Program of the Eighth Constitutional Government










The VIII Constitutional Government Program is a five-year policy instrument that reflects the aspirations of the Timorese people and the priority sustainable development measures, as defined in the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030. During his tenure, the new Executive will continue to contribute to transform Timor-Leste, a low-income country into a medium-high income country where the population lives in safety and is healthy, educated and prosperous.

The Government Program also incorporates the roadmap defined by Timor-Leste to comply with the ’2030 Sustainable Development Agenda of the United Nations’, a road map that was also developed based on the Strategic Development Plan, articulating its goals and priorities with the Sustainable Development Goals (ODS) to achieve concrete progress in sustainable development. This Global Agenda is made up of 17 ODS aimed at meeting the needs of the people, emphasizing that no one should be left behind, ensuring a better future not only for Timorese but also for the world at large. Timor-Leste undertook the political commitment to implement this Agenda and was particularly involved in the inclusion of “Objective 16 – Peace, Justice and Effective, Responsible and Inclusive Institutions at all levels”, recognizing that without peace, justice and sound institutions it is very difficult to implement any of the other objectives essential to sustainable development.

Thus, the Alliance for Change for Progress (AMP), made up of three political parties, calls upon itself the duty and responsibility of continuing to:

  1. implement successful public policies and reforms, to maintain stability and foster economic and social development;
  2. promote structural reforms to accelerate the necessary transformation in sectors that are not meeting the expectations of the population; and,
  3. reform, correct and improve processes, systems and methodologies that hinder sustainable development in a cross-cutting way so that all institutions are more effective, accountable and inclusive.

For a young sixteen-year-old State, maintaining peace and promoting justice in Timor-Leste are key issues. Reviewing, training and improving the institutions guaranteeing these conditions will continue to be a national priority, since without peace and without justice it is not possible to overcome the barriers that lead to a situation of fragility as a State.

Peace, justice and solid institutions are pillars that allow us to transmit confidence and security to the opulation, attract investment and develop the economic and social sector in a sustainable way. Economic diversification and job creation are priorities defined by this Executive to meet the challenges of modernity and to support a young, fast-growing population. We have the benefit of possessing energy riches, but we must put all our efforts in escaping the “resources curse” by building bridges that make a solid link between natural resources and progress. Faced with this challenge, we will continue to invest in three key areas: social capital, infrastructure development and economic development, underpinned by an effective institutional framework that will help eliminate corruption and excessive bureaucracy and promote competence, professionalism, honesty and transparency.

Investments in social capital aim to build a healthy and educated society capable of satisfying the social needs of the people and producing a workforce that accompanies the development of the country. Infrastructure investments are intended to contribute to an emerging, interconnected and sustainable economy. We have a complete infrastructure plan for the construction of ports, airports, roads, drinking water and sanitation throughout the country, to be implemented with a new dynamism, over the next five years.

Investments in economic development will enable Timor-Leste to create a modern, diversified and prosperous economy by building strategic and transforming industrial sectors. Agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forest resources are a crucial source of income and food for development, which, together with entrepreneurship, create diverse opportunities for the development of industries. Tourism requires priority investment as a means of capitalizing on the country’s beauty, diversity and geo-strategic location. On the other hand, the investment in the transformation of the south coast into a regional oil center – the Tasi Mane project – is a bold bet with multiplier economic effects in all the municipalities, sucos and villages of the country.

An important part of this process of construction of the State and of the Nation continues to be guaranteeing full sovereignty over the national territory, including the maritime territory that, according to international law, is under its jurisdiction. It is in this sense that the Eight Government will continue to give top priority to the negotiations to finalize the delimitation of land and sea borders with Indonesia, as well as to implement the Timor-Leste Treaty on Maritime Borders and Australia in the Timor Sea, whose Tasi Mane project implementation is intrinsically related.

While the Treaty between Timor-Leste and Australia provides, in addition to the delimitation of maritime borders, the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field and the establishment of a special regime for the development of such resources and the sharing of resulting revenues, we will continue to invest in the construction of a gas pipeline in sovereign territory, thus implementing the vision of our people, as embodied in our Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.

We begin with the conviction that Timor-Leste’s success, as a State and as a Nation, depends on the democratic and political conjuncture of these next years, where the Timorese state is structured and consolidated as a modern State, where everyone recognizes the rule of law and where there is accountability and responsibility on the part of all the living forces of society.

It is only through the consolidation of national unity, peace and democracy that it is possible to act in a concerted way to reduce extreme poverty in the country, reduce inequalities and regional asymmetries, and strengthen national sovereignty. To this end, the Government will call on other public institutions and national social actors to participate in this process, to reconcile a vision of shared development that meets the constitutional requirements.

As such, the Eight Constitutional Government also undertakes to elaborate the Strategic Development Plan II, in permanent consultation with Civil Society, to update the previous plan and reflect the current state of the Nation and the changes that have occurred, meanwhile, in the country and in the world, as well as to demonstrate the Nation’s competitive advantages in the development of the strategic sectors referred to, which will lead to its effective progress.

The Government Program for the 2018-2023 Legislature, which is now presented to the Distinguished Members of the National Parliament, summarizes the main public policies to be adopted to strengthen and optimize the sectors of governance and their resources, shortening the path to transform the 2030 vision into reality.

Finally, this document represents a set of commitments to Timorese society, which can be publicly scrutinized, for national development and for the progress and well-being of all East Timorese, with the participation of all East Timorese.

1.1 General Vision

The program of the Eight Government comes from policies successfully implemented in the past, as the central objectives and priorities of the Government are based on a perspective of continued efforts and progress made in economic, social and political development. For this reason, the Government has seriously analyzed the internal situation of the country – the state of the Nation – to assess the best strategies to implement over the next five years. As such, it is important to remember the recent past and synthesize the internal situation of the country:

  1. As a newly created country, it was necessary to lead a difficult process of “state-building”, starting from a scenario where there was neither governing nor democratic experience, no state institutions, no basic infrastructure, qualified human resources or financial resources.
  2. As a result, the state-building process was initially based on the financial and institutional dependence of development partners and donor countries, which posed an additional challenge to the development of national institutions, as this development was associated with standards and rules imported from abroad, which did not always correspond to the real needs of the country, shaping and limiting behaviors and instigating conflicts in the process of building and consolidating public institutions.
  3. Several crises occurred, and it took two and a half years for the Fourth Government to resolve them and in 2009, 10 years after the referendum that led to national independence, the Timorese People adopted the motto: “Goodbye Conflict, Welcome Development”.
  4. And as this motto demanded development, in 2010 and part of 2011, public debates took place throughout the country promoted by the Government on the development potential in the country, from which resulted the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.
  5. With the launching of the Strategic Development Plan in 2011, a long-term framework was adopted as a reference to fulfill a vision for Timor-Leste to become a medium-income country with a healthy, skilled and safe population by 2030. The Plan envisages a short, medium and long-term approach based on the shared vision of a country that aims to grow well and with a solid foundation.
  6. However, this plan approved by the National Parliament in September 2011 would only begin to be implemented in 2013. In fact, in 2012, in the first half of the year, two rounds of presidential elections were held, and in the second half of the year, it was the turn of legislative elections and the formation of the Fifth Government, with the consequent approval of its program, the preparation of the Action Plan for 2013 and subsequent General State Budget for 2013.
  7. The 2030 Agenda of the United Nations, adopted in 2015, recognizes that without peace, justice and solid and effective institutions, it is very difficult for a country to implement the other Sustainable Development Goals.
  8. This commitment was reinforced by Timor-Leste, during the tenure of the Sixth Government, which in May 2017 organized a Global Conference on the Roadmap for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Objectives. Timor-Leste has set a clear path to progress in the Sustainable Development Goals and, considering the national context, aligned those goals with the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.
  9. In compliance with the principle of transparency, Timor-Leste adopted a measure whereby Development Partners not only have to respect the established system in the country, but also annually report on the use of the money, made available their governments, which was invested. Therefore, the External Aid Effectiveness Management Policy was approved, which defines how international development support should be provided to Timor-Leste, ensuring ownership, alignment with Government programs and promotion of accountability always aiming at obtaining results that improve the life of the people.
  10. Be it through its achievements towards peace, stability and economic growth in such a short space of time, through its action in the g7+ group or through participation in a variety of international fora – sharing its experience, from conflict to resilience, and promoting world peace agenda and reconciliation – Timor-Leste is considered a success story worldwide and can now capitalize on its presence on the international stage.
  11. Accepting the realistic view that “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” one cannot fail to recognize that, although it was not possible to achieve everything, immediately, to dramatically improve all aspects of the life of the People, enough was done to be able to affirm that the economic life of the country continues to give positive signals.
  12. Our democracy has been consolidated year after year. Timor-Leste was considered the most democratic country in Southeast Asia, according to The Economist’s independent evaluation of the Democracy Index. This study, published in 2017, considers electoral processes, pluralism, freedoms and guarantees, political participation, political culture and the functioning of the Timor-Leste institutions.

1.2 Current Scenario

  1. It is estimated that the total population of Timor-Leste currently reaches 1,268,671 people, with an annual growth of about 2.37%, about 51.24% of the inhabitants are less than 20 years old. In Timor- Leste, about 49.2% of the population are women and 78% live outside the capital, Dili.
  2. The Timorese economy grew at an average yearly rate of 11%, between 2008 and 2011. In 2016, non-oil GDP amounted to US $ 1,702 million, representing a growth of 5.3%, and a Per Capita GDP of US $ 1,338.00, a figure that in 14 years tripled from the US $ 480.60 registered in 2002. However, 46% of the growth between 2010 and 2015 is due to Public Administration action, with another 24% coming from the construction sector promoted by public investment.
  3. The result of this growth has been the reduction of poverty in Timor-Leste. After the large increase between 2001 and 2007, from 36.3% to 50%, the poverty level has been steadily declining, from 50% in 2007 to 42% in 2014. A level which has been reduced even further if the international poverty indicator (US $ 1.9 per day) is used, based on which the incidence of extreme poverty fell from 47% in 2007 to 30% in 2014 (a decrease accompanied by other improvements in living standards, such as increased access to electricity, housing quality and asset ownership).
  4. Private consumption levels are also reflecting this economic growth and poverty reduction. According to the World Bank, between 2004 and 2014, Timorese households accounted for an increase in private consumption of 160 per cent. In 2016, private consumption grew 4.2%, with vehicle registrations increasing by 8% and the number of foreign visitors increasing by 6.6%. However, although there was a notable reduction in poverty between 2007 and 2014, consumption inequality remained broadly unchanged over the same period, as can be seen from the Gini index of 0.28 in 2007 and 0.29 in 2014. This corresponds to the need to continue efforts to reduce poverty and inequality and to strengthen overall economic growth.
  5. The construction sector, as an indicator of the economic dynamics, in 2016, had a total projected construction area of 92,814 m², corresponding to a total of 46 licenses granted, with a projected value of 37,716 million dollars. This compares with 2008, when the projected construction area totaled 40,453 m², with 22 licenses, and a projected value of only 11,319 million dollars.
  6. In relation to purchase of own transport, in 2016 there are records of 19,498 vehicles bought, 83.6% of which are motorcycles, 9% passenger cars, 5.8% to light commercial vehicles and 1.5% heavy vehicles. Values contrast with those from 10 years ago, when the total of purchases was 5,669 vehicles, with 71.5% of these motorcycles.
  7. As an important indicator of the social and technological development of the population, consumption at the telecommunications and Internet sectors also reveals substantial changes in the current situation. In 2015 there were a total of 3,965 fixed-line subscribers in contrast to the 827,685 mobile subscribers. In terms of Internet service subscription, a total of 190,444 subscribers were registered in 2015. In contrast, in 2012 there were 11,700 subscribers of fixed telephone service, while the mobile network still had 687,682 subscribers. The Internet, in 2012, had 64,733 subscribers (data provided by Timor Telecom).
  8. Timor-Leste remains among the 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) identified in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Report (UNCTAD) for 2017. With an economy overly dependent on public expenditure policies and programs, the lack of a consistent diversification of the economy that can foster private sector-led economic growth has been hampering sustainable development and less dependence on oil dividends.
  9. Data from the National Employment Strategy 2017-2030 shows 60% of the Timorese population were in active age in 2013, of which only 31% were in the labor force (excluding subsistence agriculture). Of those who were part of the labor force, less than 25% had formal employment, that is, in compliance with the Labor Law, with the remainder having informal employment or being self-employed.
  10. It is estimated that the economically active population will increase by almost 18% between 2013 and 2018, from 630,000 to 742,000, and the economically active population is expected to reach 914,000 by 2030. In addition, by 2023 approximately 37% of the economically active population will be composed of young men and women under the age of 25, while 60% will be under the age of 35.
  11. Credit to the private sector, which stagnated in 2015 and 2016, even declining 1.8% in 2016, has been recovering, with an increase of 25% in 2017. This growth is not unrelated to the sharp drop in bad credit levels, which fell from 23% in 2015 to 15% in the first quarter of 2017.
  12. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has been declining consecutively since 2011, even reaching a depreciation of 1.3% in 2016, shows an inflation by 0.6 per cent in 2017, with the World Bank predicting that the trend will continue in 2018, at 1.5 per cent, and by 2019 increase to 2.5 per cent.
  13. Timor-Leste has been investing its natural resource revenues in a sovereign wealth fund, the Petroleum Fund, consistent with the principles of transparency and good governance, and is required to withdraw only limited amounts to finance national strategic priorities of the General State Budget, as is the case with basic infrastructures, education and health.
  14. This Fund, established in 2005 with an opening balance of $ 205 million, is a tool that contributes to a sound fiscal policy, which considers and duly weighs the long-term interests of the East Timorese, as the amount of transfers is based on the Estimated Sustainable Income (ESI), established as 3% of total oil wealth. The objective of the ESI is to smooth out temporarily high oil revenue spending and to shield against the volatility of oil revenue inflows and safeguard sustainable use of public finances.
  15. By amending the Petroleum Fund Law in 2011, after a rigorous and participatory process, there was an allocation of up to 50% in government bonds, 50% in fixed income instruments and up to 5% in alternative instruments. This strategy of diversification of the Petroleum Fund proved to be solid and positive and provided solid returns. According to the World Bank, the Fund, which is affected by oil revenues, by the return on net investment and by withdrawals, will have a market value of US $ 16,922 million by the end of 2018.
  16. Still on the development of the oil sector, it is important to remember that in 2007, Timor-Leste joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), having developed, with only a decade of independence, a world-class system to manage oil revenue – the first country in Asia Pacific and the third largest in the world to have been granted EITI compliance status – in terms publishing and transparency, in July 2010.
  17. The first State General Budget was $ 75.6 million, corresponding to international donations. By 2017, Timor-Leste’s overall budget had grown to US $ 1,414.4 million. Significant growth in public spending required the Government to develop a system of public finance management that was efficient, accountable and transparent
  18. As such, several reforms were initiated for greater professionalism in the Ministry of Finance and other ministries, which has improved management and financial implementation and service delivery.
  19. In 2008, to further ensure the best possible management of resources, the Government created the National Petroleum Authority (ANP), transformed in 2016 into the National Authority of Petroleum and Minerals (ANPM), as a public institution responsible for the management and regulation of oil and mining activities in Timor-Leste, both offshore and onshore, and in the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA).
  20. To maximize Timor-Leste’s participation in the development of the oil sector, the Government also created in 2011 the Timor-Leste national oil company, TIMOR GAP E.P.
  21. The creation of the Petroleum and Geology Institute (IPG) in 2012 and of the national mining company Murak-Rai Timor-Leste SA in 2017 aimed to develop geological studies and protect the interests of the State in the exploration of mineral resources from the country
  22. With this real scenario of the current socio-economic situation of the Country, the Eight Constitutional Government assumes job creation as its number one priority. To this end, the Government commits itself to creating all possible conditions to leverage economic diversification in productive areas such as agriculture, livestock, fisheries and tourism, in addition to the industrial sector. To this end, the creation of a Development Bank, open to foreign investment, aims to provide a credit line to national companies, to start with confidence, an active and effective participation in the country’s economic growth.
  23. The National Development Bank (BDN) will also play the central role in managing the Veterans’ Fund and the Social Security Fund to ensure the future sustainability of these Funds, the proper use of the Veterans Fund and how to give greater certainty in the management of pensions, freeing the State from an annual financial obligation.


