Korean-Backed BIMP-EAGA Fund Opens Fourth Grant Cycle

A man tending to his crops.
Over the last 2 years, 21 projects have received BKCF grant financing, including those that promote smart farming and support sustainable agriculture value chains. Photo credit: ADB

The BIMP-EAGA–Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (BKCF) has opened a new round of project funding this year and raised the maximum grant amount to $500,000 from $300,000. It is calling for proposals for projects with a duration of 1 to 2 years that address a development priority of the subregion: connectivity, environment, tourism, or agriculture and fisheries. The deadline is on 7 March 2024 (23:59 Korea Standard Time).

This is the fourth grant cycle of BKCF. Over the last 2 years, 21 projects have received funding. Majority of the projects support the environmental sustainability goals of BIMP-EAGA, including clean energy transition and climate mitigation and adaptation. There are projects that address more than one priority area. Some use smart technology, such as artificial intelligence and Internet of Things.

The Korean government established the BKCF in 2021 to help promote inclusive and balanced growth in Southeast Asia and contribute to ASEAN Connectivity. The fund supports Vision 2025 of BIMP-EAGA, a cooperation initiative established in 1994 by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) serves as the depository and manager of BKCF.

GGGI has released revised guidelines for BKCF this year. It explains the priority sectors and areas, eligibility criteria, application process, and responsibilities of project proponents from inception to completion. Required application documents are the project proposal, project budget, accomplished due diligence form, project deliverables, and project implementation plan. The GGGI website provides templates for applicants to follow as well as guidelines on how to write effective project proposals.

Only programs or projects of BIMP-EAGA or its member countries are eligible for funding. Project proposals may be submitted by government agencies, public sector institutes, academic and research institutes, NGOs, private sector entities, or any other autonomous institutes from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the Republic of Korea. Individuals and debarred or sanctioned entities are not eligible to apply for the fund.

BKCF increased the grant amount range this year. It now accepts proposals for a 1-year grant of between $100,000 and $500,000 and for a 2-year grant of between $200,000 and $500,000. For projects with multiple countries or BIMP-EAGA regional projects, the maximum grant per country was raised to $250,000 from $200,000.

At the launch of the Korea–ASEAN Solidarity Initiative in 2022, the Republic of Korea announced that it expects to raise its contribution to BKCF to $6 million in 2027 as part of plans to increase ASEAN-related cooperation funds to $48 million per year by 2027. In 2022, the Korean government increased its contribution to the BKCF to $3 million from $1 million in 2021.

This article was first published by BIMP-EAGA on 11 January 2024.