East Timor: National Development Plan

This paper discusses the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—National Development Plan for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The plan has been a participative process, involving constituents in every sector of the economy to identify the problems they face and to suggest solutions to those problems. East Timor’s Development Strategy as described in this plan is to design programs and pursue initiatives that systematically address its main development goals. The first set of tasks during this early transition stage is to establish government capabilities, enabling legislation and the institutions required to pursue development priorities.


This paper discusses the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—National Development Plan for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The plan has been a participative process, involving constituents in every sector of the economy to identify the problems they face and to suggest solutions to those problems. East Timor’s Development Strategy as described in this plan is to design programs and pursue initiatives that systematically address its main development goals. The first set of tasks during this early transition stage is to establish government capabilities, enabling legislation and the institutions required to pursue development priorities.










“The development of an effective administrative and governance structure and capacity to serve the needs and interests of the people and sovereign State of East Timor is one of the most critical national priorities for the next five years and beyond.”


9.1 East Timor will be a country with:

  • a) a solid democratic culture, based on a pluralist, law-based State, where separation and balance of powers is real and naturally developed;

  • b) well structured institutions, open, professional and accountable media, and an organized civil society active in the defence of global interests; and

  • c) a population aware of and participatory in the process of social, political and economic development.


9.2 The sector incorporating Political Development, Foreign Relations, Defence and Security is presented in this Plan as the collective efforts of a number of Ministries and Departments, and encompasses broad areas of governance, protection of liberty and safeguarding of human rights.

9.3 Two essential institutions ensuring the healthy functioning of the nation’s newly won democracy are the National Parliament and the Public Service. The Parliament must ensure that its legislative functions are accomplished in a timely manner, as it has an important role in the country’s democratisation and stabilisation. It also has the responsibility in overseeing and controlling of other powers, always in terms of its legal mandate. State administration is to be undertaken in a professional manner, with effective and efficient performance of its personnel. The administrative apparatus (i.e. number of staff) shall be reduced to the lowest number possible in order to guarantee its sustainability, and so that salaries and other forms of compensation can attract the best national staff to serve the State, without incentives for corruption and/or nepotism.

9.4 East Timor’s freedom has been founded upon the willingness of its population to participate in the protection of their liberty and human rights. The country’s defence and security will be understood in the widest context of social, political and economic development, in the context of poverty reduction and a participatory and responsible citizenship. They will be provided by professional military and police forces, which will be non-political and subordinated to the power of the democratically constituted civil institutions. In its foreign affairs East Timor will reinforce its position as a country supporting peace and the values of respect, mutual assistance and cooperation. The administration of justice, accessible to all, will combine professionalism and juridical expertise with sensitivity to the culture and values of East Timor. The protection of rights, freedoms, guarantees and legitimate interests of citizens will be ensured by the establishment of an independent institution, also mandated to monitor transparency in both the public administration and the administration of justice in East Timor. This institution will guarantee, through accessible and informal means, that citizens will be able to find expeditious redress to accusations of illegality and/or injustice in the conduct of public authorities.

9.5 Civil society will take part in the political process through political parties that respect the rules of democracy and implement them at the parties’ organizational level and through other legal private associations (i.e. professional associations, unions, NGOs, etc.) established to defend the legitimate interests of their members and to take part in the social, political and economic development of the country. The media will be responsible and able to inform, educate and direct national energy towards development and social harmony, guaranteeing the dissemination of educational information on health, human rights, social harmony and national development.


9.6 The overarching goals for the sector include:

  • a) Fostering a robust multiparty democratic system;

  • b) Creating a lean, effective and efficient public service;

  • c) Securing the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation;

  • d) Creating and maintaining durable internal peace, security and stability;

  • e) Developing effective professional, non-partisan (non-political) defence and police forces;

  • f) Strengthening regional and international political, economic, cultural and scientific cooperation and relations;

  • g) Developing and administering an effective, accessible, justice system that is in conformity with positive values and East Timor’s national cultural heritage;

  • h) Building and maintaining an effective and independent oversight system;

  • i) Nurturing a responsible, independent and effective media;

  • j) Strengthening an already robust civil society and creating opportunities for its constructive engagement and participation in national life; and

  • k) Enhancing the participation of citizens in public and national life.


9.7 Specific objectives of the National Parliament’s areto:

  • a) Pass relevant, well drafted legislation in a timely manner;

  • b) Establish a multiparty system and democratic rules through a productive dialogue;

  • c) Provide a counterbalance to the powers of the Presidency and of the government;

  • d) Establish and maintain proper, efficient and effective communication between the various branches of the Government in order to ensure respect for the Constitution and constitutionally enacted laws, transparency within the public administration, and the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.

9.8 The Public Administration will:

  • a) Create a culture of public service, establishing professionalism in service provision;

  • b) Establish a well equipped and decentralized administration with simple and transparent norms in order to move public administration closer to the people;

  • c) Create internal mechanisms to control and avoid corruption and nepotism.

9.9 The objectives for the Defence Force and Police of East Timor are:

  • a) Guaranteeing national independence, territorial integrity, constitutional order, and the safety of people and their property.

  • b) Preventing crime and involving the community in the reduction of crime.

  • c) Providing help to the population in case of natural disasters or emergency.

9.10 Foreign Affairs has the following objectives:

  • a) Maintaining friendship and cooperation links within the region, in particular with the neighbouring countries, and with the rest of the world;

  • b) Maintaining special links of friendship and cooperation with the Community of Portuguese Speaking Nations (CPLP);

  • c) Establishing diplomatic and consular representation overseas in order to develop foreign policy and ensure protection of national citizens abroad;

  • d) Maintaining good relations with other countries, maximizing support for the social and economic development of East Timor.

9.11 The Courts (in the widest sense of the judicial system, including all three essential elements of judge, prosecutor and defender) shall:

  • a) Guarantee access to prompt, transparent and equitable justice for all;

  • b) Administer justice of technical quality independently, with respect for citizenship rights, sensitivity to cultural values and popular participation and involvement.

9.12 The Ombudsman’s Office (in support of Human Rights and Justice) aims to:

  • a) Create and establish a culture of respect for human rights and legality;

  • b) Prevent and fight against corruption and nepotism in the administration of the State in order to develop public trust in a fair and just public administration; and

  • c) Establish control mechanisms to ensure the accountability of public servants and public authorities.

9.13 The objectives of Civil Society, where organized in political parties, are as follows:

  • a) Make people aware of the political ideals and programs to be undertaken;

  • b) Monitor public administration activities in order to identify any errors in policies and programs as well as cases of lack of transparency, nepotism and corruption;

  • c) Monitor parliamentary activities and propose solutions to national problems in accordance with the established political rules.

9.14 The objectives of Civil Society, where organized in legal associations, unions and NGOs are as follows:

  • a) Defend the legitimate interests of their associates and of the community;

  • b) Promote the participation of the citizens in public life.

9.15 The activities of the media should have the following central objectives:

  • a) Report with accuracy, impartiality and professionalism the news and issues of national interest, including what happens abroad, and in particular in the countries of the region;

  • b) Report in a manner that promotes social peace, development and the promotion of human rights, particularly concerning women, children and the elderly;

  • c) Follow closely the activities of the State administration and denounce cases of corruption and nepotism.

Guiding Principles

9.16 The general guiding principles for the sector are:

  • a) Democracy, sovereignty, respect for human rights, equity and social justice;

  • b) Rule of law and equality before the law;

  • c) Transparency and accountability, integrity and public morality;

  • d) Predictability and consistency;

  • e) Efficiency;

  • f) Professionalism;

  • g) Sustainability;

  • h) Decentralization;

  • i) Participation;

  • j) Gender and cultural sensitivity; and

  • k) Social justice.

9.17 The organs of sovereignty and public administration will respect the following principles:

  • a) National sovereignty and State unity;

  • b) Respect for the Constitution and for the law, guaranteeing the regular operation of the democratic institutions;

  • c) A spirit of public service, professionalism, non-partisanship with respect to political parties, equity and legality;

  • d) Moral integrity and professional ethics;

  • e) Democratic decentralization of administrative structures ensuring accessibility to services for all citizens;

  • f) Transparency and accountability of public agents; and

  • g) Government responsibility for ensuring equality for all when facing the law, promoting and guaranteeing protection of human rights and caring for victims.

9.18 In foreign affairs, East Timor is to be guided by principles of:

  • a) National independence;

  • b) The right of the people to independence, self determination and respect for human rights;

  • c) Mutual respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of States;

  • d) Creation of an international economic order capable of ensuring peace and justice in the relations between different peoples/nations.

9.19 The media will undertake its activities adhering to the following principles:

  • a) Freedom to inform and be informed;

  • b) Impartiality and quality;

  • c) No censorship;

  • d) Safeguarding the sources of information.

Key Development Indicators

9.20 The key development indicators for the sector are as follows:

  • a) Level of participation of its members in discussions;

  • b) Level of the population’s awareness of approved legislation.

Public Administration
  • a) Level of progress in the design of the organic structures of government and of each of its ministries;

  • b) Level of establishment of departments, with the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks;

  • c) Enactment of the regulation of the public service, including the formulation of standardised professional career terms of reference, duties and rights, together with a code of conduct and a disciplinary process;

  • d) Progress in the areas of recruitment and training in order to meet the public sector’s needs for professionalism and for financial sustainability;

  • e) Progress in the conducting of studies concerning the reorganisation of sub-national government, with a decentralization of services, promoting effective and competent service provision and an increase of local participation in decision-making.

Security and Defence Forces
  • a) Level of progress in recruitment and training of the police forces, armed forces and information services.

Foreign Affairs
  • a) Level of progress in recruitment and training of skilled staff;

  • b) Progress in the constitution of the first six diplomatic representations and obtaining other forms of representation for the country through the good offices of friendly Embassies.

Public Prosecution and Defence
  • a) Progress in recruitment of prosecutors and public defenders and respective supporting skilled staff.

Ombudsman’s Office
  • a) Progress in the definition of the legal framework for the Office and in the creation of accessible procedures that facilitate the reporting of injustices and human rights violations;

  • b) Progress in the recruitment and training of skilled staff;

  • c) Progress in the level of awareness, by the East Timorese citizens, of their human rights and their right to good public administration;

  • d) Progress in the level of awareness of the existence of services of the Ombudsman as an effective avenue of appeal from the actions or omissions of public administration;

  • e) Level of acceptance of the recommendations of the Ombudsman by the respective branches of the public service.

Promotion of Gender Equality
  • a) Existence of legislation to protect women from violence;

  • b) Accomplishment of targets for the participation of women in the public service, parliament, rural councils, defence and security forces and diplomatic service;

  • c) Creation of mechanisms to help decrease school dropout rates for girls.

  • a) Progress in the creation of public media;

  • b) Approval of press legislation enabling the creation of private means of communication and regulating professional media activities;

  • c) Creation of an independent organ that guarantees disciplinary management and observance of ethical behaviour by the media and its professional.

Civil Society
  • a) Progress in the constitution of unions and private associations under the law.

Problems and Constraints

9.21 The principal constraints confronted are as follows:

General constraints:
  • a) Human resources;

  • b) Financial resources (budget);

  • c) Infrastructure (buildings, vehicles, office furniture and supplies, communications and Information Technology (IT);

  • d) Problems with multiplicity of languages;

  • e) Time pressures;

  • f) Limitations in institutional capacity;

  • g) Gaps in the body of laws, regulations, procedures and codes.

More specific constraints:
  • a) Absence of adequate representation on COM (i.e. Armed Forces);

  • b) Unrealistic expectations (e.g. subsidies for producers and consumers, university degrees and Public Sector employment for all students);

  • c) Lack of basic social infrastructure (to accommodate spontaneous relocation of population);

  • d) Bad habits from previous period (e.g. corruption, nepotism);

  • e) Reconciliation problems;

  • f) Difficulties with reintegration of ex-FALINTIL and former members of the clandestine resistance network and with assistance to widows and orphans of resistance fighters.


9.22 A number of strategies will be adopted to overcome the constraints outlined above:

  • a) To clearly define and broadcast the rights and obligations of citizens in general and of public servants, in particular;

  • b) To continue the search for more efficient forms of organization of the public administration to improve quality and cost-effectiveness of service provision;

  • c) To redistribute available resources, in accordance with new priorities;

  • d) To recruit to fill vacancies already provided for in budget;

  • e) To train in-house, at the Civil Service Academy, and abroad;

  • f) To utilize the temporary solution of foreign staff more effectively, during the period when domestic staff is being trained;

  • g) To promote diversification of sources of assistance and develop stronger partnerships with civil society;

  • h) To develop appropriate mechanisms to facilitate reintegration of refugees;

  • i) To redefine priorities for university education, with a view to preparing graduates in disciplines most useful for the nation’s development and improving the quality of university education;

  • j) To promote transparency in public life, accountability in public servants and leaders, and equal opportunities for all;

  • k) To reconfigure regional administrative divisions and the intermediate levels of government (between the national central administration and the community) to make them more conducive to development and sustainability;

  • l) To transform the present international support and sympathy for East Timor into a strong and permanent base to secure the country’s political, economic (trade and investment), cultural and national security interests;

  • m) To develop an independent oversight capacity, capable of encouraging transparency, and which will allow civil society and citizens to monitor the public service in order to minimise corruption.


9.23 The following policy initiatives of importance will be undertaken by the sector:

General Policies
  • a) Creation of incentives to reward effort and excellence in education and in the civil service (i.e. create a merit based public service).

  • b) Seek external assistance for buildings and infrastructure.

  • c) Selection of bursaries to study abroad in countries where the risk of “brain drain” is minimized.

  • d) Development of practical skills training courses (e.g. secretarial, filing, protocol, mechanics, electricians, hospitality services).

  • e) Reduction of places in general university courses with limited career prospects.

  • f) Provision of translation and interpretation services.

  • g) Accelerated training of translators and interpreters.

  • h) Provision of language courses in Portuguese and English.

  • i) Utilisation of existing facilities and partnerships with non-government entities to provide practical courses in languages, accounting, secretarial, etc. for adults.

  • j) Selective utilisation of assistance from donor countries and NGOs.

  • k) Development of a policy for payment of university fees and other forms of user charges.

Public Administration and Democratisation Policies
  • a) Clear definition and proclamation (broadcasting) of rights and obligations of citizens and of public servants.

  • b) Continued search for more efficient ways of organizing the public administration.

  • c) Improve quality and cost effectiveness of service provision (i.e. a lean and efficient public administration).

  • d) Decentralization and empowerment of communities to manage their local affairs (grass roots democracy).

  • e) Gender equality in all aspects of public administration.

  • f) Reintroduce Portuguese and introduce Tetun as effective working languages of Parliament and public administration.

  • g) Enhance the knowledge of members of Parliament.

Security and Defence Forces
  • a) Prioritise needs and requirements of the Armed Forces.

  • b) Establish technical and military cooperation agreements with defence branches of CPLP member countries.

  • c) Extend support to the veterans of the Resistance.

  • d) Establish a Defence Ministry or other liaison office at the COM level.

  • e) Elaborate mandate of the Naval Force, including inter-sectoral coordination, and define its development program.

  • f) Develop specialized police forces (criminal investigation, immigration/frontier service, rapid response).

  • g) Establish selection criteria for the security forces, including factors of reliability and social suitability.

  • h) Outsource provision of goods and services to the security services and prisons.

External Relations
  • a) Initiate and gradually expand the nation’s diplomatic representation in a systematic and planned way.

  • b) Transform previous networks of solidarity and support for Timorese resistance in the diaspora into a permanent network of allies for the defence of national interests.

  • c) Pursue and strengthen south–south cooperation.

  • d) Pursue regional cooperation.

  • e) Foster special relationship and cooperation with Portuguese speaking countries.

Justice, Human Rights and Gender Equality
  • a) Create an Ombudsman’s office to raise the level of awareness of citizens’ rights and respect for the law, to defend citizens from any abuse of power by public administration entities and to safeguard against practices of corruption, nepotism and other abuses of power.

  • b) Draft the legal framework for the nation.

  • c) Reintroduce Portuguese and introduce Tetun as effective working languages for the administration of justice.

  • d) Develop the necessary legal capacity to serve the Government by establishing the institutions that are essential for the proper functioning of the legal and judicial system.

  • e) Promote reconciliation.

  • f) Facilitate access to justice for women and develop the legal means to fight violence and other crimes perpetrated against women.

  • g) Ensure equal opportunities for women in recruitment and promotion and provide training in technical and leadership skills.

  • h) Promote a free press.


9.24 The development of an effective administrative and governance structure and capacity to serve the needs and interests of East Timor and its people is one of the most critical national priorities for the next five years and beyond. After centuries of foreign domination, the country has been left with out the institutional architecture, the human resources capacity or the requisite physical infrastructure and equipment, not only to effectively discharge the challenges of national development, but also to meet the demands of routine governance. After two years of comprehensive effort, political institutions are only nascent; central and regional administrative structures and institutions fledgling; and the operational systems, procedures, and relationships are yet to be developed or clearly defined.

9.25 Given the existing environment, the priority medium term programs will have to be the establishment and strengthening of the organs of state and of public administration, laying the foundations of good governance, creating the avenues for popular and community participation, developing the legal and regulatory framework, building the human resources capacity for policy formulation and execution as well as service delivery, strengthening oversight institutions and fostering the press and civil society. After the previous administration there is also a glaring need to develop a new culture of public service, good governance in public administration and a strong work ethic. The formulation of the above programs is, however, only the initial or preliminary stage. Although there are some mature programs ready for implementation, most will require extensive effort and time for their design and implementation.

Public Administration and Governance

9.26 The core programs in this sector will focus on developing transparent governance, institutional and human resources development, decentralization, and development of a lean efficient and merit based civil service.

Transparent governance
  • a) Development of information programs for the general population and for civil servants regarding the activities of Parliament, the functions of each Ministry, the services that citizens have a right to expect from public institutions and the courses of redress available in case of non-compliance.

  • b) Introduction of an action program to enhance the skills of Members of Parliament, via technical assistance, specialized courses of study and experience-sharing visits abroad.

  • c) Development of a medium and long-term program for the reintroduction of Portuguese and introduction of Tetun as effective working languages of Parliament and government.

Institutional Development
  • a) Design and introduce effective administrative regulations, systems, and procedures for all public service institutions.

  • b) Develop civil service regulations governing recruitment, working conditions, career paths and a code of conduct.

  • c) Develop a training program for the civil service to enhance capacity.

Decentralisation and Participation
  • a) Study and introduce an optimal sub-national configuration conducive for development as well as service provision in conjunction with stakeholders.

  • b) Study and delineate the levels of administrative hierarchy down to the community that will facilitate cost effective and efficient service delivery and enhance community initiative and participation.

  • c) Study options for effective decentralization that clearly defines the roles of central, regional, local and community, and civil society organizations and entities; empowers communities and strengthens transparency and grass roots democracy.

Media Development

9.27 Create public enterprises in radio and TV broadcasting, in accordance with the Constitution, and train media professionals.

Security and Defence Forces

9.28 In the area of defence and security the formation and consolidation of a model professional army to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation and, similarly, a police force to maintain internal law and order are the major programs.

Defence program
  • a) Development of a model professional army through the continuation of the process of recruitment, training and equipping.

  • b) Supporting the process through cooperation agreements with other countries.

  • c) Establishment of a Defence Ministry or other liaison office at the level of the COM.

  • d) Program to identify the veterans of the Resistance, study their needs, and formulate training and other forms of assistance.

Police and Security Service Programs
  • a) Strengthening of the police service by training an additional 520 new recruits at the Police College and by improving the material support to those already deployed.

  • b) Establishing new specialized units (criminal investigation, border patrols, rapid response).

  • c) Formulating outsourcing modalities and incentives for provisioning the prisons and security services that facilitate participation by local firms.

External Relations

9.29 Diplomacy and external solidarity was one of the most effective pillars of the Resistance. At this new chapter in East Timor’s history, the medium term diplomatic programs and external work will be directed at building on this experience, and our extensive solidarity network, to maintain the strong international support and empathy to address our long term national needs and interests. Programs will, therefore, focus on developing the necessary institutional and human resource capacity to chart and implement the policies and programs that will enable us to marshal their extensive external assets and to deal with the ever-evolving global and regional developments.

Capacity Building Program

9.30 The main components of this program are as follows.

  • a) Recruitment and training, in country and abroad, to staff Headquarters and Missions.

  • b) Construction of a Headquarters building.

  • c) Development and implementation of a plan to utilize previous networks of support to Timorese resistance and diaspora organizations, transforming them into a permanent network of allies abroad in defence of Timorese interests.

  • d) Elaboration and implementation of a plan to gradually and systematically expand diplomatic representation abroad. Utilisation of various options and modalities to achieve wider representation.

Policy Development Program
  • a) Articulate global and regional policies to safeguard and serve the national interest on the bases of the guiding principles and in light of external developments and trends.

