26 of August 2016

In Conversation with the Foreign Minister and EU Ambassador to Timor-Leste

Emerging from over two decades of conflict and instability, in May 2002 the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste became the 21st century’s first new sovereign state. Since then the country’s government – with assistance from the international community – has worked hard to lay the groundwork for development.


In this month’s Views from the Field we hear from both the EU Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Sylvie Tabesse, and Hernâni Coelho, Timor-Leste’s Foreign Minister, as they discuss Timor-Leste’s successes and remaining challenges. 

Capacity4dev (C4D): What are the key development challenges that Timor-Leste faces?

Hernâni Coelho (HC): One of the biggest challenges that we are facing in Timor-Leste is actually when it comes to human capital. We are a very young nation that experienced more than 24 years of instability, and of course during that period we were unable to prepare our young people for the positions of responsibility that we would expect them to take in the new country we have today.

Sylvie Tabesse (ST): The challenge for them and for us is to find qualified resources to implement our programmes, which can sometimes be quite complex. This is one of the main reasons why we engaged in a budget support operation. We’ve found that this is a very powerful tool allowing us to really consolidate their system and capacitate them. It has allowed us to have a more mature partnership, and to deepen our dialogue by discussing reforms frankly and openly in an atmosphere of trust. This was really very successful.

We currently provide sector budget support to the Ministry of Finance. Through the 11th EDF [European Development Fund] we will support public finance management in general, therefore we envisage rolling budget support out to other line ministries, in order to help strengthen their institutions and therefore also their democracy.

We are also supporting an initiative from the Prime Minister called the Social Audit. Working with civil society, Social Audit monitors the quality of public service delivery and helps design policies that are better aligned to the population’s needs. So as well as working with the government on budget support operations, we also work with important institutions for democracy, oversight institutions: the parliament, the court of auditors, the anti-corruption unit, and civil society. 

Read the full article here.