PHNOM PENH, 24 August 2017 – Coinciding with the 50th year anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia and the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) Management Team of the ASEAN Secretariat jointly organised the 4th JAIF Caravan in Phnom Penh Hotel on 24-25 August 2017.

The Caravan affirmed ASEAN and Japan’s commitment to bring JAIF closer to its relevant stakeholders. “In supporting ASEAN, we respect the centrality and proactive role of ASEAN. Thus, emphasis is placed on consultation with ASEAN’s sectoral bodies and stakeholders to be well aware of real needs for cooperation.  We believe that capable and well informed proponents are indispensable to further promote effective and efficient utilization of JAIF. This is the reason why we have held a series of JAIF Caravan since 2015,” said Kazuo Sunaga, Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN, during the opening ceremony of the Caravan.

Kan Pharidh, Under-Secretary of State and Senior Officials’ Meeting Leader of Cambodia, highly valued Japan’s continued support for ASEAN integration and ASEAN Community building process through the realization of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan III and Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity 2025 for consolidating ASEAN Community building and deepening integration process. He said that this workshop would help participants with better understanding of the complete cycle of the project procedures, including the development of project proposals, implementation, completion and monitoring procedures for JAIF-supported projects.

During the two-day Caravan, aside from learning about JAIF, participants also had the opportunity to learn about contributions of JAIF supported projects in Cambodia, including best practices. These in turn were expected to help boost more project collaborations aimed at contributing to ASEAN integration and community building efforts and strengthen ASEAN-Japan development cooperation.

Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community commended Cambodia’s efforts toward further cooperation between ASEAN and dialogue partners. He further said that “Cambodia, which joined ASEAN in 1999, has made significant strides in its economic development. Notwithstanding its commendable progress, Cambodia must effectively utilise the capacity building and technical assistance provided by dialogue partners, international organisations and external parties including Japan, to advance her national development with the view to strive for an equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth.”

As a platform for generating partnerships and enhancing effectiveness of JAIF, this fourth Caravan event gathered more than 70 officials from the line ministries, authorities and other organisations in Cambodia and the media. The previous Caravans were in Myanmar in August 2015, Lao PDR in January 2016, and Viet Nam in June 2016.