Action Program
  • a) Develop, in collaboration with other relevant ministries and institutions, action programs relating to the attraction of foreign investment, promotion of exports and foreign trade, and external aid to guide the activities of the ministry. Develop similar action programs regarding political, cultural and defence and security relations.

  • b) Develop a program to reinforce south-south cooperation.

Justice, Human Rights and Gender Equality

9.31 The justice system, both in its legal framework and its administration, is of critical importance to society at large and the development process in particular. In this unique situation, where the legal framework is defined by its practical non-existence and where the capacity for the formulation and administration of the body of laws is in its embryonic stage, the issue of prioritization and sequencing becomes of extreme importance. It thus becomes necessary to, on the one hand, seek a longer time frame to develop the body of laws and the capacity, and, on the other, to put interim arrangements or solutions in place. The elaboration of the following programs of the Ministry of Justice will require extensive time and effort.

Institutional Development Program
  • a) Creation of an Ombudsman’s office to raise the level of awareness of citizens’ rights and respect for the law, to defend citizens from any abuse of power by public administration entities, and to safeguard against practices of corruption, nepotism and other abuses of power.

  • b) Creation of a Judicial Training Centre and a Public Defender’s office, as independent agencies.

  • c) Establishment and implementation of a timetable for setting up functioning registrar and notary services, including modalities to ensure that such services are made available to the population in the interior of the country.

Legislative Program
  • a) Formulation of a legislative agenda for the Government indicating the sequence of the desired legislation and the internal and external resources, as well as time required to draft such legislation. This agenda will include, among other laws, National Defence Law, Company Law, Land Law, Investment Law, and Media Law.

  • b) Development of the capacity to prepare proposals for legislation, draft legislation and to prepare legal opinions and advices, as required by effective government.

Reconciliation Program
  • a) Promotion of reconciliation activities, with the support of the Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation Commission, the Church and civil society.

Rights and Equality Program
  • a) Capacity building for women’s participation in leadership and decision making through training in order to stimulate skills for decision making, negotiation, politics and other leadership areas.

  • b) Ensuring gender balance through recruitment, elimination of constraints and discrimination against women and integration of gender issues in all laws, programs and policies.

  • c) Promotion of family-friendly policies that promote appropriate measures to facilitate the family and professional lives of women and support their participation in public life.

  • d) Promote legal protection from violence against women through adoption of legislation, access to the judicial system and creation of institutional mechanisms in order that women and girls are able to denounce acts of violence. Promote cooperation between authorities and social support programs and involvement of women in protection services.

  • e) Encourage social change regarding violence against women through analysis of causes and consequences, and the development and promotion of education campaigns.

  • f) Develop protection services through the creation of refuge centres and support systems for victims of violence and by creating programs for protection, assistance and training for refugee or displaced women to facilitate their reintegration into their communities.



10.1 That the people of East Timor live in a prosperous society, comfortable in terms of food, shelter and clothing, in safety, and free from illness and ignorance (illiteracy); with an income that is fair and equally distributed; with no discrimination; and with a balanced development of towns and villages and different areas.


10.2 The Poverty Reduction and Rural and Regional Development Working Group was co-chaired by the Minister for Internal Administration and the Secretary of State for Labour and Solidarity. Representatives of all the departments/sections in the Ministry of Internal Administration and the Secretary of State for Labour and Solidarity took part in the Working Group. Also, officials from a number of other Ministries including Agriculture, Education, Health and Finance participated in the Working Group. The output of the Working Group is presented in the following paragraphs.

Poverty Reduction

10.3 Poverty is multidimensional and is experienced in different ways by different people. The usual measure of poverty is the headcount ratio, which is the proportion of people living below the national poverty line. Adapting the methodology used in other countries, the poverty line for East Timor is estimated to be US$0.55 per person per day in September 2001. It incorporates a food component (2,100 kilocalories) and a non-food component covering, among others, expenditures on education, health, clothing and housing. The data show that more than two-in-five (41 %) East Timorese are below the poverty line.

10.4 Other dimensions of poverty include education, health, water supply, sanitation, infrastructure including roads and electricity, communications, security and empowerment. On education, for example, the adult illiteracy rate in East Timor is high with more than half the East Timorese population unable to read and write. Health indicators show a high mortality for infants and children below five years of age. Death of mothers in childbirth (maternal mortality) is also high. Further dimensions relate to security and empowerment. Security includes security of person, property, food and livelihood (including jobs and vulnerability). Empowerment involves a lack of “voice” and a limited participation of the poor in decision-making on their future and the affairs of their communities on economic, social, cultural and political issues, or a lack of involvement in institutions of society and state. It also involves a lack of freedom to exercise and enjoy basic human rights, essential economic and social rights–to be productive and creative, enjoying self-respect, and contributing to the well being of the community and the nation.

10.5 The incidence of poverty is higher among households headed by those with no schooling (around one-in-two or 49 %), fishers (47 %) and farmers (46 %). Poor households in East Timor are more likely to be large with a low proportion of earners (or a large proportion of children and old people leading to a higher dependency ratio), and have very little land. A large majority (85 %) of the 341,000 poor people live in the rural areas of country.

Rural Development

10.6 More than three-quarters (76 %) of East Timor’s population lives in the rural areas. Poverty incidence in the rural areas (46 %) is significantly higher than that in the urban centres (26 %), with Dili and Baucau having the lowest (14 %). The bulk of the country’s poor are located in rural areas. Land holdings are small for the majority of the population, with about 24% of households owning less than 0.5 ha each, and a further 60 % between 0.5 and 1.5 ha each. The productivity of land is relatively limited, due to low-input, low-output technologies that emphasise risk minimisation, since crop failure may jeopardise survival of the family. Access to markets is difficult. Buyers may be scarce, and unwilling to pay prices that include profits due to high costs for transport, storage, and processing.

10.7 Access to basic social services in rural areas is significantly lower than that in urban centres. For example, access to both primary and secondary schools in rural areas is far less favourable than in urban centres. A number of the rural sucos do not have a health post and some are not even served by mobile clinics.1 Most of the qualified medical personnel are concentrated in urban centres, and access to qualified doctors and nurses is virtually non-existent in most rural areas. Access to safe water, sanitation and electricity, while limited overall, is very low in the rural areas. Access to roads and communications is also a major constraint facing rural residents. As a result, many of the income, education and health indicators show a considerable gap between rural and the urban areas.

Regional Development

10.8 The nation is divided into three regions, Eastern, Central and Western,2 and 13 districts. Prior to 1999, a Governor headed the East Timor Province, with each of the three regions administered by an Assistant Governor. Bupati administered districts, with Sub-districts led by Camats. After 1999, the Government provided for District Administrators and sub-district Coordinators. However, the roles and responsibilities of these functionaries, as well as the Suco and Aldeia chiefs, are still evolving. The necessary legislation and regulations are expected to be in place in the next two to three years.

10.9 There are significant disparities between the regions and districts in economic and social indicators. For example, poverty incidence is high in the rural areas of the Central and Western regions as compared to the rural Eastern region. Access to public facilities (e.g. schools and health centres) is more difficult in the upland areas/districts, as is access to roads and markets. Although the topography is difficult, the agro-climatic conditions in some areas (e.g. in the Central region) may be favourable for higher value crops (e.g. coffee, fruits and vegetables) and have good proximity to markets.

10.10 The Ambeno (Oecussi), Bobonaro and Suai districts face unique problems. Ambeno is surrounded by Indonesia, and access to the rest of East Timor is either by sea or through Indonesian territory. Given the current state of infrastructure, the costs of linking Ambeno with the rest of East Timor may be prohibitive in the short and medium term. It will require specific economic, trade and social (including language) policies for the district. Similarly, the border districts of Bobonaro and Suai face distinct opportunities and constraints in their relations with the other districts in East Timor and across the border in West Timor.

10.11 Poverty reduction is a crosscutting issue, addressed in the overall development strategy and in each of the sector strategies, programs and projects. As a result, responsibility for poverty reduction is distributed among a wide range of institutions. Similarly, rural and regional development is addressed mainly through macro and sector programs, and several Ministries and Departments are involved in these efforts. For example, the local government functions are under the purview of the Ministry of Internal Administration, while the Secretary of State for Labour and Solidarity is expected to facilitate the delivery of assistance to vulnerable groups, depending on resource availability.


10.12 The overall goals of poverty reduction, rural and regional development, as formulated by East Timorese are as follows.

  • a) Transform the subsistence economy and achieve a rapid economic growth that is stable and sustainable, utilising to the full the country’s resources; create equitable business opportunities and increase rural incomes.

  • b) Deliver training and health services, create equal opportunities to obtain work, and establish a social safety net to help victims of disasters.

  • c) Create skilled and professional human resources in accordance with the interests and talents of the people in each sector, and ensure an effective utilisation of labour.

  • d) Create a society, which is free from internal and external threats, and make the country attractive and safe to citizens and visitors.

  • e) Reduce poverty in all its aspects, particularly among women and vulnerable groups.

  • f) Promote integrated rural development to reduce poverty, accelerate economic growth, and reduce the gap between rural and urban areas.

  • g) Achieve balanced regional development to reduce poverty, improve the lives of East Timorese in all regions, enhance and exploit complementarities between regions and agro-ecological areas, accelerate economic growth, and reduce regional disparities.

  • h) Access, maintain, and make available cultural, popular (folkloric) and historic artefacts and government records/materials, for present and future generations of East Timorese.

  • i) Promote good governance through: popular participation; responsible and responsive government; a competent, efficient, accountable and transparent civil service; decentralisation and devolution; a socially responsible private sector; and transparent and accountable civil society organizations.

Guiding Principles

10.13 Promoting rural and regional development within a framework for poverty reduction and economic growth in East Timor will be based on the concept of sustainability, and on the following principles.

  • a) Participatory Development

    • Empowerment of rural people, enabling them to participate, contribute ideas, and make and implement decisions regarding their needs in terms of the policies and programs they have chosen.

    • Ensuring the involvement of individuals and communities in all village development activities in rural areas.

  • b) Integrated and Equitable Development

    • Development to be undertaken in an integrated manner between the various sectors, so that it spreads evenly from the centre to the districts and to lower levels.

  • c) Equality and Non-Discrimination

    • Development to respect equality and human rights without racial, religious, gender or ethnic discrimination, in accordance with the Constitution of East Timor.

  • d) Social Solidarity

    • Development to be based on principles of social solidarity among the people, including assistance to vulnerable groups.

    • Development to take place within a framework that can create democratic and social conditions conducive to raising the living standard of the poor, and of vulnerable groups.

  • e) Professionalism

    • Poverty reduction to be based on principles of professionalism, such as dedication, honesty, commitment, transparency, creativity, innovation, effectiveness and efficiency.

  • f) Environmental Protection

    • Development to be based on a respect for, and a desire to protect the environment, and the use of natural resources in a sustainable way.

  • g) Preservation of Culture

    • Development to uplift, rather than erode, the nation’s cultural heritage and values.

  • h) National unity, peace and hard work

    • Development to promote national unity, peace and reconciliation and the instilling of a strong work ethic

Key Development Indicators

10.14 The key development indicators identified by the Working Group on Poverty Reduction and Rural and Regional Development overlap to a large extent with those presented in Chapter 2 on Vision, Goals, Principles and Indicators (Annex 1), with a detailed breakdown by gender, rural and urban areas, regions and districts, and income groups (poor and non-poor) wherever appropriate and feasible. They cover the standard indicators including GDP per capita, ratio of income of the richest 20 % to the poorest 20 %, Gini coefficient of inequality in income distribution, labour force and employment, poverty incidence, access to and use of education and health services and safe water and sanitation, housing, electricity and communications. They also include security and empowerment.

Problems and Constraints

10.15 The problems and constraints for poverty reduction and rural and regional development are grouped under the broad headings of resource constraints, labour, social and gender areas, capacity, infrastructure, rural-urban and regional disparities, civil service, private sector, legal framework and governance.

Resource Constraints
  • a) Shortage of animals.

  • b) No means to lift and/or pump water for irrigation.

  • c) Inadequate agro-processing facilities.

  • d) Lack of capital.

  • e) Lack of, or limited markets.

  • f) Lack of economic opportunities.

  • g) Limited economic support services.

  • h) Lack of growth centres.

  • i) Lack of opportunities for remunerative work.

  • j) Shortage of labour during critical periods.

  • k) Discrimination in access to work opportunities.

  • l) Lack of information on employment and unemployment, and on labour issues such as workplace safety.

Social Aspects
  • a) Lack of social accountability.

  • b) Informal institutions weakened during the occupation and violence, with no formal social institutions set up during the transition period.

  • c) Lack of awareness of rights and responsibilities (civic education).

  • d) Lack of willingness to take initiatives and break the cycle of dependence.

  • e) Political and social divisions.

  • f) Political disturbances.

  • g) Social turmoil.

  • h) Lack of, or weak social cohesion and solidarity.

Gender aspects
  • a) Discrimination against girls and women.

  • b) High unemployment rate, especially among women.

  • c) Low wages especially for women.

  • d) Lack of professional skills among women, especially young women.

  • e) Lack of training facilities for women.

  • a) Lack of teachers and trainers.

  • b) Limited capacity within Government, private sector and civil society organisations including NGOs.

  • c) Limited capabilities or skills among people in general, and poor people in particular (e.g. literacy) in the villages.

  • d) Lack of knowledge of industry.

  • e) Lack of skills to start and operate businesses.

  • f) Illiteracy, including inability to manage money.

  • g) Inadequate number of personnel.

  • h) Limited capacity of existing personnel.

  • i) Traditional low-input, low-output technologies.

  • a) Lack of appropriate and essential facilities, equipment and supplies, including medicines.

  • b) Inadequate number of public facilities, such as schools and health centres.

  • c) Inadequate, and limited access to infrastructure.

  • d) Poor maintenance of existing infrastructure.

  • e) Access to other parts of the country difficult and/or costly.

Rural-urban and regional disparities
  • a) Limited access to relatively lower quality social services (including education, health, water supply, sanitation, and housing in rural areas, as compared with urban centres.

  • b) Regional disparities in educational achievement and opportunities (e.g. Baucau has the largest number of schools in the country whilst some of the other districts have very few schools).

  • c) Civil service with very limited presence in regional areas.

  • d) Lack of articulation of values and principles on the “service” role of civil service.

  • e) Limited capacity within civil service.

  • f) Limited number of civil servants.

Private sector
  • a) Lack of policies and programs to develop entrepreneurship and support for private enterprise development.

  • b) Lack of competition in the private sector.

  • c) Legal framework

  • d) Lack of legislation and regulations in areas such as immigration and labour.

  • e) Lack of national support and advocacy on behalf of susceptible groups in legal difficulties. Outmoded laws.

  • f) Inadequate capacity (number of personnel, skills, institutions, facilities and equipment) in the judiciary, legal professions and the police force.

  • g) High cost (financially and in time) of justice.

  • h) Lack of well-defined property rights, especially for land.

  • a) Lack of coordination and cooperation between government and non-government institutions.

  • b) Vested interests aiming to grab much of the public resources.

  • c) Uncertainty regarding security and the nature of government and/or governance among the population.

  • d) Crime.

  • e) Lack of institutional mechanisms for coordination in different districts and/or regions.

  • f) Lack of targeted support to meet the needs of children and the disabled.

  • g) Lack of plans for district development, based on comparative advantages.

  • h) Lack of criteria for allocation of resources to districts.

  • i) Lack of capacity at district level to account for funds allocated.

  • j) Lack of transparency.

  • k) Inadequate accountability mechanisms.

  • l) Long colonial past with highly centralised decision-making in government.

  • m) Lack of understanding of the Portuguese language among many administrators.

  • n) Legacy of bribery and corruption

  • o) Political favouritism in civil service recruitment.

  • p) Political influence in allocation of funds.

  • q) Corruption.

Strategies and Policies Including Programs and Projects

10.16 The proposed strategies are outlined below, together with suggested programs, projects, policies and legislation for the achievement of each strategy necessary for the attainment of the stated goals. Several proposed programs overlap with those proposed by other Working Groups, particularly in areas such as agriculture. The annual action plans of Ministries must take account of the activities of other Ministries and agencies of Government.

Poverty Reduction

10.17 The overall strategy for poverty reduction is presented in Chapter 4. As poverty reduction is an overarching goal, it is mainstreamed into the sector chapters. A sample of these are enumerated in the following.

Creating Economic Opportunities

10.18 The strategies for creating economic opportunities are included mostly in the sector chapters, especially on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Industry, Trade and the Private Sector. The specific strategies formulated by the Poverty Reduction and Rural and Regional Development Working Group include the following:

  • a) Transformation of the non-farm subsistence economy through small-scale, home and cottage industries and other business activities that generate income for the poor.

  • b) Provision of skills training and guidance to increase the ability of the poor in managing small businesses so that they become self-reliant.

  • c) Increased production in the rural areas through the application of appropriate farming techniques and promotion of agro-industries.

  • d) Identification and development of potential markets for products inside and outside the country

10.19 The policies that are conducive to promoting the above include those on micro finance, and policy or guidelines on small-scale, cottage and village industries. For example, the latter may include exemption from licensing, taxes and other restrictions; while enforcing the observation of hygiene, health and environmental regulations. The types of programs and projects visualised are listed in the following:

  • a) small-scale industries promotion program

  • b) household and cottage industries promotion program

  • c) hawkers and vendors (petty trade) program

  • d) micro credit or micro finance programs and projects

  • e) training programs for small-scale, home and cottage industries

  • f) project to strengthen technical and vocational education.

  • g) bee keeping and honey production (apiculture) project

  • h) production of tais, bags and baskets project

  • i) production of small tools including agricultural implements project

  • j) production of packaged food such as peanuts and shrimp/fish crackers project

10.20 The performance indicators are:

  • a) number of new small and micro enterprises established and operating by gender of owner/operator

  • b) increase in non-farm income of poor and low-income households

  • c) number of borrowers under micro credit schemes by gender

  • d) average amount of loan per borrower in micro credit schemes total and by gender

  • e) number of training programs conducted

  • f) number of trainees by gender

  • g) number of trainees graduating from technical and vocational education training programs and number employed by gender

10.21 In addition, the Working Group proposed other training for farmers and fishers in such areas as improved crop husbandry, irrigation management, livestock raising and veterinary care and fishing and aquaculture. The policies, programs and projects overlap with those in other sectors. In operational terms, most of the activities are covered in other sectors including Industry, Trade and the Private Sector and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Providing Social Services

10.22 The strategies, programs and projects on provision of education and health services proposed by the Poverty Reduction and Rural and Regional Development mirror those presented in Chapter 10 on Social and Human Development: Education and Health, while those on water supply and sanitation and housing are covered in the relevant sections of Chapter 15 on Infrastructure.3 The specific additions proposed include programs to increase the skills of the people in general and the poor in particular; and to create networks between the Government and non-government institutions that are active in the delivery of education and training services to society.

Enhancing Security Including Disaster Preparedness and Safety Nets

10.23 The country has been emerging from the 1999 violence and turmoil. There is still lingering insecurity, mistrust and friction from the occupation and resistance movement. Also, political social divisions and some uncertainty about the scope of government security after independence prevail. The Plan proposes the creation and strengthening of family and community consciousness to increase the sense of solidarity, and create safe and peaceful conditions. The specific interventions under the strategy include programs and projects for:

  • a) intelligence gathering and pre-emptive actions to prevent and combat crime.

  • b) involving communities in monitoring potential risks.

  • c) investigating and solving crimes as soon as possible.

  • d) strengthening community solidarity through the creation of a system of protecting people, which is participatory and responsible.

  • e) supporting people to be active in guarding the security and public order in residential areas in all areas (rural and urban) of the country.

  • f) strengthening the capacity of the community to withstand and overcome disturbances and challenges (e.g. through provision of financial resources, equipment and training to communities/areas prone to such disturbances).

  • g) establishing an early warning system with the involvement of the people to identify potential security and social disturbances and evolve measures to prevent them.

  • h) organising campaigns on civic education and social solidarity

  • i) mobilising traditional institutions and leaders to promote social cohesion

  • j) instilling family values through schools and other means.

10.24 Many of these activities fall under the purview of the Ministry of Internal Administration, especially the Department of Local Administration and Police and Security Forces. The performance indicators include: (i) reduction in number of crimes reported, (ii) number of crimes solved and average time taken to solve the crimes, (iii) number of neighbourhood watch committees established, (iv) number of communities trained and supported including average amount of support provided, (v) number of early warning groups established, (vi) number of people reached by civic education campaigns by gender, (vii) number of leaders contacted and trained in promoting social cohesion, (viii) number of courses conducted in schools on family values and civic education and number of students covered, and (ix) number of people and communities organised to participate in community safety and peacekeeping by the police.

Disaster preparedness

10.25 It is recognised that in the medium term the resources and capacity at the Government’s disposal are extremely limited to provide direct assistance to vulnerable groups. Therefore, much of the focus in the Plan is on preventative measures and strengthening the self-reliance of society to care and share and cope with disasters and other contingencies. The programs and projects include the following:

  • a) setting up early warning systems to gather and disseminate information on floods, droughts, landslides, etc. These could be simple systems at the village, posto and district levels under a national centre.

