Timor-Leste Country Statement: The Hundreth Anniversary of ILO

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Country Statement for the High-level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the International Labour Organization (ILO)and interactive dialogue on the future of work

New York, 10 April 2019

It is my pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of His Excellency the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Mr. Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo.

I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly, Madame Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, for the initiative of organizing this High-Level meeting and interactive dialogue as well as for the inviting the President of the Republic of my country to be part of this event. Congratulations to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations agency for the world of work, for one hundred years of its existence devoted to advancing social justice, prosperity and peace for all.

Timor-Leste became a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 19 August 2003; allow me to take this opportunity to remember the day our dear friend Sergio Vieira de Mello who was cowardly killed in a bomb attack in Bagdad.   Since then we started to receive technical support in the areas of capacity building, training and promotion of employment through the implementation of various specialized programs. We have made significant

progress and improvements across several socio-economic indicators, and several public sector institutions have been established, but we still face challenges to building a healthy democracy, and a diversified economy, as well as limited capital in terms of skilled labour.

Scientific findings led to new technological advances that have modified social structures; the world faces huge challenges in the sphere of work. Unemployment is a problem in all regions of the world and Timor-Leste is not an exception. It is therefore imperative that we deepen thinking employment in a new approach.

The highest percentage of our population comprises of youth and we do not have enough capacity to generate employment. We are not self-sufficient in agriculture and the fact is our population is leaving the countryside to move to the big cities. Therefore, besides the urgent need to think of employment in a different approach, we feel a strong need to bring the city out to the countryside. That is, to provide well being and innovation in the countryside, in order to avoid a massive rural exodus. As we continue to move forward we need to make sure that we build an inclusive society, based on dialogue and social justice, where workers are included. Therefore we must articulate education and employment.

The current areas of work of the International Labour Organization (ILO) together with the Government of Timor-Leste, as well as with other organizations and partners, are oriented towards such challenges.

ILO together with the State Secretariat for Vocational Training and Employment (SEFOPE) on behalf of the Government, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Timor-Leste (CCI-TL) and the Timor-Leste Trade Union Confederation (KSTL) developed the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) for Timor-Leste, as a key to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as it is highlighted by Goal 8 which aims to ‘promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’.

Under the framework of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) several projects, which are worth mentioning here, have been developed.

The Roads for Development Program (R4D) which main goal is ‘Women and men in rural Timor-Leste are deriving social and economic benefits from improved rural road access’ has the following expected outcomes: the Government of Timor-Leste is effectively managing rural roads at national and municipal levels; improved rural road to selected rural communities; and increased skills, employment and income in selected rural communities.

The Enhancing Rural Access Agro-Forestry (ERA Agro-Forestry) Project is a component of the Partnership for Sustainable Agro-Forestry (PSAF) between the Government of Timor-Leste, the European Union (EU), Germany and the International Labour Organization (ILO). This project will contribute to peaceful, inclusive and sustainable development in Timor-Leste, through improved rural access, the creation of employment, economic and domestic revenue opportunities through agro-forestry development, and a durable reduction in food insecurity and malnutrition in rural areas bearing in mind the effects of climate change.

Also important and complementary to these is the ACTION/Portugal (Phase 2): Strengthening of the Social Protection System which will continue to support the implementation of the Social Security Law, and will support the implementation of the National Social Protection Strategy, which include the extension of contributory and non-contributory measures of Social Protection for all.

Timor-Leste, a young democracy has given important and innovative steps in establishing its own National Social Protection Strategy in accordance with ILO

Recommendation number 202 in building a compressive social security system and extending social security coverage, accessible to all in need.

Timor-Leste strongly believes that with ILO, in spite of having a long way to go, we will achieve a just and peaceful society for future generations.

I thank you.