The Ministry of Finance organized the 3rd Fragile States consultative meeting on Thursday 17 March 2011 at the Dili Convention Center. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the draft report on the Preliminary Findings of 2011 Survey on Monitoring Implementation of the Fragile States Principles in Timor-Leste and to capture inputs from the participants to be fed into the report.
Members of Government, Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations and media attended the event. Two experts from OECD who have been working on the survey were also invited as key speakers in the consultation meeting.
The consultation meeting was opened by H.E. Minister of Finance, Emilia Pires. In her opening remarks, Minister Pires appealed to the participants to bring together their efforts to contribute to a fruitful discussion in order to ensure that the external aids are implemented more effectively. Minister Pires informed the forum that TL was elected as the Co-Chair of the international dialogue which shows a real recognition of the TL important role in the context of fragile states dialogue. “It is a big exercise to do, but the important is how we as a nation are able to show our strong ideas to be voiced and to be listened by other FS countries and other international stakeholders.” Minister Pires underlined that development assistances are important but the most determinant thing for TL as a fragile state is how the Timorese are able to maintain peace and security in order to pave the way for the successful implementation of development programs. Since TL got its independence a decade ago, the path that TL has undergone to the development stage was described as a constant change, with periods of progress interrupted by episodes of crisis and instability which had deeply affected the nation building and peace building efforts.
During the plenary and group discussions (three thematic areas : aid configuration and changing contexts, the use of country systems and inequality) several important issues were proposed to be included in the draft report such as : the fact that TL is highly dependent on the petroleum revenues which is an indication of fragility of the country; that many Timorese still live under poverty line despite the World Bank 2009 Poverty Survey shows some reduction of the number of Timorese living under the poverty line; to add character building in the report; the Strategic Development Plan (SDP) as a long waited important document is expected to be finalized and launched soon in order to guide the development of Timor-Leste; the beneficiaries of the scholarships that are provided by Donors prefer to work in the international agencies rather than in the government institutions due to different salary regimes; hence, there is a necessity to establish a system that is able to avoid the brain drain of qualified staff from the government institutions; regarding the use of country system, despite the challenge of using different systems between the government and the donors, it was agreed that the donors can choose to use it as appropriate. Nevertheless, it was informed that the government has adopted an internationally recognized charter of account, which remains to be improved and harmonized among the government agencies.
Lastly, the outcome of the meeting will be an important input to the draft report to be presented at the 4th High Level Forum in Busan, South Korea, in December 2011.