  • b) compiling information on how communities have coped with disasters in the past (e.g. through the National Archives) and examine whether similar practices could be adopted.

  • c) creating a network to strengthen the preparedness of society in facing and coping with disasters.

  • d) organizing communities prone to disasters to help themselves through setting up community food banks, stocks of other materials, etc.

  • e) encouraging religious organizations and other voluntary groups including NGOs to set up mechanisms to monitor and assist.

  • f) establishing a national disaster prevention and preparedness group (including representatives from local and international organizations) to plan and coordinate the activities.

  • g) making provision in the government budget for assistance to victims of disasters.

  • h) providing support to victims of disasters including emergency aid and support for rehabilitation/reconstruction of houses.

  • i) recruiting and training SATGAS who will deal with disasters.

10.26 The disaster preparedness functions mentioned above are the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Administration. The performance indicators include: (i) early warning system established, (ii) number of food banks and other community storage established to cope with disasters, (iii) number of religious groups and NGOs mobilised to participate, (iv) national disaster prevention and preparedness group established, (v) amount of money allocated in Government budget for disaster preparedness, (vi) number of disaster victims helped and average amount per victim, and (viii) number of SATGAS recruited and trained.

Vulnerable groups

10.27 The strategies comprise the (i) provision of assistance to vulnerable groups such as women in difficult circumstances (e.g. widows and victims of violence), the elderly (old people), veterans of the resistance movement, refugees, destitute (very poor) families and prisoners to recover and lead satisfying lives as full members of society, (ii) establishment of a special facility for the service of children and the disabled, (iii) organisation of coordination, consultation and joint work between NGOs and the church in the framework of providing services to vulnerable groups, and (iv) formation of a working group to advocate on behalf of vulnerable groups who are facing legal problems.

10.28 The proposed programs and projects include the following:

  • a) a campaign to stop violence against women and children.

  • b) counselling and assisting female victims of violence who are socially and economically vulnerable.

  • c) supporting the elderly with essentials such as food and clothing and organizing recreation groups.

  • d) providing assistance to veterans in the form of training, credit and other support services.

  • e) supporting refugees and displaced people by returning them to their original places of residence, providing food, clothing, shelter in the transition, facilitating reconciliation, and providing the means to re-establish their lives and livelihoods.

  • f) social service programs for children.

  • g) helping the disabled (physically challenged).

  • h) assisting the school system to provide school supplies and equipment for neglected children.

  • i) scholarship/bursary programs for orphans and children from poor families that demonstrate good academic potential.

  • j) training programs in computers and sewing for the disabled.

  • k) providing economic support to the disabled.

  • l) improving the situation of destitute people through provision of food and other basic necessities and housing materials.

  • m) supporting prisoners and former prisoners including training and skills development, counselling and resocialization.

  • n) establishing a mechanism (working group) to provide legal advice and support to the vulnerable groups in need of such advice.

  • o) setting up a consultation and coordination mechanism and organize joint programs between government, church, NGOs and other groups on provision of services to vulnerable groups.

10.29 Many of the activities proposed above are expected to be undertaken by the Social Affairs Department in the Secretary of State for Labour and Solidarity, while the rest will be implemented by other Ministries/Departments (e.g. Education and Justice). However, the Government budget situation is not adequate to provide any significant resources to fund the activities in the next two to three years. Accordingly, it is proposed to include the activities in the annual action plans as budget resources become available.

Empowering the people

10.30 The country had experienced for almost a quarter century, the lack of awareness and interest on the part of civil servants in involving people in the development of the country. It also created an attitude among the people not to take initiative and to depend on the government. It is important to break this cycle of dependence. The development strategies include: (i) strengthening and sustaining the political will in the government to support policies and endeavors for poverty reduction, (ii) liberating society from all social and cultural impediments that constrain development, (iii) strengthen formal and non-formal local social institutions, and (iv) promoting popular participation, especially of the poor and other vulnerable groups in economic, social and political processes.

10.31 The programs and projects proposed to translate the above strategies into action include the following:

  • a) organise advocacy groups (e.g. NGOs) to promote and sustain government commitment to poverty reduction.

  • b) organise citizens groups to watch and monitor how public resources are being allocated and spent, with particular attention to poverty reduction.

  • c) inform people of the successes and failures of government interventions, especially on poverty reduction programs.

  • d) promote the strengthening of informal social institutions such as community mutual-help groups, farmers groups, irrigation/water user groups, fishers groups and women’s groups, through facilitation and organization.

  • e) establish and strengthen formal social institutions such as cooperatives, savings and loan associations and marketing groups (e.g. coffee marketing), and religious and interest groups (e.g. labour unions).

  • f) introduce programs to facilitate the formation of the poor into groups, provide training and help undertake economic, social and advocacy activities to advance the welfare of the groups.

  • g) formulate and implement legislation to allow the formation, registration and functioning of various groups within the law and without violating the rights of other groups or citizens.

  • h) discourage social and cultural practices such as spending beyond one’s means, or bride price, through civic education with the involvement of community leaders and prominent persons. Consider introduction of legal measures to curb harmful practices.

  • i) undertake community animation and confidence building programs using participatory approaches such as that adopted in the Participatory Potential Assessment.

10.32 The responsibility for implementation of the above activities will be spread across various Ministries/Departments. Some of the programs and projects are already included in the Sector Plans, while others would need to be incorporated in the annual plans.

Gender dimensions

10.33 The strategies include:

  • a) the creation of equal opportunities to obtain work including the conditions that have a positive effect on the working conditions and income of women workers in the formal and non-formal sectors, through a:

    • program to create an enabling environment for employment of women in remunerative jobs (including incentives to employers).

    • program of child care (day care) centres for working women with children.

    • policy favouring employment of women.

    • policy and guidelines on workplace facilities for women (e.g. child care centres, separate washrooms and recreation areas).

    • law against discrimination against women in employment and wages.

    • law against harassment of women in the workplace.

  • provision of training to women in general and young women in particular in a number of skills/fields (e.g. management, enterprise development and information technology) at the national, regional and local levels to facilitate their participation in economic activities, including

    • professional training programs for women in such areas as management, enterprise development and information technology at the national and regional levels.

    • establishing and strengthening professional training facilities for women at different levels.

    • training programs for women at the suco and aldeia levels suited to the local circumstances (e.g. availability of raw materials and supplies and support services such as electricity and credit) and markets for the products and services they produce.

  • establishment and strengthening of a network of businesswomen through policies to support private enterprise, women’s organizations, cooperatives and groups, to enable women to help themselves and other groups. These include a:

    • project to establish network(s) of businesswomen.

    • project to establish and/or strengthen women’s groups.

    • program to establish and/or strengthen women’s cooperatives.

    • project to support East Timorese women’s groups to establish contacts and networks with similar groups in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and in other parts of the world.

10.34 The above activities will be mainstreamed into the programs and projects of relevant Ministries. The performance indicators, which may be monitored by the relevant Ministries as well as the Office of Promotion and Equality, include the following:

  • a) increase in number of women employed in formal private sector.

  • b) institution of policy favouring employment of women.

  • c) new workplace facilities for women (e.g. child care centres, separate washrooms and recreation areas).

  • d) enactment of law against discrimination against women in employment and wages.

  • e) enactment of law against harassment of women in the workplace.

  • f) number of professional training programs for women and number of women trained in each discipline.

  • g) number of training programs for women at the suco and aldeia levels and number of women trained.

  • h) number of networks of businesswomen established and number of members.

  • i) number of women’s groups established and/or strengthened and number of members.

  • j) number of women’s cooperatives established strengthened and number of members covered.

Rural Development

10.35 Goal: Promote integrated rural development to reduce poverty, accelerate economic growth and reduce the gap between the rural and urban areas.

10.36 The strategies include the following:

  • a) Empower the rural people through education and organizational skills training.

  • b) Strengthen the economic base of the communities and enhance productivity.

  • c) Improve access to infrastructure and markets.

  • d) Improve the protection and sustainable use of natural resources (e.g. land, water, forests, fisheries and minerals, but excluding oil and gas) and the environment in the communities.

  • e) Reduce the gap between urban centres and rural areas in economic opportunities, provision of social services and infrastructure (including communications).

  • f) Promote development of urban areas and other growth centres.

10.37 The policies, programs and projects proposed for rural development are:

  • a) Integrated community education, training, information and communications program.

  • b) Program to strengthen the autonomy and self-reliance of village communities.

  • c) Policy on local government/governance at the suco and aldeia levels.

  • d) Integrated community economic development program.

  • e) Integrated community services development program covering such areas as health, education, water supply, sanitation, agricultural extension and veterinary services.

  • f) Integrated community infrastructure development program.

  • g) Programs for community management of infrastructure maintenance.

  • h) Programs for community protection and the use of public resources, such as forests and fisheries.

  • i) Policy/legislation on community management and the use (sharing of benefits) of public resources, such as forestry and fisheries.

  • j) Law prohibiting the delineation and privatisation of community and common property resources.

  • k) Laws regulating the management and use of natural resources and protection of the environment.

  • l) Programs to encourage dispersal of investments to areas close to urban centres, and to areas appropriate for resource endowments and products (e.g. coffee processing).

  • m) Programs to improve the quality and quantity of social services in rural areas, with a particular focus on the poor, women and other vulnerable groups.

  • n) Programs to improve the rural infrastructure (including farm to market roads, and rural electrification) and communications.

  • o) Dili development program.

  • p) Urban centres development programs.

  • q) Programs to develop markets and growth centres in highlands.

  • r) Programs to develop markets and growth centres in lowlands.

  • s) Policy on urban development and city/municipal governance (government).

  • t) Policy on rural-urban migration.

  • u) Policies on markets and growth centres.

10.38 The above policies, laws, programs and projects are either implicitly or explicitly incorporated in the relevant sectors including Agriculture and Infrastructure. The importance of integration of the various development interventions to ensure complementarities (avoid duplication) and enhance the impacts is emphasised. Relevant performance indicators for the activities have been formulated and presented in the sector chapters.

Regional Development

10.39 Goal: Achieve balanced regional development to reduce poverty, improve the lives of East Timorese in all regions, enhance and exploit complementarities between regions and agroecological areas, accelerate economic growth, and reduce regional disparities.

10.40 The strategies formulated by the Working Group to achieve the above goal include the following:

  • a) reduce imbalances in education, organisational skills and institutional mechanisms for development between the regions/districts.

  • b) strengthen the economic base of the districts, taking into account their resource endowments (land, agro-climatic conditions, people and their skills, etc.), enhance productivity, and enhance complementarities between districts/regions.

  • c) improve access to infrastructure and markets in regions/districts that are relatively disadvantaged.

  • d) allocate central (national) government resources to district(s) based on population, land area, present level of development and other specific problems which the district faces to ensure equitable sharing and promote balanced development of all districts.

  • e) develop districts and areas with specific problems–i.e., Ambeno (Oecussi), Bobonaro and Covalima districts, and Atauro and Jaco Islands.

10.41 The policies, programs and project proposed are:

  • a) programs to strengthen and expand education and skills training opportunities in relatively disadvantaged regions and districts.

  • b) program to strengthen the organisational skills of government, private sector and civil society organisations in regions/districts that are relatively disadvantaged.

  • c) program to create and/or strengthen institutional mechanisms for coordination of development activities in regions and districts that are relatively disadvantaged.

  • d) formulation and implementation of district and/or regional economic development programs, with particular attention to agro-ecological and human resource areas.

  • e) program to adapt appropriate technologies for improving productivity.

  • f) tailor-made training and extension programs to enhance the skills of people (e.g. farmers and small entrepreneurs in agro-industries, marble/mineral extraction).

  • g) programs of economic support services including rural electrification, input supply, marketing, etc.

  • h) integrated infrastructure development program in relatively disadvantaged districts.

  • i) strengthen the capacity of district administrations in finance and management.

  • j) devise policies to raise additional resources from both internal and external sources.

  • k) devise criteria for allocation of resources among districts, taking into account their current state of development.

  • l) law on local government, specifying the roles and responsibilities of district and lower level government administrations.

  • m) program to develop Ambeno district, including land and sea transport linking it with the rest of the country.

  • n) program to develop Bobonaro district.

  • o) program to develop Covalima district.

  • p) program to develop Atauro Island.

  • q) program to protect and develop Jaco Island for eco-tourism and bio-diversity research.

  • r) policy on border trade and the flow of people between Ambeno district and West Timor.

  • s) policy on border trade and the flow of people between Bobonaro and Covalima districts and West Timor.

  • t) policy on development of Atauro Island.

  • u) policy on conservation, protection and use of bio-diversity in Jaco Island.

10.42 Many of the activities proposed above require clarifications on the coverage/boundaries of the regions and the roles and responsibilities of local government entities and personnel at the district, sub-district and lower levels. The Ministry of Internal Administration will be an important actor in helping to clarify these and formulating the local government code or law. Also, the Ministry would have to coordinate many of the activities. The promotion of regional development may be spearheaded by different line Ministries such as Agriculture depending on the resource base and comparative advantage of the districts/regions.

Civil Service

10.43 Goal: Strengthen the capacity of civil service at the national and local levels and enhance its efficiency, transparency and accountability.

10.44 The civil service is staffed mostly with people with minimal experience in government and governance. It is much smaller than that prior to 1999. Strengthening the capacity of the civil service is a priority. The policies, laws, programs and projects include the following:

  • a) program to strengthen the capacity of civil service including in administration/management, finance and budgeting

  • b) training of trainers program

  • c) training programs with adequate representation of different groups such as women and language groups)

  • d) curriculum and training materials development projects

  • e) external training program(s)

  • f) monitoring and follow-up of trainees project

  • g) supply of equipment and facilities programs

  • h) civil service recruitment policy (e.g. to ensure adequate representation of women, social and language groups and regions/districts transparent, fair and merit-based manner)

  • i) civil service reward, promotion and career development policy

  • j) civil service separation and disciplinary action policies

  • k) civil service code of conduct, rules and regulations

  • l) civil service law

  • m) orientation and training programs to instil the values and principles of serving the people within the civil service

  • n) program to evaluate civil service performance

  • o) program for the formulation and promulgation of civil service rules and regulations promoting transparency and accountability

  • p) program to establish and operate accountability systems and mechanisms within the civil service

  • q) program to establish and operate citizen watchdog mechanisms

  • r) policy on public access to, and disclosure of government information

  • s) policy on role and accountability of civil service

  • t) policy on citizen/community mechanisms to monitor the civil service

10.45 The policies, laws, programs and projects will be implemented by the relevant entities under the Ministry of Internal Administration in cooperation with other Ministries and Departments. Also, citizen participation in monitoring the performance of civil servants in service delivery and in seeking accountability is important.

Immigration Service

10.46 Create an Immigration Service, which is professional and efficient, providing a quality service for citizens and visitors.

  • a) program for recruitment of additional staff

  • b) training programs, including (English) language training

  • c) program to provide office facilities (including buildings), and equipment

  • d) program of technical advice and services

  • e) program to monitor visitors and immigrants

  • f) program to establish a database on visitors and immigrants

  • g) policy on immigration, including visa and other entry requirements

  • h) policy on immigrants’ rights to work, start businesses, and engage in other activities

National Archives

10.47 The objective is to access, preserve and make available cultural, popular (folkloric) and historic artefacts and government records/materials for present and future generations of East Timorese. The National Archive will acquire, preserve and make available to the public oral, written, film, tape, photographic and other materials through the its facilities.

10.48 Many of the artefacts have been lost or destroyed during the 1975-1999 occupation and during the 1999 paramilitary violence. There are no records or knowledge of East Timorese materials taken to other countries including Portugal, other Portuguese-speaking countries and Indonesia. Further, the information on what is available in East Timor is limited. The programs and projects include the following:

  • a) cultural and historical materials collection program

  • b) cultural and historical materials and heritage buildings/architecture preservation program

  • c) cultural and historical display and dissemination programs

  • d) research programs (library and field projects, including archaeological projects)

  • e) training programs

  • f) buildings/facilities and equipment supply projects

  • g) program for accession and preservation of government records

  • h) policy on culture and heritage

  • i) policy on the retrieval and repatriation of East Timorese cultural, historic and heritage materials from other countries

  • j) policy on accession and preservation of government records

10.49 The National Archive under the Ministry of Internal Administration will implement the activities, subject to availability of adequate resources.


10.50 The objectives include the improvement in the utilization of labour with equitable reward (wage) system and workplace safety; establishing and maintaining a labour market database, introduction of manpower planning, and dissemination of the information to all interested parties. The strategies include improving the functioning of the labour market through employment exchanges, business (employer) consultation forums, and the media, establishing and maintaining a labour market database, introducing manpower planning, and disseminating the information to all interested parties;

  • a) program for promotion of formation of labour groups/unions to protect workers’ rights

  • b) program for promotion of occupational safety and environmental health

  • c) project for promotion of job security

  • d) program for promotion of retirement pension schemes

  • e) program for promotion of disability insurance

  • f) program for promotion of mediation/arbitration in labour disputes.

  • g) minimum wage policy

  • h) working hours policy

  • i) policies on leave and other workers’ rights

  • j) labour law that incorporates internationally accepted (ILO) labour standards and practices.

  • k) program to establish labour market database

  • l) manpower planning program

  • m) program to strengthen staff capacities

  • n) program to set up labour market monitoring and information collection offices in districts

  • o) program of dissemination of labour market information and manpower plan

  • p) policy requiring employers to provide information on employment, wages, working hours, etc., by occupation (skill level)

  • q) program to establish and operate employment exchanges to match jobseekers with potential employers

  • r) program to establish business (employer) consultation forums

  • s) policy on advertisement of vacancies in the media

  • t) regulation on supply of information on job vacancies to employment exchanges

10.51 The above activities will be implemented by the Secretary of State for Labour and Solidarity in cooperation with other Ministries. The activities will be prioritised and implemented in phases to respond to emerging needs and demands, subject to availability of resources.


“Meeting East Timor’s basic needs in health and education is vital for the nation’s development, in reducing poverty, promoting economic growth, and in improving the livelihoods of its population.”


11.1 Our vision is that by 2020, the East Timorese people will be well educated, healthy, highly productive, democratic, self-reliant, espousing the values of nationalism, non-discrimination and equity within a global context.

Background and Status

11.2 Meeting East Timor’s basic needs in health and education is vital for the nation’s development, in reducing poverty, promoting economic growth, and in improving the livelihoods of its population. Education and Health are the largest sectors, in terms of expenditure, both in 2001-2 and for the foreseeable future. This expenditure reflects the wishes of the population, as expressed in the recent Countrywide Consultation, in which 70% of the population prioritised education as one of the three most important sectors to be developed for the country’s future, followed by health, prioritised by 49%. The PPA completed in January, 2002, produced similar results. These views are captured in the vision presented in this document. In meeting its people’s needs in health and education, however, both government and civil society organisations face formidable challenges.


11.3 East Timor has an illiteracy rate of 50-60%. 46% of the current population have never attended school. Almost two-thirds of the female population is illiterate. The primary enrolment rate is low, as are school retention rates. Approximately 20% of children enrolled in primary schools rarely attend classes. There is a substantial shortage of trained teachers, and teaching quality is low. In the 2000-01 school year, for example, of the 2,091 secondary school teachers, only 106 had formal secondary school training. The curriculum introduced during the Indonesian occupation is viewed by East Timorese students and teachers as outmoded and irrelevant.

11.4 During the UNTAET period, some increases have occurred in primary school enrolment, particularly for girls, but there have been declines in secondary school attendance. Tertiary provision and skills training remain grossly inadequate. The current teacher-student ration in the primary sector is 1:62.

11.5 During the period before oil revenues begin to have an impact, key challenges to be addressed are:

  • a) A rapid expansion in primary school enrolment, particularly for children from poor households.

  • b) A reduction in the high drop-out rate at primary level.

  • c) An improvement in teaching quality through the provision of appropriate training.

  • d) The design and introduction of literacy manuals, and the implementation of campaigns to address the low literacy level within the population.

  • e) A specification of the respective roles to be played by the government, church, NGOs and local communities in the management of education.

  • f) The development of strategies for the furtherance of the Portuguese language at all education levels, and amongst the adult population.


11.6 The heavy burden of disease in East Timor is due largely to the prevalence of communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, respiratory tract and childhood infections. The current TB rate is 900 per 100,000. Life expectancy ranges from 50-58, and is combined with high infant mortality rates of 78-149 per 1,000 live births, and under 5 mortality rates of 124-201 per 1,000 live births. Women bear an unacceptable burden of maternal mortality and morbidity, with maternal mortality rates at 350-800 per 100,000 live births. Only 30% of births have any skilled birth attendance. Approximately 3-4% of children aged 6 months to 5 years are acutely malnourished, whilst one in five is chronically malnourished. 45% of children under 5 are underweight.

