In keeping with Timor-Leste’s Voluntary National Review (VNR), presented at this year’s HLPF and with SDG 16 at its foundation, the theme of reconciliation and inclusion as drivers of peace and prosperity, at home and abroad, will feature at the opening of this Showcase. Participatory decision making and multi-stakeholder partnerships provided the basis for consultations and processes around the VNR, as well as the country’s adoption of its Strategic Development Plan and its alignment with the SDGs. Following colonial rule and then military occupation, Timor-Leste has made substantial progress as a new nation since the restoration of independence in 2002, focused on prevention, state-building and accelerating progress on sustainable development.
An emphasis on security sector reform following the 2006 crisis led to innovative approaches to prevent violence and promote peace, from community policing to the establishment of a national directorate for community conflict prevention. Since the restoration of independence, Timor-Leste has had four democratic and peaceful elections. Legislative reform and the creation of various institutions, from independent human rights and electoral institutions to an anticorruption commission, highlight progress made in state building and institution building.
Gender Equality and Youth Empowerment
As Timor-Leste continues to move forward in its efforts to consolidate peace, deliver justice and support inclusion, further addressing women’s political and economic empowerment and gender- based violence, as well as the inclusion of youth and decent work remain priorities.
Gains have been made in terms of female representation in national bodies, such as parliament where women have 40% representation and elected bodies at the local level where there are 3 reservation seats for women in the village councils. Despite such notable gains, gender equality remains a significant issue.
As the seventh youngest country in the world and with 67.5 percent of its population under 30, young people present an undeniable opportunity to advance SDG 16+ and drive peace and prosperity. Focusing on young people’s political and economic inclusion will be critical to Timor-Leste’s present and future.
Balancing adequate and effective social protection, including social transfers, with increased access to education, healthcare and other services has led to questions around policy, public spending and the measures needed to address inequalities.
Going forward, channeling efforts towards greater human investment and expanded socioeconomic opportunity will sustain peace and accelerate development. Through economic diversification and the development of the nascent private sector and emerging industries, Timor-Leste can offer decent work to its young and growing workforce to seize the potential of the “demographic dividend.” Greater opportunity through inclusive socioeconomic growth and human investment in education is necessary to sustain peace and drive development.