ASEAN Secretariat, 19 October 2010

Your Excellencies

Ladies and gentlemen

We had a very fruitful day of discussions among ASEAN and the Dialogue Partners and other stakeholders on the issue of IAI with the aim of improving the delivery of the Work Plan 2.

It was highlighted that the building of the Community will need to be supported by more creative approaches and better delivery of activities wherein projects will contribute to the overall capacity of the CLMV countries to meeting integration goals.

During the morning and afternoon sessions, speakers and panel members shared their experience and expertise on a number of topics, all related to promoting and improving ASEAN’s efforts on narrowing the development divide.

Many challenges have been identified on bridging the development gap, such as the lack of financial resources, to increase the sense of ownership within the CLMV countries, the need to strengthen coordination among stakeholders and the necessity to synergize the IAI efforts with other cooperation frameworks and also with the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity which will be adopted by the ASEAN Leaders in the upcoming Summit in Viet Nam.

Successful experience on the issue of NDG has also been shared by the EU, Japan and ASEAN Regional Centre of Excellence on MDGs which stressed that external assistance is indeed helpful but will have to be internally driven. Moreover, strategic partnerships are needed not only at the regional level but also at the national level.

The discussions also touch upon the issue of generating new modalities for IAI. One example to these new modalities may be the Laos Pilot Programme on Narrowing the Development Gap toward ASEAN Integration (LPP), which carried out by Lao PDR, with the support from JICA and the ASEAN Secretariat. The LPP is expected to be a test case, a pilot project which in the future can be expanded to other CMV countries and also expected to attract more involvement of DPs in the development within the CLMV countries.

The progress of the IAI Work Plan II (2009-2015) and the draft priority list of activities of the CLMV countries were shared to the Forum. Activities under the areas of single market and production base; competitive economic region; human development; social welfare and protection; and ensuring environmental sustainability were categorized to be few of important areas identified by the CLMV countries. Next step for the IAI shall be to elaborate on the proposed activities and seek assistance from ASEAN-6, Dialogue Partners and donor agencies to develop the specific projects.

In moving forward with the development in IAI, I have three key messages that I would like to share with you:

1. ASEAN & ASEC will fully support increasing the sense of ownership among the CLMV countries;

2. ASEAN & ASEC will fully support efforts to strengthen coordination and consultation among stakeholders; and

3. ASEAN & ASEC will put more efforts towards synergizing IAI efforts with other cooperation frameworks and also with the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity.

In closing, the open discussions revealed that much work lies ahead and that much of the responsibility will rest with ASEAN, in particular the CLMV countries to ensure activities/ projects are indeed beneficial to them in reaching the integration objectives.

With that I would like to thank all participants for their time and contribution at this forum. Your presence has been very valuable for moving forward efforts to narrow the development gap.

We will continue the consultation in order to come up with meaningful IAI projects.

Thank you.