“The true wealth of any nation is the strength of its people. Maximizing the overall health, education, and quality of life of the Timorese people is essential if a just and well-developed Nation is to be achieved.”

Timor-Leste’s economic development is a national goal that depends heavily on the empowerment, health and qualification of its workforce. Investing in human capital is therefore a key strategy to enable sustainable development while creating conditions for greater inclusion, well-being and dignity in Timorese society. A culturally democratic and developed society is also one that leaves no one behind, investing in the most fragile and vulnerable groups, and where the fundamental role of women, young and old, is assumed for sustainable development, recognizing not only their rights under the Constitution, such as, in the case of women’s rights, promoting gender equality and transversality at all political, social and economic moments in the country and in all its institutions.

2.1 Education and Training

Removing barriers to access to education and ensuring that all children and young people have access to quality education, regardless of their social and economic status and where they live in, is a priority strategy of the Government. Access to quality education should never be a privilege of some, but rather education must be an inclusive instrument that allows for the leveling of differences in socio-economic opportunities, and thus, making it possible to promote the equitable development of the Nation.

Education is a fundamental right of all citizens and the main tool for social and economic development, as well as for the creation of a healthy and prosperous society.

In 2023, Timor-Leste aims to achieve better quality education with broader access opportunities for all, an education that can effectively meet the needs of the labor market, contribute to reducing unemployment through lifelong learning and, essentially, break the vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty. Education to be achieved will foster learning to serve as a basis for citizens to become active in sustainable development, nation-building and to apply their human potential and creativity in favor of innovation.

To achieve this result, the VIII Constitutional Government Program in the Education sector reflects a coherent and integrated program. Through this program, it is stated that the true path to achieve the expected results in a sustainable way is through the effective participation of the educational community and the active contribution of the various public and private entities (including civil society and the private sector) based on a firm coordination system. Also, this Program promotes the definition and implementation of educational interventions based on scientific and concrete evidence and rigorous, quality studies.

In this sense, the Government will improve the quality of education and vocational training, ensuring equality of access for the entire Timorese population to all areas of education. To achieve this, it will:

  1. Reform the management and administration of the education system at the level of the Ministry of Education, municipalities and schools, including the definition of adequate procedures and systems for monitoring and evaluation;
  2. Strengthen the conditions for children between the ages of three and five to have access to compulsory basic education, including pre-school education, in facilities close to their home, and to ensure effective participation of the educational community;
  3. Solidify the conditions for universal, compulsory and free basic education of better quality. Basic education will be a center to learn to know, learn to do, learn to live with others and learn to be. By the age of six, all children will have access to quality basic education, with the acquisition of solid mathematical and literacy skills in the official languages, and basic skills in the English language as a foreign language, as well as the fundamental values of national identity, of Timorese history and culture;
  4. Strengthen the conditions for a secondary education where scientific, humanistic and technical knowledge is acquired. Students will learn to apply this knowledge in the productive sectors of the country, being prepared to enter the labor market or to pursue higher studies, at university or polytechnics. The Government will continue to provide two options: general secondary education, or technical vocational secondary education;
  5. Ensure that attendance at higher education can better respond to the labor market, ensuring equal access for all and strengthening the mechanisms for accreditation and quality assessment of this level of education;
  6. Strengthen opportunities for those who want to study and deepen their knowledge, especially the most vulnerable, and those facing the greatest challenges, through attractive and flexible educational programs based on quality methodology for adult education;
  7. Modernize and ensure greater relevance of continuing vocational training efforts by strengthening more effective measures such as mentoring and monitoring, and the use of information technology and IT, multimedia materials and distance learning to ensure quality teachers, able to shape the future of Timor-Leste;
  8. Continue to develop national human resources through multiannual programs, strategies and investments. The Human Capital Development Fund will continue to contribute to the development of youth and adult education and training in a transparent and coordinated manner, based on the identification of the most deprived areas of knowledge and skills;
  9. Strengthen the National Education Commission (CNE) as a mechanism for promoting inclusive and participatory dialogue among all stakeholders in the education sector and close coordination between the Ministry of Education, civil society, the private sector and development partners;
  10. Centre the Program in inclusive education, promoting a culture of respect for diversity, recognizing the diverse talents and multiple capacities of all, promoting the success of all students and effectively inviting them to have a future as respected citizens throughout the community, ensuring student-centered education as a daily reality, while still representing the key principle for educational policy.
  11. Consolidate the Tetum language, to guarantee the standardization of the language, to promote its use in educational institutions, in the different areas of governance, in the media and by the general population.

In this way, the Government undertakes to reinvigorate the implementation of the National Strategic Education Plan 2011-2030 and to achieve the following goals over the next five years:

2.1.1 Pre-School Education

2.1.2 Primary Education

2.1.3 General Secondary and Technical-Vocational Education

2.1.4 Continuing Education

2.1.5 Strengthening Social Cohesion Through Education

2.1.6 Management & Quality of Teaching

2.1.7 Higher Education

2.1.8 Human Capital Development Fund

The Human Capital Development Fund (FDCH) was established in 2011 with the mission of contributing to the development of national human resources in various strategic development areas through the funding of pluri-annual training programs and projects aimed at strengthening the capacity of East Timorese professionals. This fund includes vocational training programs, mainly focused on young people, technical vocational training for civil servants as well as young teachers, Police and Defense Forces and scholarship programs for state officials and the public, with the objective they acquire an initial or advanced academic degree.

The Government will continue to:

2.2 Health

All citizens have the right to health and medical care and the duty to defend and promote it. According to the Constitution of the Republic, the State should promote the creation of a universal, general and, where possible, free universal health service.

The Government will continue to implement the National Health Policy and the National Strategic Plan for the Health Sector 2011-2030 (PENSS 2011-2030), maintaining the vision of having a “healthy Timor-Leste”, where all East Timorese can have access to health care and where health is seen as a global development factor in the fight against poverty.

Government initiatives for the health sector will continue to be guided by maximizing efforts to ensure better delivery of health services, as well as generalizing access to quality health care, constantly assessing efficiency, transparency and professionalism in the management of financial, human, material and logistical resources, infrastructures and equipment.

To this end, the National Health System will be strengthened, represented by a set of interdependent elements that contribute to health and well-being in families, educational establishments, workplaces and public places and together with communities through the training of health care providers, health professionals, drug supply and distribution systems, and emergency medical systems.

2.2.1 The general objectives for the Health sector are:

  1. Improve the delivery of health care throughout the country, with special attention to remote areas and the most disadvantaged sections of the population, following the principles of inclusion, equity, efficiency and quality.
  2. Improve financing systems and management of financial, human, logistical, material and equipment resources and health infrastructure;
  3. Further develop efforts towards the decentralization of Health Services, improving coordination with the Ministry of State Administration and relevant institutions;
  4. Improve the intersectoral coordination of the entire Government towards the achievement of a “healthy Timor-Leste”, including improving nutrition and sanitary conditions through concerted strategies to improve agriculture and food self-sufficiency, increase animal production and improve the fisheries sector, as well as through the provision of electricity, clean water and basic sanitation;
  5. Review and improve the structure of the National Health System, its organization, resources and technical capacity to improve the provision of integrated services in enough quantity and quality, including improving the systems for planning, monitoring, evaluation and collection of indicators.
  6. Continue to invest to ensure safety and quality improvement of health service delivery;
  7. Ensure better functioning of the Autonomous Service of Medicines and Health Equipment (SAMES, I.P) and the National Health Laboratory, to guarantee the availability and distribution of medicines, reagents and medical consumables with efficiency, speed and quality.
  8. Ensure better operation of Emergency Services and patient transfer;

Establish partnerships with Civil Society, Private Sector and Development Partners to develop awareness campaigns throughout the country that improve health prevention and improvement of health care and promotion of healthy habits in the sectors of nutrition, immunization, reproductive health, mental health and environmental health.

To pursue these objectives, the Government will carry out the following actions and seek to achieve the following goals:

2.2.2 Provision of Primary Health Services

  1. Ensure that all sucos, with a population of 1500 to 2000 people, mainly located in remote areas, have access to a Health Post with a comprehensive package of services;
  2. Ensure that the Community Health Centers, in the administrative posts, provide attendance to between 5000 and 15000 people, and have the capacity to manage about 4 Health Offices in their respective geographic areas;
  3. Increase the rate of pregnant women who receive antenatal care at least four times during the gestation period to 70%;
  4. Increase the rate of childbirth assisted by a health professional to 80%;
  5. Increase the rate of coverage of postnatal care to 90% in the first two weeks after delivery;
  6. Continue to promote the improvement of the nutritional status of the population, with a special focus on infants and children, including the prevention and treatment of nutritional deficiencies, as well as through campaigns to change nutritional behavior – a goal that can contribute to reducing the rate of malnutrition (malnutrition and obesity), including the percentage of children benefiting from monitoring of growth;
  7. Guarantee 90% immunization against poliomyelitis, measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria and hepatitis B;
  8. Continue to prepare and implement the plan for the prevention of rheumatic heart disease and rheumatic fever;
  9. Reduce the impact and raise awareness and prevention of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, asthma, malaria, dengue and leprosy;
  10. Continue to improve access to treatment related to psychological and mental illness;
  11. Strengthen actions to promote oral health and improve dental services;
  12. Strengthen actions to promote eye health and improve ophthalmological services;
  13. Strengthen health promotion actions based on eating habits and improve service delivery for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension;
  14. Promote general health campaigns involving families, communities and schools, for the prevention of diseases related to the consumption of drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sexually transmitted diseases and other risk behaviors in the face of contagious diseases.

