be used, consisting of the introduction of new digital tools and technologies, development of future-ready skills for Secretariat staff, and improvement of all critical procedures within the APO. All three strategies are intertwined and vital to ensure that the transformation of the APO is supported by technological advances, productivity improvements, and new skills and competencies.
Fulfilling the objectives stated in the APO Convention is not the sole duty of the Secretariat. NPOs and the Secretariat have complementary roles to play, with the Secretariat spearheading new initiatives and NPOs conducting national follow-up activities. In the impact evaluation study of 2016/2017 projects conducted by a third-party institution, one major weakness identified was the lack of systematic project follow-up activities and monitoring and evaluation processes. To overcome this, NPOs and the Secretariat need to forge a stronger collaborative partnership to undertake projects and follow-up activities and monitor their outcomes. With your cooperation, we will introduce new technology to facilitate the monitoring and evaluation process.
The primary responsibility of providing resources for NPOs lies with member governments. One measure that the Secretariat can undertake is developing new productivity knowledge and experience. The rapid pace of technological change has rendered much of our past productivity knowledge painstakingly built up over the years obsolete. I am therefore proposing a pilot training program at the Secretariat aimed at accelerating the development of selected staff from NPOs or relevant government agencies to address the new challenges. If delegates support this idea, we would like to implement a new Executive Development Program for the 2019/2020 biennium. More details of this program will be explained by the Secretariat later.
This WSM marks another milestone in APO history. With a new format that encourages more in-depth strategic discussions, it promises to be very exciting as well as challenging. I hope that delegates will find this a refreshing change from the business-as-usual WSM and take this opportunity to connect with one another to chart a new path for the APO.
Next year, the WSM will begin discussions on new programs for the 2021/2022 biennium. Since APO’s current vision and roadmap concludes in 2020, we will be starting the process to engage member governments to revise the current roadmap and develop an implementation plan up to 2025. Good execution of the plan in collaboration with NPOs will determine whether the key business transformations will succeed in delivering the outcomes expected by our member governments. We will therefore be proposing to the Governing Body to form a task force to assist in the revising the roadmap. To be effective, the task force should be a small one comprising a few NPO Heads to represent the Governing Body and advised by external experts.
I thank all of you for joining this distinguished gathering of productivity champions. Your continued support is crucial as we continue our journey with renewed passion and purpose to inspire the APO community to contribute to a better quality of life for all in the Asia-Pacific region through higher productivity.
In closing, I congratulate the courageous, outstanding people of Indonesia for hosting the 2018 Asian Games while coping with natural disasters. Your Asian Games success and desire to host the 2032 Olympics reflect the proud aspirations of a rapidly developing Asia. The APO is very proud to play a part in your success through its contributions to the socioeconomic development of the Asia-Pacific. I once again thank the Government of Indonesia for its hospitality and generosity in hosting this WSM.