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The First APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1): “Policy Dialogue on Understanding the BCG Economy” to Promote Balanced, Sustainable and Inclusive Development in APEC

            The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed inequalities and imbalances as a result of past practices that prioritise economic growth at all costs while overlooking social and environmental impacts. It has also given us a rare opportunity to rethink and recalibrate our growth strategy towards one that is sustainable, inclusive and environmentally sound. Thailand’s BCG economy model can address this challenge by leveraging technology and innovation to create values, reduce waste and promote responsible business practices. 

The BCG model has therefore become the overarching thinking behind APEC 2022 Thailand’s themes and priorities, especially to “Balance in All Aspects”, with the key deliverable being a Leaders’ document, to be endorsed at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting 

in November 2022, reaffirming APEC’s commitments and actions on sustainability to help transition APEC towards balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth.

            Thailand has initiated the process of building awareness and understanding of the BCG concept in APEC. As part of SOM1 meetings cluster, the SCE Policy Dialogue on Understanding the Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model was held on 22 February 2022, with 

Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and APEC2022 SOM Chair, and Associate Professor 

Dr. Pasit Lorterapong, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand, giving their opening remarks. The key objective of this Policy Dialogue is to deepen understanding of the BCG Economy as a post-pandemic strategy for quality growth and provide a platform for member economies to exchange concrete experiences and best practices as well as to explore how APEC can leverage the BCG Economy to advance its work on sustainability.

            The Policy Dialogue focused on applying the BCG concept in 3 sectors, namely (1) Agriculture and Food Systems including sustainable agriculture practices and food systems,  food waste management and ensuring sustainability throughout the agriculture supply chains (2) Energy Efficiency and Resilience including energy production from biomaterials, improving energy efficiency and expediting carbon neutrality; and (3) Resource Management and Creativity in the Economy, including net zero emission construction, innovative construction materials from seashell residue and tourism and creative economy.

            The Policy Dialogue on Understanding the BCG demonstrates that many APEC economies are already implementing the core principle of the BCG Economy. Several examples show that the BCG concept can be applied in various business sectors where monetary profits can go hand in hand with sustainability. A key to success is the whole-of-society partnerships that engage governments and all stakeholders in the private sector, academia and youth. The integration of the principles of the BCG concept 

into APEC workstreams can help steer the region towards balanced, sustainable and inclusive economic growth that benefits both 

our people and the planet.