We East Timorese have liberated our homeland. Now, independence for East Timor means that we need to address many questions about development. We are building our nation and our future. We need to make wise decisions for the sake of future generations.
I am very pleased that the Conference on Sustainable Development was held in East Timor.
Building our future requires vision and planning - based on an understanding of our current situation and development prospects. This conference provided a valuable opportunity for us to consult with experts, and to discuss and develop strategies to address sustainable development in East Timor.
Presentations at the conference by East Timorese and international experts provided information that we need as part of our planning process. The broad participatory base and large workshop component of the conference provided a valuable opportunity for us to discuss many issues, including; protection of the environment, economic development, and social justice. We need to develop strategies for the sustainable development of our economy, while protecting and repairing the environment.
Our people have suffered enough. The future wellbeing of our people is of utmost concern to me. Planning for our future requires full consideration of how to improve the lives of the people of East Timor. The conference on sustainable development is an important step along the road to planning a sustainable future in East Timor.
I supported the Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor from its inception - in particular its important focus on the profound links between economic development and social and environmental well-being. I am delighted by the success of the Conference.
One of the key areas of global concern has been to put people at the centre of sustainable development and to recognise their entitlement to lead a healthy and productive life. The new nation of East Timor has a clear opportunity to show leadership by embracing the principles of sustainable development.
East Timor is developing itself politically, and socio-economically. The starting point for East Timor is social and political justice. Sustainable development in East Timor requires the empowerment of communities, the full participation and education of all sectors of society, as well as integrated planning and environmental assessment.
This Conference provided important opportunities for raising awareness and knowledge about sustainable development and the environment in East Timor. It was a good opportunity to begin thinking about innovative solutions for East Timor.
It is particularly important that the people and the future government of East Timor devise an effective sustainable development strategy to secure the sustainable utilisation of East Timor’s natural resources, and the repair of past environmental damage. The outcomes of this conference will help to ensure that environmental concerns are integrated into development planning in all sectors.
I give my full support to the Task Force on Sustainable Development that is being established as an outcome of this conference. This Task Force will be a key agent for strategic planning for sustainable development in East Timor.
These conference proceedings will serve as an invaluable handbook for development planners in East Timor, as they undertake the complex task of balancing conservation and development objectives to meet the needs and aspirations of the Timorese people.
Sergio Vieira de Mello
Special Representative of the Secretary-General