2.2.3 Provision of Hospital Health Services

  1. Continue to plan, finance and make available the provision of cardiac and palliative care at the Guido Valadares National Hospital;
  2. Plan, finance and make available oncological and renal care, as well as other specialized health care at Guido Valadares National Hospital;
  3. Establish neurosurgery services;
  4. Increase the number and quality of specialized doctors and technicians at Guido Valadares National Hospital and Reference Hospitals, considering a comprehensive package of secondary and tertiary health care;
  5. Strengthen the conditions and availability of the National Hospital and Reference Hospitals so that they continue to serve as training centers for all health professionals, with increased quality;
  6. Prepare a detailed study to gauge the country’s needs and financing conditions, with a view to achieving the goal of building a hospital in each municipality by 2030;
  7. Reduce the transfer of patients for medical treatment abroad, through an offer of better services, equipment, means of diagnosis and specialized doctors at Guido Valadares National Hospital;
  8. Implement policies to decongest hospitals, i.e. “return” or “counter referral” of patients requiring primary care to CSCs;
  9. Decentralize the management and financial management competencies of Reference Hospitals to ensure institutional strengthening and better autonomy over the management of resources allocated to these hospitals.
  10. Reform the National Health Laboratory to improve access and management of laboratory services throughout the territory
  11. Reform the Blood Bank for better management of blood supply systems and their substitutes.

2.2.4 Infrastructures in the Health Sector

  1. Continue to build and rehabilitate Health Centers to reach the goal of 1 Health Post for each suco and for each locality with 1000 to 5000 inhabitants;
  2. Continue to rehabilitate and increase the capacity (equipment, human resources) of the Community Health Centers;
  3. Ensure that both Health Centers and Community Health Centers are properly equipped and operational, including expanding HNGV facilities/buildings to accommodate additional specialties and providing accommodation for visiting specialists;
  4. Expand medical equipment but also support and access to information technologies;
  5. Ensure that 100% of the buildings integrated in the National Health System have access to electricity, drinking water and basic sanitation;
  6. Ensure that health professionals who perform functions outside their area of residence, and especially in remote areas, have adequate housing;
  7. Continue to rehabilitate and increase the technical capacity of Reference Hospitals to be able to offer more specialized services to the population;
  8. Continue to increase the buildings of the central services division of the Ministry of Health to decently accommodate existing staff.

2.2.5 Management & Distribution of Medicine & Medical Equipment

  1. Enable the Autonomous Service of Medicines and Health Equipment (SAMES, I.P) to provide better services and ensure the efficiency in the procurement and logistics of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment for the National Health Service.
  2. Reduce stock break to less than 20% in the SAMES warehouse and less than 10% in the health units;
  3. Improve the provision and distribution of medicines and associated products throughout the National Health Service, focusing on speed, efficiency, transparency and quality of services, through better coordination and communication between SAMES and relevant entities;
  4. Reform the National Health Laboratory for better management and quality control of clinical analyzes and blood supply systems;
  5. Implement regulations and supervision of pharmacies and non-specialized drug sales.
  6. Regulate the use of alternative and complementary medicine and promote traditional Timorese medicine.

2.2.6 Medical Emergencies

  1. Ensure the quality and efficiency of the emergency services, from the service line, to the speed of response with appropriate means and professionals to each emergency case, 24 hours a day;
  2. Ensure the existence of an adequate and appropriate fleet of emergency transport, namely ambulances and multifunction vehicles, with capacity to travel throughout the country;
  3. Strengthen the capacity for emergency evacuation by air, especially from remote locations or difficult to reach by land.

2.2.7 Management & Administration of the Health Sector

  1. Implement the National Health Strategic Plan 2011-2030;
  2. Review and improve the structure of the National Health System, including its organization, resources and technical capacity, to improve the delivery of integrated services, including improving systems for planning, monitoring, evaluation and collection of indicators;
  3. Improve financing systems and the management of financial, logistical, material and equipment resources and infrastructures in the health sector;
  4. Develop and operationalize a plan for the optimization of human and material resources, including training, capacity building and performance evaluation, to improve the hygiene and conditions of all buildings providing primary and hospital health services;
  5. Implement a survey of the conditions, and subsequent improvement, of the health units in all primary and hospital health care facilities;
  6. Continue efforts to decentralize health services, improving coordination with the Ministry of State Administration and relevant institutions;
  7. Develop and implement appropriate standards of health and safety at work in all State institutions;
  8. Fully implement the regulation of the provision of services by private health units, in accordance with the public health system;
  9. Improve Health Information Systems with a view to collecting the clinical information of each user in a single register, allowing for its rapid consultation and, at the same time, electronic prescription of medicines and use of complementary diagnostic means, with the objective of gathering an Electronic Health Record for all citizens.

2.2.8 Health Human Resources

  1. Continue to create conditions so that all Health Posts have of 1 doctor, two nurses and two midwives;
  2. Continue to create conditions so that all villages, located more than an hour’s walk from a health center, have access to a competent health professional;
  3. Continue to train the National Institute of Health to guarantee the quality of teaching, investigation and health research, and to improve the supervision of the training institutions of the sector;
  4. In partnership with higher education institutions and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Culture, review higher education curricula for the training of health professionals;
  5. Implement policies to ensure academic training, professional qualification and continuous training of health professionals;
  6. Continue to invest in improving professional skills and technical capabilities of human resources in health by providing appropriate training to senior, middle and senior staff;
  7. Stimulate partnerships and international cooperation to train and capacitate health professionals, from specialized health professionals to technicians and other human resources in the health sector, as well as in administration, management, finance, procurement and accounting;
  8. Implement labor force plans, staffing charts, regulations and standards and codes of conduct of health professionals.

2.3 Social Inclusion, Social Protection and Solidarity

Since the country became independent, successive governments have been giving priority to assisting the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of Timorese society. Although we know that, in the long term, the provision of quality education and training and the creation of employment opportunities will be the fundamental instruments to escape from poverty, until then it is the State’s duty to ensure that the National Liberation Combatants (who made numerous sacrifices for the Homeland), women and children (who hold the key to the success formula for sustainable development), as well as poor and needy families, the elderly and other vulnerable citizens (such as people with disabilities), have access to the satisfaction of their basic needs and well-being, as well as access to opportunities to emerge from their state of fragility.

The Government will therefore continue to support this segment of the population, while developing policies and strategies that reduce dependence on State support, in particular;

2.3.1 National Liberation Combatants

The Constitution stipulates that the State shall ensure special protection for war mutilated, orphans and other dependents of those who have dedicated their lives to the struggle for independence and national sovereignty and to protect all those who participated in the resistance to foreign occupation under the law. The law also defines mechanisms for honoring national heroes.

The Government will therefore continue to recognize the inestimable value of national heroes, to preserve and celebrate the memory of the struggle and to ensure that all those who have lived with sacrifice to achieve the common good can now live with dignified conditions, because the dignity of the country also depends on it.

The Government will continue to carry out the following actions:

2.3.2 Women

Women and men have the same rights and obligations in all aspects of family, cultural, social, economic and political life. For these rights to be realized and for Timorese women to contribute better and more to our society and the country’s growth, the Government will

2.3.3 Children

The child has the right to special protection by the family, the community and the State, particularly against all forms of neglect, discrimination, violence, oppression, sexual abuse and exploitation. The child enjoys all the rights that are universally recognized, as well as all those that are enshrined in International Conventions, regularly ratified or approved by the State. All children, born in or out of wedlock, enjoy the same rights and the same social protection.

With this in mind, the Government will continue to take measures to:

2.3.4 Aged

All senior citizens have the right to special protection by the State. Third-age policy encompasses measures of an economic, social and cultural nature aimed at providing the elderly with opportunities for personal fulfillment through a dignified and active participation in the life of the community. Giving attention to this section of our population, the Government will:

2.3.5 Other Vulnerable Groups

The citizen, with a disability, enjoys the same rights and is subject to the same duties of other citizens, except for the exercise or fulfillment of those for which he is unable due to the disability.

As support measures for these groups of citizens, the Government will:

2.4 Culture & Heritage

According to the Constitution of the Republic, the state recognizes and guarantees citizens the right to culture and determines that everyone has the right to cultural enjoyment and creation, as well as the duty to preserve, defend and value cultural heritage. Culture is also a peaceful and constructive way of developing personality and expressing emotions, enhancing an awareness of citizenship and valuing individual sensitivity and empathy for the other. Thus, culture has a fundamental and irreplaceable role in building a peaceful and modern society. In this sense, efforts will be made to promote and enhance the various artistic expressions, in addition to safeguarding and promoting the historical and cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, including archaeological and built heritage, music, languages and dialects and oral history, traditional architecture, handicrafts and any and all forms of artistic, traditional or modern expression.

The Government will also make use of culture and cultural heritage to promote patriotic awareness and a sense of belonging and national identity, thus contributing to create optimism and well-being in the population and stimulate their participation in the sustainable development of the country. We will therefore promote the following general objectives in the culture and heritage sector.

To achieve the general objectives described above, the Government will develop the following actions and achieve the following goals:

2.5 Youth

The State promotes and encourages Youth initiatives in the consolidation of National Unity, in the reconstruction, defense and development of the Country. The State promotes education, health and vocational training for young people as far as they can.

Timorese youth are the future leaders of the Nation and it is up to them to transform the Country by contributing to its sustainable development. Timor-Leste is a very young nation, where more than 50% are under the age of 20, most of whom need to acquire better and more qualifications and access to job opportunities and personal and professional fulfillment.

The commitment of the Timorese Government is to create opportunities that enable young people to realize their potential.

To this end, the Government intends to implement the following actions and achieve the following goals:

2.6 Sport

One of the best ways to properly shape the character of young people and foster values of cooperation, friendship and team spirit, while improving the physical condition of young people, is to bet on the development of Sport.

Sport is a crucial part of the lives of young people, engaging them in better and more social relationships and promoting dialogue, tolerance, ethics, democracy, healthy competition and even leadership. In general terms, Sport can unite people and make them work towards a common ideal, promoting a strong national identity, which is expected of all citizens in the construction and development of the country.

Finally, physical activity is an important factor for the quality of life of human beings, ensuring a higher productivity of people and a sense of well-being.

To promote and encourage the practice of sports activities for our youth, girls and boys, the Government will continue to develop the following goals and actions:

2.7 Information & Communication Technologies (ICT)

We are living in an age of globalization and technology, where citizens of any country can access knowledge quickly and comprehensively. It is, however, necessary to create conditions for access to information and communication technologies and to instill in people and institutions their active participation in the production, dissemination and use of knowledge.

The domain of Information and Communication Technologies will contribute to improving the quality of education and training, to improve management and public administration and to develop the private sector, factors necessary for the country’s competitiveness and sustainable development.

Thus, the Government will continue with the following actions:

2.8 Media

The Constitution of the Republic guarantees freedom of the press and other media, including the journalist’s freedom of expression and creation, access to sources of information, editorial freedom, protection of independence and professional secrecy and the right to create newspapers, publications and other means of dissemination. The State must ensure the freedom and independence of public media bodies in the face of political power and economic power and ensure the non-monopolization of the media.

It is also incumbent upon the State to ensure the existence of a public radio and television service, which must be impartial so that, among other objectives, it protects and disseminates the culture and traditions of East Timor, as well as guarantee the expression of pluralism of opinion. The Government will:

2.9 Religion

According to the Constitution of Timor-Leste, every person is guaranteed freedom of conscience, religion and worship, and religious confessions are separated from the State. No one shall be persecuted or discriminated against on the grounds of his or her religious beliefs and the freedom of education to any religion shall be guaranteed within the framework of their religious confession. The Government will continue to support and collaborate with different institutions and religious denominations, encouraging initiatives that promote the moral and ethical values of society, as well as the promotion of peace, family and social harmony and tolerance.

2.10 Civil Society

Civil Society is a decisive part of the process of state-building, of the development and democratic consolidation of Timor-Leste.

The partnership between the Government and civil society organizations must be strengthened to ensure a more active and responsible participation in the implementation of the country’s strategic agenda for development.

Supporting civil society in fulfilling its role is also an integral part of the Government’s strategy to ensure good governance and to promote social inclusion. The building of a healthy Nation implies the development of an equally healthy and independent civil society.

The Government will therefore contribute to the improvement of the capacities, initiatives and actions of Civil Society, thus promoting tolerance, peace and human dignity and maintaining the State responsible for its actions and promoting alternative and progressive solutions for the Country.

2.11 Housing

Everyone has the right, for himself and for his family, to a dwelling of adequate size, in conditions of hygiene and comfort, that preserves personal intimacy and family privacy.

To provide decent housing for our citizens, the Government will:


“A central pillar of the Strategic Development Plan is the construction and maintenance of a range of productive infrastructures”.

Infrastructures are crucial to economic and social development, and the scale and costs associated with the implementation of an infrastructure network are a huge challenge to sustain productivity, job creation and private sector development at the national level.

For this reason, planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation are an essential part of this strategy. Thus, in the short term, the Government proposes to carry out a detailed survey of all infrastructures and projects underway, for reassessment, correction and restructuring of the infrastructures, combating the asymmetries and filling the many gaps still existing in terms of basic infrastructures in the country.

One of the Government’s top priorities in relation to the infrastructure sector is to require greater professionalism from human resources and contractors in this sector, implementing an institutional reform that includes better planning, monitoring, inspection and inspection of projects and works in progress. Considering that to build a productive and modern economy, significant investment in large-scale infrastructures is necessary, quality construction and cost-benefit building must be ensured while projecting future investments in operation and maintenance and assessing available resources and future sustainability.

