Past Sessions

It has been over 10 years since the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) launched this platform for public-private sector dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region. APBF has the long term objective of improving the global economic development in the region and as such you can find below all the previous sessions of APBF which have been held since 2004.

APBF 2014 — Enhancing regional business sustainability and investment

Colombo, Sri Lanka — 25-27 November 2014

APBF 2014 was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka with participants consisting of business, government, academic, civil society and other key stakeholder from across the Asia-Pacific.

With these highly engaging and action-oriented dialogues, APBF participants are able to actively shape and influence the policy and business environment in Asia-Pacific by formulating their own strategies and policy recommendations which are presented to, among others, ESCAP's Committee on Trade and Investment as well as the Commission, ESCAP's highest legislative body. Together, with the participation and support from a diverse group of businesses, policymakers and civil society organizations from the Asia-Pacific region, APBF is continuing its pursuit of becoming the leading Asian-Pacific platform for public-private sector dialogue on the role and needs of businesses in achieving inclusive, resilient and sustainable development for all.

Objective: To identify the challenges and discover the most promising opportunities for enhancing interregional business connectivity, investment and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region within the context of achieving inclusive and sustainable development in the region in general and South Asia in particular.

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APBF 2013 — Connecting the Pacific with Asia

Bangkok, Thailand — 25-26 November 2013

APBF 2013 was held in Bangkok, Thailand at the United Nations Conference Center with participants consisting of business, government, academic, civil society and other key stakeholder from across the Asia-Pacific.

With these highly engaging and action-oriented dialogues, APBF participants were able to actively shape and influence the policy and business environment in Asia-Pacific by formulating their own strategies and policy recommendations which were presented to, among others, ESCAP's Committee on Trade and Investment as well as the Commission, ESCAP's highest legislative body. Together, with the participation and support from a diverse group of businesses, policymakers and civil society organizations from the Asia-Pacific region, APBF continued its pursuit of becoming the leading Asian-Pacific platform for public-private sector dialogue on the role and needs of businesses in achieving inclusive, resilient and sustainable development for all.

Objective: To identify the challenges and opportunities for connecting business in the Asia-Pacific region within the context of achieving inclusive and sustainable development in the region in general and the Pacific subregion in particular.

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APBF 2012 — Advancing Regional Economic Integration: Connecting Business, Strengthening Partnerships

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — 15-16 October 2012

Under the overall guidance and leadership of the ESCAP Business Advisory Council, the Asia Pacific Business Forum 2012 was organized in collaboration with the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the Sunway Resort & SPA, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 15 and 16 October 2012. The theme of this year's Forum was "Advancing Regional Economic Integration: Connecting Business, Strengthening Partnerships".

In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) of the Government of Malaysia are strategic partners. The SIRIM Berhad, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), the SME CORP, the Greater Mekong Subregion Business Forum (GMS-BF), the Mekong Institute (MI), the ASEAN CSR Network and the SS-GATE also provided support to the Forum.

Two of ESCAP’s regional institutions — the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT-ESCAP) and the United Nations Asian and Pacific Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (UNAPCAEM) — organized side events related to SME development. The first edition of the ESCAP's Policy Guidebook on SME Development in Asia and the Pacific was launched during the Forum

Started in 2004, the APBF provides platform for region-wide public-private sector dialogue, and facilitates opportunities for cooperation and partnerships among stakeholders. The Forum brings together governments, business leaders, academia, civil society and other stakeholders to share good practices in the areas of economic integration, the key to stability and prosperity with a particular focus on realizing the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

Moreover, the 2-day Forum was structured to address business aspects of sustainable socioeconomic development including responsible business practices and corporate sustainability, green economy, renewable energy; and to promote trade and investment in least developed countries and landlocked countries, including Myanmar through modalities like entrepreneurship development, technology transfer, education and training and trade facilitation.

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APBF 2011 — Facing challenges, capturing opportunities

Bangkok, Thailand — 25-26 July 2011

APBF 2011 identified economic drivers to assist the Asia-Pacific region in reaping the benefits of globalization, including integration through participation in global value chains, trade agreements and corporate social responsibility.

While the Forum explored emerging trade and investment opportunities after the economic crisis, it provided a platform for networking and forming partnerships among the business community in the Asia-Pacific region. It was strategically planned to enhance cooperation and dialogue between the public and business sectors, in particular, for the small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs).

Organized in collaboration with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking of Thailand, the Asian Development Bank, the Greater Mekong Sub-region Business Forum, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Business Leaders Forum, theGlobal Business Initiative on Human Rights and Mekong Institute, the 8th APBF 2011 was a major event of the 2nd Trade and Investment Week held during July 25-29 2011 in the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, Thailand.

Another interesting activity held at the 2nd Trade and Investment Week was the Trade and Investment Fair. For more information on the 2nd Trade and Investment Week and Trade and Investment Fair, please click here.

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APBF 2010 — Business Opportunities and Low-Carbon Economy

Kunming, China — 28-30 April 2010

The Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF) 2010 was co-organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).

Its overall objective was to progress towards a low-carbon economy by promoting public-private dialogue and creating business opportunities in the development and deployment of green technologies, goods and services. Among its expected outcomes were policy options at both regional and national levels for promoting low-carbon economy in Asia and the Pacific will be identified.

