Sustainable Development in Timor Lorosa’e
It is proposed that the Conference adopt the internationally recognised definition that “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 addresses the linkages between environment, economy and social wellbeing.
Timor Lorosa’e is a rights-based country. This has special implications for sustainable development since human rights are the foundations on which sustainable ecomonic, political and social development and environmental justice are built. The colonial and occupation periods resulted in extensive damage creating a great need for infrastructure and environmental restoration. Sustainable development, however, requires much more than repairing past damage. Sustainable livelihoods, enterprises and communities will be the effective expression of equity and justice for the Timorese people.
Sustainable development has not been fully factored into transition planning. A sustainable development strategy should be in place by the time of independence. This strategy should influence decisions within government, business and civil society. It is a major challenge, linked to governance, development planning and both domestic and foreign policy. There will be substantial immediate and longer-term benefits arising from a sustainable development strategy that can be implemented locally and nationally. For example, reforestation of watersheds will enhance economic wellbeing through restoration of biodiversity and commensurate production of a more diverse range of products, while reducing the impacts of floods and drought. Health will be improved by sanitation and clean water supply. Greater revenue could come from sustainably certified export products starting with organically grown coffee.
These and other consequences of sustainable approaches to development will come about only if certain conditions are met. The Conference recognised that sustainable development depends upon:
Progress will begin only when there is the courage to take action. Sustainable development action can start today, and should not be delayed and put off to some time in the future.