Connectivity Index

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Amidst global trade slowdown and rising protectionism, APEC economies face a potential threat of backsliding on the progress in trade liberalization and regional integration under the Bogor Goals. In response, APEC leaders have set out to establish “a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated Asia-Pacific” by 2025 through the APEC Connectivity Blueprint, with a mid-term review to be conducted by officials by 2020. The ‘APEC Connectivity Framework’ first emerged in 2013 and was further developed into the Blueprint for formal endorsement at the Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing the subsequent year. It comprises a set of agreed initiatives and targets under the physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity pillars that APEC leaders have committed to accomplish with the view to bring the APEC region closer together and strengthen economic integration.

While the Blueprint sets ambitious targets to realize its vision, it only provides a high-level framework to organize the relevant work streams. In other words, how to measure, monitor and evaluate in concrete terms what progress APEC is making toward achievement of its goals is currently missing from the Blueprint.

Against this backdrop, the Standing Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) has undertaken to develop a new composite index to assess the state of connectivity among APEC members, and between APEC/PECC economies and the rest of the international community.

Connectivity is a broad term which can potentially encompass everything from improvements in energy grids, transportation networks and digital infrastructure to trade facilitation. Recognizing multi-dimensional aspect of connectivity, the APEC Connectivity Blueprint stays away from defining the term directly and explains it as consisting of physical, institutional and people-to-people elements. 

The project is carried out in two phases: 

• Phase 1: Conceptualization and Design of the Connectivity Index (first half of 2017)
• Phase 2: Development of the Connectivity Index (second half of 2017)

The composite index will be updated every two years and serve as a basis for some specific policy recommendations. The PECC Connectivity Index is intended to contribute to APEC’s ability to assess and track progress of APEC economies towards fulfilling the connectivity vision set out in the Blueprint.  

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