JAIF Support for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration

Background

Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam (CLMV) were the last four countries to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) between 1995 and 1999. By this time, it had been around 30 years since the regional grouping was established. The entry of the four member states into ASEAN raised concerns over the possible emergence of a “two-tier ASEAN.” This “development gap” is manifested not only in the difference between the average per capita income of the six older ASEAN Member States (AMS) and that of the newer four, but also in terms of human resources, institutional capacity, the state of infrastructure, level of competitiveness, and other development aspects. In an attempt to address the concern of a possible “two-tier ASEAN,” ASEAN leaders adopted the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the Ha Noi Declaration on Narrowing the Development Gap for Closer ASEAN Integration in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

JAIF Support for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration
Source: Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan IV (2021-2025)

Japan has been continuously supporting the ASEAN integration efforts since the adoption of the IAI Work Plan I in 2002. With most of its assistance focusing on capacity building in CLMV countries, Japan has contributed to the vision of IAI, i.e. “assisting the CLMV countries to meet ASEAN-wide targets and commitments towards realising the goals of the ASEAN Community”. Following through with the commitments, the IAI Work Plan IV (2021-2025) was adopted in November 2020 to promote effective cooperation and mutual assistance and narrow the development gap among AMS. It maintains the five strategic areas of the IAI Work Plan III (which was adopted in 2016) with revised and new actions, and has taken into account new challenges and emerging issues, such as Industry 4.0, Gender and Social Inclusion, and Environmental Sustainability, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ASEAN as a region. Japan continues its support to the  implementation of the IAI Work Plan IV (2021-2025) which commenced in January 2021.

Areas of Support and
Key Contributions

Since its establishment in March 2006, the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) has been a key instrument for the Government of Japan to support the ASEAN integration efforts. Among a number of JAIF projects contributing to the IAI Work Plans, a flagship project is the Attachment of Officers from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam (CLMV) to the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) or simply called as the “Attachment Programme”, which has fostered a number of senior officials who hold critical and strategic positions in their respective governments such as deputy ministers, ambassadors,  and directors-general.

The following are the key contributions of implemented and completed JAIF projects under the IAI Work Plans II and III.

JAIF Projects under the IAI Work Plan II (2009-2015)

Key Program

Promoting ICT

Promoting ICT

Video Conferencing Facilities for CLMV

Free Flow Investment

Free Flow Investment

Training on business registration, FDI data compilation, and database among 31 representatives from CLMV

Free Flow Investment

Four outbound investment missions in CLMV participated by at least 340 participants from governments and private sectors

Free Flow of Services

Free Flow of Services

Survey for the CLMV Tourism Promotion

General Enabling Actions

General Enabling Actions

53 graduates from 14 batches of the Attachment Programme at the ASEAN Secretariat for Junior Diplomats

*Batches 1-8 were supported by the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN General Exchange Fund (JAGEF)

General Enabling Actions

22 graduates from 3 batches of the Attachment Programme (AEC and ASCC Involvement) at the ASEAN Secretariat

SME Development

SME Development

Training on SME development among 25 representatives from CLMV

Free Flow of Skilled labor

Free Flow of Skilled labor

Training on professional knowledge among 24 engineers from CLMV

Free Flow of Goods

Free Flow of Goods

Training on quality assurance among 15 academic staff from CLMV

Free Flow of Goods

Study on the Impact of Accelerating the AEC to 2015 on CLMV

Building Civil Service Capability

Building Civil Service Capability

A series of training on disability and development to at least 240 CLMV government officials

JAIF Projects under the IAI Work Plan III (2016-2020)

Strategic Areas

Food and Agriculture

Food and Agriculture

Assessment and development of best practices to improve coordination and organization of water-user groups in CLMV

MSMEs

MSMEs

Assessment of the Legal and Regulatory Frameworks on Electronic Commerce in CLMV

Enabling Actions

1

24 graduates from 2 batches of the Attachment Programme (Junior Diplomats/APSC, AEC and ASCC Involvement)

2

Training on Project Management for 54 CLMV Officers

In addition to the Attachment Programme, JAIF has also been supporting a number of projects in the strategic areas of Food and Agriculture and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) under the IAI Work Plan III (2016-2020). The ongoing projects are: Training on Writing Business Plan for Entrepreneurs, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam (CLV); Efficiency Enhancement of Regional Irrigation Water Management in Gravity Irrigation System; and Common Standard Curriculum in Industrial Electronics for CLMV Countries. Although the IAI Work Plan III was completed in December 2020, the implementation of some projects continue according to the agreed timeline and are closely monitored by the ASEAN Secretariat and the JAIF Management Team (JMT).

Through JAIF, Japan continues to extend its supports to the implementation of the IAI Work Plan IV (2021-2025) through the projects on Needs Assessment Workshop for Skilled Birth Attendants (SBAs), Sharing Best-Practices on the Development and Promotion of On-Farm Irrigation Management among the Water-User Groups in CLMV Countries, and Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund Capacity Development Program for ASEAN RiceNet.

As of 31 December 2021