11.7 During the Indonesian occupation, the health system delivered poor quality services, and was widely mistrusted by the population. During the paramilitary rampage, most health facilities were destroyed, and there was a total collapse of the health system.

11.8 During the UNTAET period, access to basic services has been restored, a TB program has been implemented, immunisation services have been developed for women and children, and basic health packages have been designed. Health centres have been rehabilitated and reequipped. A plan has been devised for human resource development, capacity-building, and health training.

11.9 The main challenges to be addressed by the health sector are to design and implement policies, programs and projects addressing:

  • g) high rates of maternal and infant mortality

  • h) a high proportion of illness and death due to preventable communicable diseases

  • i) the prevalence of malnutrition, iodine and vitamin A deficiency

  • j) the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitary facilities for a majority of the population

  • k) poor reproductive health

  • l) the prevalence throughout the country of post-conflict mental health problems and trauma

  • m) poor and inequitable access to health services

  • n) inadequate management support systems

  • o) an inadequate referral system

  • p) poor knowledge of HIV/AIDS among the population.

11.10 In both the health and education sectors, a major challenge is to set clearly-defined, specific priorities in line with available expenditure. A medium term framework has been developed, selecting priority areas that can ensure most successfully the delivery of services to a population with continuing high levels of poverty.


11.11 Women play a vital role in East Timorese society. They manage community resources, households, and constitute a crucial part of the labour force, particularly in agriculture. Yet they are not adequately represented in positions of power throughout the country. Gender inequalities are addressed in many of the objectives, strategies and policies in the national plan. There are particular gender concerns in human development–notably in relation to women’s levels of literacy, training, and health needs. These issues are covered in the particular projects and programs outlined for the health and education sectors.


11.12 The goals for the education and health sectors are to:

  • a) improve the education and health status of the people of East Timor;

  • b) contribute to the improvement of the economic, social and cultural well being of individuals, families and communities in East Timor; and

  • c) promote gender equality and empower women in East Timor.

Guiding Principles

11.13 Several principles serve to guide development in education and health, with the following of particular importance.

  • a) Human Rights: Human development programs will respect all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms consistent with the East Timor Constitution, including the right to development.

  • b) Cultural, Religious and Gender Sensitivity: Human development in East Timor will respect its people’s cultural and religious diversity and enhance equality among men and women, by promoting the values of tolerance, dialogue and peaceful resolution of differences.

  • c) Quality and Relevance: The implementation of human development programs in East Timor shall promote high standards and ensure that the choices are oriented to the country’s needs.

  • d) Sustainability: To achieve long-lasting human development, human and natural resources shall be managed taking into account financial capacity, appropriate and existing technology.

  • e) Equity and Accessibility: The provision of education, health and other basic needs shall be fair, affordable and within everyone’s reach.

  • f) Social Solidarity: Human development programs will promote the values of community participation, self-help and shared responsibility between government and all actors in civil society.

  • g) Ethics and Efficiency in Public Service: Public service will be guided by the values of courtesy, efficiency, productivity, honesty and high ethical standards in order to achieve full transparency, accountability and public satisfaction.

  • h) Legality: Given the special circumstances of East Timor as a new nation, human development will take place within a responsive legal framework and with respect for the rule of law.

  • i) Creativity and Innovation: Human development will aim to harness people’s natural creativity and reward innovation.

  • j) Protection of the Environment: Human development programs will take into account the impact on the environment and promote environmental protection for future generations.

Key Development Indicators

11.14 The key development indicators for the sectors and for particular components of each area are as follows.

  • a) Literacy rate

  • b) Net enrolment ratio in primary and secondary schools

  • c) Primary education completion rate

  • d) School attendance

  • e) School participation by age

  • f) School participation rates of richest and poorest quintiles of the population

  • g) Household expenditure on education at primary and secondary levels

  • h) Levels of educational attainment

  • a) Life expectancy at birth

  • b) Infant mortality rate

  • c) Under 5 mortality rate

  • d) Maternal mortality rate

  • a) Labour force participation rate

  • b) Unemployment rate

Economic, Social and Culture
  • a) GDPper capita

  • b) % of households below the poverty line

  • c) Income distribution index

  • d) % of displaced families with access to education and health services

  • e) % of orphans and widows with access to education and health services

  • f) % of disabled with access to education and health services

  • g) % of families with access to radio/television/telephone

  • h) Number of cultural and civic society associations

  • i) Voter participation rate

  • j) Number of street children

  • k) Number of orphanages

  • l) Crime rate

  • m) Suicide rate

  • n) Number of libraries/Number of people visiting libraries

  • o) Number of people in receipt of social security

  • p) Rate of youth participation in social/cultural organizations

Gender Equality
  • a) Ratio of boys/girls at all education levels

  • b) Ratio of literate females, urban/rural

  • c) Percentage of women employed on completion of studies

  • d) Incidence of domestic violence

  • e) Female access to health services

  • f) Proportion of females holding decision-making positions, in both public and private sectors.

Problems and Constraints

Problems and Constraints Common to Both Sectors

11.15 Both the education and health sectors face a number of difficulties, some of which are common to both sectors, and some of which apply to each sector separately. The common problems and constraints are as follows:

  • a) High levels of illiteracy, particularly amongst women

  • b) Female education plays an important role in health since women make many of the decisions about the health of the family. Better-educated people know more about healthy behaviour and make better choices about childbearing, food distribution and nutrition, personal hygiene and seeking health care. The literacy rate among the adult population is generally low with women lagging behind (54% for men and 40% for women).

  • a) Lack of awareness of education and health problems, particularly for women. There is also a general lack of understanding of education and health benefits.

  • b) Cultural inhibitions - many people do not seek appropriate health care until it is very late (due to a preference for traditional practitioners).

  • c) Girls experience discrimination in access to education due to traditional practices, such as early pregnancy and marriage, demanding household work and the failure of educational materials to address gender issues.

  • a) Income levels are related to people’s standard of living, access to food, education and health care–the essential elements of health. About 41% of the East Timorese population lives below the poverty line. Poor people are more likely to become ill, remain ill, and discontinue their education.

Poor nutrition

There is a high prevalence of malnutrition, iodine and vitamin A deficiency. Malnutrition is prevalent among infants and pre-school children, as well as pregnant and lactating women. Available information indicates that 3-4% of children aged six months to five years are acutely malnourished, while one in five is chronically malnourished. Vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency disorder and anaemia are significant problems in children and mothers.

Unequal distribution of food and health care in the family favours boys. This is similarly the case in the areas of education opportunity and health care.

Lack of adequate food, directly affecting health, and indirectly, the ability to learn.

Limited knowledge of nutritional practices.

  • a) Inadequate infrastructure, lack of available transport, and poor physical facilities result in geographical and social isolation of villages and households.

Quality of services
  • a) General lack of availability of inputs and materials

  • b) Low public confidence in both the health and education systems

Resource constraints
  • a) Inadequate financial resources

  • b) Inadequate human resources in number and skills

Legal Framework
  • a) Lack of comprehensive legal framework

  • b) Inadequate management and support systems

Gender related issues
  • a) Low level of awareness of gender issues at all levels and sectors

Sector Specific Problems and Constraints

11.16 A number of problems and constraints are experienced in both the education and health sectors separately, including the following.

  • a) Community

    • Lack of involvement in school management

    • Household and farming needs limiting school attendance–particularly for girls.

    • High number of illiterate people

  • b) Pre-School

    • Insufficient number of pre-schools (currently, there are 43 pre-schools)

    • Lack of budgetary support from the Government

    • Lack of support from both the community and NGOs

  • c) All School Levels (Primary School to University)

    • Most six year old children do not enter the 1st grade of primary school

    • Students do not complete the six grades in six years

    • Lack of support for special school provision

  • d) Insufficient Number of Schools

  • e) Low Quality

    • Lack of specialized teachers

    • Lack of appropriate study material

    • Lack of qualified labour force

    • Lack of adequate study material

    • Very limited access by students to libraries

  • f) Low Effectiveness and Efficiency of Educational Management

    • Lack of strategic planning for documenting and replicating existing good practice (as, for example, in existing pre-school provision and women’s literacy circles organised outside the formal sector by NGOs)

  • g) Sport

    • Lack of sports activities in schools and within society in general

    • Government has not yet defined its policy regarding Youth and Sports

    • No sports managers or relevant technical and human resource capacity

    • Insufficient and inadequate sports equipment

  • h) Curriculum

    • The current curriculum is too abstract and arduous

    • The curriculum context does not reflect the values and reality of East Timor

  • i) Youth

    • The qualifications held by unemployed youth are not relevant to the current labour market

    • There are insufficient youth activities

  • j) Culture

    • Lack of experience in articulating cultural values, and in assessing how these values can be expressed most effectively and appropriately

  • Very few readily accessible museums, libraries and organized historical documentation centres

  • k) Language Provision

    • Difficulties in standardising Tetun and reintroducing Portuguese as a languageof instruction in a relatively short period of time

  • a) Major Public Health Problems

    • High maternal and infant mortality.

      • East Timor has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the region with estimates ranging to over 800 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is unacceptably high. The infant mortality rate is estimated by the Ministry of Health to be 70 - 95 per 1,000 live births, the most common causes being infections, prematurity and birth trauma.

    • A high proportion of illness and death due to preventable communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, childhood respiratory infections, measles, typhoid, and diarrhoeal diseases.

    • A high prevalence of malnutrition, iodine deficiency and vitamin A deficiency.

      • As noted above, this is a problem for both education and health sectors. Specifically, for the health sector, malnourished people are more likely to get sick and to die from their illnesses.

    • Low access to safe water and sanitation.

      • Unhygienic conditions increase people’s chances of getting sick and making their illnesses worse. A majority of the population do not have access to safe water and sanitary facilities. They depend on contaminated or unprotected sources of water. Existing systems for solid and liquid waste disposal are inadequate.

    • Poor reproductive health is a major cause of maternal mortality.

      • A complex interplay of social, economic, environmental and cultural factors, and limited availability of health care services contribute to poor reproductive health within the population. There is an increasing incidence of teenage pregnancies with short periods of time between each pregnancy.

    • High prevalence of communicable diseases and a rising incidence of noncommunicable diseases.

    • Poor knowledge of HIV/AIDS among the population.

      • HIV/AIDS is a global problem that has potential to have devastating effects on the people of East Timor as they become exposed to the rest of the world. Current knowledge and awareness about HIV/AIDS is low.

    • Lack of education on oral health.

    • Prevalence of post-conflict mental health problems and trauma.

      • Currently, mental health services are inadequate. Major mental problems observed in post-conflict East Timor include psychosis, acute schizophrenia, suicidal depression and severe trauma-related reactions.

    • An increase in environmental degradation, occupational and environmental health problems in recent years.

  • b) Problems Related to the Performance of the Health System

    • Poor and inequitable access to health services.

      • Much of the population living in the rural areas, does not have easy access to the health system–due both to geographical inaccessibility and to inadequate provision of infrastructure and transport facilities. Average walking time to the nearest health facility is 70 minutes.

    • Inadequate management support systems.

      • The absence of a regulatory framework–health regulations do not deal with public health issues, such as environmental and occupational hazards.

    • Inadequate referral system.

      • This results in delayed treatment and inappropriate utilisation of health services.


11.17 The following objectives address the various problems identified in health and education.

  • a) Increase the population’s awareness and understanding of basic educational needs, and particularly:

    • Reduce the number of illiterate people within the adult population, with an emphasis particularly on women;

    • Encourage community and NGO participation, particularly in relation to the implementation of pre-school education;

    • Strengthen the community ownership of education through inclusion of parent, community, student and teacher groups, involving them in the development of appropriate quality educational provision in local areas.

  • b) Increase access to education and develop means for ensuring the retention of children within the school system, at all levels; improve the drop-out rate.

  • c) Rationalize educational provision in relation to the varying needs of different areas.

  • d) Improve educational provision, particularly through the provision of professional training, notably for girls and women, adults, and groups with special needs.

  • e) Increase the efficiency of school organization and management.

  • f) Encourage sports education in schools.

  • g) Develop a curriculum appropriate to East Timor’s contemporary needs, encouraging the development of cultural identity, and stressing the importance of the values of democracy, self-sufficiency, national unity and non-discrimination. Develop programs for unemployed youth, and for school drop-outs, providing qualifications enabling them to re-enter the labour market.

  • h) Develop extra-curricular occupational programs.

  • i) Develop forms of culture and art, emphasizing the national identity of East Timor.

  • j) Re-introduce and develop Portuguese and Tetun as the official languages of East Timor.

  • a) Reduce levels of maternal and infant mortality.

  • b) Reduce the incidence of illness and death due to preventable communicable and noncommunicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

  • c) Improve the nutritional status of mothers and children.

  • d) Improve reproductive health in East Timor.

  • e) Ensure that all people have access to health services.

  • f) Ensure the delivery of a minimum health care package at all levels of service.

  • g) Collaborate with all stakeholders in the health sector to achieve national goals for health.

  • h) Ensure that sufficient and adequate health professional training is undertaken to meet national requirements.

  • i) Regulate the employment of all health professionals to ensure minimum standards of professional practice.

  • j) Provide sufficient referral and tertiary health care services, including laboratory support services, to ensure that referral cases are treated effectively.

  • k) Improve the organization and management systems in the health sector.

  • l) Increase women’s access both to health information, and to quality health services.

  • m) Increase the availability of mental and dental health services.

  • n) Contribute to the improvement of occupational and environmental health in East Timor.


11.18 Based on these objectives the following basic policies will be formulated.

  • a) Promote mandatory education for all children of school age.

  • b) Develop primary education for all as the main goal and priority in allocation of government resources.

  • c) Create incentive partnerships with the private sector, NGOs, parents’ associations and the community, to support education at all levels, in pre-school, secondary school, vocational training and non formal education, as well as in university education.

  • d) Establish a minimum qualification for teachers, such as a university degree. Develop additional relevant specialisations for secondary school, vocational training, as well as for university teachers and assistants;

  • e) Mainstream gender concerns in all educational programs and monitor the impact of these programs on women’s education, through the development and use of gender-sensitive indicators.

  • f) Work with relevant sectors/organisations to advocate an improved status for women, promoting equal rights for men and women in access to education.

  • g) Have as a key policy objective to increase women’s access to information on educational provision.

  • a) Emphasise preventive and promotive health care, provided closest to the community, with the additional aim of limiting expenditure on hospital care.

  • b) Adopt primary health care policies enabling increased accessibility and coverage of health care.

  • c) Adopt a policy of integrating the health care system with other sectors.

  • d) Target groups to achieve the greatest health impact (e.g. emphasizing mother and child health care).

  • e) Develop health staffing policies appropriate to the needs of the country.

  • f) Promote access and utilization of basic health services by vulnerable groups.

  • g) Adopt Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI).

  • h) Mainstream gender health concerns in all programs and monitor their impact on women’s health, through gender-sensitive indicators.

  • i) Work with relevant sectors/organisations to advocate an improved status for women, promoting equal rights for men and women in access to health.

  • j) Have as a key objective to increase women’s access to health information and quality health services.


11.19 These policies will be realised through the following strategies.


11.20 In the short term–over a 2-3 year period–strategies will aim to consolidate the efforts and achievements of reconstruction. This will be done through rationalising educational provision in relation to the needs of different areas of the country, and by developing human resources within the educational sector as a whole. Institutional capacity will be strengthened within the ministry, to promote reforms and to plan and develop educational programs.

11.21 In the longer term–over a 5-10 year period–strategies will aim to promote reforms in key areas of the sector, as well as developing measures for institutional strengthening to achieve the provision of universal primary school education. Curricula will be designed and implemented, promoting high quality teaching relevant to the needs of East Timor. Institutional capacity will be strengthened, with the aim of an efficient management of the overall educational system.


11.22 To meet our goal, strategies will emphasise the importance of primary health care, focusing on prevention and the targeting of underserved areas. Primary health care is a system of essential health care, based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at each stage of its development, in a spirit of self-reliance and self-determination. It forms an integral part both of the country’s health system, of which it is the central function and main focus, and of the overall social and economic development of the community. It is the first contact point with the national health system for individuals, the family and community, bringing health care as close as possible to where people live and work. It forms the first step in a continuing health care process.


11.23 Women in East Timor have been suffering from both a national culture of violence, and from the results of mass displacement. Both of these increase the feminization of poverty. There are no laws either ensuring the protection of women’s fundamental rights or addressing the social and cultural obstacles favouring men’s access to opportunities. The goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women must entail changes in attitudes, government social institutions and private sector practices. Our overall strategy is focused on mainstreaming gender and gender equality in all areas, and at all levels of education and health, assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action in order to ensure that institutions, policies and programs respond to the needs and interests of women as well as men and distribute benefits equitably between women and men. The root cause of gender inequality in human development lies in the social structures, institutions, values and beliefs which create and perpetuate women’s subordination. Solutions should not aim merely to integrate women in the development process but must also reshape the human development agenda, reflecting gender concerns. Consequently, gender objectives in education and health must emphasize the need for gender awareness campaigns at all levels, in order to deal with the stereotypes that are obstacles to a full participation of girls in the educational process, particularly after secondary school, as well as for the need for formal and vocational training as an instrument of empowerment. In relation to health status, the objectives of our strategy centre on information and educational campaigns on women’s right to health, involving all key stakeholders, to ensure that women, due to their specific vulnerability–particularly in reproductive health - are not exposed to continued health hazards and risks.

Specific Strategies

11.25 The strategies that are specific to education are the following.

  • a) Educational campaigns, focusing on three areas:

    • Promotion of the importance of basic education (defined not simply in relation to reading, writing and numeracy, but encompassing a broad range of thinking, conceptualizing, analyzing, participating and learning skills);

    • Literacy programs: addressing the range of relevant skills required to enable poor and vulnerable groups to develop basic learning skills and knowledge of issues relevant to their daily lives and to their plans for the future.

    • Nation-wide campaigns on pre-schooling and primary education, raising the importance of girls’ access to education.

  • b) Improving enrolment and attendance

    • Educating teachers, community leaders and parents on the importance of their responsibilities in securing enrolment and attendance in school of children of school age.

    • Improving health at schools by providing school snacks as a way of reducing absenteeism and drop out rates.

  • c) Rationalising educational provision, by building new schools, increasing school size, and closing redundant schools.

  • d) Improving teaching capacity, through:

    • The training of teachers, in Portuguese/Tetun language.

    • Increasing the availability of textbooks and other teaching materials; school facilities must be adequate and sufficient for all levels, including special schools.

    • Establishing performance management programs and national examinations.

  • e) Setting up career plans for teachers and school deans.

    • Developing programs for institutional strengthening.

    • Setting up scholarship programs for school managers and administrators.

    • Developing training programs in basic education planning and management for the different levels of school managers at central, districts and schools offices.

  • f) Providing equipment for sporting facilities and organizing sport competitions.

  • g) Developing relevant curriculum and education programs.

    • Developing an appropriate curriculum at all levels, which promotes practical activities, interaction between teachers and students, relevancy of content to contemporary East Timorese reality, and takes into account questions of human rights and gender.

    • Developing contemporary programs for education, introducing new learning techniques.

    • Developing and/or improving the quality of text books, other materials, and learning processes, stressing the importance of eliminating stereotypes associated with gender, and adopting a relevant curriculum.

  • h) Developing appropriate vocational training and distance learning programs.

  • i) Developing East Timorese concepts of literacy and basic education through conferences, training programs, and professional development.

  • j) Developing extra-curricular activities, social and cultural events for East Timorese youth.

  • k) Designing workshops, conferences, and seminars promoting East Timorese cultural values.

  • l) Developing Tetun and reintroducing Portuguese as the official languages of instruction.

  • m) Assisting policy development through inputs into government by international experts, and via conferences, materials, and other documented international experience.

  • a) Targeting mother and child health by:

    • Increasing immunization coverage of all children under five

    • Growth monitoring

    • Adopting Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) and providing training at Community Health Center level

    • Providing antenatal services close to the community

    • Upgrading midwifery skills

    • Training Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs)

  • b) Emphasising health promotion through health education focusing on major health problems and targeting community schools, youth groups, and risk groups through health promotion campaigns, training, curriculum integration, media, environmental health education

  • c) Prevention and control of communicable diseases through:

    • Disease surveillance

    • Capacity building, including training

    • Developing a system of timely detection and control of epidemics/disease outbreaks

  • d) Improving nutritional status of mothers and children through:

    • Micronutrient supplementation

    • Promotion of exclusive breast feeding

    • Growth monitoring

    • Health education on good nutrition

  • e) Improving management of human resources by:

    • Developing a comprehensive human resources development plan

    • Training an adequate number of health personnel based on national needs

    • Establishing regulatory mechanisms for medical practice and professional ethics

    • Developing incentive systems for motivating health personnel

    • Optimizing the use of available human resources through appropriate skill mix and productivity improvement

  • f) HIV/AIDS prevention through:

    • Providing Information, Education and Communication (IEC) targeting vulnerable groups and individuals

    • Establishing voluntary counseling and testing

    • Encouraging community participation and working with social, religious and women’s organizations

    • Developing the capacity of health workers and community groups

    • Developing the legal and policy framework

    • Developing support services

    • Advocacy work with key stakeholders, such as churches and women’s organisations

  • g) Promoting reproductive health through:

    • The creation of awareness on STI and other reproductive health problems

    • Sex education in schools, media and health facilities, and youth centres

    • Promoting the benefits of family planning

    • Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, cervical cancer, STI/HIV

  • h) Improving access to, and utilization of health services particularly by vulnerable groups through:

    • The construction of new facilities

    • Rehabilitation of existing facilities

    • Provision of additional services in facilities to ensure all priority interventions are available

    • Involvement of NGO health providers in the overall plan to increase coverage of primary health care

    • Fostering active participation of the community

    • Reducing the cost of seeking health care by the poor, children under 5, pregnant women, the elderly and the disabled.