It is intended, with this infrastructure plan, to combat extreme poverty in the country. It is in this context that, through the construction of basic infrastructures, we also want to:

3.1 Infrastructure Sector Governance

It is proposed to carry out a detailed survey, updating all existing basic infrastructures and ongoing infrastructural projects, for revaluation, correction and restructuring of the infrastructure plan, ensuring quality and cost-effective construction thereof, and designing future required investments in terms of operation and maintenance and assessing available resources and future sustainability.

To this end, the Government also proposes, in more specific terms:

3.2 Road Network

The Government will continue to implement the infrastructure plan for the country’s road network, including the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of national, municipal and rural roads, according to international quality and safety criteria.

In this context, we highlight the following main actions and goals:

3.3 Water & Sanitation

The Government’s objectives in this area are:

3.4 Energy

Access to a regular and reliable supply of electricity is a basic right and the foundation for Timor Leste’s economic growth. In this regard, continuing to invest in this sector is crucial to improving the quality of life of Timorese and to supporting the growth of industry, trade and tourism, contributing to economic and social development in rural and urban areas.

The Government therefore intends to continue to focus on updating and improving electricity transmission and distribution systems, while investing in the expansion of renewable energy systems.

3.4.1 Electricity Supply

The Government will prioritize the following actions and goals:

3.4.2 Natural Gas

Timor-Leste has access to vast gas reserves in the Timor Sea. The availability of natural gas to produce electricity has the potential to offer cheaper and cleaner fuel compared to liquid fuels. In environmental terms, for the same amount of electricity produced, the carbon emissions of electricity produced from natural gas are considerably lower than the electricity produced from diesel.

Following the signing of the Timor-Leste-Australia Treaty on Maritime Borders in the Timor Sea, the Government will begin negotiations with the oil companies on the development of the Greater Sunrise field and seek to ensure the construction of gas processing facilities on the south coast of Timor-Leste. In this context, it will develop feasibility and sustainability studies on the use of natural gas to produce electricity, making efforts to use energy that is less costly and considers environmental issues.

3.4.3 Renewable Energies

Renewable energy sources can contribute to economic growth and to reduce poverty levels in remote rural areas. In addition, they contribute to a less polluted environment and to mitigate the impacts of climate change, in complying with the commitments made at international Conventions.

In this context, studies will be resumed for the implementation of renewable and non-polluting energy production projects, such as:

For this, the Government will recommend the following actions:

3.5 Transport

Creating conditions for economic growth and improving and increasing the circulation of people and goods, is fundamental to implementing the vision contained in the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.

As such, it is imperative to improve the land, sea and air transport systems and to put in place a weather forecasting system which, among other things, offers safety, particularly about air traffic. Thus, the Government will review the situation regarding the transport sector, approve the Integrated Master Transport Plan, improve the institutional capacity of the sector and train and capacitate the necessary human resources.

It will continue to produce the necessary legislation and implement the existing legal framework,in an integrated way, to ensure transport safety and ensure intersectoral coordination.

The public transport safety system will be improved by implementing a structure for recording, analyzing and reporting transport-related activities that could cause injury, death, loss or property damage. The structure will, among others, investigate transportation accidents and provide transport safety recommendations.

3.5.1 Land Transport

The Government will continue to promote the development of public and private land transport, including the development of infrastructures and support facilities. This includes adequate road signs and the guarantee of their compliance, in a way that is feasible throughout the country.

For urban areas, traffic management measures will be updated to respond to certain situations. Traffic technologies, such as the use of innovative transport systems (e.g., modern signaling intersections for traffic monitoring), will be deployed to better manage traffic and promote passenger safety. The Government will endeavor to develop, approve and implement a national road safety and prevention policy.

The comfort and safety of public transport passengers will be improved. A high-quality public transport system will be introduced in appropriate ways so that passengers have access to a more comfortable, efficient and safe public transport network.

Also, in this area, and with a view to improving public transport services available, the Government will make efforts to expand and modernize support facilities such as terminals and various services provided to the public.

It will also seek to ensure continuous monitoring of active operators, encouraging the improvement of their services and compliance with applicable legislation, which should be subject to a review process with a view to its improvement.

3.5.2 Maritime Transport

The development of port infrastructures is essential to enable Timor-Leste to import essential goods and equipment, with a view to strengthening and diversifying the national economy. Investment in the country’s port system will continue to follow the development of the Port of Tibar. Operational efficiency and regional port facilities will be improved, including the development of new regional ports, to ensure that maritime transport remains a viable option for the transportation of people and cargo, and to generate economic gains, especially for fishing communities.

In this sense, the Government will:

3.5.3 Air Transport

Air transport is the key service for transporting people and goods to and from our country. It’s safety plays a crucial role in the development of our tourism, business and commerce industry. To allow for more reliable air service between Timor-Leste and regional and international destinations, efforts will be made to create the conditions for more scheduled flights with more flight destination options.

To meet the growing number of passengers, the planned improvements at Presidente Nicolau Lobato Airport will be implemented. Investing in air transport is fundamental to respond to future air traffic demand, coupled with the country’s economic growth.

To this end, the Government will:

3.6 Meteorology

Continue to develop a meteorological system to support the needs in the areas of: Civil Aviation, shipping, agriculture and other public services. The Government will commission a study to assess the possibility of establishing a meteorological laboratory and assess the human resources needs, draw up an investment study and consider establishing bilateral cooperation mechanisms to produce this data and create conditions to make weather information available to the public.

3.7 Telecommunications

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a vital tool for enabling the digital economy, as a new sector of economic growth, and for promoting good governance. The Government will ensure that the country has a reliable, quality and safe telecommunications network that is crucial for the socio-economic development of the Timorese population. The country’s ICT infrastructure has improved significantly following the introduction of a competitive telecommunications market in 2012. Mobile service coverage (2G network) has reached 96% of population areas, and access to 3G data services is now available in all municipalities with the 4G network recently launched in urban centers. Having achieved mobile services, the new challenges are to develop broadband networks and services.

The Government will continue its efforts to create a modern telecommunications network that connects people to each other in Timor-Leste and between Timor-Leste and the world, taking full advantage of advances in global telecommunications including production, diffusion and use of knowledge.

The Government therefore has as its actions and goals:

3.8 Postal Service

The postal service is a public service of great importance that allows the sending of correspondence, books, publications and other types of parcels in the national territory, at relatively affordable prices, as well as dispatch correspondence and other goods abroad.

The Government in this sector proposes to:


“Timor-Leste is a low-income country with an emerging private sector, with limited economic diversification and concentrated mainly on agricultural production. However, our country has considerable economic opportunities and a strong potential to become a middle-income nation.”

Although much progress has been made in this sector, Timor-Leste must continue to invest in strategic planning for a modern and diversified economy. Empowering the productive sectors around three essential industries – agriculture, tourism and oil – through the study and use of existing natural resources, taking advantage of the added value of geographical location and population profile, is a simple and successful strategy to lead to much-needed economic diversification and to mitigate dependence on oil revenues.

Job creation and the promotion of entrepreneurship are both a factor and an outcome in the pursuit of this economic development goal, and the Government must create conditions so that it is not alienated from the young, while promoting the private sector, resources which are key to increasing national productivity and creating opportunities for sustainable economic growth. To this end, the Government will introduce legal and political mechanisms to stimulate creativity, innovation and diversification of the national economy.

The Government of Timor-Leste will aim to: transform its natural wealth, whether from its soil or its seas, into food security, health, productivity and job creation opportunities. It will also transform hydrocarbons into development and welfare opportunities for the whole population through infrastructure development, the private sector and job creation. But it will also transform the wealth of its people, its natural landscape and its unique culture in entrepreneurship and increased incomes throughout the country.

To this end, it is essential to develop a National Planning Framework, with a view to the implementation of Development Poles in the various regions of the country, which defines the characteristics of each region and the growth potential of each sector and sub-sector, considering local resources available, for the implementation of actions and strategies for sustainable growth and equitable development throughout the country, under the motto that “if nature is rich, people cannot be poor”.

4.1 Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries & Forestry

The development of the primary sector is essential in a country where about 75% of the population lives in rural areas and where poverty levels are still high, with all the other weaknesses associated with poverty.

The Government therefore considers agriculture as the basis for economic and social development in the country. The improvement of this sector, coupled with the improvement of the fisheries and livestock sector, results in a short-term improvement in the quality and well- being of all East Timorese. Thus, the Government’s goal is to improve national food security, reduce rural poverty, support the transition from subsistence culture to enterprise production of agricultural, livestock and fisheries products, promote environmental sustainability and the conservation of the natural resources of Timor-Leste.

4.1.1 Agriculture

To meet the goal of food security, the Government will expand the agricultural sector, improve farming practices and agricultural productivity, develop actions to improve the production of specific and systematic agricultural crops, according to the potential of each region, while also ensuring the goal of developing the nation’s productive sectors.

The goals and actions for this area are: Coffee Culture

4.1.2 Livestock

The livestock sector in the country has great potential to contribute to the improvement of nutrition of the Timorese people, both through access and consumption of fresh meat and dairy products.

To improve this sector, it is necessary to invest in affordable and quality rations and to ensure the vaccination and deworming of the animals. Currently, surpluses and residues from agricultural production are not enough to create a domestic animal feed processing industry, which means that if there are improvements in agriculture, such as increased cultivation, or if there are sources of protein available through fish waste, there may be substantial improvement in the area of livestock. The Government intends to increase animal production by 20% by 2023, in order to reduce imports of animal products from abroad. The goals and actions to achieve for livestock development are:

4.1.3 Fisheries

Timor-Leste has more than 700 km of shoreline and an 72,000 km2 Exclusive Economic Zone, which represents access to maritime resources with a great exploration potential in the fishing sector, with only two municipalities, Aileu and Ermera, with no access to the coast.

Equally, aquaculture activities, such as algae extraction and the creation of shrimp, abalone, crabs and oysters, can also be developed along the coast, which will contribute to the creation of income for coastal communities.

It is, however, important to develop strategies in this sector, considering the different resources available and possible forms of exploration, as:

  1. The sea to the north of Timor-Leste has as its main features a small coastal platform, associated with the presence of corals with high temperatures, the depletion of nutrients due to the weak water supply along the streams and the absence of maritime resurgence, which also means which has a low recruitment of commercial species, low phytoplankton production, due to the reduced level of oxygen and high temperature, and also the significant reduction of the maternity areas, mangroves.
  2. The sea to the south of Timor-Leste, with greater wave intensity and more exposure to winds and without the protection of multiple Indonesian islands, has a greater nutrient intake, either through the streams or through resurgence phenomena that, due to a more extensive continental shelf, allows the conservation in the zone of exposure to light, of the nutrients capable of allowing the primary production of Phytoplankton

Timor-Leste, although insular, does not have a long tradition of fishing. This is often justified by the cultural and ancestral tradition, but also because of the surrounding environment: weak exploitation capacity of the northern sea and the danger of fishing with native resources in the southern sea. On the other hand, studies point to the fact that despite an increase in recent years of the fishing effort, in particular the number of active fishermen and the number of vessels, total catches do not increase in proportion to the increase in fishing effort, which may mean that the country may deplete the capacity of the environment, or, have little capacity for growth, without damaging the environment. There is, therefore, the need to study and implement approximation strategies that increase fish production in a sustainable way.

In this context, the Government will:

4.1.4 Forestry Production

Sustainable forest management of Timor-Leste’s forest resources is critical for families and communities that rely on this resource for food, fuel and income generation, as well as for farmers, who must consider the deforestation effect of erosion, landslides and water harvesting. Without it there will be no agricultural production. (TRANSLATOR NOTE: There were several errors in the highlighted previous two original paragraphs. Translator interpreted perceived intended meaning. Please check the translation to ensure adequate meaning was given in the translated sentences).

Timor-Leste has already lost its native forest, such as teak, mahogany, and sandalwood, which has damaged wildlife and deplete the food source. Therefore, it is urgent for the Government to act consistently in protecting the national forest areas, which represent about 50% of the country’s land area, so that this sector is economically profitable but also sustainable.

The Government is committed to the following actions:

4.2 Oil & Mineral Resources

One of the pillars of Timor-Leste’s future economic development is the oil and mineral resources sector, which will ensure that the wealth of natural resources will be used to build the Nation and provide progress and well-being for all Timorese people.

The national vision contained in the Strategic Development Plan (2011-2030) is that the necessary infrastructure for oil development must be implemented on the southern coast of the country and that it serves to generate direct economic dividends for the entire population, either through activities of the oil industry and the creation of related jobs, or through the development of support infrastructures on the south coast of Timor-Leste.

This development, called the Tasi Mane Project, is a multi-annual program aimed at creating three industrial hubs, considered the backbone of the Timorese oil industry.

In the short-term, and to achieve this vision, the Government will continue to engage in negotiations with the companies involved in the Greater Sunrise process, to implement the special regime for the Greater Sunrise Fields established in the Treaty for the delimitation of maritime borders between Timor-Leste and Australia, which was signed in March 2018.

