Dili 7 May 2020
The Ambassador of the European Union Mr Andrew Jacobs and UNDP Resident Representative Ms Munkhtuya Altangerel signed an Agreement to launch “Strengthening Integral Local Development by Building the Capacities of the Municipal Authorities in Timor-Leste”.
The initiative will support the deconcentration and decentralisation process in Timor-Leste by bringing governance, public administration and services closer to the people, with special attention given to the needs and priorities of people living in vulnerable situations.
The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and was attended by Mr Dionísio Babo Soares, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Abílio José Caetano, Vice-Minister of State Administration, Mr. Tomás Cabral, Principal Advisor in the Ministry of State Administration, Mr Andrew Jacobs Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste and Ms Munkhtuya Altangerel, UNDP Resident Representative. The new initiative is supported by contributions from the EU of USD 3,7 million and UNDP of USD 400,000.
The initiative will address the most pressing issues in the context of Timor-Leste’s decentralisation process: capacity building of local public servants; effective and inclusive governance; better access to data for informed planning and decision-making processes, an improved decentralisation policy framework, and participation of vulnerable people.
The new programme is complementary to an EU-financed EUR 11.25 budget support programme for decentralisation and deconcentration for which a financing agreement was signed by His Excellency Dionisio Babo Soares and Ambassador Andrew Jacobs on 27 February.
Given the current emergency situation created by COVID-19 in Timor-Leste, the programme will help the National Parliament, Ministry of State Administration and the Municipal Authorities to strengthen their response to the pandemic, particularly at municipal level. The implementation of preparedness and response measures will be supported in the twelve municipalities of Timor-Leste. Hand-washing facilities will be set up in key public spaces in all municipalities and e-government support will be provided to the Municipal Authorities.
Additionally, the project will assist the National Parliament in maintaining business continuity, through the installation of a press room and press conference facility (KNUA KOMUNIKASAUN), whilst implementing a communication campaign on social issues related to COVID-19. The EU-UNDP project will also establish an online system for communication to ensure stronger engagement with the citizens during the state of emergency.
Andrew Jacobs, Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste pointed out: “The overall objective of the decentralisation programme is to contribute to Timor-Leste's sustainable development through the implementation of the Government’s decentralisation policy, which is intended to bring governance and services closer to the Timorese people. I am also pleased that the programme will provide support to help address issues related to Covid-19, through for instance the setting up of hand-washing stations in all municipalities.”
“The joint cooperation between the European Union, the Government of Timor-Leste and the UNDP is very timely. In times of crises, local governments and frontline service providers engage directly with communities to provide the much-needed essential services. We’re proud to join hands and efforts to promote inclusive local governance and service delivery in the municipalities of Timor-Leste. Capacity building and skills development will be our main tools to achieve empowered local development in the country” stated UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Munkhtuya Altangerel, adding that: “UNDP reinforces its commitment to be prioritize the needs of the vulnerable populations and will continue working together with the Ministry of State Administration and the EU Delegation to ensure the well-being and equal opportunities for the rural communities. The current situation requires new approaches and ingenuous partnerships and innovations to ensure that no one is left behind”.