David's Blog on SOM3 Beijing - Post 6

August 20, 2014

APEC Transportation Working Group (TPTWG) meetings at the Hong Kong International Airport

From the milling corridors of SOM3 in Beijing, where my ABAC colleagues are preparing input for the final meetings of Senior Officials, I have flown back down to Hong Kong – not to put feet up in my locked-and-bolted home, but to camp out at the Hong Kong International Airport where officials are huddled for the APEC Transportation Working Group meetings.
Forever, the TPTWG has been a kind of ABAC embarrassment. They do valuable work, we know… but we hardly ever manage to fill our ABAC seat. They don’t help us, of course, by opting not to meet in the SOM Clusters. Like Tourism, Telecoms and Energy, which also steer a wide berth away from the clusters, we rarely find a way of participating. Making special journeys to their meetings often proves impossibly challenging for us.
But with such a strong ABAC army on hand for the Senior Officials meetings, and the TPTWG meeting in my own home town, I thought I should make a special effort. It was pleasing to bump immediately into ABAC Japan colleague Atsuko Ishizawa from Mitsubishi, who has not only managed to get here from the start, but has also presented on our behalves.
While Atsuko was presenting at the IIEG, I put a toe in the water at the Maritime Experts Group, and bumped immediately into another ABAC challenge: how to provide input to four expert groups that sit under TPTWG, and all run concurrently. Heaven knows how we resolve.
The maritime group in part tackled the challenge for us this morning, by holding a joint meeting with the IIEG. But I was shocked to discover that in this 40th meeting of the Transportation Working Group, this is the very first time the MEG and IIEG have met together. And to think that such transport-related groupings ought to be at the very heart of our global supply chain, and supply chain connectivity work! How effectively can ABAC talk to them, when they rarely even talk to themselves?
This is surely not a conundrum I am going to resolve here in the rain in Hong Kong, as we watch plane after plane land on the runway in front of us. In deference to our setting in the middle of the Hong Kong International Airport I will this afternoon sit in on the Aviation Experts Group. Such an interesting education process.
I understand the meetings go on to Friday, and I will not be able to stay through because I have to head at the end of the week to Xiamen to the Blue Economy Forum and the Oceans Ministerial. Atsuko will I am sure keep up the good work on ABAC’s behalf.

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