The Tasi Mane project will contribute not only to the development of the South Coast in general, but also to the oil industry, in particular and it will also cover a wide range of direct and indirect economic impacts at the national, regional and local level, by providing economic benefits derived from the exploration of Timor-Leste’s natural resources.

This project will increase national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and export earnings, while creating employment opportunities during the construction and operation of related infrastructures, as well as acting as a catalyst for the development of the South Coast. It is expected that up to 10,000 direct jobs are generated from the Tasi Mane project and that more than 50,000 indirect jobs can be created, with the transformation of the oil sector, from the current stage of pure extraction to a more advanced stage of industrialization and creation of added value.

In addition, the Tasi Mane Project will generate indirect benefits, influencing a greater economic performance of the country, because of the dynamization of other industrial sectors. The investment made by the project participants, as well as by the workers, Government and private beneficiaries, will produce “multiplier effects” as the economic activities associated with the project will have an impact on the economy in general, resulting mainly from the acquisition of additional goods and services, both by the workers and by the companies, directly or indirectly, involved in the project.

Investment in productive physical assets (such as power plants, roads and airports) and social assets (such as the construction of new urban and educational centers, improved education and health services) may also benefit the economy, by maximizing the productivity of economic factors. One of the project’s significant impacts is the opportunities it will provide to local businesses. These opportunities include subcontracting services such as catering, engineering, security, fuel delivery, management services, professionals and technicians.

TIMOR GAP will continue to be mandated by the Government to manage and administer the Tasi Mane project. This Public Company will support the creation of support industries, and the development of human resources necessary for an efficient operationalization of the Petroleum sector. It is expected that the construction of these basic infrastructures will boost and encourage commercial investments in other projects and areas, incorporated in the impact area of Tasi Mane. This reality will transform the character of Timor-Leste’s current petroleum sector from its simply extractive dimension, allowing it to evolve into a more value-added, more industrial and diversified petroleum sector, including the development of a refinery and a petrochemical industry hub plant in Betano, as well as the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant.

The Government of Timor-Leste, as proponent and promoter of the integrated Tasi Mane project, will participate in the financing of some of these projects, as well as the basic infrastructure, such as the airport and the logistics base of Suai. The remaining Tasi Mane projects will be built and developed on a project finance basis and through other forms of private investment or mixed investment.

In this sense, the Government will continue to develop studies and investment plans, considering all the necessary context to carry out this project, including studies of environmental impact, to minimize the negative impacts on the natural and human environment.

Tasi Mane Project consists of the following development poles:


4.2.1. Development of a Logistics Base in Suai

A logistics base will be built and operationalized in Suai, located in Camanasa, Covalima Municipality, which incorporates the construction of logistics and maritime facilities. This base will serve to support all oil activities, conducted in the Timor-Leste Exclusive Area and adjacent areas in the Timor Sea, as well as other general economic, commercial and industrial activities.

The Suai Logistics Base will also serve as an entry point to support management of the supply chain of the activities of the other two industrial groups, namely the refinery and the petrochemical complex and LNG plant.

This logistics base will also cover:

This project will have a huge social impact as it will be a platform for new job opportunities, generating hundreds of jobs, supporting national economic development, and potentially improving the skills of local labor in areas such as steel manufacturing, civil construction, maritime construction, mechanical and electrical engineering, among others. Other non-oil industries, such as commercial fishing, are also expected to benefit from offshore installations. Environmental impact studies and public consultations on this project were carried out and the environmental license was granted in 2013 and subsequently renewed in 2015.

4.2.2 Development of a Petroleum Refinery and a Petrochemical Complex

The second development pole of the Tasi Mane Project consists of the Petroleum Refinery and the Betano Petrochemical Complex, located on the coast of the Manufahi municipality. These facilities are intended to convert the condensate, transported to the site from the Timor Sea fields, into a variety of fuels and other refined petroleum products. The project is expected to make Timor-Leste self sufficient in the supply of unleaded and diesel fuel, with scope to meet a future increase in domestic demand.

The refinery complex has an area of approximately 230 hectares. The main refinery facility consists of the processing unit and support units, such as utility units, waste treatment unit, raw material reservoirs and petroleum products, fire-fighting water and landfill for the management of solid waste. The complex will have support facilities, such as warehouses, operations building, administration building, laboratory, firefighting and security office and cafeteria. Water intended for refinery operations will be piped to the site from a water source 10 km from the refinery.

The initial stage of the development phase will establish a refinery for fuel production, not only for domestic consumption (diesel, gasoline, LPG and Nafta), but also for export. The pole of the refinery in Betano will be implemented through a commercial partnership, in which TIMOR GAP will play the role of main driver for the development of the project.

Feasibility studies for this project have already been developed, as well as environmental impact studies, and public consultations have also been held. At this time, the environmental license is expected, allowing the start of the project.

4.2.3 Development of a Liquefied Natural Gas Plant

The Government remains committed to developing gas from the Greater Sunrise field by constructing a submerged gas pipeline to the south coast of East Timor and building and operating a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant to process it.

This unit will incorporate the LNG plant complex, including associated marine facilities, as well as new urban areas. The existing Viqueque airport will be rehabilitated to provide fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) capacity for workers at the service of LNG operators, while also serving as a regional airport.

4.2.4 Development of the Southern Coastal Zone

The infrastructures necessary to support the oil industry will be built and / or operationalized, linking the three oil clusters or hubs. This will include:

In this sector, the Government will also:

Develop a mechanism for the use of natural gas in the country’s economic activities;

  1. Review of the Petroleum Activities Law and other complementary legislation;
  2. Approval of the Mining Code and the model contract for conducting mining operations and complementary legislation and regulations;
  3. Approve and implement the necessary legislation to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Maritime Boundary Treaty between Timor-Leste and Australia, regarding the transition from oil fields of the former Joint Petroleum Development Area to the exclusive jurisdiction of Timor-Leste.
  4. The establishment of a Mineral Fund to ensure a better management of revenues collected from mineral activities in the country.

4.3 Tourism

Tourism is an important engine for the development of economic activities and contributes to safeguarding the natural and cultural heritage of Timor-Leste.

With unparalleled natural beauty, rich history and unique cultural heritage, Timor-Leste has all the conditions to develop an original tourism industry that involves its people and creates diversified businesses and employment opportunities.

The Government will, in a planned and organized way, develop a strategy for tourism in the region, without intending to compete with mass tourism in Southeast Asia, but maybe creating synergies with other localities in the region such as Flores, Moluccas and Kupang, to create and develop tourist packages that attract visitors from Indonesia, Australia and other Asian and Pacific countries.

There may also be investment in tourism based on common historical and cultural ties, including the common denominator of the Portuguese language, promoting initiatives within the CPLP countries. However, and considering the strategic position where Timor-Leste, near ASEAN and Australia, it is also important to strengthen the secular historical and cultural relations that unite the Luso-Asian peoples present in the region, namely in Malacca, Sri Lanka, Macao, Bangkok, Goa, among others. The Government will therefore focus on the promotion of innovative initiatives, making Timor-Leste a cultural center and meeting point among these peoples, including hosting in Timor Leste of the 2nd Conference of Luso-Asian Communities.

Timorese Tourism can count on the following competitive advantages:

  1. It is one of the few Catholic countries in the region, practicing Catholic rituals that can serve as an attraction for Catholic tourists in the region;
  2. It is a country with a unique and recent history, with several symbolic places to visit;
  3. It has great potential to develop mountain tourism and to provide sports and adventure activities that attract an important sector of tourists;
  4. It has a long coastline and beautiful beaches rich in biodiversity, with great potential for the development of sports, adventure and marine activities, including snorkeling and diving;
  5. It is one of the countries included in the Coral Triangle Initiative, which aims to protect the abundance and diversity of marine life in Timor-Leste waters, with special attention to the area around the island of Ataúro, now recognized as the world’s most biodiverse underwater ecosystem;
  6. Contains a unique and expanding gastronomy, with fusion of several other gastronomic traditions;
  7. It maintains ancestral communities, still in a natural context, that can be visited and studied, both in the tourist, anthropological and academic perspective, which may also contribute to the consolidation of the national identity, reflected in the proposals and tourism products presented;
  8. It’s still unexplored landscape and the natural and well-preserved conditions of the environment are an important catalyst for the development of community and ecological tourism;
  9. It is in the process of obtaining full membership of ASEAN, which will increase its promotion efforts in nearby markets;
  10. It is still located in a strategic position, a tropical destination in the Asia region, the most populous in the world;
  11. Finally, Timor-Leste has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Thus, in a global market looking for new and authentic tourist offers, Timor-Leste can position you itself with great competitiveness, especially in the region, based on the difference. It is necessary, quality however, to develop an effective strategy of tourist attraction, where promotion and marketing will be fundamental to affirm this competitiveness.

For the moment, as an initial approach, it is possible to invest in promoting the following types of the tourism:

In this regard, the Government proposes to reach the following targets and to implement the following actions:

4.4 Trade

A The formulation of trade policies will allow the primary and secondary sector products to be sold at national and international levels, and the increase in product exports generates wealth for the industry and, consequently, its growth.

The Government will continue to implement measures to regulate commercial activities and approve policies for expanding markets, including the dissemination of products of economic added value, through marketing and public relations strategies that promote Timor-Leste and its products in the region and the world.

In this context, the Government will:

4.5 Industry

The vision of a Timor-Leste with a modern and diversified economy will depend, as mentioned above, on the investment made in the growth of three main industries: agriculture, tourism and oil, as the country has considerable advantages in these industries due to its natural resources, geographical location and economic profile.

However, Timor-Leste has all the conditions to develop other industries, which are subsidiaries of the development of the primary sectors of production. Agribusiness, or the transformation of meats, dairy products, fish and agricultural products into biological by-products of excellence may give rise to reference brands with export potential for select and higher price markets.

Timor-Leste may also invest in the transformation of raw material for product packaging, furniture, civil construction, among others, multiplying the opportunities of transformation of the varied natural resources, aimed at local supply, reducing the need for importation, but also with a view to exporting original products and adding value.

With the development of the agricultural sector, there are conditions for a greater production of cereals, horticulture and livestock, both semi-intensive and extensive. If we associate this growth with the promotion of agribusiness, this can lead to the sustainable development of the country, as we foster the spontaneous development of commercial markets of proximity and possibly its distribution at the national level, optimizing endogenous resources and protecting the environment, by respecting the self-regeneration capacity of the ecosystem.

Through the planned growth of the industrial sector, the Government can promote the following objectives:

The Government will promote industry as one of the driving forces behind national economic development, leveraged in rural development, through the following main actions:

4.6 Private Sector


According to the 2015 Census, about 51.24% of the population is under the age of 20. This means that, in the next 5 to 10 years, hundreds of thousands of young people will enter the labor market, with the legitimate aspiration of creating their own way of life in a dignified way, in a just economy that values their work. With this in mind, the private sector, regardless of its vocation and dimension, is and will continue to be one of the main drivers of the national economy, guaranteeing the creation of employment and, as such, constituting one of the major factors to combat poverty and improve the social capital of nation.

A private, healthy, sustained and strictly accountable economy will provide the country with much of its fiscal revenue, which will be instrumental in sustaining the state’s overall budget and help solve the main social problems of Timor-Leste.

Diversifying the economy is therefore one of the main goals of this Government. It is necessary to create the fiscal and bureaucratic conditions that allow a greater predisposition to the national and international investor to invest in the country. On the other hand, all the transversal policies that include the development of social capital, the development of infrastructure and the development of the governance sector, are inseparable as a boost to economic development and to create conditions for entrepreneurship.

Equally, in this sector, the development of the National Planning Framework, with a view to the creation of Development Poles and Special Economic Zones, will be fundamental to create “business areas” or “industrial zones” in the Country, according to the specificities and potentialities of each region, and, from there, be able to attract the private sector and create jobs in a sustainable way:

4.7 Employment

As The structural changes that are to be implemented in the economy will provide job opportunities for the Timorese people. As the economy grows and it becomes possible to transform the agricultural sector and the private sector to achieve greater productivity, with investment in education and health building a more skilled workforce, the Timorese will be able to giver a stronger contribution to the economy.

As the economy develops, the services sector tends to expand, and this increase corresponds to greater job creation opportunities, with a special focus on women. It is also expected that, by becoming economically stronger, the country will be able to reduce the number of precarious jobs. These include those who are self-employed, those who do not have a guaranteed monthly minimum wage, and those who carry out their duties with a low level of job security. The Government intends to reduce the level of precarious employment in Timor-Leste in the coming years.

Government policy for the employment sector is evident throughout its program as investments in the various development sectors will contribute to a healthier and more productive, educated and skilled workforce and to the diversification of national production, allowing for greater job creation opportunities to emerge.

The Government will:

4.8 Cooperatives

Cooperatives, particularly agricultural cooperatives, are of strategic importance for national development. The formation of cooperatives is a way of encouraging private sector growth in rural areas and stimulating active participation in the national economic system.