    • Health promotion and education to influence health-seeking behaviour, alleviating social-cultural barriers

  • i) Developing and implementing a rational secondary and tertiary hospital development plan

  • j) Improving management systems of health services by:

    • Strengthening the planning and policy development capacity of the Ministry of Health

    • Improving financial resource allocation to increase efficiency

  • k) Adopting a multi-sector approach in dealing with health problems, in order to ensure contributions by other sectors concerned with health status improvement

  • i) Improving access to information and provision of health services through:

    • Expanding coverage of women’s health care services

    • Working with other partners to promote women’s health and education

    • Monitoring the impact of health programs on women’s health

  • m) Developing national mental and oral health programs that address prevention, promotion and appropriate treatment at district level

  • n) Improving occupational and environmental health through:

    • Collaboration with the Departments of Labor, Environment and Infrastructure to develop regulations, strategies and plans to combat occupational and environmental health hazards

    • Environmental and occupational health education programs, designed by the Ministry of Health

Programs and Projects


11.26 Based on the objectives, policies and strategies, and addressing the problems and constraints outlined above, the following programs and projects will be implemented by the Ministry of Education over the five-year NDP period.

Program 1: Expand Access and Improve Internal Efficiency

11.27 While one of the major accomplishments of the Transitional Administration has been the tremendous increase in enrolment at all educational levels, it is estimated that almost 25% of all children of school age are still out of school. Moreover, there is a significant misalignment of age by grade due to the late start for most first graders, and a high drop-out and repetition rate which renders the system very inefficient. The key program thrust for the next five years is therefore to expand access particularly in basic education, and to improve the internal efficiency of schools. Some of the projects to be implemented are as follows.

  • a) Information Campaign on the Importance of Schooling

  • b) School Drop-out Prevention

  • c) School Location Planning

  • d) Multi-grade Schools

  • e) School Health and Nutrition

  • f) Community-Based Pre-School Development

Program 2: Improve the Quality of Education

11.28 One of the main issues in East Timor is the poor quality of education, largely brought about by the low qualifications of teachers and headmasters. A key program thrust in the next five years is therefore an improvement in quality, particularly in primary and secondary education. This thrust will also respond to the requirements for effectively bridging the transition in the language of instruction (from Indonesian to Portuguese/Tetun), as well as developing the curriculum and teaching materials, responding to the goal of creating an East Timorese national identity, in addition to the emphasis on mathematics and the sciences. The key projects for implementation under this program are the following.

  • a) Curriculum Review and Development

  • b) Textbooks and Teaching Materials Development

  • c) Language of Instruction Development (Tetun and Portuguese)

  • d) Teacher and Headmaster Training

  • e) Rehabilitation and Capacity Building of the Institute for Continuing Education

  • f) School Supervision and Improvement

  • g) Fundamental School Quality (TFET2)

  • h) Project to Redefine Technical-Vocational Education.

  • i) National Examinations and Supervision Improvement

  • j) Teachers’ Career Development and Welfare

  • k) International Cooperation and Linkages

  • l) 100 Schools Project (UNICEF-assisted)

Program 3: Build Internal Management Capacity and Improve Services Delivery

11.29 The educational system faces tremendous challenges and opportunities which require a capable and effective service delivery system. Due to a general lack of experienced educational managers, sector management capacity can pose a major constraint. There is also a need to develop physical facilities (such as for logistics) in order to ensure that critical inputs for the schools system are adequate. Building the internal capacity to formulate policies and plans, and to identify, prepare and implement responsive projects, as well as facilities development, will therefore be an important program thrust. Some of the projects identified to respond to this need are as follows.

  • a) Training for Educational Managers

  • b) Project to Build Capacity for Policy Formulation, Planning and Project Development

  • c) Warehousing Expansion and Logistics Development.

Program 4: Non-Formal Education and Adult Literacy

11.30 A number of surveys have confirmed that adult illiteracy is a major problem that will pose severe constraints to productivity, growth and family health and welfare. The non-formal education and adult literacy program is designed to directly address this problem. Some of the specific interventions are as follows.

  • a) Literacy Campaign

  • b) Literacy Project for Young Illiterate Women

  • c) Community Reading Centers Project

  • d) Distance Learning Project.

Program 5: Develop Tertiary Education

11.31 The University’s five-year plan envisages the improvement of tertiary education as an indispensable and solid nation-building effort in East Timor. It sets out to pursue key parameters of small size, high quality and gradual financial and government autonomy and has the following projects.

  • a) Institutional Strengthening

  • b) Staff Development

  • c) Curriculum Development

Program 6: Promote East Timorese Culture and the Arts

11.32 To meet the needs of a newly emerging nation, the promotion of East Timor’s culture will be a priority program in the next five years. The thrust of this program will be initially to structure the state’s response to this need by identifying and establishing cultural institutions and developing their institutional capacity to perform their mandate. The initial projects identified for this purpose are as follows.

  • a) Institutional Capacity Building for Culture Project

  • b) Cultural Renewal and Promotion Project

  • c) Survey and Documentation of Traditional Culture/Arts Project

Program 7: Promote Youth Welfare

11.33 As a consequence of the demographic structure of the population, East Timor’s population has a large proportion of young people (45% under 15 years old). When combined with the reality of early drop-out from school of young people, the country has a large proportion of youth who are relatively under-employed, unskilled and often barely literate. An important program thrust of the education plan is therefore to provide youth welfare services and programs to respond to their needs. Some of the initial projects identified for implementation in the next five years are as follows.

  • a) Structuring and Institutional Support to Youth Sector Development

  • b) Project to Train Unskilled Youth

Program 8: Promote Physical Education and School Sports

11.34 Physical education and sports is an important ingredient for the development of the whole individual, and therefore a necessary component of the education plan. In view of the relatively underdeveloped state of this component of the curriculum, the program thrust in the next five years is to create awareness of its importance, structure the ministry to provide an adequate response to its requirements, and undertake basic refurbishment of sports facilities and train teachers and coaches. Some of the projects identified to implement the program are as follows.

  • a) Structuring and Capacity-Building of Sports Institutions Project

  • b) Information Campaign Project on the Importance of Physical Education and Sports

  • c) Teachers/Coaches Training Project

  • d) Rehabilitation of Sports Facilities Project.

Program Priorities

11.35 In its expenditure for the financial year, 2002/03, the Ministry of Education has prioritised funding on programs 1 and 2, on improving the quality of education, expanding access, and improving internal efficiency. The focus within these funding areas will be on primary education, followed by junior and senior secondary education, respectively. Following these, the next priority areas for funding are from program area 4, for continuing and non-formal education, with the emphasis on improving levels of adult literacy. Details are provided in the Summary of Expenditures for the Education Ministry, contained in the 2002/03 Budget Submission, accompanying the Plan.


11.36 The Ministry of Health will implement the following programs and projects.

Program 1: Child Health
  • a) Child Health

  • b) Expanded Program of Immunisation

  • c) Nutrition

  • d) Growth Monitoring

  • e) Micronutrients distribution

  • f) Food Supplementation

  • g) Breast Feeding

  • h) Health Education on Good Nutrition

Program 2: Maternal Health
  • a) Ante-Natal Care

  • b) Safe Motherhood

Program 3: Reproductive Health
Program 4: Health Promotion
  • a) School Health Program

  • b) Media and Public Health Campaigns

Program 5: Communicable Diseases Control, including:
  • a) TB


  • c) Malaria Control

  • d) Disease Surveillance and Response

  • e) Diarrhoeal diseases

  • f) Leprosy

Program 6: Environmental and Occupational Health
  • a) Environmental Health Promotion

  • b) Occupational Health and Safety

Program 7: Specialised Services Programs
  • a) Integrated Mental Health

  • b) National Oral Health

  • c) Hospital Services

  • d) Ambulance Service

  • e) Disaster Preparedness

Program 8: Medical Supplies Program
  • a) Essential Drugs Program

Program 9: Laboratory Services
  • a) Central Laboratory Services

  • b) National Blood Transfusion Service

Program 10: Health Facilities Rehabilitation and Development
Program 11: District Health Services
Program 12: Health Sector and Management Programs
Program 13: Health Policy and Planning Development
  • a) Health Policy and Regulation

    • Establishment of Regulatory Mechanisms

    • Health Policy Framework

    • Strategic Planning

    • Inter-Sectoral Co-ordination.

  • b) Human Resources Development

    • Training and Scholarship Program

    • Strengthening of Training Institutions

    • Establishment of National Institute of Health Sciences

  • c) Health Information System

    • Establishment of National Health Information System

Program 14: Support to Administration and Finance functions
  • a) Administration

  • b) Finance

  • c) Logistics

The Second Health Sector Rehabilitation and Development Project

11.37 Within the program areas listed above, the Ministry of Health currently is focusing on the Second Health Sector Rehabilitation and Development Project, that is, on the project as set up in the second phase of TFET. The objectives of this project are to assist the Ministry of Health in rehabilitating and developing a cost-effective and financially sustainable health system in East Timor, responsive to the immediate basic health needs of the population and, within a well integrated and sustainable health policy framework, to prepare the health system to meet future needs.

11.38 The project has three main components and sixteen sub-projects, for which the Ministry is requesting funding. These components are as follows.

Component 1: Support to ongoing Health Service Delivery

11.39 This component will support the delivery of health services, including selected high priority activities (immunization, tuberculosis treatment, nutrition, and health promotion) and basic services (including maternal and child health), in accordance with district health plans, medical supply systems, logistical systems, and essential hospital care, through the provision of technical assistance to the Ministry of Health. The project will also support the provision of pharmaceuticals to health facilities, including hospitals.

Component 2: Improvement of the Range and Quality of Health Services, and the Development and implementation of Health Support Systems

11.40 This component will support the improvement of the quality of basic health services provided at the district level, including the enhancement of health promotion activities, environmental health, communicable diseases surveillance and reproductive health, through the provision of technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and the provision of training to health services staff. It will also include the rehabilitation, construction and equipping of hospitals, and the improvement of communication systems and transport between health facilities and hospitals. The project will further support the establishment of an autonomous medical supply entity, and the provision of technical assistance for management.

Component 3: Development and implementation of Health Sector Policy and Management Systems

11.41 This component will support the development of health sector policy, health management systems and capacity building through technical assistance for health studies, the development of a strategic plan for human resources, the provision of fellowships, and the development of administrative and financial systems.

11.42 Details of the funding required for financing the development of these projects in 2002-3 are provided in the summary of expenditures for the Ministry of Health, contained in the Budget Submission accompanying the Plan.

Performance Indicators

11.43 The performance indicators for the education and health sectors are summarised in the following tables.

Table 11.1:

Performance Indicators for Education

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Table 11.2:

Performance Indicators for Health

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Gender Mainstreaming

The indicators presented in the table below will be used to monitor gender mainstreaming on education and health policies, programs and projects as well as assist in the measuring of gender needs assessment. These indicators are complementary to those presented by the Health and Education sectors.

Table 11.3:

Gender Mainstreaming Performance Indicators in Education

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Table 11.4:

Gender Mainstreaming Performance Indicators in Health

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“In the medium-term the agricultural sector, more than most, provides opportunities for economic growth, exports, employment and improvements in social welfare throughout East Timor.”


12.1 By 2020 East Timor will have sustainable, competitive and prosperous agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries that support improved living standards for the nation’s people.


12.2 The agriculture sector comprises crop and livestock activities, fisheries and forestry. The sector is pre-eminent in East Timor, with the majority of the population deriving their livelihood from agricultural activities.

12.3 Prior to the violence that followed the September 1999 Independence Referendum, agriculture and its support industries employed more than 85% of the workforce, contributed 40% of GDP, and earned 90% of foreign exchange, mostly from coffee exports. Exports included coffee and live cattle, along with illegal exports of sandalwood. The key position of agriculture in the economy means that there remains a strong imperative to rebuild the sector for reasons of food security, employment and income generating opportunities. In the medium-term the agricultural sector, more than most, provides opportunities for economic growth, exports, employment and improvements in social welfare throughout East Timor.

12.4 The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) is the Government agency with prime responsibility for the sector and its development. The private sector and NGOs are also very important to the future development of the sector and will provide many of the support services plus the commercial services required by agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Donor support for the sector was strong in the post-1999 period and the continuation of such support is critical in the medium-term.

12.5 The structure of MAF is as shown in Figure 12.1, with the development programs and other activities implemented and administered predominantly on a Departmental basis. The activities and responsibilities of each Department or other functional area are as follows.

  • a) Administration: includes Finance and Budget Support Services, Agricultural Planning, Bilateral and Multilateral Coordination, and Administration and Operational Support Services.

  • b) Policy and Planning Unit: the agricultural sector’s role as a key economic and social sector in the nation demands that the Ministry is able to formulate appropriate policies for the sector. MAF needs

  • c) also to be capable of planning programs and projects that support the development of agriculture. At the time of preparing the Plan this Unit had been proposed but neither staff nor financial resources were available for implementation. This is an important Unit that requires initial support from a donor agency.

  • d) Department of Agriculture and Livestock: includes the Divisions of Crop Production, Horticulture, Livestock, Irrigation and Water Management.

  • e) Department of Forestry: includes Programs of Reforestation and Forest Rehabilitation, Forest Protection and Resources Management, and Forest Production and Utilisation.

  • f) Department of Fisheries and Marine Environment: includes Programs of Fisheries and Marine Environment Management, Fisheries Industry Development, and Aquaculture.

  • g) Research and Extension Centre: includes Programs of Geographic Information System (GIS), Information and Extension, and Research Laboratory.

  • h) A separate Cadastral Unit.

  • i) Three Regional Offices.

Figure 12.1:
Figure 12.1:

Structure of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2005, 247; 10.5089/9781451837315.002.A003

Poverty and the Agriculture Sector

12.6 Data from the poverty assessment undertaken in 2001 showed that agriculture is the main source of income in 94% of sucos, that 97% of sucos have farms, and that 57% have some irrigation. It was also found that the crops produced were predominantly used for self-consumption (subsistence), with less than 20% of sucos selling most of their rice or maize. Consequently, it appears that there is little surplus agricultural production in the nation. The cash income of farm families in 2002 is generated mainly by the sale of chickens, pigs, eggs and some vegetables.

12.7 Analyses of poverty data indicate that food insecurity is faced by 18.6% of the population, or more than 154,000 people in East Timor. Furthermore, preliminary results from the Countrywide Consultation point to concern about food shortages and the need to increase both the quantity and quality of food crops.

12.8 The PA also serves to indicate that 41% of the population suffers from poverty, with those in rural areas more likely to be experiencing poverty. Agricultural policy and strategies, therefore, need to recognise the likelihood of seasonal food shortages and accord suitable priority to programs to overcome those shortages. Based on concern about food shortages, the medium-term development policy could focus on a goal of reducing poverty and food insecurity. The policy instruments to do so, however, require careful consideration. Strategies such as education and training, complemented with applied research and field demonstrations will improve farmer knowledge of adaptive technology. These are key platforms in the MAF’s development programs. In addition, better access to inputs, along with improved access to markets via improved infrastructure will increase productivity in the medium to long term. Ultimately, economic growth provides the best solution to poverty, so that sustainable productivity improvements in agriculture, supporting increased employment and incomes, provides the best way forward.

12.9 Agriculture, particularly coffee, was responsible for more than 90% of export income during the Indonesian administration. Since 1999, however, the world price of coffee has slumped to historic lows, while inadequate quality control and poor crop husbandry typify the local industry. This serves also to highlight the narrow base of agricultural production for exports, although domestic production of food crops is well diversified. At present, East Timor has little or no comparative advantage in relation to the export of agricultural commodities. Current wage levels and the use of the US dollar as the medium of exchange render East Timor internationally uncompetitive on price alone. While MAF has an important role in this respect, so too do other arms of Government, such as the MoF.

12.10 The private sector has a vital role to play in the development of agriculture–including fisheries and forestry–in areas such as infrastructure development, transport, storage, manufacturing and processing, marketing, contract services, and the supply of inputs.

12.11 The production of agricultural produce in East Timor is indicated by reference to Table 12.1. As shown in the table, there appear to be inconsistencies in the data reported. The Poverty Assessment was, however, based on an extremely robust sample that provided data considered to be very reliable. It is these data that are considered to be most credible.

Table 12.1:

Crop Production in 1997 and 2001

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Sources: Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics, Livestock Service of East Timor, UNTAET, MAF’s estimates. The 2001 TLSS.


12.12 MAF’s Mission is to efficiently deliver services to agricultural, fishing and forestry communities in East Timor, services that support improved productivity, income earning potential and exports and that, therefore, support improved social welfare in the rural areas of the nation, taking account of MAF’s human, capital and financial resources.


12.13 The goals of MAF are to:

  • a) achieve food security and improve food self-sufficiency;

  • b) diversify agricultural production and increase export earnings by the sector;

  • c) develop agriculture predominantly on the basis of an integrated farming systems approach;

  • d) facilitate agro-industrial development leading to increased processing and value-adding in-country;

  • e) improve the quality of agricultural commodities produced in the nation;

  • f) manage agriculture, fisheries and forestry resources in a way that supports sustainable production; and

  • g) increase rural incomes, generate employment in rural areas and, consequently, reduce poverty and improve the welfare of rural communities.

Guiding Principles

12.14 The key guiding principles for development of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors are as follows.


Agricultural, fisheries and forestry production activities will use natural, social and financial resources in a sustainable manner. This will be based on the well-known definition of sustainability from the 1983 World Conservation and Environmental Development Conference, which states:

“sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


Agricultural, fisheries and forestry resources will be used in a manner that prevents waste, ensures they are employed in a cost-effective way, and maximises community benefits from their use4.


All farmers and fishers will have the same access to the services provided by MAF and other Government agencies, while the benefits of development will be distributed fairly across the nation and between generations.


Government will encourage private sector initiatives and provide a conducive policy environment and support services to make agriculture and fisheries profitable and globally competitive.


The values of East Timorese will be considered in development programs, which will take account of, and respect, cultural values and traditional practices such as farmers working together in crop production (serbisu hamutuk).

Participatory Development

Decision-making by MAF will be undertaken in consultation with major stakeholders in the sector.

Key Development Indicators

12.15 The key development indicators for the agricultural sector are as follows.

  • a) Increased food production, rural incomes and per capita nutritional intakes. The increase in food production is possibly the most critical indicator. It will be measured by both the overall amount of food production and food production per household.5

  • b) Increased total area (hectares) planted to new crop varieties.

  • c) Higher incomes and employment among farmers adopting a farming systems approach.

  • d) Increased foreign exchange earnings from exports of quality agricultural and fisheries products.

  • e) Higher proportion of irrigated land relative to total arable land

  • f) Higher crop yields and productivity due to intensification, adoption of new varieties, farmer training, and improved genetic stock in livestock, aquaculture and fisheries.

  • g) Increased number of Agricultural Service Centres, along with production and post-production infrastructure.

  • h) Quality standard improvements in agriculture and fisheries products.

  • i) Increased number of livestock volunteer workers, water user associations and other farmers’ associations.

  • j) New protected areas through improved resources management and development, terrestrial and marine parks, law enforcement and information dissemination.

  • k) Enhanced forestry and fisheries products’ utilisation.

  • l) Increased production and quality of fishery products due to training, improved harvest and post-harvest fish handling and infrastructure development.

Problems and Constraints

12.16 The critical problems and constraints faced by MAF and the nation in relation to development of the agriculture sector include the following.


MAF currently faces a lack of institutional and personnel capacity to undertake the wide range of tasks with which they are confronted, including the implementation, management and monitoring of donor-funded activities. The planned increase in staff numbers in 2002/03, along with capacity building for staff will address these issues to a partial extent.

Management and Entrepreneurial Skills

Farmers and fishers in East Timor are typified by low levels of management skills and entrepreneurial ability. This is a capacity constraint in the private sector component of the sector.

