About UNDP in Timor-Leste

A long of young men and women holding traditional fabrics
University students prepare to greet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his 2012 visit to Timor-Leste. Photo: Sandra Magno/UNDP TL

Since 1999, UNDP has been supporting the Timorese people move from post-conflict recovery towards sustainable development. UNDP’s Country Programme Action Plan (2009-2013), developed in partnership with and approved by the Timor-Leste government, aims to build the foundations for lasting peace, stability and security.

The Standard Basic Assistance Agreement (SBAA), signed at independence on 20 May 2002, provided an early framework for UNDP’s work in the country as well as the ongoing legal basis for UNDP’s operations in Timor-Leste. 

What do we want to accomplish?

UNDP recognises that the Timor-Leste government is primarily responsible for the national development agenda. The current Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) 2009-2013 was designed in partnership with state institutions, responding to the key priorities of the Government of Timor-Leste over the period. 

UNDP Timor-Leste’s four programme areas, and individual projects within each of those portfolios, are designed around the following goals: fostering a culture of democratic governance, reducing poverty, managing environmental resources and preventing and resolving conflicts.

The CPAP also reflects the primary goals of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2009-2013.

What are our results?

Peaceful elections were held in 2012 under the auspices of the country’s two national electoral bodies and with sustained support from UNDP.  National institutions, non-existent in 1999, are upholding the country’s young democracy. UNDP works closely with the country’s Human Rights and Justice Ombudsman, the Parliament, justice-sector institutions and the Anti-Corruption Commission, helping these organisations meet both current goals and plan for longer-term outcomes.

With UNDP backing, peace-building projects, disaster reduction management projects and community dialogue and facilitation initiatives have supported various national partners, including the Ministry of Social Solidarity, as they work to strengthen social cohesion in a post-conflict society. UNDP assists government institutions in promoting community dialogue to prevent and manage conflict, recover from natural disaster and strengthen social cohesion and resilience in a post-conflict society. 

In poverty reduction, UNDP helps women and men from poor communities to lift themselves out of poverty and to build sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families through microfinance (with UNCDF), self-help savings groups, social businesses, including cooperatives and micro to medium-sized enterprises.    

With UNDP support, Timor-Leste completed its first National Adaptation Programme of Action for Climate Change (NAPA). The NAPA provides Timor-Leste with a roadmap to help the country deal with climate change, identifying climate related natural disaster risks and vulnerabilities and outlining a list of measures to work towards climate change resilience. Timor-Leste has also developed a National Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan (NBSAP), through which a comprehensive baseline-assessment of Timor-Leste’s biodiversity is being done.

Who are the decision makers?

Mr. Knut Ostby is the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. The UNDP Country Director a.i. is Noura Hamladji and the Operations Manager is Ermira Basha.

Programme heads are responsible for each of the programme areas –governance (Farhan Sabih) and sustainable development and resilience (Nicolas Kroger). Other managers oversee administrative and support units including finance, human resources, IT, administration, media, procurement and security. Programme decisions are made in consultation with counterpart institutions in the Government of Timor-Leste and donor and other partners, through institutional managerial arrangements established in agreements signed between UNDP and the Government of Timor-Leste.

How many are we?

Current staff count for Timor-Leste

Contract type


Full-time appointment (FTA)


Service contract (SC)


United Nations Volunteer (UNV)