The Government will continue to invest in training human resources and institutional capacity at the cooperative level and to provide tools and equipment, raw materials and cash grants to allow them to improve their infrastructures and increase product quality, with a view to include the expansion of markets and increase trade activities.

Increasing and socializing ideas and possible projects with families and communities can also be a way to create conditions for their development. Some of these may be:

  1. Honey production: Timor-Leste produces honey and wax that can be used for the development of cooperatives and consequently for the improvement of the family economy. An organized commitment to the production of honey, with the support of a cooperative, could be an important contribution to the family economy.
  2. Bread production: investing in rainfed crops, especially for wheat and sorghum, as well as for barley and rye to produce flour and bread, can be an important strategy of direct benefit to families and communities. Supporting cereal production and grinding techniques and consequently baking cooperatives (or later industrialization) also with a view to their distribution in schools may, be a viable bet.
  3. Dairy production: investment in livestock farming, particularly livestock raising, may encourage producers to convert milk from cows and buffaloes into milk and yoghurts and other derivatives, thus contributing to improved nutrition and family economy.

The Government in this area will continue to:

4.9 Environment

According to the Constitution of the Republic, everyone has the right to a healthy, ecologically balanced human life environment and the duty to protect and improve it for the benefit of future generations. The State recognizes the need to preserve and enhance natural resources. The State must promote actions to defend the environment and safeguard the sustainable development of the economy.

The Timorese people have a strong connection to their surrounding environment, not only for questions of survival but also for cultural and anthropological reasons. However, in addition to the natural causes, such as rain, an unbalanced exploitation, or even environmental destruction, have been causing chronic soil erosion, including through excessive logging and the lack of planning and monitoring of agricultural activities or the construction of infrastructures.

Erosion and landslides cause soil degradation and damage to water absorption, decreasing the quantity and quality of groundwater and threatening wildlife and food resources. On the other hand, socioeconomic habits such as the use of firewood for cooking and air pollution caused by motor and motorized emissions as well as forest fires have contributed to an increase in respiratory diseases.

Climate change, with its impact on the rise in sea level and extreme weather conditions – which lead to floods, food insecurity, changes in chemical composition and in the temperatures of the ocean (affecting coral reefs) – constitutes a serious environmental challenge, to which Timor-Leste must respond, including by creating prevention mechanisms.

It should be noted that this is an additional challenge for Timor-Leste, considering its embryonic stage of development, and the necessary growth of industries to support economic development. However, it must be+ underlined that Timor-Leste’s contribution to the climate change problem of is miniscule, as Timor-Leste is one of the least emitting countries, in contrast with both other emerging or with developed nations.

It is also important to mention that the defense and conservation of the environment, including the promotion of biodiversity, is an important contribution to the development of an industry with strong potential, the tourism sector.

In this sense, the Government will pursue the following priority environmental objectives:

To this end, the Government proposes to carry out the following actions:


“Timor-Leste is a low-income country with an emerging private sector, with limited economic is diversification which is concentrated mainly on agricultural production. However, our country has is considerable economic opportunities and a strong potential to become a middle-income nation.”

Although much progress has been made in this area, Timor-Leste must continue to invest in strategic planning for a modern and diversified economy. To boost the productive sectors, around four essential industries – agriculture, tourism, oil and minerals and manufacturing – through the study and use of existing natural resources, taking advantage of the added value of the geographical location and population profile, is a simple and successful strategy to lead to much-needed economic diversification and to mitigate dependence on oil revenues.

Job creation and the promotion of entrepreneurship are both a factor and an outcome in the pursuit of this economic development goal, and the Government must create conditions so that it is not alienated from the young, while promoting private sector partnerships, which are key to increasing national productivity and creating opportunities for sustainable economic growth.

The Government of Timor-Leste will, in this regard: transform its natural wealth, whether from its soil or its seas, into food security, health, productivity and job creation opportunities. It will also transform hydrocarbons into development and welfare opportunities for the whole population through infrastructure development, the private sector and job creation. But it will also transform the wealth of its people, its natural landscape and its unique culture in entrepreneurship and increased incomes throughout the country.

To this end, it is essential to develop a National Planning Framework, with a view to the implementation of Development Poles in the various regions of the country, which defines the characteristics of each region and the growth potential of each sector and sub-sector, according to available local resources, for the implementation of sustainable growth and equitable development actions and strategies throughout the country, under the motto that “if nature is rich, the people cannot be poor”.

5.1 Macroeconomic Policy

One of the goals of the VIII Government’s macroeconomic policy is to create a working environment for all, particularly young people and the well-being of the entire population. Thus, the Government aims to create at least 60,000 new jobs and maintain the single-digit unemployment rate, reduce the minimum poverty rate to 10%, over the next five years.

To achieve these objectives, macroeconomic policy will focus above all on economic development with high, inclusive and sustainable growth, diversification of the economy through the development of productive sectors (agriculture, tourism, oil and minerals and manufacturing), promotion of private sector investment, to strengthen fiscal sustainability and advance the financial industry.

During the next five years, with the high contribution of the private sector in the productive sectors, the Government intends to achieve an average economic growth above 7%. The Government will create conditions to increase private sector investment by at least 10% each year to contribute to the diversification of the economy, increase the tax base, thereby achieving fiscal sustainability objectives, and contribute to inclusive and sustainable development.

The Government will first develop infrastructure, human resources and strengthen public institutions as a precondition for the implementation of macroeconomic policy implementation to achieve its objectives. As a precondition to stimulate the development of other sectors, the Government will continue to develop infrastructure to support economic growth and strengthen productivity and connectivity.

5.2 Financial Sector

The financial industry in Timor-Leste is limited only to the banking sector and the financial market is still non-existent. The Financial Market facilitates the occurrence of money, through those that have more capital (surplus) to those who most need it, through direct and indirect mechanisms. A comprehensive and transparent Financial Market facilitates investment in the productive sectors and boosts economic growth. The Government will work with the relevant entities, namely the Central Bank of Timor-Leste (CBTL), to promote the development of the financial industry by creating a favorable environment, facilitating the commercial activities of the banking sector, insurance institutions, microfinance institutions and financial markets in Timor-Leste.

The financial industry development policy will contribute to the change in the structure of the economy, which depends largely on public sector driven economy, to a sustainable economy, supported by private sector driven economy.

In this context, the Government will also:

5.2.1 Development Bank of Timor-Leste (DBTL)

Private sector development in Timor-Leste is not progressing to a large extent because it is limited to state projects and does not have access to credit and long-term financing at affordable interest rates. Companies need credit to invest. Demand for credit is greater in Timor-Leste to refurbish hotels, to facilitate retailers in purchasing goods, which are varied and in large quantities, to facilitate construction companies in the acquisition of their equipment and in the construction of housing and office buildings. Although commercial banks give rise to an increase and liquidity in the banking system, credit to the private sector continues to be less than 14% of total assets. Existing banks only provide credit to international organizations and enterprises in their country of origin, and to sectors that rely heavily on government contracts and public investment.

The Government will implement the Development Bank of Timor-Leste (DBTL), with the aim of facilitating access to long-term financing with affordable interest rates. This Bank will provide an opportunity for Timorese companies to sustain themselves and create a great number of jobs, to build infrastructures and thus to contribute to economic diversification. This Bank will have its special focus in meet the demands for credit in the strategic areas of the Nation, related to the growth of the private sector and the development of the financial market. The State will be the “Owner” of the bank and will, in addition, have the contribution of Timorese capital. This bank will have clear and strict investment directives, independent administrative and commercial operations and the good governance standard will be high.

5.2.2 National Bank of Commerce of Timor-Leste (NBCTL)

Access to credit continues to be a problem for small businesses and the Timorese people, including those living in rural areas. Lack of credit prevents small businesses from expanding, limiting the ability of the Timorese to set up businesses, thus creating a barrier to economic growth. The NBCTL must expand its service in the municipalities and administrative posts through the mobile bank. TheGovernment will continue to support the NBCTL and its expansion to serve our population by providing banking and credit services, providing access to financial services to all Timorese, as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, both in urban and rural areas. The Government will continue to support the Central Bank and Commercial Bank service with a view to facilitating a comprehensive banking system accessible to all citizens, including in such efforts as “Mobile Phone Banking” and “Financial Inclusion”.

5.2.3 Micro and Credit Union

Efforts to generate a sustained national economy in Timor-Leste go hand in hand with the incentives created around the creation of microenterprises or, even better, family businesses.

There are several established micro-credit institutions and credit unions that have already provided credit services to a large population. The Government will continue to help these institutions to expand their services and facilitate better access to credit for the population, especially micro and small enterprises in rural areas.

5.2.4 Monetary Policy – Currency Preparation

Currency is a financial instrument that assumes an important role in the development of a country, particularly in the performance of the value of the currency that Timor-Leste uses against other currencies. The Government, through the Ministry of Finance, will work with the Central Bank of Timor-Leste (CBTL) to conduct in-depth studies and analyses on the advantages and disadvantages of using the dollar currency or using its own currency.

5.3 Public Finance

Public finances are an important factor in the development process in Timor-Leste. As such, it will continue to improve and strengthen public finance management with transparency, accountability, efficiency and sustainability as one of the major programs that this government will implement during its mandate.

The Promotion of public finance management improvement will be done through “Public Finance Management Reform”, strengthening management and expanding the implementation of Public Private Partnerships, establishing good policy and management of public debt (loans), maintaining a good and prudent management of the Petroleum Fund and having sound management of the public funds, including the Social Security Fund.

5.3.1 Public Finance Management Reform

The Tax Reform recently implemented by the VI Constitutional Government will be replaced by “Tax and Public Finance Management Reform”. This change will be introduced as the Government undertakes to comprehensively reform public finance to increase revenue for the state by strengthening and promoting transparency and accountability in fiscal policy and financial management.

Public finance management reform will be carried out through financial diversification into revenue and expenditure areas, improving procurement and strengthening financial decentralization and budgeting based on the program.

5.3.2 Tax Reform

Through diversification of revenues, the Government aims to reach 18% of domestic revenues of the total “Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” in 2023 (setting the target to reach 15% by 2020). This is essential to be freed from our dependence on the Petroleum Fund’s revenues. To achieve this objective, the Government will continue to improve the administration, human resources, system and infrastructure for the Customs Tax Authorities, review the Tax Law and introduce the law for “Value Added Tax (VAT).

On the other hand, the Government intends to increase revenues through greater efficiency and effectiveness in tax collection, while maintaining a neutral and competitive tax burden in the Region by identifying and regulating potential revenue and by improving the capabilities of the public institutions that have task of collecting tax (national and municipal).

One of the main objectives of revenue diversification will be to increase revenues and facilitate socio-economic development, investment and job creation. In this regard, this program is an integral part of the Government’s program to develop and diversify the economy.

Ensuring the installation of the bodies, services and personnel of the Tax Authority and the Customs Authority, through their respective Setting-up Committees.

5.3.3 Efficiency and Effectiveness of Public Expenditure

The Government, in this context, will ensure that public expenditures are carried out in an effective, efficient, transparent and responsive manner. In this sense, it will continue to strengthen financial decentralization to public institutions and regional and municipal authorities, strengthening the competences of public institutions, such as the National Development Agency (NDA), the Secretariat of Major Projects and the National Procurement Commission (NPC) in order to finalize, process and supervise the projects in a rigorous manner, update and apply the financial computer system and transparency to all public entities, including RAEOA and ZEESM, interconnecting the computer system used by the relevant institutions in the public sector with the system as well as updating and improving the Budget and Financial Management Law and Procurement Law, gradually transforming the state accounting system from a “cash basis system” to an “accrual basis system” and continue to implement the principle of “program budgeting”.

Additionally, the regime of professionals in the management of public finances shall be implemented to strengthen human resources in finance, to ensure that public financial resources are managed in a rigorous manner to finance the process of construction of the State and the Nation.

5.3.4 Program Budgeting

Public expenditures will have a major impact, since the state budgets finance the activities already in place. In this context, the policy on “Program Budgeting” will continue to be implemented in all public institutions, from national level to the municipalities.


Thus, the Government shall implement this commitment as an element of the Public Finance Management Reform, since this Government intends to create a system of interconnection between budget and planning, which aims to define the objectives, targets and impacts of the public service to the populations, in the short, medium and long term.

5.3.5 Procurement and Transparency in Public Finance

One of the important elements of the Public Finance Management Reform is the public procurement process. Continuing to improve the capacity of public institutions and revising the Procurement Law as a commitment that shall be implemented in this mandate. The Procurement Laws and rules shall be reviewed and updated to ensure the public procurement process at national, regional and municipal level, is carried out effectively, transparently, without discrimination, facilitating the development of the private sector, namely the private sector at a local level. This review is required to adjust procurement laws and rules by phases and in an evolving development process.

Additionally, the Government has the big commitment of continuing to promote transparency and accountability for public finances through the following actions:

5.3.6 Loans

The Government will continue to rigorously manage the money already borrowed and that to be borrowed in the future. The money, which will be borrowed from financial institutions and/or the financial market, will be used only to finance investment in the productive sectors, and will not exceed the government’s ability to repay in the future. Thus, the policy of borrowing for cheap money (interest below 3%) will be continued to finance infrastructure projects with greater economic, financial and social returns, in order to stimulate development and facilitate the process of economic diversification. Considering the improvement of the capacity of relevant public institutions to supervise and ensure the quality of investment.