Data and Information

As stated in the Introduction, doubts remain about the veracity of the data which MAF has at its disposal. This imposes a constraint on planning and development in the sector. Results of the 2001 Poverty Assessment will be helpful in this context, but further, regular data collection will be important to policy and program development.

Financial Resources

MAF, like other Ministries, faces severe budgetary constraints for staffing, other recurrent costs and capital equipment. Therefore, it will continue to rely on donor support in the medium term to establish both a stock of needed capital equipment and a cadré of suitably trained staff.

Poor Transport, Communication, Marketing and Processing Infrastructure

Many sucos and aldeias cannot be reached by vehicles, and the majority have little or no communication facilities other than transistor radio. This imposes constraints both on development programs and extension activities, while also hindering the marketing of produce by isolated communities. Furthermore, value-adding is constrained by a lack of processing facilities.

Low Productivity

Agriculture in East Timor is typified by low productivity with, for example, average rice yields around 1.5 tons per hectare (compared, say, to the Philippines where average yields are around 4 tons per hectare). Low productivity results from farmers’ shortage of cash, low input systems, inadequate knowledge of alternative production systems the continued use of traditional cultivation techniques, zero or minimal fertiliser use, and high seeding rates to guard against losses. Farm practices are also typified by risk-averse behaviour as farmers attempt to guarantee food for their families, which is rational under existing farming circumstances. Increasing productivity through introducing appropriate changes to production systems comprises one of the biggest challenges for MAF and its Department of Agriculture and Livestock.

Poor Quality Produce

The quality of agricultural commodities produced in East Timor is generally quite poor. This reduces farm incomes and competitiveness in both domestic and international markets.

State of Irrigation Schemes

Irrigation schemes were extensively damaged in 1999, although many were already in a poor state, due to lack of maintenance and weak structure. Water shortages and poor management are typical and, amongst other things, result in irrigated rice normally grown only as one crop per year.

Land Tenure

Lack of clarity about land tenure presents a constraint on commercial agricultural development, as well as on various support services that require access to land to become established. The current situation relating to land tenure remains to be ascertained in accordance with the Constitution of the country, but is currently typified by great uncertainty. There is no proper land registry, no recording or verification of land transactions, no transparent system for allocating or governing foreign interests in land use, and no framework in which to determine competing claims to land.

Comparative Advantage and Diversity

The principal export in past years from East Timor has been coffee. The current state of the international coffee market means, however, that the industry is currently non-viable. East Timor coffee formerly had a reputation as a quality product, but this reputation has been damaged in recent years by poor post-harvest handling and processing and the subsequent placement of an inferior product onto the international market. Furthermore, husbandry of the crop, in general, is poor to non-existent, leading to reduced productivity and quality. The present use of the US$ means also that East Timorese exports are expensive on world markets–the nation has virtually no comparative advantages in international trade at the present time. Finally, the parlous state of the coffee industry shows the need to diversify the export base; reliance on only one or a small number of exports brings with it both price and production risks.

Fisheries Legislation and Management

East Timor is yet to develop and implement a Fisheries Act and to formulate the approaches to the management of various fisheries through fisheries management plans. A precautionary approach has been taken to the allocation of fishing rights because fish stocks are poorly understood. There is an urgent need to address these matters so that the nation can develop its fisheries in a manner that is economically, biologically and socially sustainable.

Forest Degradation

The forests of East Timor are in a very poor state, with previous logging activity, firewood collection, shifting agriculture and defoliation by the Indonesian military each contributing to the current status of forests. There is much to be done in terms of reforestation, the declaration and management of protected areas, and watershed protection. Reforestation is both long-term and expensive with domestic funding unlikely to be able to make a significant contribution to needed efforts.

Forestry Legislation

There is currently no forestry legislation, although UNTAET Regulation #2000/19 is designed to protect various natural areas, while UNTAET Regulation #2000/17 deals with the prohibition of logging and timber exports. There is, however, a need to develop appropriate legislation and further regulations as soon as practicable.


There is currently a lack of regulation and services for quarantine in East Timor. This is important to the whole nation, but of particular importance as it develops new agricultural industries, particularly those with an export focus.

Strategic Policy Directions

12.17 The overall strategic policy directions for MAF in the next five years are designed to overcome these problems and constraints. They include the following.

  • a) Establish effective and efficient technical support services to assist farm communities to increase food (particularly rice and maize), livestock and vegetable production.

  • b) Introduce and develop new and adaptable technologies such as new cultivars and other inputs to enhance farm productivity. Such technologies will be complemented with adaptive field experiments, field demonstrations and extensive training for farmers.

  • c) Promote and develop diversification of agriculture through identification of potential niche markets for East Timor farm commodities in the region and in Europe and North America. This might include creating incentives to produce crops such as tropical fruits for both the domestic and export markets.

  • d) Maintain and improve the existing irrigation systems for rice, along with other crops including horticulture and legumes.

  • e) Promote the development of a sustainable fishing industry targeting both domestic and export markets. Such development will be supported by an appropriate regulatory framework, encouragement for local and foreign investment through appropriate fiscal arrangements, and protection of the nation’s marine resources.

  • f) Create services to assist farmers to develop and improve animal production (cattle, buffalo, goats and poultry). A regulatory framework that enforces appropriate sanitation standards in abattoirs and processing plants will be formulated.

  • g) Develop and implement an extensive vaccination and sanitation campaign to prevent disease and improve animal production.

  • h) Rehabilitate and improve infrastructure, including irrigation systems, silos, roads and markets. Such activities will be undertaken in conjunction with the Departments of Public Works and Transport.

  • i) Promote crop rotation as critical in crop production systems to maximise profitable use of agricultural land, thereby increasing farm incomes and also improving soil structure.

  • j) Increase coffee production through the systematic renovation of coffee plantations by pruning, or replacement of old trees with new Arabica plants and, where appropriate, by expanding the area of plantings. Simultaneously, niche markets will be sought in Asia, Europe and North America.

  • k) Promote, develop and improve production from tree crops such as candlenut and coconut for both domestic and export markets.

  • l) Develop and expand the reforestation program to increase forest cover and the production of commercially valuable trees for the timber industry.

Programs and Projects

12.18 The development programs and projects of the Ministry are presented under the three core departments of Crops and Livestock, Forestry and Fisheries and Marine Environment. Programs for the GIS and Cadastre Units of the Ministry are shown separately.

Department of Agriculture and Livestock

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) is to improve the well-being of farm families through encouraging them to adopt profitable, productive and sustainable farming practices in relation to both crops and livestock.

12.19 The overarching goal of the DAL is a highly developed crops and livestock industry within farming communities typified by progressive and self-reliant farmers who are adopting profitable, productive, and sustainable farming systems practices. DAL will undertake a farming systems development approach that strongly recognises existing resource limitations, knowledge, skill and indigenous technologies. It will undertake its development activities in a manner that is specific to each agricultural ecosystem (upland, irrigated lowland, rain fed lowland, sloping lands, and cool-elevated lands). The focus will be on integrating crops and livestock production, along with adaptation and promotion of proven, profitable and sustainable farming systems technologies featuring efficient use of soil and irrigation water.

12.20 DAL consists of four divisions: Crop Production Division, Division of Horticulture, Livestock Division; and Division of Irrigation and Water Management.

Problems, Goals and Policies

12.21 The key problems confronted by the DAL are the following.

  • a) Low productivity, production and value of food crops, cash crops and livestock.

  • b) Poor animal husbandry and animal health.

  • c) Irrigation schemes are, overall, in a state of disrepair and road access in rural areas is deficient.

  • d) Transport and marketing infrastructure to serve post-harvest distribution is limited or non-existent.

  • e) The coffee industry is in urgent need of revitalisation.

  • f) Lack of know-how about improved agricultural techniques and best practices.

12.22 Consideration of these problems means that three goals are of particular importance to the DAL. These are to:

  • a) increase the productivity of the crop and livestock sectors, focusing initially on rice, maize, fruit and vegetables, coffee and chickens;

  • b) make more intensive use of agricultural land; and

  • c) improve the quality of agricultural produce.

12.23 The three principal policy options for achieving these goals are to:

  • a) increase information provision and training for farmers;

  • b) ensure the availability of better inputs such as seed and livestock medicines; and

  • c) rehabilitate irrigation schemes and coffee plantings.

12.24 To put these policies into practice the Department, through its Divisions, will implement the various programs described below. The projects to be implemented under each program, with the actual or proposed sources of funding and the current status of individual projects are as shown in Tables 12.2412.28.

Crop Production Division

Program 1: Enhancement of Food Crops Production

Program 2: Enhancement of Horticultural Crop Production

Program 3: Enhancement of Industrial Crops Production

Program 4: Support to Farmers’ Associations

Program 5: Crop Protection

Program 1: Enhancement of Food Crops Production

12.25 The goal of this program is to increase the productivity, overall production and quality of important food crops grown in East Timor. The program will be focused on food crops, mainly rice and maize, which are grown by 23% and 81%, respectively, of East Timorese households. The current low yields and productivity of these two crops results from the use of poor seeds and varieties that grow poorly under the existing soil and climatic conditions; and inadequate application of improved practices that are already tested and continue to be used by other farmers in Asia. Program activities will include on-farm demonstrations of certified seed use; improved production practices, cropping systems and crop diversification; and variety testing and seed multiplication of newly selected varieties of rice and maize, as well as Phaseolus, mungbean, soybean, cowpea, sweet potato, peanut, and cassava. The performance targets, after five years of the program, are as shown in Table 12.2.

Table 12.2:

Performance Targets, Enhancement of Food Crops Production: 2002-2007

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Program 2: Enhancement of Horticultural Crop Production

12.26 The goal of this program is to increase the production and quality of fruit crops grown by East Timorese for both food and cash. This program does not include the ‘industrial’ crops such as coffee. A large number of households in East Timor are dependent on the production of horticultural crops, from the relatively dry lowland areas in the north, to the humid and cool elevated lands in the mountainous region, through to the relatively humid lowlands in the south. The recent household poverty assessment showed that richer farmers tend to grow proportionally more fruit trees than poorer farmers, indicating that development of horticultural production might have an impact on poverty alleviation. Initial activities include improvement of the germplasm of suitable fruit crops, training selected farmers in commercial nursery operation, conducting on-farm demonstrations about improved cultural practices, and seed or seedling multiplication of the best performing newly recommended varieties. Performance targets are shown in Table 12.3.

Table 12.3:

Performance Targets, Enhancement of Horticultural Crops Production

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Program 3: Enhancement of Industrial Crops Production

12.27 The goal of this program is to enhance and develop industrial crops that will contribute to income earning opportunities and employment in rural areas, and to export earnings for the nation. The program will focus on crops that involve value-adding activities and support: (a) the development of industrial crops such as coffee, candlenut, coconut, sugarcane, Manila hemp, and vanilla; (b) germplasm collection, identification, and evaluation; (c) seed or seedling multiplication; (d) on-farm demonstration of best practices in orchard management; (e) processing of value-added products; and (f) training of farmers in nursery and planting operations.

12.28 An estimated 25,000 farm families derive a substantial portion of their income from coffee, while another 15,000 obtain a small portion of their income from the crop. Consequently, about 40,000 families earn at least some cash income from coffee, meaning that around 200,000 people (given that the average family size is five persons) or a quarter of the population rely on the crop for at least a portion of their livelihood. Seasonal off-farm labour is also employed in the transport and processing of coffee. While not the only activity, coffee production will be an important component of the program because the crop is already grown and well understood. Furthermore, coffee is–at least for the present–heavily supported by aid donors and the MAF program will complement donor activities. Donor support includes:

  • a) USAID: NCBA Timor Economic Rehabilitation and Development Project (TERADP);

  • b) Portugal: Replanting of Coffee Fields and Research on Coffee Production;

  • c) Portugal: Integrated Rehabilitation and Construction of Coffee Processing Facilities;

  • d) USAID: Abaca Pilot in Liquica (under Economic Recovery Program: Agriculture).

Table 12.4:

Performance Targets, Enhancement of Industrial Crops Production:

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Program 4: Support to Farmers’ Associations

12.29 The goal of this program is to facilitate the marketing of agricultural inputs and products, through private commercial agricultural associations owned by farmers. This program is being supported by the TFET-funded Agricultural Rehabilitation Program I (ARPI) and ARP II projects, and is helping establish three Agriculture Service Centres (ASCs) in Bobonaro, Viqueque, and Aileu, each serving 3,500-4,000 farmers. The total beneficiary population is close to 10,000 farmers. The ASCs will facilitate: (a) marketing and trading of agricultural products (including rice in Bobonaro, candlenuts and copra in Viqueque, and coffee in Aileu); (b) sales of agricultural inputs (such as seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, and farm tools): and (c) transport of agricultural products from farm sites to markets. Apart from staff time, all project costs are met under TFET funding; MAF staff will play a counterpart role and support the in-field activities of the program. Performance targets are shown in Table 12.5.

Table 12.5:

Performance Targets, Support to Farmers’ Associations

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Program 5: Crop Protection

12.30 The goal of the Crop Protection Program is to support the improvement of food supply at the household level by controlling common pests and diseases (including weeds) that lead to loss of yields in the field and during storage of crops. Essential functions include monitoring common pests and diseases, and informing farmers about how to act in a timely fashion to control common pests, particularly rats, and reduce their impact. The program will also administer and operate the plant quarantine program that will prevent entry of new pests and diseases into East Timor, and regulate the importation and use of pesticides by farmers. Given that this is an integrated program, no projects are specified.

Table 12.6:

Performance Targets, Crop Protection

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Livestock Division

Program 1: Development of Livestock Production

Program 2: Prevention and Eradication of Livestock Diseases

Program 1: Development of Livestock Production

12.31 The goals of this program are to increase food production, animal protein consumption, and income through provision of support to farmers in establishing small chicken hatcheries, increasing cattle production, and improving the marketing of chickens and cattle. Assistance will be provided to approximately 1,000 chicken owners and 500 livestock owners, with a particular focus on women in the case of chicken production.

Table 12.7:

Performance Targets, Development of Livestock Production

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Program 2: Prevention and Eradication of Livestock Diseases

12.32 The goal of this program is to improve the animal health and productivity of livestock in East Timor, leading to increased farmers’ incomes. MAF will support the TFET-funded ARP II project in the carrying out of: (a) essential vaccination campaigns for cattle, buffaloes, pigs and chickens; and (b) help develop a system of private Village Livestock Workers (VLW) to provide assistance to local farmers in basic veterinary services. The target beneficiaries include all the households owning cattle, buffaloes, pigs and chickens in East Timor, in addition to 200 sucos where VLWs will be trained. Donor support for this program is currently available under the TFET Second Agriculture Rehabilitation Project (ARP II). The continuation of this program is an imperative for livestock production in East Timor and the wider region. Activities such as vaccination for Newcastle Disease in chickens will make a significant contribution to poverty reduction, nutrition and income earning opportunities.

Table 12.8:

Performance Targets, Development of Livestock Production

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Irrigation Division

Program 1: Rehabilitation of Existing Irrigation Schemes

Program 2: Establishment of Rural Water Harvesting Systems

Program 3: Maintenance and Repair Work

Program 4: Sector Management Recovery and Development

Program 1: Rehabilitation of Existing Irrigation Schemes

12.33 The goal of this program is to increase agricultural production in lowland areas and stimulate off-farm employment through the rehabilitation of community irrigation schemes, agricultural access roads, and selected irrigation schemes that have suffered light-to-medium damaged but have been assessed as viable from an economic, social, and environmental perspective. CFET resources will be used to cover minor operating costs and MAF staff inputs for the supervision of these works, which will be funded by TFET-ARP II and the UNOPS/UNDP Urgent Rehabilitation II Project. The target beneficiaries are estimated at 18,500 rural households. Increased rice production from the rehabilitation of the larger irrigation schemes is estimated to benefit about 2,200 farming families. Donor support includes:

  • a) TFET Second Agriculture Rehabilitation Project;

  • b) UNDP/UNOPS Urgent Rehabilitation II; and

  • c) CIDA–Rehabilitation of Water Irrigation Channel in Iliomar.

Table 12.9:

Performance Targets, Rehabilitation of Existing Irrigation Schemes

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Program 2: Establishment of Rural Water Harvesting Systems

12.34 The goal of this proposed new program is to improve the reliability of irrigation water supplies for upland communities, which are particularly vulnerable to water shortages during the dry season. The program will be piloted in two communities during FY02/03, using a limited CFET budget of $5,000 for the construction of vaults and tanks in vegetable areas in the highlands of East Timor. Based on lessons learned from this pilot, the program will be expanded into a specific project in FY03/04.

Table 12.10:

Performance Targets, Establishment of Rural Water Harvesting Systems

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Program 3: Maintenance and Repair Work

12.35 The goal of this program is to provide essential maintenance and repair for irrigation schemes rehabilitated in previous years under donor-funded projects. The costs of annual operation and maintenance of irrigation schemes are estimated at about 10% of the capital investment. While most of the schemes rehabilitated in the past have been community tertiary canals, meaning that operation and maintenance costs are borne by the community, there is a need to allocate modest CFET funding (US$45,000) to essential maintenance and repair. The targeted beneficiaries would be communities in a 7,700 ha area previously rehabilitated under ARP I.

Table 11.11:

Performance Targets, Maintenance and Repair Work

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Program 4: Sector Management Recovery and Development

12.36 Under this program, the MAF Irrigation Division will complete two essential policy studies, one on Water Users Associations, and a second on broader Water Management Policy. These studies will develop the Government’s policy towards operation and maintenance of irrigation schemes, such as the share of communities’ responsibilities for the schemes, and the incentives and policies influencing the use of water, one of East Timor’s most critical natural resources. MAF staff will contribute to the formulation of these essential policies. Donor support for technical aspects is provided under:

  • a) TFET: Second Agriculture Rehabilitation Project

Table 12.12:

Performance Targets, Sector Management Recovery and Development

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Department of Fisheries and Marine Environment

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Environment (FME) is to lead sustainable development of the fishing and aquaculture industries in East Timor and ensure they play a significant role in national food security and income generation.

12.37 The overarching goal of the FME is to lead the development of the nation’s aquatic resources in a sustainable fashion, while providing opportunities for coastal communities to benefit from such development. Current and planned development is based on the Strategic Plan for the Fisheries of East Timor. The Strategic Plan addresses major issues facing the fishing industry, including: (1) the declaration of fishing boundaries between East Timor, Australia and Indonesia; (2) the licensing of offshore commercial operations; and (3) the definition of East Timor’s various fisheries. The FME will focus on: (a) training for capacity building; (b) development of appropriate administrative protocols to ensure coordination of all fisheries programs and activities; (c) maximising the value of the catch by improving fish handling, transport, storage, processing and marketing; and (d) upgrading the database of fishing capacity held at FME. The FME will also work with Legal Affairs and other Government departments to ensure that a fishing zone for East Timor is defined, declared and ratified as soon as practicable.

Problems, Goals and Policies

12.38 The key problems confronted by the Department are the following.

  • a) No Fisheries Act and legislation

  • b) No fisheries management plans

  • c) No international maritime boundaries

  • d) Lack of staff skills

  • e) Lack of fisheries data

  • f) Underdeveloped fresh water and marine and brackishwater aquaculture sector

  • g) No fisheries monitoring capability or activities at present

  • h) Facilities destroyed in September, 1999

  • i) Lack of shore-based industry

  • j) Under-developed harvest sector

12.39 Based on these problems, the goals of the FME are to:

  • a) establish and implement a Fisheries Act and accompanying legislation;

  • b) establish a profitable private sector-based fishing industry that maximises sustainable economic returns to East Timor;

  • c) establish a viable aquaculture industry;

  • d) provide sustainable marine recreational activities for the recreational fishing, charter fishing and dive tour sectors;

  • e) assert jurisdiction and control over the living marine resources in the seas of East Timor;

  • f) develop the capacity of the staff of the FME;

  • g) sustain and enhance the aquatic resources of East Timor and their supporting ecosystems; and

  • h) operate an efficient and accountable FME.

12.40 The policy options for achieving these goals include the following:

  • a) develop appropriate legislation, regulations and management instruments for sustainable development of fisheries in East Timor;

  • b) develop each fishery via a step-wise, precautionary approach;

  • c) develop fisheries-specific management and development plans consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD);

  • d) establish a responsive extension system that works closely with commercial, private and subsistence fishers;

  • e) provide a regulatory system that promotes community-based management for reef and coastal fisheries, including the development of local by-laws that protect the interests and user-rights of the community;

  • f) rehabilitate the former government run Ikan Mas hatcheries, and supply assistance, technical advice, and fish fry to local fish farmers on a cost-recovery basis; and

  • g) provide staff training across the full spectrum of fisheries-related disciplines, including socio-economics and sustainable fishing practices, thereby upgrading staff skills to meet the needs of a modern fisheries sector.

12.41 To put these policies into practice the FME will implement the programs described below. The projects to be implemented under each program, with the actual or proposed sources of funding and the current status of individual projects are as shown in Table 12.26.

