Subject: XG: Remarks at UNDP lunch

Remarks by H. E. President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão

On the occasion of the lunch hosted by Mr. Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator, UNDP New York, 25 September 2002

Your Excellency, Mr. Mark Malloch Brown,

Ladies and Gentleman,

Dear Friends,

After the first UN Mission in East Timor, UNAMET in 1999 which mandate was to organise the decisive act that determined our future, the second UN Mission, UNTAET, administered East Timor for two and a half years focusing its assistance in the establishment of the state structures, in particular, governance.

Upon the hand-over of the administration from the UN to the democratically elected East Timorese institutions on 20 May 2002, the third Mission was initiated UNMISET and provided with the mandate to:

1. Secure public security and law enforcement through the establishment of the East Timor Police Service (ETPS);

2. Maintain external security and border control; and,

3. Achieve political stability through justice and democracy in East Timor.

Currently, UNMISET and UNDP work closely in all areas that require external assistance for rehabilitation and development of the newly born country of Timor-Leste. Following the holistic view developed in our country, we privileged three target areas for assistance by UNDP to be provided (1) establishment of the Justice System; (2) 100 “stability” posts and 200 development “posts” for government administration and capacity building of civil servants, and (3) generation of gainful employment opportunities for veterans and unemployed youths.

(1) We deem the Justice sector as a major foundation of our democratic state and of the rule of law, as enshrined in our Constitution. To that end we must ensure the establishment of a viable, sound, fair and corruption-free justice system that will ensure and respect the rights of every citizen. However, intentions or well-drafted statements are not enough and both the justice sector and the prisons require immediate assistance and action.

UNMISET and UNDP have taken a lead in inter-agency and inter-donor efforts in formulation of a discussion paper on how to strengthen the capacity of not only the Ministry of Justice but also the courts and other judicial organs. I am pleased to inform that Justice Minister, Mrs. Ana Pessoa Pinto, convened on 12 September and held a very fruitful consultation meeting with donor countries and international organisations. The Ministry of Justice is currently drawing up a draft Strategic Action Plan which will indicate steps to be taken for strengthening the Courts, the Office of the Prosecutor-General, the Office of Public Defenders, the Prison System, the Ministry of Justice itself and the Office of the Ombudsman which, in our country will encompass Justice, Human Rights and be a watchdog against corruption.

This draft Plan adopts a two-track approach whereby the current pragmatic approach will continue with recruitment of international judges and other judicial personnel including a large number of interpreters and translators, while systematic training will be carried out in Portuguese language and civil law.

I wish to recognise and commend the close working relationship UNMISET and UNDP have established with the Ministry of Justice by providing advisors to the justice sector and training to Ministry of Justice staff.

I also wish to take note with appreciation of the initiative taken by UNDP/Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, headed by Julia Taft, in organising an assessment and programming mission for improvement of prison management in East Timor with the participation of Canada Denmark, Malaysia and New Zealand.

It is our hope that the donor country mission organised by UNDP will produce a blue print for the establishment of a secure and humane prison system in East Timor.

(2) At the private informal meeting of the Security Council in early August, the members expressed their concern about the slow progress in providing “development advisors” to help administer and train their national counterparts. The actual number of development advisor posts is now reaching two hundred and thirty, out of which only about half are identified by donors and only about 25 percent of the total are filled with experts. In contrast, eighty-seven out of a hundred ‘stability posts’ funded by UNMISET are filled by experts because funds are already available.

I am pleased to note that the SRSG, Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, has established a UNMISET/UNDP task force chaired by Deputy SRSG to co-ordinate and integrate the assessment and management of the ‘one hundred stability’ and the ‘two hundred development’ posts.

Another positive aspect in this process is that not only traditional donors but also newly emerging supporters such as Malaysia and the Republic of Korea are now providing experts to our country.

We share the opinion that it would help other developing countries to provide their experts if donors can contribute funds for recruitment of UNV experts as there are many qualified experts in Brazil, Mozambique, Angola and other lusophone countries which can help develop the governance capacity of East Timor.

(3) In full agreement with the Government, we have asked UNMISET and UN agencies to embark upon a major programme that will accord full recognition to former resistance fighters who devoted their lives to achieving the independence of East Timor and also provide employment opportunities for the veterans as well as to a large number of the unemployed youths. With additional 20,000 young people joining the labour force every year, high employment is reaching the crisis situation, causing also enormous resentment as international staff and advisors are receiving such high salaries. Dissatisfied youth and unemployed often stage demonstrations.

In this regard, Mr. Mark Malloch Brown, I wish to express my agreement with you that there is a period of recovery between the period of emergency humanitarian relief and the period of reconstruction and development of activities. Reconstruction can not be limited to physical infrastructure. Development is a broad concept and, in our viewpoint it must encompass the enhancement of skills and capacity building and also human development. Therefore, it is urgent to embark upon an urgent major employment generation programme.

Post-conflict periods entail a number of preventive measures to avoid further disruption of the social fabric and to attempt the swiftest possible return to normalcy. To a certain extent, ‘peace must be bought’ during the immediate post conflict period so as to prepare the ground and ensure the stabilisation of the country. This immediate period of post-conflict peace building must precede the period of sustainable nation and capacity building. New and bold ideas such as the East Timor National Green Corps and massive public works are needed to engage tens of thousands of unemployed during such phases of recovery in warn-torn societies.

I welcome the idea being developed by the DSRSG, Mr. Hasegawa, and UNDP staff to engage with AVTL, Veterans Association, and two other groups of former resistants to provide them with immediate job opportunities, and the programming mission which UNDP/BCPR Geneva is sending in September. Mr. Hasegawa and Mr. Ramos-Horta, our Senior and Foreign Affairs Minister convened a first brain-storming meeting with donor countries, just two weeks ago, for the formulation of a major employment generation programme. Concurrently to these measures and in line with assessments and surveys already prepared in East Timor, development needs in East Timor also demand for a change in the education system. We need a greater focus on science and technology and to encourage students to choose such fields of learning rather than political and social sciences.

Before concluding my remarks, I wish to express my profound appreciation to UNDP Administrator, Mr. Mark Malloch Brown for having provided this opportunity to meet with the supporters of East Timor. Under Mr. Malloch Brown’s leadership, UNDP has been playing a crucially important role in East Timor.

Since the establishment of UNMISET and the arrival of Ambassador Kamalesh Sharma as the new SRSG and Mr. Sukehiro Hasegawa as his Deputy and also as head of UNDP, it has become crystal clear that the United Nations system is now playing the role of support to the Government and the people of East Timor. Mr. Hasegawa is acting not only as head of UNDP and the co-ordinator of all UN agencies based in East Timor, but also as Deputy Head of UNMISET. This arrangement, in my view, is enhancing the co-ordination and effectiveness of external assistance provided by all sources. Therefore, I wish to commend the recommendation made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Administrator of UNDP and the decision taken by the Security Council to appoint the Resident co-ordinator of the United Nations Operational Activities for Development as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

Thank you.

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