Human Resources Development

The goal of human resources development in APEC is to promote the well-being of all people and achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the region.

The Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) was established in 1990.

The HRDWG plays an important role in building the region’s human capacity. It implements initiatives on education, labor and capacity building in aid of its mission to share knowledge, experience and skills to strengthen human resource development across the region to promote sustainable economic growth.

The working group is guided by these three objectives:

  • Develop 21st century knowledge and skills for all
  • Integrate human resources development into the global economy
  • Address the social dimensions of globalization

To accomplish these objectives, the HRDWG conducts its work program through three networks:

  • The Capacity Building Network (CBN), which focuses on skills development, human resource management and vocational training through cross-cutting collaboration to facilitate 21st century talents, enhance employability and provide quality employment.
  • The Education Network (EDNET), which focuses on fostering strong and vibrant learning systems across APEC member economies, promoting quality and equitable education to enable people of all ages to meet the challenges of rapid change in today’s world through enhancing competencies, accelerating innovation and increasing employability. For further details please refer to the EDNET webpage available here.
  • The Labour and Social Protection Network (LSPN), which focuses on fostering strong and flexible labor markets and strengthening social protection, including social safety nets, through evidence-based interventions, collaboration, technical co-operation and the provision of labor market and social protection information and analysis to address sustainable human resource development across APEC member economies. 

Recognizing that human resources development is a cross-cutting issue, the HRDWG coordinates with several other APEC working groups such as the Committee on Trade and Investment, the Economic Committee, the Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group, the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation, the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy and the APEC Business Advisory Council.

Points of collaboration with these other groups include:

  • Building human capital for business sectors
  • Implementing the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap
  • Implementing the 2017 APEC Economic Policy Report on Structural Reform and Human Capital Development
  • Advancing women’s economic participation in the region
  • Conducting skills mapping research exercises in the APEC region

The HRDWG also cooperates with other international organizations such as the Association of Pacific Rim Universities; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and the International Labor Organisation.

Last page update: September 2018

Current Activities


The HRDWG’s lead shepherd serves as the working group’s chair and each network has one coordinator.

The current HRDWG Lead Shepherd is Professor Dong Sun Park (Korea) Contact: and

The current coordinator chairs for the networks are:

Key achievements and current areas of focus:

  • Implementing the APEC Education Strategy, endorsed by the 6th APEC Education Ministerial Meeting in 2016, which sets the framework for guiding future projects and collaborative initiatives for the benefit of the region, based on the following three pillars:
    • Enhancing and aligning competencies to the needs of individuals, societies and economies
    • Accelerating innovation
    • Increasing employability.
  • The development and implementation of the APEC Framework on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age, which was endorsed at the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age held in May 2017 in Viet Nam. The Framework provides a platform for strengthening human resources development in the region, increasing worker preparedness for the digital age, and ensuring that labor market policies match the changing needs of the region’s labor market.
  • The implementation of the APEC Economic Policy Report for 2017 (AEPR) on Structural Reform and Human Capital Development, which was released by APEC in November 2017—the first time an AEPR has focused specifically on human capital development. This report contains a number of specific policy recommendations that HRDWG is currently working to implement in collaboration with the Economic Committee.
  • Advancing the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR) Implementation Plan 2016–2025 to facilitate the mobility of skilled labor and professionals, and to ensure the quality of skills and competencies that meet the supply chain demands of the region.

HRDWG’s project work

In support of these core areas of focus, the HRDWG’s three networks have a number of active APEC projects currently underway related to labor mobility, qualifications recognition, digital literacy, global competencies and youth employment, the details of which are accessible here.

HRDWG meeting schedule

The latest meeting of the HRDWG took place in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 27 February to 1 March 2018. The reports from the meeting can be found here

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