Program 1: Fisheries and Marine Environment Management

Program 2: Fisheries Industry Development

Program 3: Aquaculture

Program 1: Fisheries and Marine Environment Management

12.42 The goals of this program are: (a) the creation of a policy and legislative environment, backed up by appropriate stock assessments, monitoring and data that supports sustainable development of East Timor’s fisheries; and (b) co-management of fisheries resources, involving coastal communities, the Department and other stakeholders. CFET funds will be used predominantly for staff inputs, with staff working mostly on programs that are supported by donors. The support from donors is received under:

  • a) AusAID: Fisheries Management Planning

  • b) AusAID: Survey of Nearshore Fish Stocks–Dili Harbor

  • c) TFET: Second Agriculture Rehabilitation Project

Table 12.13:

Performance Targets, Fisheries and Marine Environment Management

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Program 2: Fisheries Industry Development

12.43 The goal of this program is to facilitate the development of the fisheries sector in East Timor so that it contributes to economic growth, incomes, employment and export earnings. The program builds on the initiatives in Program 1 by supporting the growth of a commercial fishing industry based on the legislation, regulations, management protocols and marine boundaries promulgated under that Program.

Table 12.14:

Performance Targets, Fisheries Industry Development

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Program 3: Aquaculture

12.44 The overarching goal of this program is to develop and expand a local aquaculture industry, both freshwater and marine, to enhance food security and add to local and export incomes. The program is comprised of one project at the current time, with a principal goal to make fish fry available so that the aquaculture industry can redevelop in East Timor and become an important provider of food, incomes and employment. Prior to the 1999 violence five fish hatcheries were owned and managed by the East Timor Fisheries Authority. These hatcheries supplied fish fry to both small and large fish farmers. Without at least one freshwater fish hatchery and one marine/brackishwater hatchery, East Timor runs the risk of losing potential investment and employment opportunities. Revenue from fish farming would not be realised and food security issues heightened. Ultimately, the aim is that the management and operation of such facilities will be taken over by the private sector with FME providing research and other professional inputs, but not taking any commercial risks.

Table 12.15:

Performance Targets, Aquaculture

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Department of Forestry

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Forestry (DoF) is to ensure the sustainable management of East Timor’s forest resources through effective planning, capacity building, community participation and the formulation of appropriate policies and legislation.

11.45 The overarching goal of the DoF is to develop appropriate policies, legislation and management strategies as the basis for the formulation and implementation of forestry management plans to facilitate the sustainable management of forest resources in East Timor. DoF will work with other stakeholders, including rural communities who are reliant on forest resources, in its management and development programs. The Department will, therefore, encourage the participation of rural communities and other stakeholders in all aspects of sustainable forest resources management in the nation.

Problems, Goals and Policies

12.46 The key problems confronted by DoF are the following.

  • a) No forestry legislation and minimal regulation

  • b) Inability to police those regulations that do exist

  • c) No forestry management strategies yet in place

  • d) Lack of staff capacity and skills

  • e) Lack of forestry data

  • f) Collection of firewood and lack of action on watershed protection

12.47 Consequently, the goals of the DoF are to:

  • a) collect and analyse information on forestry resources in East Timor, to be used as the basis of planning and decision making;

  • b) develop essential forestry policies, legislation and management strategies;

  • c) prepare a Forestry Master Management Plan and develop and implement Action Plans based on that Plan;

  • d) build the capacity of the national staff to implement forestry programs;

  • e) promote reforestation and sustainable land management practices in East Timor for erosion control, soil rehabilitation, watershed protection and subsistence use;

  • f) provide effective and efficient management programs for sustainable forestry, with emphasis on forest lands, their resources, and protected natural areas; and

  • g) develop strategies that could encourage the participation of rural communities and other stakeholders in planning and decision making related to forest resources management.

12.48 The policy options for achieving these goals include the following:

  • a) develop appropriate legislation, regulations and management instruments for sustainable development of forestry in East Timor;

  • b) develop forestry management and development plans consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD);

  • c) promote and support community-based management of forest resources and water source areas;

  • d) support staff training across the full spectrum of forestry-related activities;

  • e) establish the protocols and facilities for the collection, collation and analysis of forestry data; and

  • f) support the development of a number of protected natural areas throughout East Timor.

12.49 The Department will implement the various programs described below in response to the needs summarised above. The projects to be implemented under each program, with the actual or proposed sources of funding and the current status of individual projects are as shown in Table 12.24.

Program 1. Reforestation and Forest Rehabilitation

Program 2. Forest Protection and Forest Resources Management

Program 3. Forest Production and Utilisation

Program 1: Reforestation and Forest Rehabilitation

12.50 The aims in this program are to: (a) reforest degraded areas in East Timor with valuable local timber species, in particular sandalwood; (b) restore the ecological balance of degraded areas and arrest the environmental problems resulting from their degraded condition (while promoting the development of forest resources in those areas); and (c) encourage community participation in the rehabilitation of East Timor’s degraded forest areas. Reforestation is an immediate response to widespread upland degradation. An estimated 85% of upland areas are denuded and devastated due to forest fires and non-environmental friendly upland management (including widespread collection of firewood). In line with this, Agro-forestry techniques are considered an alternative to slash and burn cultivation, as farmers are able to produce forest trees, fruit trees, and cash crops, including livestock. Aside from the uplands, mangrove areas have been exploited for fuel wood and other products. Mangroves play a major role as coastal habitats and hence are a priority for rehabilitation. Donor support for this program comprises:

  • a) TFET: Second Agriculture Rehabilitation Project (Pilot Participatory Development and Natural Resources Management

  • b) Portugal: Reforestation and Alternative Cash Crops

  • c) CIDA: Tree Nursery, Reforestation and Agroforestry in Seloi

  • d) CIDA/CARE: Community-based Natural Resources Management in Covalima and Dili

Table 12.16:

Performance Targets, Reforestation and Forest Rehabilitation

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12.51 This program is focused on the protection and conservation of the forest resources of East Timor, through: (a) increased public awareness; (b) development of a framework for management of watershed areas; and (c) protection and conservation of the biodiversity and socio-cultural significance of important natural sites. The program will cover projects in the areas of watershed management, protected natural areas (PNA), and public information, building upon the existing watershed management activities started by MAF in FY01/02. Target beneficiaries include the communities within the targeted watershed and protected areas, farmers wishing to use resources of the protected area and East Timor in general through the protection of its biodiversity and cultural heritage. The expected outcomes of the program include a greater understanding amongst communities of regulations on protected areas, involvement in community-based Integrated Management Planning, and raised public awareness. Donor support will be provided under:

  • a) AusAID: Agriculture and Fisheries Community Watershed Project

  • b) TFET: Second Agriculture Rehabilitation Project (Pilot Participatory Development and NRM component)

Table 12.17:

Performance Information, Forest Protection and Forest Resources Management

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Program 3: Forest Production and Utilisation

12.52 The goal of this program is to develop and promote the sustainable use of timber and non-timber forest products in East Timor. It includes the undertaking of a forestry inventory on key production areas, dissemination and discussion of a revised Forestry Policy and Strategy, public hearings in support of draft directives on tree crops and non-timber forest products, and enforcement of forest laws. The effective conservation of natural resources relies largely on communities’ wise use of those resources and their awareness and participation in resource management. This program will rely heavily on public information and consultation.

Table 12.18:

Performance Information, Forest Production and Utilisation

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Research and Extension Centre

12.53 The Research and Extension Centre is a “service centre” to the technical Departments of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and, consequently, no particular mission or problems, goals and policies are laid out for the Centre as it is structured to respond to the needs of the other areas of MAF.

12.54 The goal of the Research and Extension Centre is to provide support in the derivation and dissemination of important technical, management and other information to clients of MAF through its Departments. The Centre will combine the crucial functions of information and GIS systems with a small laboratory for soil, plant and pest analyses. CFET funding will be allocated to MAF staff inputs to the programs supported by the centre, operating costs for the equipment held by the Geographic Information System (GIS) program, and a small amount of capital expenditures for the purchase of essential laboratory equipment and communications equipment for the GIS program.

12.55 The Research and Extension Centre will have three essential programs:

Program 1. Research and Laboratory

Program 2. Information and Extension

Program 3. Geographic Information System (GIS)

Program 1: Research and Laboratory

12.56 The goal of this program is to improve household and food security of farm families through the provision of basic diagnostic laboratory services for soil quality, pests and diseases. Technical advice for optimising crop yields through effective soil and fertiliser management and protection of crops and livestock against pests and diseases are some of the services that are often provided by the public sector. This program will reduce risks by facilitating quick responses to inquires about soil quality, pests and diseases, along with location-specific fertiliser recommendations.

Table 12.19:

Performance Information, Research and Laboratory

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Program 2: Information and Extension

12.57 The goal of this program is to provide essential agricultural information and transfer of knowledge and skills to farmers. The program will help develop information programs addressing specific needs of farmers (such as market and climatic conditions, timing of vaccination campaigns, technical advice), disseminated through appropriate channels, such as radio, community centres, Churches, markets, pamphlets, and mobile audio-visual units. The results of the recent poverty assessment indicated that access to better information is associated with higher income amongst farmers. In addition to information dissemination, this program would help link MAF with international networks of the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) through the internet. In a country with isolated communities and limited Government resources, establishing electronic linkages with international centres of excellence will become increasingly important. Such links would enable East Timorese staff, for example, to contact international experts via the Internet to diagnose new plants or animal diseases, or identify new crop varieties. Donor support for this program comprises:

  • a) TFET Second Agriculture Rehabilitation Project

Table 12.20:

Performance Information, Information and Extension

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Program 3: Geographic Information System

12.58 The goal of this program is to support MAF in the planning and delivery of geographic information and high quality maps on current land use, land use potential, agricultural production and production trends, and socio-economic information, as a basis for natural resource management and decision making. The GIS program aims to: (a) develop a cost recovery GIS interpretation and mapping service for non-MAF users; (b) expand and provide assistance with database development and mapping for land suitability based on available soils information; (c) produce thematic maps of land capability for agricultural expansion; (d) expand the GIS network to other Ministry departments and integrate the individual units’ databases; and (e) train staff in database access, data entry, accessibility, desktop mapping, and evaluation of data reliability. Donor support for this program comprises:

  • a) AusAID Agriculture/Forestry Landuse Mapping and GIS project

Table 12.21:

Performance Information, Geographic Information System

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Cadastral Unit

12.59 The Cadastral Unit is responsible for: (a) maintaining the National Geodesian System, cartographic projections, elevation data, support to hydrographic work and delineation of the territory; (b) acquisition and processing of aerial photographs, analysis of quality of national cartography, certification of professionals in the areas of topography and cartography, and standardisation of maps; (c) maintaining the National Building Register, including production of identification cards for building registration, establishment of norms and technical specifications, issuance of licenses, inspection of licensed buildings, and enforcement of regulations related to building codes; (d) processing of geographic information, including satellite imagery, and support to planning; and (e) maintenance of the national Global Position System stations, including provision of topographic and geographic information to the general public.

12.60 The Cadastral Unit has one essential program: Geography and Cadastre

Program 1: Geography and Cadastre

12.61 The objectives of the Geography and Cadastre program are to maintain the National Geodesic System, maintain cartographic coverage, implement the National Building, Rural and Urban Cadastres, issue licenses, maintain geo-reference information, and generally cooperate with other institutions to assist them in the areas of geodesic, cartography and cadastre services. The Geography and Cadastre program proposes the following activities: (1) capacity building and training; (2) developing an inventory of the previous geodetic points provided by Portugal and Indonesia; (3) data collection; and (4) Sub-village administration survey.

Table 12.22:

Performance Information, Geography and Cadastre

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Policy and Planning Unit

12.62 The Policy and Planning Unit is a planned new initiative of MAF. Because agricultural development is so critical to the development of East Timor and the well-being of the nation’s people, and because human and financial resources are scarce, MAF needs to be able to carefully plan, implement and monitor those programs and projects for which it is responsible. Skills in areas such as benefit-cost analysis, used to prioritise projects, and in monitoring and evaluation of budgets and projects will be amongst the required planning expertise.

Furthermore, policy development is extremely important in the sector. Agriculture, fisheries and forestry development all rely heavily on the development of appropriate policies in a wide range of areas such as fisheries management and licensing and user-pays requirements in the sub-sector. The allocation of the economic rents appropriated by commercial fishers is also an important policy question to be addressed. In agriculture, policies in areas such as import duties, irrigation water allocation, support for certain production activities, input subsidies and marketing arrangements might be amongst key matters to be analysed.

12.64 It is proposed that donor funding is sought in 2002/03 for support of the Policy and Planning Unit. The Unit would be staffed by an international advisor with appropriate expertise, along with a small number of local staff from MAF who, after a period of 6-12 months, would be expected to take over the running of the Unit. The establishment of systems for tasks such as monitoring and evaluation would be important activities in the start-up phase, as would the training of local staff in areas such as benefit-cost analysis.

Table 12.23:

Performance Information, Policy and Planning Unit

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Table 12.24:

Projects of the Crop Production Division, Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 2002/03-2006/07

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Notes: * These projects were each proposed in the JICA study of Integrated Agricultural Development in East Timor, although funds have not committed by JICA or any other donor at the time or preparation of the Plan. Projects initalics have no funding attached to them at the time of Plan preparation.

Table 12.25:

Projects of the Livestock and Irrigation Divisions, Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 2002/03-2006/07

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Notes: * These projects were each proposed in the JICA study of Integrated Agricultural Development in East Timor, although funds have not committed by JICA or any other donor at the time or preparation of the Plan.

Table 12.26:

Projects of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 2002/03-2006/07

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Table 12.27:

Projects of the Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 2002/03 - 2006/07

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Notes: * These projects were each proposed in the JICA study of Integrated Agricultural Development in East Timor, although funds have not committed by JICA or any other donor at the time or preparation of the Plan.

Table 12.28:

Projects of the Research and Extension Centre, the Cadastral Unit, and the Policy and Planning Unit, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 2002/03-2006/07

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Tfet Project 1 Overview

1. Second Agriculture Rehabilitation Project (ARP II)

The aims of ARP II, with funding of $8.0 million from TFET and $0.9 million from CFET, are to improve food security of rural families and increase agricultural production in selected areas of East Timor. The implementation period is December 2001 to December 2003. Estimated expenditures in FY02/03 amount to $5.1 million. The project includes the following activities.

  • Pilot Participatory Development and Natural Resources Management in up to 30 pilot communities in seven districts (Baucau, Covalima, Dili, Lautem, Liquica, Manufahi, and Oecussi). This component will provide small grants to communities to strengthen their self-reliance and the management of their natural resources. The sub-sector focuses are forestry and fisheries, with other inter-sectoral inputs (crops and livestock).

  • Rapid Infrastructure Rehabilitation, including 2,100 ha of community irrigation schemes, 100 km of farm-to-market access roads, 1,430 ha of larger irrigation schemes, establishment of 11 Water User Associations, and a feasibility study for schemes that suffered major damage. The sub-sectoral focus is irrigation.

  • Services to Farmers, including the provision of information, programming and establishment of a small CGIAR Liaison Secretariat at MAF, vaccination services for livestock, and piloting of a system of private Village Livestock Workers (VLWs). This component also includes the establishment and initial operation of up to six Agriculture Service Centres (ASC), each of which would be privately run and owned by farmer associations, to facilitate the marketing of agricultural commodities and provision of inputs. The sub-sector focuses are research and extension, livestock and crop production.

  • Program Management, including policy advice in the areas of general agricultural policy, forestry strategy, fisheries baseline data, capacity building, minor equipment and vehicles for district staff, and incremental operating costs and advisory services for a Project Management Unit (PMU). The sub-sectoral focuses are crop production, fisheries, forestry and general administration.

2. Hera Port Rehabilitation Project (implemented through ADB)

This project, with funding of $1 million from TFET and $0.1 million from CFET, will assist the Government of East Timor to rehabilitate the Hera Fishing Port and put in place the necessary infrastructure to attract private investment for its operations. The project will be implemented through FY02/03, and is focused in Dili. Estimated expenditures in FY02/03 are $800,000 and the sub-sectoral focus is fisheries.

Bilateral Projects Overview

1. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR): Seeds for Life Project

This project, valued at $266,000, is focused on: (a) evaluating the suitability of plant genetic materials provided by the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR) to East Timor conditions; (b) introducing modern cultivars to improve disease tolerance, nutrient imbalance and climatic conditions; (c) improve farmers’ access to high quality seeds of modern cultivars; and (d) gather baseline data for future development programs on increasing farm productivity. The project runs from November 2000 to October 2003 in Ainaro, Bobonaro, Baucau, Aileu, Lautem, and Viqueque. The sub-sectoral focus is crop production.

2. AusAID: East Timor Rural Development Program

This project, with a total cost of $9.5 million, has an aim of assisting East Timor’s rural development efforts in the districts of Bobonaro, Viqueque and Aileu. It consists of two major phases. Phase I (January 2001–December 2002) includes (a) project establishment; (b) rapid impact projects in upland and lowland activities, supporting community-based activities (which might include, for example, lowland rice production, upland subsistence farming, small livestock programs, chicken vaccination, and support to coffee production); and (c) three Technical Resource Centres. During the second phase (January 2003-December 2005) the project will support detailed design and implementation of longer-term Rural Development Projects. This is a multi-sector project.

3. AusAID: Fisheries Management Planning

This project, at a cost of $907,500, aims to build the capacity of Fisheries staff to develop policies and regulations associated with the management of East Timor’s marine fisheries, and assist MAF to design and implement a series of fisheries management plans in cooperation with coastal communities. The project runs from February 2002 to January 2005, and is national in scope. The sub-sectoral focus is fisheries.

4. AusAID: Survey of Nearshore Fish Stocks–Dili Harbor

The principal aims of this small project ($7,700) are to assess the impact of current fishing levels on the fish stocks of Dili Harbor and provide scientific skills transfer to the fisheries staff at MAF. The project runs from April 2001 to August 2002, with a sub-sectoral focus of fisheries.

5. AusAID: Agriculture and Forestry Landuse Mapping and GIS Development and Training.

This $760,000 project has aims to: (a) strengthen landuse mapping and GIS information on soil resources and classify agro-ecological zones; (b) develop zoning for organic coffee; (c) identify of erosion-prone areas; (d) identify the layout of major irrigation schemes and the condition of access roads; and (e) provide landuse baseline data. The project runs from November 2000 to November 2002, and is national in scope. The sub-sectoral focus is MAF’s Research and Extension Centre.

6. JICA: Study of Integrated Agriculture Development in East Timor

The aim of this project, at a cost of $3.7 million, is to formulate a mid-term comprehensive development plan for agriculture, forestry and fisheries in East Timor. It includes an assessment of the present situation and problems, an inventory survey, and implementation of pilot agricultural projects for human resources development (including integrated upland agricultural management, and fisheries). The project runs from March 2001 to December 2002, and is national in focus. The sub-sectoral focuses are multi-sectoral and general administration in MAF.

7. JICA: Capacity Building in East Timor, Japan and ASEAN Countries

This project (on a request basis) will provide technical assistance to MAF by providing Japanese experts and training in East Timor, Japan and ASEAN countries. The timing and funding are dependent on requests from MAF.

8. JICA: Rehabilitation and Strengthening of Rice Farming in Lautem and Manatutu

This project is focused on the distribution of seeds and tools to farmers, rehabilitation of agricultural infrastructure, and capacity building for farmers’ groups, at a cost of $863,000. The project runs from February 2000 to January 2003, and is implemented in partnership with CARE. The sub-sectoral focus is crop production.

9. JICA: Recovery Program for Village Based Economic Activities in Los Palos/Manufahi

This project, at a cost of $241,000, is focused on farmers’ group organisation, comparative studies, needs assessment, distribution of agricultural tools to, and assistance in commodity production and marketing. The project runs from March 2001 to March 2004, and is implemented in partnership with Yayasan HAK. This is a multi-sector project.

10. JICA: Agriculture Development Project in Baucau

This project, at an initial cost of $330,000, is focused on technical assistance to farmers in rice production, vegetable production and livestock breeding in Baucau. It also involves a survey about further rural development assistance needs. This project is nearing completion and has a sub-sectoral focus of crop production and livestock.

11. Portugal: Replanting of Coffee and Coffee Research

This project is focused on coffee research and coffee processing, at a cost of $265,000. It involves seed selection, experiments on coffee shading, trials on composting, experiments with nursery construction techniques, integrated pest management, trials on planting techniques, and nursery construction and plant distribution to communities. The project runs from November 2000 to 2003, and is operational in Ermera, Aileu, Ainaro and Same. The sub-sectoral focus is crop production (industrial crops).

12. Portugal–Integrated Rehabilitation and Construction of Coffee Processing Facilities

This project (approximately $220,000) focuses on rehabilitation of coffee processing. It involves rehabilitation of water capture, storage and allocation facilities; construction or rehabilitation of coffee processing facilities; coffee processing machinery supply; and demonstration and maintenance of equipment. The project runs from April 2000 to 2003, and is operational in Ermera, Aileu, Same, and Liquica. Estimated expenditures in FY02/03 amount to $70,000. Sub-sectoral focus: Crop Production (Industrial Crops).

