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Funding Proposal for 

Task Force on Sustainable Development in East Timor:

an outcome of the Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor

 

 

Synopsis

East Timor’s first major conference on Sustainable Development took place over a 7-day period from 25th to the 31st January, 2001. More than 800 people attended the conference in Dili, East Timor. There were seven recommendations endorsed by the conference. One of the key conference outcomes was the proposal for the establishment of a Task Force on Sustainable Development. The Task Force will help to ensure that the strategies and recommendations of the conference are carried forward. A key role of the task force will be to contribute to the development of a National Sustainable Development Strategy. 

 

The National University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTIL) has agreed to house the Task Force. It is proposed that the Task Force is established by a Sustainability Unit, affiliated with UNTIL’s Research Centre.

 

This concept paper outlines the proposal for the establishment of the Task Force. A budget outline for one year’s funding is included.

 

Background

East Timor is the world’s newest nation. It was a Portuguese colony for more than 400 years and more recently, between 1975 and 1999, was brutally occupied by the Indonesian military. The East Timorese people fought tirelessly to win their independence.  One third of the population lost their lives during the 24 years of Indonesian occupation.  The Colonial and Occupation periods resulted in widespread environmental degradation and poverty.

 

In a referendum in August 1999, the East Timorese bravely voted for independence despite violent intimidation. They paid a heavy price – the Indonesian military unleashed a brutal revenge as they withdrew from East Timor, including murder, forcible removal of over 200,000 people, the internal displacement of almost the entire remaining population and the destruction of over 75% of the country's infrastructure.

 

From  the  ashes,  East  Timor  has  the opportunity to  build  an  economy  and infra- structure that are consistent with sustainability and social justice.


Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is essential for the prosperity and quality of life in East Timor.

 

The World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) produced the definition still most widely accepted: "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Sustainable development is an integrated and innovation-oriented way of seeking solutions that have a "triple bottom line", with outcomes that are good for people, the environment and the economy.

 

The Rio Earth Summit in 1992 resulted in a major new sustainable development strategy

 – Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is designed to prepare the world for the challenges of the new century, to addresses poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and environmental degradations as a set of interrelated issues.

 

It is an action plan that calls on nations to adopt national strategies for sustainable development. Many countries around the world are presently working towards implementing National Sustainable Development Strategies.

 

Sustainable Development in East Timor

East Timor is currently administered by a United Nations transitional administration. During this transitional period the value of a sustainable development approach has been given significant importance by many agencies, sectors and organisations. Conferences such as the Melbourne Conference (April 1999), the CNRT Congress (August 2000) and Tibar (June 2000) have identified its importance. Many reports refer to sustainable development. The UN Common Country Assessment (2000) has called for a sustainable approach to economic, environmental and social issues.

 

In August 2001, elections will be held in East Timor.  The role of the elected Constituent Assembly will be to prepare and adopt a constitution.  Once the Constitution is proclaimed in late 2001 or early 2002, East Timor will be an independent nation.

 

In East Timor, the starting point is social justice, with objectives of meeting basic needs of life, building sustainable livelihoods, and constructing an economy that strengthens rather than further weakens the ecological base of East Timor's land, water and sea. Now is the ideal time to be considering how sustainable development can be introduced.

 

Principles of Sustainable Development should become the foundation of national development planning. At the policy level, the first steps for the new government of East Timor should include the drafting of a National Sustainable Development Strategy to guide integration of environmental concerns, economic decisions, investment planning, and community development.

 

Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor

East Timor’s first major conference on Sustainable Development took place over a 7day period from the 25th to the 31st of January, 2001. It addressed a comprehensive range of sustainable development issues, and resulted in important recommendations to ensure the implementation of sustainable development in East Timor.  More than 800 people participated in the conference including people from at least 6 districts, 2 Cabinet Ministers and 37 international guests.  Seventy five percent of participants were East Timorese.

 

The purpose of the Conference was to highlight the environment and to promote and facilitate dialogue about sustainable development in East Timor, so that principles of sustainable development can be incorporated in future planning.

 

There were seven overarching recommendations endorsed by the conference. These included the key recommendation for sustainable development to be written into East Timor’s Constitution, and for national development planning to be approached by drafting a National Sustainable Development Strategy.  The conference recommendations stressed the need to address some of the acute unsustainable concerns without delay, such as land tenure rights, deforestation of watersheds and uncontrolled fishing in the southern waters of East Timor.  To achieve this, the conference recommended that substantial investment is made to ensure that development is sustainable.

 

Task Force on Sustainable Development

One of the key Conference outcomes was the endorsement of the establishment of a Task Force on Sustainable Development. The proposal endorsed by the conference is included as Attachment 1.

 

The Task Force will be a neutral, cross-sectoral body with members acting in their individual capacity.

 

The role of the Task Force will be to ensure that the strategies and recommendations of the conference are carried forward, and to assist with strategic planning and policy development.  The Task Force will serve to build cross-sectoral dialogue on the implementation of sustainable development in East Timor. A multi-stakeholder process will ensure that all parties participate in and own the planning process.  This will be key to the effective implementation of sustainable development in East Timor.

 

The task force will be able to focus on the issues raised at the Conference, work in rural areas, build on the existing knowledge base through research, workshops and educational programs, and contribute to policy planning and implementation through research and consultation. The Task Force will produce educational material to be distributed to urban and rural communities.  The Task Force will undertake capacity building, with individuals and organisations from each sector learning from and being empowered by participating in the multi-stakeholder planning process.

