Dodwell in SOM3 Medan - Post 5

June 28, 2013

Alongside the massive Food Security Meetings, the first week of the APEC SOM cluster was dominated by another giant affair – the annual gathering of the Human Resources Development Working Group. On top of the main working group were workshops, and deliberations by its four sub-groups – a three dimensional labyrinth of meetings.

ABAC was interested for one reason above all others: a chance to get a first glimpse of the web-based Skills mapping Tool which is due for completion at the end of the year. You might remember that ABAC sponsored this initiative in 2011 as a first step to rebuild regional momentum behind the need to tackle serious and costly problems linked with regional labour mobility.

The Australian Government has taken the Skills mapping task under its wing, and the results look promising if only partial. There is a possibility that we will at ABAC3 in Kyoto be able to see an early version of the site, which is intended eventually to provide a comprehensive regional picture of emerging or chronic skills shortages. Those in ABAC’s advisory group will be able to play with the web-based tool a little later in July. By ABAC4 in Bali we should have something fairly substantive.

At present, however, there is one major catch: only six economies have yet made relevant data available. We will never have much of a meaningful regional map if it is based on just six of our 21 economies!! Some of the developing APEC economies continue to parry that they simply don’t have the data being sought. But others are better placed, and this week’s meeting was an opportunity to engage in some polite but emphatic nagging. We hope as a result we may soon have four or five additional countries docking in.

Given that ABAC launched its campaign to tackle the region’s labour mobility problems more than a decade ago, this is a painful demonstration of how patient we need to be to see policymakers progress an issue. Congratulations to Australia for fighting the good fight, but oh so frustrating…

In Medan, if an APEC Delegate gets sick or needs to go to a hospital, he goes for Medical Hospitality

⇒  More blog posts from the SOM3 Medan meetings series.

⇒  Dodwell's other meetings blogs.


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