Cebu Action Plan launched

CEBU, Philippines – Finance Ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) concluded their 22nd meeting by launching on Friday, September 11, the Cebu Action Plan, a roadmap for a more sustainable financial future for the Asia-Pacific region.

The Cebu Action Plan, which will be submitted to the APEC Leaders, has 4 pillars:

The plan continues the advancement to the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, in particular, economies committed to work toward more liberalized financial services and capital accounts across the Asia-Pacific.

Likewise, economies emphasized how promoting trade and supply chain finance, as well as alternative financing mechanisms in APEC can boost inclusive growth, especially in improving access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises, 40% of which are underserved in the region.

APEC finance ministers also agreed that fiscal transparency and reforms figure in optimizing public investments across the region. Regional cooperation on taxation and governance reforms will help ensure that available fiscal space are dedicated to growth-inducing investments.

They are also confident that resiliency can be bolstered through the development of innovative disaster risk financing and insurance mechanisms, and other risk transfer instruments available through the capital markets in a region where more than 60% of the world’s disasters strike. The costs of damage in the past decade alone reached $1.2 trillion.

They also recognized the heightened role quality infrastructure plays in a growing region, as they look forward to the development of an APEC public-private partnership (PPP) knowledge portal in collaboration with the Global Infrastructure Hub. This hub is envisioned to serve as an online repository of PPP infrastructure projects.

"APEC finance ministers also noted how developing quality infrastructure as an asset class for institutional and long-term investors in the APEC region can facilitate the mobilization of regional savings into long-term investment pools," the statement read. (READ: 6 APEC economies sign up for Asia Regional Funds Passport)

Steadfast cooperation

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the Cebu Action Plan launched Friday is the work of a region "facing forward in steadfast cooperation amid complex challenges and opportunities."

"We hope the Cebu Action Plan emerges as the lasting legacy of the Philippines’ hosting. With 21 economies, multilateral institutions, and private sector support behind it, we are optimistic it can be taken in the next meetings as a living body of continuing work in our bid for a more prosperous, financially integrated, transparent, resilient, and connected Asia-Pacific," Purisima said.

On Friday, APEC finance ministers unveiled a marker to commemorate the Cebu Action Plan. The marker is a two-meter tall sculpture of pounded brass on 4 black granite pedestals representing the Cebu Action Plan pillars.

"With the conclusion of our hosting, we demonstrate the upside to regional collaboration. We thank all 20 other member economies, our friends from multilateral institutions, and the private sector for joining us as we forge Asia-Pacific's financial future," Purisima added.

The 23rd Finance Ministers' Meeting will be held in Lima, Peru in October 2016. – Rappler.com