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Project Background

Timor-Leste, as the world's newest country, faces incredible formidable political, social and economic and social , as well as political development challenges. Although significant progress has been made across many areas since 1999, the legacy of colonial rule and twenty-four years of occupation and conflict have enormous profound implications for rebuilding the country and strengthening its institutions and human resources to address critical development priorities. The country is among the least developed countries in East-Asia on by most social indictors, with one in five people living below US$1- a day. Rational government structures led by a competent civil service are needed to address the many development challenges including management of change and giving greater weight to the private sector and civil society.


Building a Timorese public service has been one of the most difficult challenging aspects since the beginning of the UN's mandate and to date. Not only were the institutions and public records destroyed or removed in 1999, but also an estimated 7,000 Indonesian civil servants fled the territory, leaving a vacuum in all areas of government. The development of Timorese skills in the areas of administration and governance had been very limited during the years of Indonesian rule and the majority of the technical as well as senior and middle-level management positions in government had been occupied by Indonesian officials. The human resource base was therefore extremely weak at the time of arrival of UNTAET. Training and capacity building, to develop a professional and effective public administration, will remain a major challenge in the coming years.


Two years after independence, progress has been towards made toward the creation and strengthening of the Timor-Leste state institutions. Nonetheless, much remains to be accomplished to reach the objectives set out for Timor-Leste's civil service. The Government of Timor-Leste has given its commitment to achieving the MDGs by 2015 by linking virtually all aspects of the Millennium Development Goals to its National Development Plan. Additionally, the Government's eight immediate priorities are interrelated in addressing the strengthening needs of sectors related to food security and job creation towards poverty alleviation. These are long-term tasks demanding a sustained Timorese capacity - implicit in addressing these priority areas is the need for strong public institutions and a competent civil service.