Policy options at both regional and national levels for promoting low-carbon economy in Asia and the Pacific were identified.

Policy makers and businesses used recommendations generated by the APBF 2010 to enhance enabling sustainable business environments and to promote investment in low-carbon goods and services. Businesses use the APBF 2010 as a regional platform to voice business views on addressing global and regional environmental issues.

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APBF 2009 — Innovations and solutions for climate change adaptation

Bangkok, Thailand — 22 January 2009

The forum focused on the opportunities, challenges and role of the private sector in Asia and the Pacific in relation to climate change. Panelists addressed key issues such as:

  • How can we promote financing for adaptation to climate change in the region?
  • What positive impact do investors and donors have on climate change adaptation in the region?
  • What are the business related risks and opportunities, and how are they being addressed by major companies in the region?
  • How can development partners, private and public investors and companies work together to stimulate sustainable development while facing the threat posed by climate change?

The forum was organized by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The results were used as input for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, as well as for the work of Sida and ESCAP, respectively.

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APBF 2008 — Energy Security: Opportunities through Regional Energy Cooperation and Public-Private Partnerships

Bangkok, Thailand — 18-19 May 2008

The Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2008 focused on the theme "Energy Security: Opportunities through Regional Cooperation and Public-Private Partnership. "It encouraged public-private partnership in promoting investment in energy infrastructure development and regional energy cooperation in Asia and the Pacific."

APBF 2008 provided the regional business community, particularly from the energy sector, with a unique opportunity to meet senior policy makers, executives from the energy industries, energy sector experts and senior representatives from international aid and development agencies from the Asia-Pacific region.

Organized by ESCAP in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, Government of Thailand, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB), Thailand, PTT Public Company Limited and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). Supported by the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD), the Petroleum Institute of Thailand (PTiT), the Greater Mekong Subregion Business Forum (GMS-BF), and the Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP).

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APBF 2007 — Harnessing the Possibilities of Central Asia

Almaty, Kazakstan — 18-19 May 2007

Central Asia's location at the crossroads of Asia and Europe and its increasing integration in the global economy create both opportunities and challenges for sustainable economic growth.

The Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2007 discussed how to grasp the opportunities and meet the challenges of globalization. Issues for discussion included diversification of exports, trade competitiveness, regional cooperation, the contribution of business to development, business and the health sector, and strategies to improve the business climate.

The Forum was organized back-to-back with the sixty-third annual UNESCAP Commission Session to ensure the presence of ministers and senior government officials from the Asia-Pacific region. The Forum served as the first part of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) Economic Forum 2007.

About 250 key business leaders, senior government officials, academics and civil society representatives from Central Asia and across the Asia-Pacific participated in the forum.

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APBF 2006 — Public-Private Partnerships for Development in Asia and the Pacific

Jakarta, Indonesia — 7-8 April 2006

The Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF) 2006 was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 7-8 April 2006. The Forum took place in conjunction with the sixty-second annual UNESCAP Commission Session.

The theme of APBF 2006 was, “Public-Private Partnerships for Development in Asia and the Pacific.” Over 400 business executives, senior Government officials, academics and representatives of civil society from the Asian-Pacific region and other regions participated in the Forum.

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APBF 2005 — Changes, Challenges and Opportunities for Asia and the Pacific

Bangkok, Thailand — 13-15 May 2005

The Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2005 was held on 13-15 May in Bangkok, Thailand. More than 400 business leaders, representatives of governments, international organizations, civil society and academics took part in the following discussion:

How to create an enabling business climate and how to promote corporate social responsibility in the region?

The Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2005 consisted of two roundtable discussions and eight breakout sessions which facilitated lively debate among 400 participants from governments, the business community, civil society, international organizations and academics. A selection of recommendations emerged from the Forum and provided input for ESCAP's work.

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APBF 2004 — Exploring emerging business opportunities

Shanghai, China — 24-26 April 2004

UN ESCAP proposed to inaugurate the Asia-Pacific Business Forum during the 60th session of the Commission in April 2004 at Shanghai, China in close cooperation with the Government of China.

The first Asia Pacific Business Forum (APBF) was organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Shanghai, China in April 2004, in collaboration with the Government of China. The Forum was attended by over 300 senior government officials, business executives and representatives from the civil society at large.

As a new initiative, this first-ever business forum involving the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region aimed to discuss emerging trade and investment opportunities and to promote cooperation and dialogue between the public and business sectors. It also aimed to provide a platform for networking and forming partnerships among the business community in the Asia-Pacific region.

Forum's objectives:

  • Facilitate an effective dialogue among business community on emerging global and regional economic issues in order to provide business perspectives to policy making at national, regional and global levels.
  • Provide a forum to analyze the business implications of trade and investment agreements, both those under the WTO framework and regional processes so that business sector is better able to respond to the benefits and adjustment costs associated with such agreements.
  • Promote business integration, partnerships, closer ties and networking of business community including business associations in the Asia and the Pacific region.
  • Provide an opportunity to both public and private sectors to exchange views and opinions on how to work together to achieve sustained economic growth in the Asia and the Pacific region.

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