Papua New Guinea will for the first time host and chair the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in 2018.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will formally announce this to APEC leaders in October this year when he attends the APEC Leaders’ Summit in Bali, Indonesia.
In preparation for this major event, Cabinet in August 2012 established the PNG APEC Secretariat under the Office of the Chief Secretary to Government.
One million kina was allocated to start-up the Secretariat in its first year and Chief Secretary has appointed Mr Lahui Ako as the interim Director General for the Secretariat.
Since joining APEC in 1993, PNG remains the only member economy out of 21 developing and developed economies, yet to host and chair APEC.
All the member economies, (apart from Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei, who are Special Administrative Regions of China) have hosted and chaired APEC at least once since APEC was formed in 1989.
A draft Operations Plan for APEC PNG 2018 has already been completed by the PNG APEC Secretariat and circulated among stakeholder agencies and departments for comments and inputs.
Upon Cabinet’s endorsement of this plan, the Chief Secretary will convene the first national stakeholders’ meeting in March to formally commence preparations for this event.
The government has also appointed Mr Ivan Pomaleu, Managing-Director of the PNG Investment Promotion Authority (IPA), as the new PNG APEC Senior Official. Mr Pomaleu takes over from Mr Ako, who had been acting in this role since September, 2010.
Mr Pomaleu’s appointment is in line with the government’s undertakings for APEC PNG 2018.
Mr Pomaleu will now lead all PNG delegations to the APEC Senior Officials Meetings and will provide necessary policy support and advice to relevant Ministers and the Prime Minister, particularly during their participation at the APEC Ministers’ Meeting (AMM), the Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT); and the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM).
Prime Minister O’Neill said he is very pleased with the progress so far as it will further propel PNG on the global stage as a very important player in economic and trade relations.