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On the Fragility Assessment in Timor-Leste

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On the Fragility Assessment in Timor-Leste, MoF Training Center, 15 August 2012

 H.E. Emilia Pires

Minister of Finance, RDTL

  • As Chair of g7+ and Minister of Finance charged with the implementation of the New Deal – It gives me great pleasure to welcome the UN Secretary General, His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki Moon and his delegation to the Ministry of Finance of Timor-Leste on this important occasion where we FOCUS on the concept of true ownership through the launch of one of the three pillars of the New Deal. The F in Focus, stands for fragility assessment, now a sound methodology developed by us, for us in the g7+, with support from our partners to identify where we are as a country on the spectrum of fragility. This stands as the first step in a new way of engaging in conflict affected States,
  •  Secretary General, as you see here today, to support this important process is a broad selection of stakeholders from our leadership, our Prime Minister, His Excellency Xanana Gusmao; Members of the 5th Constitutional Government; Members of the Diplomatic Corps, including our very own Ambassador to the United Nations, Her Excellency Sophia Borges; other development stakeholders and members of the Timor-Leste Fragility Assessment team.
  •  Timor-Leste, in many ways, has lived the New Deal. We have spent the last decade with a primary focus on peacebuilding  and because of it, we now enjoy peace and stability. Now, our primary focus shifts to Statebuilding and over the next two decades implementing One Plan, One Vision which is our Strategic Development Plan (SDP).
  • Conflict affected does not just mean the economic and social ramifications of conflict itself, or the threats to return to conflict. After 400 years of colonial occupation and 24 years of occupation, it means that multiple generations in our past have been affected and at least two generations in the future will be reminded of these experiences. These are effects that we must continually remind ourselves that are profound and that we must work harder in the next two decades to build a robust State to serve our People.
  • This also allows us to identify any factor in potential derailment –to address, neutralize and act to ensure we stay on course. This assessment also allows us to do just this- If we know where we were, where we are now and where we want to be, then we have the key to success.
  • The purpose of the Fragility Assessment in Timor-Leste is not only to launch the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, but also to begin the process of changing the way in which we engage with and in conflict affected countries, allowing the fragility assessment to guide one plan toward the path to resilience, country-owned and country-led.
  • The three pillars of the New Deal are inter-connected and inter-reliant; like spokes on a wheel that connect to allow it to turn and move forward. The pillars include the five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs) which prioritizes our needs in conflict affected States; FOCUS, a new way of engaging using a progressive methodology to align and harmonize one plan; and, TRUST commitments, which are mutual and integral to the success of transitions from fragility to stability.
  • It is encouraging to note that currently there are seven (7) countries which have voluntarily agreed to pilot the New Deal and fragility assessments, namely, Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Sudan, DRC and Timor-Leste.
  • Over the past few days here in Timor-Leste, we have conducted a series of discussions on each PSG, focusing on the lessons learned in our development trajectory over the past few years.
  • The preliminary findings of the discussions with key stakeholders were not only insightful but meaningful in providing new in-country analysis of national conditions by national actors. I will give you a brief overview:

PSG 1: Inclusive Politics

  • Stakeholders have agreed significant progress has been made in political settlements both locally and globally, with many successful initiatives that have contributed to the peace process and ongoing political dialogue. Most importantly, all political leaders have committed to National stability as the most important priority for the consolidation of the State and acceleration of development.
  • There was consensus that continued political education in the democratic process for both political parties and communities alike should continue especially in remote and regional areas.

 

PSG 2: Security

  • The overall security situation in country has significantly progressed. There was agreement that State security institutions have taken responsibility and control over all areas and territories.  The largest threat is at the border; recommendations were made to increase security to border control.
  • Public confidence to security institutions has increased; however, lack of facility and personnel continues to challenge responsiveness to community needs. Equal distribution of resources both human and physical to the district level was seen as necessary to fully consolidate security and build trust in the institution. These are all issues addressed in the long term plan of the SDP

 

PSG 3: Justice

  • Like Security, judicial assistance is limited due to the lack of judicial actors, capacity and facility across the country. There is a need to increase them to enable communities to access the system.
  • Language was raised as an issue which limits community access to the legal framework. Translation of the new penal and civil laws into local languages and their wide dissemination was recommended.

 

PSG 4: Economic Foundation

  • The overall country economic activity has increased with average double digit growth over the past five years allowing for a positive economic development trajectory.
  • The economy is still highly dependent on imports; therefore, diversification into agriculture and other potential sources of economic development is essential as outlined in the SDP
  • Some major challenges to economic activity in country were identified including imbalance, distribution and lack of basic infrastructure. Decentralization of services to district level should be a priority. Preparation and training of human resources prior to the implementation was seen as critical to success.

 PSG 5: Revenue and Services

  • The country is still highly dependent on Petroleum Revenue as income to fund the state budget. There is a need for alternative sources of domestic revenue. Revision of the current Tax Law was also recommended.
  • The capacity of government and the civil service has increased. However, the implementation of the career regime law was recommended to ensure increased accountability, transparency and service delivery.
  • We hope that the continued work of this fragility assessment will provide ample evidence and lessons learned to be shared with the international community.
  • As the New Deal is still new in the global agenda , endorsed in the closing months of 2011, it is our hope that the High Level Side Event in New York will be an opportunity to hear from g7+ countries about initial implementation progress and how the New Deal will support our transitions towards development.
  • The High Level g7+ Side Event at the United Nations on 26 September 2012 and the g7+ Ministerial Retreat in Port Au Prince, Haiti on 13-14 November 2012 will be two vital opportunities to share our experiences and perspectives, learn new lessons, deepen the understanding of our challenges both locally and globally.
  • Most importantly, and moving forward, our aim is to ensure that engagement in and with our States is based on agreed Goals, with firm FOCUS while building greater TRUST between and with our partners in development. At the forefront of that aim is country-owned and country-led mechanisms of One vision and One plan; true ownership with harmonization and alignment by all development partners.
  • The new phrase should be: “Our country leads, our partners support our needs”.
  • It is our sincere hope, Your Excellency, that as the Secretary General of the United Nations, you will make a brief appearance at our event in New York to support the g7+ group of fragile and conflict affected States in our transitions to build robust and peaceful States.
  • On a personal note, allow me to say that I am humbled and truly honoured on Your Excellency’s decision to appoint me as one of the members of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 Development Agenda.

Thank you very much.