5.3.7 Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)

The PPP model shall continue to promote the process of diversification of expenditure to finance major investments. The Government will identify projects within the high-power sectors to create varied multiplicative effects, as well as negotiate with investors to implement partnerships for investment.

In this context, it must continue to improve the laws and rules, as well as the competences of the PPP Unit in the Ministry of Finance, to make a good investment management of the Port Tibar which is financed under PPP. As well as enabling the PPP Unit to identify strategic projects, negotiating with the Ministry of private sector and managing the PPP portfolio rigorously.

5.3.8 Participation of the Public Sector in Private Investment (Equity Participation)

Timor-Leste is considered one of the countries posing great risk for private investment, and for financial diversification (income and expenditure), to promote investment and job creation, the government will promote equity participation programs or participation in “shares” for private sector investment. Timor-Leste has a Petroleum Fund which is invested in the international market, with an average annual yield of 3%, thus, the Government buys shares in the private sector when the investment is made in Timor-Leste and the investment has a high financial and economic return.

With the aim of making this commitment feasible, the Government shall strengthen the capabilities of existing state enterprises to guide them to perform well to give the State financial and economic benefits, promoting the implementation of state enterprises and activities in the productive sectors, and create the “Timor-Leste Investment Corporation (TLIC) and capitalize state-owned companies, such as Timor-GAP, on a business plan basis.

The mechanism of financial diversification, based on “Equity Participation”, is intended to be implemented by the government, as it will stimulate private sector investments, promote infrastructure development, and contribute to economic diversification and job creation, with a view to collecting revenue for the state.

5.3.9 Timor-Leste Investment Corporation (TLIC)

The Government shall create the TLIC with a view to acting as a state investment company. TLIC will be financed by the government so that it can make commercial investments that allow a great financial return or that allow multiplicative effects for the socioeconomic development. Priority will be given, first, to domestic investment in the country.

As a state-owned investment company, TLIC may also capitalize other public companies as part of its business activities. As a rule, TLIC investment decisions should be based on the commercial principle and objectives.

5.3.10 Management of the Petroleum Fund

The Government will thus continue to work, together with the National Parliament and the Central Bank of Timor-Leste, in order to maintain sound management of the Petroleum Fund as the only financial resource for Timor-Leste. This commitment will be reflected through government policy to maintain good governance with transparency, sustainability and prudent investment for the Petroleum Fund.

The “check and balance” system will be strengthened in order to ensure that the use of the Petroleum Fund to meet the needs of the State must always be authorized by the National Parliament. On the other hand, the Petroleum Fund will continue to be invested with rigor and prudence in the financial market (bonds and shares) since the law directs there is a higher return.

In this sense, the sustainability of the Fund shall be strengthened, based on rational, effective and efficient budgeting and public spending, to have good management of the treasury “cash flow”.

5.3.11 Management of the Social Security Fund and the Veterans Fund

The Government intends to create good social protection for all citizens. An existing social assistance program will therefore be ensured through adjustment to the level of financial assistance by existing need and a sound management of the social security fund with a view to ensuring its sustainability.

Social security is a commitment of the Government to strengthen inclusive development. Thus, the “Social Security Institution” will be founded, with the aim of carefully managing the social security service and fund, considering the sustainability and transparency of the Fund, and guaranteeing the beneficiaries’ rights in the long term.

On the other hand, the Government will also conduct studies on the creation of the Veterans Fund Fund as a commitment to improving the quality of life of veterans and ensuring the sustainability of veterans’ long-term financial assistance. The creation of the Veterans Fund will be subject to the results of the studies carried out.

5.3.12 Management of State Assets

The process of building the State, which continues in leaps and bounds, already results in an increase in movable and immovable State assets, at national, regional and municipal level. Thus, this Government intends to improve the management of these State assets.

Aiming to have good management of the State’s assets, the Government’s policy is to create a dedicated institution to coordinate with the relevant public institutions and manage all movable and immovable assets. Management of the State’s assets includes the creation of a database with all state assets, defining regularly the value and depreciation of assets, as well as managing well the use and lease of assets.


Good governance and a professional, competent and efficient public sector are essential conditions for the delivery of public services and for the implementation of the policies and actions set out in the Strategic Development Plan and in the Government Program. Increasing confidence in governance necessarily entails raising the performance of the public sector, as it is, at a first stage, the main engine of national economic growth.

Conducting audits and establishing effective mechanisms to ensure the transparency of public institutions and independent accountability of their actions are the main guarantor of good governance. Good governance, in turn, helps to prevent corruption at all levels of society.

As such, the Government shall promote the principles of transparency, accountability, integrity and leadership through risk management mechanisms, accountability based on results, complaints systems and, fundamentally, adequate use of public funds.

To promote good governance and combat corruption the Government shall develop the following actions:

6.1 Public Administration

Improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and professionalism of Public Administration action for the provision of better public services is a crucial factor in the implementation of development policies and programs that lead to poverty reduction and hence to progress and well- being of the population.

For this reason, reforming the Public Administration, with a view to its modernization and the implementation of good governance measures, remains one of the Government’s main objectives. In addition, improving leadership, management and performance capacity, transparency and accountability will contribute to better public services, resulting in the well-being and progress of the population and, of course, State institutions.

The successive governments have therefore been committed to the reform of public administration, with a view to a sustainable public sector. This Government will continue to develop these efforts by safeguarding the continuity of reforms and ongoing programs, ensuring the continued promotion of efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, productivity and gender equality in the public sector.

In this respect, the Government shall:

6.2 Decentralization

The modernization of Public Administration and the increase of its effectiveness and efficiency necessarily includes its decentralization and deconcentration. The transfer of duties, competencies and responsibilities to local and municipal bodies, enabling them and creating the conditions for them to deliver quality services, is one of the fundamental aspects of the decentralization process.

This, in addition to increasing democratic participation, will also contribute to the development of the private sector at the municipal and rural levels, so that all contribute to its own development and, ultimately, to the integrated and sustainable development of the Nation.

Territorial Planning and the National Planning Framework will be addressed in a complementary and integrated perspective, also considering the Policies of Administrative Decentralization and Local Autonomy, in order to guarantee the sustainable, balanced and equitable development of the Nation.

In this context, the Government shall:

6.3 Election Administration

The process of national reconciliation and the building of our democratic Rule of Law has largely benefited our country’s ability to organize and carry out free and democratic elections. The professionalism and exemption of the organs of the Electoral Administration were recognized, over the years, by national and international observers. Our People, indeed, have full confidence that the results, which are being determined in each election, are a faithful expression of the popular will.

Also, at international level, there is confidence in our electoral system, our State being recognized by the International Community as a true democracy. This has also been demonstrated by the requests made in recent years to our State to provide technical support in organizing and conducting elections in other States, notably in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, the Democratic Republic of Tomé and Principe and the Central African Republic.

The quality and capacity of our Electoral Administration should, however, continue to be ensured and strengthened, not only by supporting the training and qualification of our electoral staff, but also by reviewing and updating our electoral legislation, in order to clarify aspects that may have been more controversial or difficult to apply, but also through its updating, so that it maintains its capacity to respond to the challenges that currently face our electoral system.

In this respect, the Government shall:

6.4 Land-use Management & Planning

Part of the strategy to develop social capital, also through the delivery of better services, is related to the Government’s ability to define the process of organizing the space where the population lives, in order to provide an occupation, use and transformation of the environment in accordance with its potential.

It is in this sense that it is the Government’s priority to implement the Base Law om Land-use Management & Planning and the draft National Land Management Plan, and to approve the corresponding legislation, so that the use of the land can be defined in a balanced and strategic manner, the use of space for the development of human activities carried out in a sustainable way, considering economic, social, cultural, political and environmental aspects.

The Base Law foresees the existence of two great types of instruments of territorial planning: those of national scope and those of municipal scope. Its approval allows the specific definition of the guiding principles and objectives of the Administration, the identification of the various public interests with a territorial dimension, the use of territorial planning instruments as a means of Public Administration, as well as defining the typology and the objectives to be followed by them, in the medium and long term.

Within the scope of the economic sector, and for its success and sustainable growth, the Government shall develop a National Planning Framework for the implementation of Development Centers and Special Zones of Social Market Economy in the various regions of the country, based on the characteristics of each region and according to local resources available, for the implementation of actions and strategies for sustainable growth.

This National Planning Framework will, of course, be developed in close connection with the National Land-use Management & Planning Policy.

The Government proposes to:

6.5 Rural Development

The social and economic transformation of rural areas, promoting the quality of life of all Timorese, even those living in remote and difficult access areas and possibly the neediest, is one of the main objectives of this Government.

To fulfil this objective, the Government will act in a coordinated and intersectoral way, which implies that all sectoral policies and investments will address the issue of rural development in a transversal manner. In a small country such as Timor-Leste, the existence of regional asymmetries and social and economic inequalities is an incoherence that represents a huge loss of opportunities.

Local job creation is the best way to raise the standard of living and well-being of the rural population. In this sense, it is essential to invest in the growth of the private sector in rural areas, including supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives, encouraging their participation in rural economic growth.

The Government will continue to develop a national planning framework, considering local specificities and potential development sub-sectors, weighing in local characteristics and traditional practices, as well as their access to basic, economic and social infrastructures and access markets.

It is in this sense that the following main actions for rural development are highlighted:

6.6 Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno and Special Zone of Market Social Economy

The Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno (RAEOA) has been established to facilitate better synergy amongst state institutions in the region to enable more effective governance, poverty reduction and the economic well-being of all the population.

The Special Zones of Social Market Economy of Timor-Leste (ZEESM) are a national development program, aiming at the establishment of special areas of social commerce that will allow the growth of a social market economy, which means that people and the communities of a particular Region are those receiving the most direct and indirect benefits.

In view of the rigid policies adopted in Oe-Cusse and the prolonged failure to comply with the procedures that guide the State in the field of Public Administration and good governance, procedures that have been adopted in recent years by all governmental institutions, this Government sees a pressing need to change the current legal framework prevailing in that Region.

A separation of powers between RAEOA and ZEESM is of paramount importance to enable society and the local population to have a say, to express their wishes and expectations, to ensure the spirit and goal of the creation of Special Zones of Social Market Economy;

The effective participation of society and communities in the process of development carried out in their region is affirmed as the determining factor in the search for benefits that will, obviously, fall on their lives, for responsible, transparent and sustainable socioeconomic and cultural growth.

Thus, the Government will continue to invest in this regional governance structure, through innovative policies and betting on this new paradigm of development based on the social market economy, continuing, however, with the following actions:

6.7 Electronic Government

The Electronic Government or the Electronic Administration Public allows to inform and disseminate the services provided and the information produced by the Government to the population in general, making use of Information and Communication Technologies, ensuring good governance, greater transparency in public processes and policies and, at the same time, bringing people closer to government agencies and, as such, their greater participation in government decisions.

The Government will invest on the development of Information and Communication Technologies, implementing the National Policy for Information and Communication Technologies and creating the necessary conditions for the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, recently created, to fulfil its mission of managing the computer network of the Government and other public entities with a view to the modernization of the State and to improve the operation and delivery of services by public institutions.

A key part of this strategy is administrative modernization, building on the added value of Electronic Government, including the establishment of connectivity and internet access platforms in all State and Government institutions.

In this sense, the Government will continue to make efforts to bring the citizen closer to the public administration, through the development of the computer and technological sector, which will allow a modern and efficient system of electronic governance in the future.

To this end, the Government shall:

6.8 Justice

Promoting the Rule of Law and guaranteeing equal access to justice for all continues to be a major challenge for Timor-Leste and involves very complex aspects. The consolidation of the justice sector is, however, of fundamental importance for peace-building and State-building. It is also a crucial factor in conveying confidence and attracting investment in the development of the economy. We face several challenges, ranging from weak or inadequate legal frameworks to insufficient infrastructures and difficulties in training and qualifying our human resources, fundamental conditions to allow access to justice for all.

The historical context explains some of the challenges in this sector, emphasizing that a part of the professionals in the justice sector does not dominate the legal system inspired by the Portuguese model, nor even the full command of the Portuguese language, essential for a good interpretation and application of the laws.

The fragility of the justice system may call into question the very construction of the State and the economic and social development of the nation. There is no trust for economic investment without a judicial system to ensure compliance with the law. And without investment, there is jobs, and without employment, there is no peace. It is therefore a subject that must be approached with the necessary respect by the institutions and the separation of powers, but also with urgency and seriousness.

It is therefore the aim of this Government to initiate a profound reform of this institution, which will take time, given its complexity. We believe that institutional cooperation, in a process that is inclusive, and an appropriation by national decision makers, can contribute to the solution of this challenge, that is, to the consolidation of an effective justice system, where the processes through which it is applied be quick, balanced, reliable, independent and fair.

