Security Sector Development in Timor-Leste

Project background

The overall goal of the project is to support the Government as it undertakes urgent reforms in the sector and develops a Security Sector Development Strategy that would become a road map for further reform and development of the sector. The Government has already taken a number of measures to refine and strengthen the legal framework delineating the roles and responsibilities of the different defence and security institutions. A National Security Policy framework is being prepared to guide the evolution of the sector in the short and medium term. Plans for the restructuring and/or development of the Defence and Security Forces are under preparation (PNTL) or initial implementation (F-FDTL). 

Project activities

  • A functional analysis of (a) governance institutions and (b) security institutions which are ‘core actors’ or direct providers of security (ex. Crisis and emergency management actors, police, border control, etc.) as well as the correctional service, private security companies and non-state actors. These institutions will be evaluated based on principles already identified by the national authorities such as the need to elaborate proposals ensuring a wide consensus, and keeping in mind the need to (a) ensure the efficient coordination between Security Forces; (b) rationalize the available resources and promote providing a better service to the population; (c) ensure a good financial base for the sector and outline an investment programme for facilities and equipment; (d) establish shared services and facilities where relevant; (e) promote respect for the Law and Human Rights; (f) establish the principle of democratic control of the security sector, through good governance mechanisms especially oversight, responsibility and transparency; (g) cement the separation between the political and the operational level in security sector governance. 
  • A gap analysis to identify institutional and regulatory gaps which have a direct bearing on the security sector (Ex. legal framework including the supplemental agreement and its implementation, integration, oversight, coordination, management and leadership) with a view to supporting the government of Timor-Leste to refine implementation strategies. Similarly, projects that will follow the review should naturally flow from the gap analysis. 7 This gap analysis will take into account the already identified national SSR priorities, including recommendations on training for both the F-FDTL and PNTL, and existing bilateral initiatives. 
  • A threat analysis which identifies generic and specific threats to internal and external security in Timor-Leste (for example, economic security/unemployment, rule of law, lack of judicial recourse and political instability, epidemics/disasters, external aggression, etc...). This threat assessment will include recommendations regarding established national SSR priorities including maritime security and border management. 
  • A strategic environment review to canvass public opinion and promote a dialogue on security issues (for example perceived and/or common threats and freedom of movement) is also planned. An outreach and socialisation strategy will be launched to develop a comprehensive picture of the challenges currently faced by security sector. It will distinguish between different social structures, including groups such as IDPs, veterans, minorities, women and youth. Results will be gender disaggregated to capture the unique set of gender issues that permeate in the Timorese society. This is particularly important given the relatively high incidence of gender-based violence reported in Timor-Leste. The project team will ensure that relevant civil society organisations and other interested stakeholders are consulted in the preparation and undertaking of these activities. 

Project results

  • Drafting a work plan based on already identified priorities which will identify the areas where recommendations will be made: a. Integrated system of forces b. Institutions, including PNTL, F-FDTL, Ministry for Defence and Security, Civil Protection and private security c. Cooperation between institutions in order to ensure rationalization of resources d. Maritime security and border management e. Financial mechanisms f. Oversight mechanism 
  • Incorporating identified issues and concerns into Timor-Leste’s National Security Policy Framework to counteract identified threats and respond to national security needs and expectations. 
  • Elaborating sectorial proposals, namely for the restructuring of the security institutions, including the F-FDTL, the Ministry of Defence, the PNTL and the Ministry of Interior to be incorporated in the Security Sector Development Strategy; examples of issues where recommendations will be made include greater coordination, including the justice sector; enhanced and where possible shared or pooled resource management. Vital areas of civil-military coordination will be in the area of maritime security, integrated border management, intelligence analysis and in responding to complex emergencies such as natural disasters. Other key aspects which will need to be integrated into the National Security Policy include civilian control, internal and external control and discipline mechanisms in compliance with international standards. 
  • A costing and feasibility study to ensure that recommendations for the development of the security sector are strategically coherent, appropriate to the needs of the sector, 8 affordable and in line with overall national development priorities. This is specifically designed to allow the Government to make decisions based on both the cost of a proposal and its context. 
  • Long term financial mechanisms for the sector will be studied and presented to the relevant authorities. 
  • A security sector development strategy will be completed by the SSRD Team taking into account existing strategies, and identifying future interventions to transform the security sector and address identified threats along with a partnership framework for supporting implementation. The development plan will incorporate the proposed structure of the security sector articulating the vision towards a comprehensive force system, civil protection and the regulatory framework for the private security companies. 



Project start date:

January 2008

Estimated end date:

March 2013

Focus area:

  • basic services
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Timor-Leste

    Implementing partner:

    United Nations Development Programme

    Funding Support by

    Donor name

  • European Economic Community
  • United Nations Development Pro
  • Government Of Timor'leste
  • Government Of Norway
  • United Nations Integrated Mission In East Timor (unmit)
  • Amount contributed


    Delivery in previous fiscal year

    2016 $21,468

    2015 $0

    2013 $182,927

    2012 $1,151,525

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