Jacinda Ardern to chair APEC virtual retreat on COVID-19 pandemic

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern Photo credit: Getty Images

Jacinda Ardern will later this month chair a virtual meeting of APEC leaders focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects 

The informal meeting, which will take place on July 16, marks the first time an additional leaders' meeting has taken place in APEC's history.

The Prime Minister said the meeting comes as economies in the Asia-Pacific region face an unprecedented challenge in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

"APEC economies have suffered their biggest contraction since the Second World War over the past year, with 81 million jobs lost. Responding collectively is vital to accelerate the economic recovery for the region,"  Ardern said on Monday.

"Our region has already responded in significant ways, including removing barriers to the efficient distribution of vaccines and related goods, but there is still a lot of work to do to get through the crisis."

Ardern said discussion at the meeting will focus on finding immediate measures to achieve more coordinated regional action to help economic recovery, as well as taking steps to support inclusive and sustainable growth over the long term.

"APEC Leaders will work together to get through the pandemic and promote a sustainable and inclusive recovery, because nobody is safe until everyone is safe."

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum with 21 members, representing 2.9 billion people.

The region accounts for 60 percent of the world's GDP and 48 percent of global trade.

This year the summit is being hosted by New Zealand, though all meetings are taking place virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.