Meeting of the Council of Ministers on February 21st, 2024

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Spokesperson of the Government of Timor-Leste
Ninth Constitutional Government


Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers on February 21st, 2024

The Council of Ministers met at the Government Palace in Dili, and after a presentation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation on progress in implementing the roadmap for Timor-Leste’s accession as a full member of ASEAN, approved the draft Government Resolution on coordination mechanisms in the process of Timor-Leste’s accession to ASEAN.

Given that the process of negotiating various agreements and other binding international instruments will be intensified, and given their requirements and particularities, it is necessary to ensure the leadership and representation of the State of Timor-Leste in the negotiations. To this end, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation is designated as the Chief Negotiator, responsible for conducting the negotiations in coordination with the members of the Government responsible for the matter being negotiated.

The Government Resolution establishes technical working groups to monitor the ASEAN membership’s three pillars (Political and Security Community, Socio-Cultural Community and Economic Community). It provides for quarterly reports to the Council of Ministers. The Directorate General for ASEAN Affairs will technically coordinate these working groups under the supervision of the Vice Minister for ASEAN Affairs.

This measure aims to ensure the effective fulfilment of the commitments made for full membership of ASEAN, with the progressive adoption by Timor-Leste of different political, administrative and legislative instruments to bring the national system into line with ASEAN’s regulations and recommendations.


According to the draft presented by the Minister of Justice, Sérgio Hornai, the Council of Ministers recommended that the Ministry of Justice promote a direct procurement procedure for purchasing 150,000 passport books and two passport printing machines.


The draft Law Proposal on the Higher Education Framework Law, presented by the Minister for Higher Education, Science and Culture, José Honório da Costa Pereira Jerónimo, was also approved.

More than 14 years after the entry into force of the Education Framework Law, the aim is not only to meet current demands and challenges but also to ensure an improvement in quality by creating a specific Framework Law for the higher education sector. The Education Framework Law will remain in force almost entirely, with the only repeal being Subsection III of Section III of Chapter II, which refers specifically to the organisation of the higher education system.

Among the measures proposed by this Law Proposal is replacing Diplomas I and II in technical higher education with Higher Technical-Vocational Courses (CTePS) lasting four semesters (two years). Technical higher education establishments can now award bachelor’s, licentiate’s or vocational master’s degrees and diplomas, thus correcting a previous situation of inequality in the awarding of degrees and diplomas in technical higher education. These measures aim to facilitate the international academic recognition of students and improve their job prospects in training.

Changes are also proposed to the duration of the bachelor’s degree cycle, which will now last 8 or 10 semesters (4 or 5 years respectively) and the possibility of awarding a master’s degree after training for twelve semesters is introduced, including an integrated, non-divisible bachelor’s degree part corresponding to the first eight semesters of the integrated master’s degree course. The Higher Education Framework Law incorporates a rule authorising distance learning in the sector, considering the needs highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The diploma establishes that, in higher education, Portuguese should be the main language of teaching, research and instruction, with Tetum being used as a supporting language in the respective processes. The state is committed to valorising and developing the Tetum language, with a view to its future use as the main language in higher education. There are exceptions to this rule, namely in teaching foreign languages, international cooperation programmes and specific programmes that require teaching in a foreign language.


Lastly, the draft Law Proposal on Measures to Protect Urban Legality presented by the Minister for Public Works, Samuel Marçal, was approved.

With the legal regime for building and urbanisation entering into force, which regulates the licensing of construction and the use of buildings, it is necessary to provide the government with the appropriate legal tools to guarantee the application of this regime.

Therefore, this draft Law Proposal aims to establish measures to protect urban legality to regulate the necessary administrative acts that guarantee compliance with legislation on the licensing of urban operations and building operations and compliance with territorial management instruments.

This Law Proposal will establish five measures to protect urban legality – embargo, demolition of work, administrative eviction, cessation of use and legalisation procedure – which will allow the Government to act and restore urban legality, taking into account the seriousness of the urban offence and whether or not the work is likely to be legalised. END