17. Portugal: Reforestation and Alternative Cash Crops

This project, at a value of $310,000, has aims to set up nurseries for coffee shade trees, firewood, timber (sandalwood, teak and others) and tree species for erosion control, and provide strategic distribution of seedlings to communities. The project runs from January 2002 to 2004, and is active in Ermera, Aileu and Liquica. The sub-sectoral focus is forestry.

18. Portugal: Aquaculture

This $62,000 project has aims to do experiments on breeding different aquaculture species, and to undertake comparative studies in traditional and modern facilities. It also aims to supply fish fry to communities and, subsequently, evaluate the acceptance and possible further development of the project. The project runs from April 2001 to 2004/05, and is active in Ermera and Aileu, with a sub-sectoral focus of Fisheries.

19. Portugal: Capacity Building

This project, valued at $130,000, has aims to provide training on different techniques of nursery construction for coffee, fruit trees, and forestry species, as well as aquaculture techniques. It also includes capacity building for MAF, district staff, and associations and cooperatives of farmers/experts. The project runs from April 2001 to 2004/05, and is active in Ermera, Aileu, Same, and Ainaro. The sub-sectoral focuses are administration and multi-sectoral.

20. Portugal: Interaction with Other Institutions

This project, valued at $60,000, provides for interactions between East Timorese staff and various institutions, such as CIFC (Centro de Investigação das Ferrugens do Cafeeiro.), ISA (Instituto Superior de Agronomia), UTAD (Universidade de Tras dos Montes), INMG/UTAD (Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia e Geofisica), UA (Universidade de Aveiro), UE (Universidade de Evora), IHERA (Instituto de Hidraulica Engenharia Rural e Ambiente), Porbatt (Portuguese Battalion), and ACIAR. The project runs from January 2002 to 2003/04 and is national in scope. The sub-sectoral focus is administration.

21. USAID: NCBA Timor Economic Rehabilitation and Development Project

This $12 million project has provided support to coffee cooperatives in East Timor since 1994. It involves: (a) coordination of crop extension activities; (b) assessment of community welfare needs; (c) finance; (d) processing facilities; (e) seedling nurseries; (f) demonstration plots; (g) a vanilla seedling nursery; (h) community primary health care; (i) a Cooperative and Small Enterprise Training Centre; and (j) a Consumer Goods Wholesale Cooperative run through small enterprise village shops and kiosks. The project runs from 1994 to December 2002 and is operational in the districts of Ermera, Ainaro, Aileu, Manufahi and Liquica. The sub-sectoral focus is crop production (industrial crops).

22. USAID: Economic Recovery Program (Agriculture)

This program, valued at $900,000, is focused on the provision of materials and equipment to farmers for various activities such as agro-processing inputs, rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation schemes, industrial crops (e.g. Abaca), and fishpond rehabilitation. The project runs from 2001 to 2003 with a multi-sectoral focus.

Multilateral Projects Overview

1. UNDP/UNOPS: Ainaro and Manatutu Community Activation Project

This $5.1 million project is focused on food security improvement, strengthening linkages to agricultural services, and integrated watershed management. The project runs from December 2001 to 2005, and will be active in Ainaro and Manatutu. It is a multi-sectoral project.

2. UNDP/UNOPS: Urgent Irrigation Rehabilitation Project II (funded by the Government of Japan)

This proposed project, at a value of $5.8 million, will focus on the rehabilitation of irrigation structures in Laclo and Manautu, along with training of members of Water Users’ Associations. The sub-sectoral focus is irrigation.


“Real, lasting poverty reduction is only possible if the environment is able to provide the services people depend on, and if natural resources are used in a manner that does not undermine long-term development”


13.1 East Timor will manage and utilise its natural resources in a sustainable manner that takes account of environmental needs in order to support economic growth and improved community welfare.


13.2 The development and management of natural resources, including mineral resources, and the environment is the responsibility of the Department of Natural and Mineral Resources (DNMR) and the Division of Environment (DoE), both of which are agencies of the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Development. The Ministry is also responsible for Trade and Industry, Energy, Investment and Tourism.

13.3 East Timor is relatively poorly endowed with natural resources, apart from the oil and gas reserves of the Timor Sea. Anderson and Deutsch (eds., 2001) note that oil and gas are amongst the few high value natural resources that can be exploited for economic purposes, with the Timor Sea thought to be one of the world’s 20 richest oil deposits. Fisheries stocks are poorly understood, but might also comprise an important economic resource.

13.4 Natural resources are limited in East Timor, and given that the nation needs to make best use of its various resources, the sound management of those resources is a critical matter. Best use in this instance means that resources must be used efficiently, thereby maximising the net benefits realised by the community from such resource use. Sound management is normally taken to mean that resources are managed in a sustainable manner. The Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor (Anderson and Deutsch, eds., 2001, p. 8) adopted the World Conservation and Environmental Development Conference’s definition of sustainability; viz:

“sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

13.5 East Timor is a mountainous country that is less than ideal for agricultural production. Its soils are derived from limestone and metamorphosed marine clays and are, consequently, generally of low fertility. The generally steep terrain, shallow soils and heavy rainfall events during the wet season, render many parts of East Timor very prone to erosion. Deforestation and grazing often adds to the problems of loss of topsoil. Ongoing erosion causes sedimentation of rivers, reservoirs and near-shore marine areas.

13.6 Forest resources are widely used by households for both timber and non-timber purposes, and previously were also important in East Timor as export commodities. During the Portuguese and Indonesian administrations export income was earned from the sale of species such as teak, redwood, mahogany and sandalwood, all of which are native to East Timor. Apart from sandalwood, timber products were mostly exported as unprocessed logs. Very little forest now remains, and the vegetation consists largely of secondary forest, savanna and grassland. The ecology of the flora and fauna of East Timor is poorly understood.

13.7 Forests contribute to family livelihoods by providing firewood, non-timber products, poles and timber. Firewood collection is, however, a major cause of deforestation. Effective forest management has been achieved only in those few cases where the forest area has been clearly defined and is recognised by the community.

13.8 There was substantial damage to the forestry sector during the violence of 1999. Most Government and private facilities were destroyed or stolen, while stockpiles of teak logs and about 1,300 m3 of sandalwood for export were not allowed to leave. Large areas of mountain forests where resistance groups sheltered were defoliated and now comprise degraded scrubland.

13.9 UNDP (2000) concluded that East Timor’s marine ecosystem, if used in a sustainable fashion, has considerable potential to support economic development and sustain the population, thereby contributing to poverty reduction. Fisheries development is currently guided by a Strategic Plan formulated by the Department of Fisheries and Marine Environment (FME).

13.10 Many species of animal in East Timor are threatened with extinction, particularly those that rely on forests. A number of marine species are also thought to be under threat. The coastal zone is, however, considered to be in very good condition. Mangrove ecosystems are substantially intact and many beaches are fringed by coral reef. Reefs are a source of biodiversity and are important for the ecological functions they provide. Plans exist to create both terrestrial and marine protected areas in order to conserve biodiversity.

13.11 Pollution and the lack of waste management pose significant problems in the urban areas of East Timor. Consequently, they also pose human health risks as well as a threat to marine ecosystems and species in nearby marine areas. Dili has a very limited sewerage system and an inadequate system for the collection and disposal of solid waste. Poor waste management has resulted in the pollution of groundwater, which is the source of drinking water for many of the people living in Dili. Litter is a substantial problem, particularly in the urban areas, with plastic and other materials usually being washed into the ocean during storms, where they represent a hazard to marine species.

Poverty, Natural Resources and Environment

13.12 Consistent with the efforts to integrate environmental considerations into development policies and programs, it is now recognised that there is an “urgent need to integrate environmental concerns into poverty alleviation...” (World Bank Group, undated, p. v). Furthermore:

“Real, lasting poverty reduction is only possible if the environment is able to provide the services people depend on, and if natural resources are used in a manner that does not undermine long-term development” (World Bank Group, undated, p. v).

13.13 Consideration of the links between environmental interventions and poverty reduction in East Timor should allow: (1) an improvement in people’s health due to access to resources such as potable water; (2) enhancement of the livelihoods of poor people, particularly those in rural areas where people depend on land, water, forests and biodiversity; and (3) reduction of people’s vulnerability to natural disasters such as violent storms, floods and fires.


13.14 Two mission statements are reported here because the mission of the Department of Minerals and Natural Resources (DNMR) is somewhat different to that of the Division of Environment (DoE).

13.15 The mission of the DNMR is to:

Efficiently administer legislation relating to minerals, energy and extractive industries in a consistent, fair, transparent, timely and accurate fashion; and partner industry and provide leadership in achieving regulatory reform.

13.16 The mission of the DoE is to:

Conserve and protect natural resources and environment in East Timor through sustainable development planning.


13.17 The goals for the mineral and natural resources and environment sectors are to:

  • a) efficiently manage minerals, energy and extractive activities in a consistent, fair, environmentally appropriate, transparent and timely fashion;

  • b) protect and enhance the natural environment of East Timor;

  • c) raise community awareness about the importance of protecting the environment and behaving in ways that support such protection;

  • d) work with other Government departments and agencies in integrating environmental considerations into their policies, programs and projects; and

  • e) ensure accountability to the Government and community for financial, environmental and safety aspects of the extractive and energy industries.

Guiding Principles

13.18 The guiding principles for development in the minerals, natural resources and environment sectors are as follows.


East Timor’s resources will be used in such a way that they will still be available to future generations, or at least provide benefits to those future generations of East Timorese (e.g. by careful investment of mining royalties).


The nation will make the best possible use of agricultural, water and other resources. They will be used in such a way as to maximise the benefits from their use to all citizens (“allocative efficiency”). It also means that the nation will not be wasteful with its resources–they will be managed and used carefully (“productive efficiency”) (Box 13.1).

The Notion of Efficiency in Resource Use

The notion of economic efficiency is that a nation will manage and use its various resources in such a way as to maximize the net social benefits to the whole of the nation from that use. This implies that the ‘best’ or optimal combination of outputs is produced by means of the most efficient combination of inputs. Efficiency can be at odds with equity, because an improvement in efficiency might make some people better off and some worse off. Policy-makers must deal with such trade-offs.


Everyone will be treated equally or fairly. For example, people in rural areas should have the same access to health, education and other services as people in urban areas, along with the same opportunities to advance their living standards.

Key Development Indicators

13.19 The key development indicators for each sub-sector are the following.

Department of Natural and Mineral Resources
  • a) Establishment of a database on mining, minerals, oil and gas resources.

  • b) Trained cadré of East Timorese to deliver all services to the sector.

  • c) Development, promulgation and implementation of legislation and regulations for mining, oil and gas.

  • d) Survey and mapping of the minerals, oil and gas resource base in East Timor.

Division of Environment
  • a) More effective appraisal of development proposals and consequent reduced environmental impacts from development activities.

  • b) Development, promulgation and implementation of legislation and regulations on environmental impact assessment and pollution control.

  • c) Increased capacity of DoE staff to implement environmental regulations.

  • d) Completion of policies on important environmental matters, including water catchment management, coastal zone management and biodiversity conservation.

Problems and Constraints

13.20 The problems and constraints faced by both DNMR and DoE are, in general, the same. Where either the Department or the Division face unique difficulties those are noted below.


Both agencies face a lack of institutional and personnel capacity to undertake the wide range of tasks with which they are confronted. DoE has neither the number of staff, nor suitably skilled staff, to meet its myriad of important challenges. Similarly, DNMR has a very small staff complement, although it is planned to increase staff numbers considerably through the Plan period. The DNMR also confronts the problem of a lack of appropriate staff skills.

Legal and Regulatory Frameworks

The enabling legal and regulatory frameworks currently do not exist to support the responsibilities of both DNMR and DoE. The legal and regulatory legacy from the Indonesian administration is both irrelevant and ineffective. This also results in weak control of the environmental impacts of various development activities and, in the case of DoE, reduces its effectiveness in establishing cooperative mechanisms with other agencies in relation to environmental management.

Data and Information

Neither DNMR nor DoE has access to relevant and accurate data on the inventory and state of natural resources and the environment of East Timor. The lack of such information constrains their ability to ensure sustainable development and management of these resources.

Financial Resources

Both agencies face severe budgetary constraints for staffing, other recurrent costs and capital equipment. Both require certain capital equipment to meet their responsibilities and, therefore, they will rely on donor support in the medium term to establish both a stock of needed capital equipment and a cadré of suitably trained staff.

Acknowledgment and Independence

These constraints apply particularly to DoE. The existing institutional structure means that DoE is not a fully independent body, constraining its ability to make and implement decisions on the appropriateness of particular development proposals. Concomitantly, there is little or no acknowledgment that DoE and its attendant environmental legislation (once developed and implemented) should play a role as an independent umbrella agency that can regulate all development activities, particularly those that carry environmental risks.

Goals of Each Agency

13.21 The key goals for DNMR and DoE to address the various problems identified are as follows.

Department of Natural and Mineral Resources
  • a) East Timor will be self-reliant in terms of institutional and staff capacity to manage the sustainable exploitation of natural and mineral resources and that such self-reliance will be achieved by June, 2005.

  • b) Appropriate legislation and regulations will be developed, promulgated and implemented by DNMR in support of the management of the nation’s natural and mineral resources.

  • c) The nation will develop the capability to appropriate the benefits of its natural and mineral resource base through increased local value-adding and by ensuring that it receives an appropriate share of the resource rents arising from exploitation of its resources (see Box 13.2).

  • d) DNMR will develop a suitable database, inventory of resources and resource mapping to support management of minerals, oil and gas and to develop promotional material for the sector. These materials will be in place by June, 2003.

  • e) The natural and mineral resources sector will be integrated into relevant regional and global networks by the end of 2003.

Economic Rent

Economic rent is the return earned on the use of natural resources over and above normal profit levels. Often, this surplus is taken by a small number of users. Fisheries and oil and other minerals provide many international examples of the rent being taken by the fishers and miners, with little returned to the actual owners of the resource–the community. In East Timor, development of such resources should be based on the principle that they belong to all citizens. Fishers, miners and others should be allowed to make a fair profit, including a premium for risk, but returns over and above these levels should come back to the people. This means that appropriate policies need to be developed in relation to the use of natural resources.

Division of Environment
  • a) The evolution of an environmental governance framework for East Timor that will include:

    • sufficient institutional capacity in DoE and other relevant Government agencies to protect and conserve the environment and biodiversity;

    • well researched, practical and effective environmental policies (laws, regulations and guidelines);

    • effective cooperation and coordination across sectoral agencies through formal and informal channels;

    • established processes such as State of the Environment reporting; and

    • ratification, where appropriate, of relevant international treaties and conventions.

  • b) DoE will facilitate increased awareness of environmental issues amongst the public and Government agencies through publications, campaigns and environmental curricula.

  • c) Air, water and soil pollution will be managed, particularly in urban areas.

  • d) The environmental impacts of existing developments will be better managed, while an effective system for the environmental appraisal and review of investment proposals will be implemented.

  • e) DoE will establish a well-researched approach to biodiversity protection and conservation, including the establishment of a system of protected areas for East Timor.


13.22 Based on the problems and constraints and, subsequently, the goals of DNMR and DoE, the following basic policies will be formulated.

Department of Natural and Mineral Resources
  • a) Extensive institutional and capacity building programs in the period 2002-2006 to yield an appropriate institutional structure, including the establishment of a separate Ministry of Minerals, Natural Resources and Energy, along with the development of a critical mass of local East Timorese staff with the requisite skills to manage all activities in these sectors.

  • b) The Department will establish an enabling legal and regulatory framework based on the national resource base.

  • c) DNMR will identify and join regional and global natural and mineral resources networks, develop strategic alliances that facilitate the appropriate exploitation of East Timor’s mineral and natural resources, and promote the minerals, mining, oil and gas resources of the nation to the world.

Division of Environment
  • a) DoE will emphasise capacity development initiatives to build specialist environmental and other required skills amongst its staff, and support such capacity development in other Government agencies.

  • b) Institutional strengthening of DoE will be a focus of policy, with assistance from bilateral and multilateral donors.

  • c) Appropriate regulatory and legal frameworks that support environmental management will be developed, beginning with regulations on pollution control and environmental assessment.

  • d) Considerable focus will be placed on strengthening cross-sectoral linkages to improve the coordination of environmental management and raise the profile of DoE as the core Government agency with the charter for environmental assessment and management.

  • e) Environmental awareness campaigns and efforts to raise public consciousness, along with Government and private sector awareness of environmental matters, will be a central plank of DoE’s policy framework.

Programs and Projects

13.23 Based on the foregoing information, the programs and projects summarised below will be implemented in the period 2002/03–2007/08 to meet the needs of each sector.

Department of Natural Resources and Minerals

13.24 The Department’s development activities are driven by an overarching goal to plan, design and implement an efficient, effective and economic mining, oil and gas sector management and regulatory regime in East Timor. The following three programs will be implemented by the DNMR.

Program 1: Institutional and Capacity Building

Program 2: Enabling Legal and Regulatory Framework

Program 3: Sectoral Development and Promotion

13.25 The projects to be implemented under each program, with the actual or proposed sources of funding and the current status of individual projects, are as shown in Table 13.6.

Program 1: Institutional and Capacity Building

13.26 This program is based on a decision by Cabinet to establish the Department and vest in it the task of “the management and regulatory functions for the natural resources and mining sector.” The institutional development aspects of this decision include budget provision, the planning, design and establishment of DNMR, recruitment of staff, allocation of office space and provision of certain capital equipment in support of its operations. The capacity building aspects are focused on staff development, including:

  • a) assessment of the gaps in the skills available in both the public and the private sectors;

  • b) public sector skills development and capacity enhancement through both in-house and out-of-country training, along with hands-on ‘apprenticeships’;

  • c) development of a central team of 20 East Timorese staff in critical skill areas related to the development and management of the mining, oil and gas sector; and

  • d) support for private sector skills training for East Timorese, enabling them to benefit from emerging employment opportunities related to mining, oil and gas sector developments.

Table 13.1:

Performance Targets, Institutional and Capacity Building

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Program 2: Enabling Legal and Regulatory Framework

13.27 Indonesian mining and gas laws, technically, remain effective in East Timor. In reality they are, however, redundant as neither the organisational structure nor the sanctioning authorities are in place to enforce those laws. This comprises a substantial constraint on development in the sector, and one that discourages investors because of the uncertainty it implies. Assistance is needed to develop an appropriate legal and regulatory framework, with UNDP and ESCAP committing to providing such assistance. Once a legal and regulatory framework is established, management systems and procedures will be developed and implemented.

Table 13.2:

Performance Targets, Enabling Legal and Regulatory Framework

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Program 3: Sectoral Development and Promotion

13.28 Reliable information about mining, oil and gas resources in East Timor is lacking. Consequently, the main activities in this program relate to surveying, mapping and the construction of an inventory of the nation’s minerals, oil and gas resources. A reliable resource inventory is needed to: (1) allow the Government, through DNMR, to understand the likely stock of resources and, therefore, be able to manage that stock in the best interests of the nation; and (2) allow potential investors to plan and assess opportunities in East Timor. Furthermore, the proposed remote sensing and GIS based survey and database development forms the main building block of the sectoral development and promotion strategy. Donor support will be sought for this program.

Table 13.3:

Performance Targets, Sectoral Development and Promotion

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Division of Environment

13.29 The overarching goal of DoE is to implement a National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP) for East Timor, which is a necessary part of the Government’s approach to sustainable development. The implementation of the NEMP will play an important role in poverty reduction through improved access to clean water and other resources, and also contribute to economic growth in the long term because of improved management of the nation’s scarce natural resources. Under the NEMP development proposals will be screened for potential impacts and advice given on the need for environmental management plans or environmental impact assessment (EIA). Effective laws and capable staff will ensure that such processes are efficient and provide investors with high quality advice. While improving the investment environment, it will also reduce the economic and social costs of environmental damage. Environmental awareness and education for the community will support a cleaner environment and have positive heath outcomes.

13.30 DoE will focus on one overall program, viz:

Program 1: Environmental Governance Framework for East Timor

The projects to be implemented under this program, with the actual or proposed sources of funding and the current status of individual projects, are as shown in Table 13.5. The projects and the principal elements in each project are as summarised in Table 13.4.

Table 13.4:

Project Activities and Outcomes, Division of Environment

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Program 1: Environmental Governance Framework for East Timor

13.32 The elements of the Environmental Governance Framework for East Timor Program are summarised above. The performance targets for the program are shown in Table 13.5.

Table 13.5:

Performance Targets, Environmental Governance Framework for East Timor

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Table 13.6:

Projects to be implemented by the Department of Natural and Mineral Resources and the Division of Environment, Ministry for Economic Affairs and Development, 2002/03 - 2006/07

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