Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, together with Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, attended the 34th APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM) on 14 and 15 November 2023.
During the AMM, Minister Maliki discussed the importance of ensuring supply chain resilience amidst geopolitical tensions and regional conflicts, which has led to higher costs and economic uncertainty for the man-on-the-street, in particular those from small and open economies. Minister Maliki also highlighted that COVID-19 had laid bare our inadequacy in dealing with a highly transmissible new disease in an interconnected world, and as such, there was a need to strengthen the global health architecture. Minister Maliki further emphasised that while it was important to bridge the digital divide, especially in education and for small-and medium-sized enterprises, digitalisation was a double-edged sword as cybercrime had become a real threat to governments, businesses and individuals on a global scale. In this regard, international cooperation and public and private sector collaboration was essential to cripple criminal cyber operations and bring perpetrators to justice. The full text of Minister Maliki’s remarks is appended.
On the sidelines of the AMM, Minister Maliki met several of his counterparts, including Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Park Jin and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru Javier González-Olaechea. The Ministers affirmed warm bilateral ties and discussed opportunities for cooperation. Minister Maliki also expressed Singapore’s support to Minister González-Olaechea on Peru’s Chairmanship of APEC 2024.
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
17 NOVEMBER 2023
MINISTER IN THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE, SECOND MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DR MOHAMAD MALIKI OSMAN’S INTERVENTION AT SESSION I, ‘ENABLING AN INNOVATIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE AND AFFIRMING AN EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE FUTURE FOR ALL’ AT THE 2023 APEC MINISTERIAL MEETING IN SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES
The focus of today’s session is salient and I would like to make three points.
First, in recent years, the international community has witnessed a confluence of events which has led to major supply chain disruptions, affecting food and energy security as well as the movement of essential goods. This was keenly felt at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, geopolitical tensions and regional conflicts have similarly led to disruptions. These multiple crises in succession have resulted in, amongst other things, higher costs and economic uncertainty for the man-on-the-street, and in particular, price-takers in small and open economies. It is therefore important that APEC continues its important work in ensuring supply chain resilience. Singapore stands ready to contribute through continuing to lead Phase Three of APEC’s Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan.
Second, COVID-19 laid bare our inadequacy in dealing with a highly transmissible new disease in an interconnected world, and highlighted the need to strengthen the global health architecture. Singapore was one of the first economies to champion ‘vaccine multilateralism’ and strongly supported the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative, which provided an international baseline model for more equitable access to vaccines for all economies.
We established and co-chaired the Friends of the COVAX Facility, or FOF, to coalesce global support for this new initiative. We were building the ship as it set sail, but the more important point is that the ship sailed, and this allowed us to save many more lives. A May 2023 report by Imperial College London indicated that COVAX helped to avert 2.7 million deaths across 92 lower-income economies. The FOF has demonstrated the importance of sustainable multilateral solutions to tackling future pandemics which know no borders, and that we can go further if we go together.
Third, we must capitalise on digitalisation to increase reach to underserved communities. We must also bridge the digital divide, as the pandemic made evident the importance of access to technology, especially in education and for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
At the same time, we are beginning to see that digitalisation is a double-edged sword. While it helps cut red-tape and brings about significant efficiencies, criminal elements have also quickly adapted and taken advantage of developments in technology. Cybercrime, such as phishing, ransomware, data breaches and online scams, has become a real threat to governments, businesses and individuals on a global scale. As cybercrime often transcends borders, operating across jurisdictions and affecting victims across various economies, tackling it has been a major challenge, especially in terms of investigation and prosecution. No economy can address this issue alone. Hence, international cooperation and public and private sector collaboration are essential to cripple criminal cyber operations and bring perpetuators to justice.
Colleagues, we live in an interconnected world that, while not perfect and full of challenges, has brought about great benefits to many segments of society over the decades. Singapore looks forward to strengthening our collaboration with fellow APEC economies to build an enabling and innovative environment and to ensure a better future for our next generation. Thank you.
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