Thus, form part of the Government’s main objectives:

To pursue the objectives laid down the Government shall implement the following, according to the different themes of the sector:

  1. In the institutional development plan, consolidate the administration of justice, through the improvement of institutional capacity and coordination. And, in this respect:
  1. The reform of the legal framework will be done through the consolidation and harmonization of legal frameworks in the system of Justice and Law. And, in this respect:
  1. The development of human resources in Justice is crucial for a sector, with an unquestionable role in the process of construction of the State and the Nation. Thus, there is a need to:
  1. The need to equip the Sector with adequate infrastructures is a highly relevant condition. Thus, there is a need to:
  1. Regarding access to justice, foster the approximation of justice to citizens and, to this end:
  1. Finally, something which is transversal to all the institutions in the Justice Sector, which is good governance, since only from good governance can arise the good performance of Justice for the common good. To do this end, there is a need to:

6.8.1 Scientific Police for Criminal Investigation

6.9 Defense and Security

The development of transparent, efficient, competent and professional institutions of Defense and Security is fundamental to the maintenance of democracy and the consolidation of stability and peace at national and international levels.

As such, a strong Defense and Security sector has been built, from the very beginning of the restoration of independence, with an approach that considers the particular circumstances of the country, including its past of recent conflict, its youth and inherent fragility.

Reconstruction challenges, including the preparation of human resources, the development of a sound legal framework consistent with local idiosyncrasies, and the provision of the necessary equipment and infrastructure to national security institutions, have been gradually addressed by the various established governments.

As such, the Government will continue to consolidate the progress already achieved, to correct the sector’s systems and imperfections, and to develop new strategies that will allow the consolidation of a modern and professional Defense and Security sector.

These objectives include strengthening coordination and close cooperation between the Defense Forces (F-FDTL) and the Security Forces (TLNP), ensuring clarity and commitment in accordance with their respective responsibilities and missions.

The Government shall also create the National Security Council which will be a Government advisory body to provide advice and support to senior decision-making, as well as to develop policies and legislation that include defense and security matters.

6.9.1 Defense

The Timor-Leste Armed Forces, the FALINTIL-FDTL (F-FDTL), composed exclusively of national citizens, are constitutionally responsible for military defense. Its primary mission is to guarantee national independence, territorial integrity and the freedom and security of populations against any external aggression or threat, while respecting the constitutional order.

In addition to its main mission, the F-FDTL may be employed in other missions in support of civilian authorities, within the framework of the Integrated National Security System, under the Law on National Security, as well as in support of the State’s foreign policy, in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

Like the Security Forces, the Defense Forces are non-partisan and owe obedience to the competent sovereign bodies and are barred from any political intervention.

In the development of the defense sector, the Timorese State reaffirms its strategic defense position, based on respect for the Rule of Law, pursuing diplomacy and deterrence as a means of preventing and resolving possible conflicts, while maintaining non-waiving of use of force under the Charter of the United Nations necessary to ensure national independence.

This approach involves investing in the Defense Forces to enable them to defend the Nation from external threats as well as being empowered to contribute to regional and international cooperation efforts, including the preservation of national and international peace and stability.

In this context, the development of defense will consider a contemporary reading of the international geostrategic context of the 21st century, permeated by new types of risks and threats – now diffused, multidimensional and of a markedly internal character, making the border between defense and security tenuous. This requires an informed reading of the security environment of the 21st century, re-evaluating the role and functions of the institution of the defense of the Timorese State and its position in external relations in this field, especially regarding cooperative security and its participation in collective humanitarian and peace actions within the framework of the United Nations and other international fora.

To consolidate the development of strategic defense and military planning, whose documents are essential for the development of the F-FDTL’s essential capabilities for the performance of its missions, and for guiding the cycle of force planning, the defense will continue elaboration of the structuring building of strategic defense and military planning. With the approval of the Strategic Concept of Defense and National Security, the defense will cement the structuring structure of strategic planning, consolidating the Ministerial Directive of Military Planning and Defense, Military Strategic Concept, F-FDTL Missions, System and Security Establishment and propose the Law on Military Programming, on its way to the modernization and professionalization of the F-FDTL. From this perspective, force planning serves strategic planning based on an assessment of national defense needs according to identified risks and threats.

Additionally, the Government shall take a more effective strategy on maritime geostrategic security, considering recent events in various parts of the world, with the growing increase in terrorism, but also in human trafficking and other types of organized crime. On the other hand, given Timor-Leste’s geographical position, its extensive Exclusive Economic Zone and the wealth of natural resources at sea, including the Timor Sea energy resources, the development of naval capacity for Timor-Leste is urgently needed to enable the country to protect and preserve its resources and its people.

In this sense, the defense will consolidate the necessary legislation for the construction of the Timor-Leste Maritime Authority System (TLMAS) and the National Maritime Authority, and to operationally implement its operation as an entity that exercises public authority in maritime spaces under sovereignty and national jurisdiction and the function of superior structure of direction, administration and coordination of the bodies and services that operate within the ambit of TLMAS.

The Government, in the field of defense, shall pursue the following objectives:

To achieve these objectives, the following actions shall be carried out:

6.9.2 Security

Security, as one of the essential functions of the State, is an indispensable prerequisite for the exercise of citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms, the preservation of the stability of society itself and the normal development of economic activity being dependent of its safeguard.

Under the Constitution, the NPTL and the security services are mandated to defend democratic legality and guarantee the internal security of citizens, being strictly non-partisan and acting in an exemplary manner in what respect for human rights is concerned.

To this end, the Government assumes, as a priority of its action, the adoption of policies and concrete measures that will continue to contribute to making Timor-Leste a safer country by strengthening state authority and developing and consolidating the effectiveness of the Forces and Security Services, recognising that this is an area in which the investment presents, in the short, medium and long-term, advantages and exponential benefits.

The Government will therefore continue to implement a comprehensive strategic plan that responds to the strategic objectives of its reality, covering relevant issues such as the prevention of risks to social stability, the fight against crime, civil protection and road fatalities.

In the Security sector, the Government will continue to implement a comprehensive, long-term plan, ensuring that the Security sector fulfils its primary role of serving the people and securing peace, security and stability. The Government wants to ensure the pursuit of the following objectives:

To this end, the following actions shall be undertaken:

6.9.3 Migration Services

6.9.4 National Intelligence Service

6.9.5 National Civil Protection Authority

6.10 International Relations and Foreign Policy

Timor-Leste is a small Nation with a highly strategic geographical location, whose security depends on the establishment of solid relations of friendship and cooperation with countries around the world, but above all with neighbouring countries, countries in this region, and the countries with which it shares long-standing cultural, historical and solidarity links, with a prominent place for the Portuguese-speaking countries naturally.

Also, and being consistent with the constitutional foundations, Timor-Leste is governed by the principles of national independence, the right of peoples to self-determination and independence, the permanent sovereignty of peoples over their natural wealth and resources, the protection of human rights, mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality between States and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.

The history of national independence is inseparable from the acts of diplomacy, friendship and solidarity of governments and peoples around the world. The aim of Timorese foreign policy could be no other than to maintain and strengthen relations of friendship and cooperation and to promote reconciliation, peace, stability, justice and an international economic order on the international stage that allows for the achievement of these objectives and contribute to the reduction of global poverty. A young and developing country, such as Timor-Leste, will necessarily have to conduct a foreign policy that promotes bilateral and multilateral cooperation, fostering cultural, economic and commercial partnerships with other countries, essential for attracting investment and for the training of the institutions and resources of the country.

In this context, the Government shall recommend the following objectives in the context of international relations and foreign policy:

6.11 Delimitation of Land and Maritime Borders

Timor-Leste is an island country in Southeast Asia, located between two larger neighbours. To the north, west and east, lies the Indonesian archipelago. To the south, extends the vast Australian continent, about 300 nautical miles across the Timor Sea. Up to 6th March 2018, there were no permanent maritime borders drawn, with none of its neighbours, Australia and Indonesia. In the context of foreign policy, the delimitation of borders, land and maritime, is a priority, since it is a question of national sovereignty. Thus, since the dawn of independence, efforts have been made to start negotiations with Australia and Indonesia on borders delimitation.

This is considered a matter of sovereignty, especially for a country, which offered all kinds of sacrifices, for approximately 24 years, in defence of its freedom and independence. The final frontier of the Timorese struggle lies in the seas and oceans that surround Timor-Leste.

It is important to reiterate that, for the people of the island of Timor-Leste, the surrounding seas are an integral part of their way of life and even have a spiritual meaning, since legend has it that the Timorese are descendant of the crocodile. The people depend on their seas for their sustenance and subsistence, through the fishing and harvesting of marine species. Also, coral reefs and steep underwater cliffs, which surround the island of Timor-Leste, are of great importance, since they are an important attraction for tourism development.

On the other hand, the country is developing its oil industry and attracting investment based on its vast oil and gas reserves, which lie on the seabed off the south coast. Oil activities in the Timor Sea are currently governed by interim arrangements for sharing resources with Australia, which reflecte the terms of a treaty signed by Australia and Indonesia, even during the time of the military occupation.

For this reason, since achieving its independence, it has been one of the main priorities for the country to obtain the permanent delimitation of its maritime borders, in accordance with international law. The establishment of permanent maritime borders will enable Timor-Leste to map its internationally recognised land and maritime borders, allowing greater security and certainty for the development of a range of industries and services, including security, immigration, Fisheries, tourism and customs. On the other hand, it could also boost business development and investment, including the oil sector. Growth and economic diversification represent the building of a prosperous, secure and sustainable future for Timor-Leste.

6.11.1 Indonesia

In the short term, the Government will reactivate negotiations with Indonesia to finalise the delimitation of the land borders, thereby closing the last two segments (Oben/Bijael Sunan and Citrana) in Oe-Cusse, definitively securing its sovereignty rights over territory.

Regarding the delimitation of maritime borders with Indonesia, formal consultations have already been initiated and a set of principles and guidelines for the negotiations have been developed by both governments and the application of international law agreed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), for the definition of maritime boundaries between the two countries.

Thus, the Government will resume formal negotiations on maritime borders immediately after the final delimitation of land borders. However, the internal discussions and preparation of political, technical and legal documentation, which will guide these negotiations, will begin to take place immediately.

6.11.2 Australia

6th March 2018 marked a historic moment for the country with the signing of the Maritime Boundary Treaty between Timor-Leste and Australia in New York. This treaty follows a lengthy dispute settlement process on the maritime area between the two countries, which included diplomatic efforts, bilateral consultations and negotiations, and other arrangements, including legal proceedings between the two States.

By initiating in April 2016, for the first time in history, the process of mandatory conciliation with Australia under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Timor-Leste succeeded in bringing Australia to the negotiating table. With the assistance of the Conciliation Commission, both countries have taken significant steps to reach agreement on permanent maritime borders, which has finally led to the signing of the new Treaty on Maritime Boundary between the two countries at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, in the presence of the Secretary General, António Guterres.

The Government will now also, as a top priority, develop efforts to implement the Maritime Boundary Treaty, including its ratification by the National Parliament immediately, as well as continue negotiations with the oil companies involved in the Greater Sunrise Field for the establishment of a special scheme for the Greater Sunrise Fields to the benefit of both parties.

The Government will thus continue efforts to implement the agreement with Australia, recognising the inextricable link between the delimitation of maritime borders and the creation of a special regime for the development of Greater Sunrise, which includes the development of resources and the provisions on the sharing of revenues resulting from the exploitation of those resources. These negotiations will be guided by a firm policy of defending national interests, aiming the sustainable social and economic growth of the Timorese people.

Furthermore, on the success of this mandatory conciliation process and considering the publication of the “Final Report and Recommendations of the Conciliation Commission”, Timor-Leste, in its foreign policy, will continue to promote international law and the peaceful settlement of disputes between the States, sharing its own experience and participating in international conferences and fora promoting international law, international law of the sea and, in particular, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, on the principle that all States shall, in good faith, fulfil their obligations under international law and respect the legal rights of other States. All States, whether large or small, are equal under international law and before international tribunals.

At the internal level, the Government will implement strategic measures to defend independence and territorial integrity, including the supervision of land, maritime and air space, in the framework of strengthening national sovereignty.

6.11.3 Institutional Development

With a view to implementing the country’s foreign policy in the context of international relations, the Government will continue to strengthen the institutions responsible for the implementation of its foreign policy and to promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation, oriented to the development of the Nation.

Thus, the Government shall:

6.12 Timorese Communities Abroad

The Government is especially committed to strengthening the ties that unite our compatriots in the diaspora with our State. We understand that despite the different circumstances that may have motivated many Timorese to have ceased to reside in our national territory, seeking safety or better living conditions in other countries, it is essential that we maintain and, if possible, strengthen the ties that unite Timorese in the diaspora to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Our compatriots abroad are the best means of promoting our country abroad.

In the recent past, on the proposal of the Government, the National Parliament passed legislation that allowed our compatriots in the diaspora to register in the electoral register, thereby enabling their participation in the electoral processes held in 2017 and 2018. Political participation, in addition to being a fundamental right recognised for all Timorese citizens, is also an important instrument for strengthening the ties of our fellow citizens to our National Community.

The Government is determined to continue to promote the adoption of measures to support our compatriots residing abroad and strengthen their connection to Timor-Leste, and therefore proposes the following tasks to be undertaken: