About APEC Smart Families

In August 2022, the APEC Smart Families Initiative was launched with a focus on addressing the underlying drivers of demographic trends and their associated economic challenges while centering reproductive choice. Following its launch, the Initiative convened a cross-sectoral APEC Smart Families Expert Working Group, comprised of participants from government, international organizations, academia, private sector, and other interested members of civil society from APEC economies and around the world. The overarching goal of the APEC Smart Families Initiative is to address demographic trends through the development and deployment of comprehensive, holistic policy options inclusive of both family planning and fertility planning.

As demographic trends shift, economies across the APEC region are pivoting their attention to addressing falling birth rates and associated concerns around labor market shortages and ageing populations. It is important to note that while birth rates have been falling in many APEC economies for some time, periods of demographic transition are slow to materialize. As such, the concrete economic effects of changing fertility patterns are just starting to be realized for most APEC economies. Similarly, policy responses – while critical to creating an enabling environment for reproductive choice and economic decision-making – can take time before tangible benefits are measurable. While many economies have begun to implement policies to address concerns associated with falling birth rates, evidence of effectiveness remains limited at this time.

The APEC Project HWG 06 2022S (APEC Smart Families: Comprehensive, Holistic Policy Options) was formed to address these challenges through a series of multi-stakeholder workshops to explore, discuss, and contribute to the development and finalization of the APEC Smart Families Menu of Policy Options.  The policy recommendations were supplemented by a literature review and technical analysis. Through a framework of demographic resilience, the Menu of Policy Options seeks to create an enabling environment for reproductive health – holistically bringing together both family planning and fertility planning – while also maximizing economic opportunities.

The APEC Smart Families project provides a platform for APEC economies to discuss measures that proactively and holistically create an enabling environment for a comprehensive, life-cycle approach to family planning and fertility planning.