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APEC Leaders Pledge to Expand Co-op on Education, Health Issues

Leaders from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum pledged on Sunday to expand cooperation on education and health issues.

"Ensuring that all members of our economies receive a quality education is critical to achieving social, individual, economic and sustainable development," the leaders said in a declaration after a two-day summit in the Peruvian capital Lima. "It (education) enables people to take advantage of opportunities created by globalization," said the statement.

The leaders supported the efforts of APEC Education Ministers to strengthen education systems in the region including ongoing support to the APEC Education Network.

They welcomed the research-based steps taken by APEC in the areas of mathematics and sciences, language learning, career and technical education, information and communication technologies and systemic reform.

They pledged to facilitate international exchanges, working towards reciprocal exchanges of talented students, graduates and researchers.

The leaders also reaffirmed commitment to build regional capacity to minimize health-related threats including avian and human influenza pandemics and communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

They pledged continued efforts to ensure that economies are well prepared to deal with health threats and to respond to them in a way that minimizes their adverse impacts on human welfare, trade and investment.

Meanwhile, the leaders expressed concerns over gender discrimination. "We committed to strengthening the capacity of APEC members to ensure that gender discrimination are taken into account in the development of trade and economic policy, and to ensuring that the region's women are better able to participate in and benefit from regional and global trade," said the document.

Nineteen leaders from the APEC member economies attended the two-day summit, part of the APEC Leaders' Week on November 16-23.

Established in 1989, APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2008)

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