 

A key role of the task force will be to contribute to the development of a National Sustainable Development Strategy. The Task Force will also serve to monitor progress on implementation of sustainable development programs.  

 

The work of the Task Force will serve to clarify what sustainability means for the East Timorese Government, its institutions and the people of East Timor. It will serve as a bridge between those charged with planning and implementation, and those who have identified the complex array of concepts and principles of sustainable development. 

 

The Task Force will lay the foundations for the establishment of the Secretariat of the National Sustainable Development Strategy and/or a National Sustainable Development Institute. The Task Force will also be able to develop a sustainable development library for East Timor.

 

Secretariat

The National University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTIL) has agreed to house the Task Force.  It is proposed that the Task Force is established by a Sustainability Unit, affiliated with UNTIL’s Research Centre.   The Research Centre will provide office space for the Task Force.

 

Life Span

It is proposed that the taskforce will have a limited time span to address specific objectives, with concrete action recommendations. 

 

Countries around the world are preparing national sustainable development plans and creating multi-stakeholder organisations for dialogue on sustainable development.  It is envisaged that the Task Force will evolve into a permanent follow-up body that will serve as a Secretariat for the National Sustainable Development Strategy and/or a National Institute for Sustainable Development.

 

It is proposed that the Task Force will be appointed for upto two years.

 

Reporting Relationship and Status

Ideally, the outputs should be of value to society as a whole as well as for the incoming administration, especially for the office of the Chief Executive and for the national planning authority.

 

Task Force Membership

Members will need to bring social, economic, environmental and more general strategic planning and legal expertise.  There should be business, civil society, government, community-based, education and international sustainable development interests represented.  It is proposed that the Task Force numbers 8 to 16 members, with the possibility to draw upon additional expertise as necessary.  The majority of members should be East Timorese to ensure the results are driven from within the country.  All members should serve in their individual capacity.

 

Relationship with districts

The Conference established relationships in six districts through a process of pre and post-conference workshops, and the sponsoring of 25 district representatives to attend the Conference.  These relationships will be useful for ongoing involvement of the districts in the Task Force.

 

Reports

The Task Force will produce an interim report within the first six months, followed by a white paper on a strategy for sustainable development for East Timor.

 

Participation in World Environment Summit Rio +10

The Task Force will be carrying out its work at the time other nations will be preparing for Rio +10, the major follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit, to be held in South Africa in September 2002.  Output from the Task Force will be helpful to the government of East Timor in preparations for this event.  It is proposed that the Task Force coordinates East Timor’s participation in this World Summit.

Sustainable Development Task Force Objectives

1)      To prepare a white paper on a strategy for sustainable development in Timor Lorosa’e.    This paper should address:

 

o       How the national development plan might be made consistent with sustainable development;

o       The institutional structure needed in order to support sustainable development locally, nationally and internationally for government, business and civil society within Timor Lorosa’e;

o       Capacity building priorities, especially for sustainable development planning;

o       Environmental education programs.

 

2)      To initiate a dialogue mechanism among private sector, civil society and government. Including:

o       Undertaking a multi-stakeholder sustainability planning process.

 

3)      To identify key knowledge needs for implementing sustainable development and mechanisms for building this knowledge base. Including:

o       Development of a Sustainable Development Library.

 

 

4)      To undertake a coordination role for research in the of key areas of natural resource and environmental management in to East Timor

 

5)      To identify key sources of advice for sustainable development, including bodies within the country and internationally, and potential sources of funding.

 

6)      Identify and advise on the ecological, social and economic benefits and opportunities of policy initiatives for East Timor.

 

7)      Monitor progress of implementation of sustainable development programs.

 

8)      Communicate sustainability to the community. Including:

o       Undertaking community education programs.

 

9)      Coordinate East Timor’s participation in the World Summit on Environment and 

               Development ‘Rio+10’ (South Africa September 2002).

 


 

Key activities for the Sustainable Development Task Force

July 2001 – June 2003

 

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Seek Funding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Establish Sustainabliity Unit

 

Produce scoping papers/ review available knowledge

 

Commence stakeholder participation

 

Establish relationship with Government

 

 

Produce interim report

 

Community Consultation

 

Workshops/seminars

 

Report to Government

 

Prepare and distribute community education material

 

External Review

 

 

Produce White Paper on Strategy for Sustainable Development

 

External Review

 

Evaluate and document sustainability challenges and solutions

 

Participate in Rio +10 (follow up from Earth Summit)

 

Develop and monitor sustainabliity indicators

 


 

 

Appendix 1

Proposal

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TASK FORCE

 

 

Aim

To establish a cross-sectoral Task Force on Sustainable Development that can contribute to a national sustainable development strategy

 

Objectives

·          Contribute to strategic planning and policy development for sustainable development

·          Ensure principles and practices of sustainable development are incorporated into national planning and projects in all sectors

·          Extend the knowledge base for sustainable development through research, capacity building and educational programs

 

Role

An independent, cross-sectoral group to assist with strategic planning for sustainable development, and to monitor progress on implementation of sustainable development programs

 

Secretariat/ coordination

University

 

Membership

Representative of stakeholders

8-16 people (ideally 10)

Majority East Timorese

 

East Timorese representatives;

Government, University, NGOs, civil society, church, business sector, community, district

 

International representatives;

Sustainable development experts, international development agencies

 

Funding

Seek Funding (define budget and sources)

 

Life span

1-2 years