New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that she will chair a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic effects.

The meeting will take place on Friday.

"This is the first time in APEC's history that leaders have held an extraordinary meeting at leaders' level, and it reflects our desire to navigate together out of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis," said Ardern.

"Responding collectively is vital to accelerate the economic recovery for the region. Our region has already responded in significant ways, including removing barriers to the efficient distribution of vaccines and related goods, but there is still a lot of work to do to get through the crisis.

"Leaders will share information so we can continue to build on our collective understanding of the region's health response to Covid-19, and shape a collaborative economic response.

"Containing Covid-19 through rapid, safe, and effective vaccination; micro- and macroeconomic policy settings to sustain businesses and workers; and building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies will all be on the agenda," explained Ardern.

Rebecca Sta Maria, the APEC Secretariat's executive director, emphasised that the pandemic provides more opportunities for greater cooperation among the bloc's economies to ensure every economy recovers sustainably and inclusively from the crisis.

"The upcoming APEC Informal Leaders' Retreat is the first one in the forum's history, and it is necessary for pushing forward our collective effort toward the region's recovery," Sta Maria added.