As the youngest country in Asia and home to one of the youngest populations in the world, Timor-Leste is poised reconcile its difficult past and realize a more prosperous future. Under Portuguese colonial rule since the 16th century, Timor-Leste declared independence in 1975 only to endure a swift Indonesian invasion and occupation. Two decades of conflict and resistance claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of East-Timorese people. In 2002, Timor-Leste restored its independence and was recognized an independent state. 2019 thus marks a historic year for Timor-Leste. Twenty years since voting for independence from Indonesia under a UN-administered popular consultation and 17 since independence was restored, Timor-Leste has its own unique and compelling narrative of resistance, independence, reconciliation and peace, inclusive of successes, as well as remaining challenges and opportunities.
With ambitions to become a middle-income country by 2030, advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies is a priority at the national and international level. As a global champion of SDG 16 and one of the initial advocates for SDG 16 as a standalone goal, Timor-Leste is a timely host for this 3rd Annual Showcase.
Timor-Leste has proven itself a leader on SDG 16+, with much to share on reconciling with the past while building the future, and on what it takes to advance peaceful, just and inclusive societies.