VIENTIANE, 14 January 2016 – Following the successful implementation of the 1st Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) Caravan last year, Lao PDR took over the marathon bat to host the 2nd JAIF Caravan on 14-15 January at Lao Plaza Hotel, Vientiane. The 2nd JAIF Caravan aimed to explore and create working relationships between relevant Ministries and JAIF public sector partners via demonstration of the success and effectiveness of JAIF-supported projects; and disseminate knowledge of JAIF application, implementation and completion procedures and methodology among proponents and implementing agencies, to derive maximum possible benefits from JAIF-supported projects and aid integration efforts of the ASEAN Community.

“The organization of 2nd JAIF Caravan is timely relevant as Lao PDR had joined with all ASEAN Member States to celebrate the establishment of the ASEAN Community and taken up ASEAN Chairmanship from the 1 January 2016. Since the establishment of JAIF in 2006, the Fund has significantly contributed to ASEAN comprising those of more than 30 projects which have been carried out successfully in Laos, including the Programme to support Laos’ ASEAN Chairmanship 2016. In this regard, I would like to express my sincere thanks to JAIF as well as government and people of Japan for the kind support and assistance and hope that more assistance will be provided to ASEAN as well as to Laos in the future to continue to contribute to ASEAN Community building,” said H.E. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Lao PDR’s ASEAN SOM Leader.

“Japan will support the ASEAN chairmanship of the Lao PDR based on this longstanding cordial friendship. We understand that the Lao PDR outlines eight priority areas as the ASEAN Chair such as Narrowing the Development Gap, Trade Facilitation, Enhancing Connectivity and Strengthening SMEs and look forward to receiving applications for JAIF in these areas in order to help materialise the Lao Chairmanship’s priorities. I believe it would contribute to narrowing the development gap within the region and thus to the ASEAN community building process,” said H.E. Koichi Aiboshi, Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN

The JAIF Caravan is a tailor-made outreach activity to increase the awareness and partnership among senior level government officials, private sector and other relevant stakeholders on the achievements of JAIF supported projects and also a viable supporting scheme for the ASEAN Member States under JAIF.

The event was co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR and the JAIF Management Team (JMT) of the ASEAN Secretariat.