Vietnam strives to accelerate Initiative for ASEAN Integration hinh anh 1Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hoanh Nam (Photo: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Vietnam will make every effort to effectively implement the work plan of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), which helps narrow the development gap within the ASEAN bloc and between the community and other regions.

Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hoanh Nam, Head of the Permanent Vietnamese Delegation to ASEAN, made the confirmation while chairing the 51st meeting of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Task Force (IAITF) in Jakarta, Indonesia, on March 31.

Initial achievements were made during the implementation of the work plan, heard the meeting. Specific projects and activities with a combined funding of over 1.76 million USD were mapped out for 11 out of the 26 action lines in the plan.

At the meeting, some countries in the ASEAN-6 group informed their plans to carry out projects in prioritised sectors as sorted out in the plan. Meanwhile, many ASEAN partners also showed their interest in supporting the bloc in proper fields.

Financial resources, communication activities and capacity of the CLMV group (comprising Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) are main barriers hindering the implementation of the work plan, the participants said.

They agreed to step up the dissemination of information about the work plan as well as continue to build projects suitable for each country of the CLMV group.

The participants also consented to make IAI projects public on the ASEAN Secretariat’s website to recognise contributions of the ASEAN-6 and partners. It also serves as a reference for them to set up new cooperation projects, avoiding duplication.

Speaking to Vietnam News Agency’s reporter, Ambassador Nam said that Vietnam will work closely with other ASEAN member states, especially CLMV countries, to set up the most proper mechanism to carry out the initiative.

The mechanism will be established based on national consultations in the CLMV group and regional consultations, he said, adding that the move aims to carry out the IAI Work Plan 3.

According to the Work Plan in 2017, the task force will hold meetings under the chair of Vietnam in July and October.

The IAI Work Plan 3 (2016-2020) was adopted by leaders at the 28th ASEAN Summit in September 2016 as an integral part of the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together to support the three Community Blueprints. The work plan is designed to assist CLMV countries to meet ASEAN-wide targets and commitments towards realising the goals of the ASEAN Community.

It consists of five strategic areas, namely food and agriculture, trade facilitation, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), education and health and well-being. The actions are closely aligned with the ASEAN Community Blueprints 2025 and relevant ASEAN sectoral work plans.

The IAITF comprising of the ten Permanent Representatives to ASEAN provides policy guidance and directions in the development and implementation of the IAI Work Plan.-VNA