ILO and Australian government strengthen technical cooperation with US$31 million Timor-Leste project

The ILO and the Governments of Australia and Timor-Leste have announced a new US$31 million project to significantly improve road transport in Timor-Leste.

News | 29 March 2012

GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Governments of Australia and Timor-Leste have announced a new US$31 million (30 million Australian Dollars) project to significantly improve road transport in Timor-Leste.

Funded by the Australian Agency for International Development – AusAID – the four-year “Roads for Development” programme (R4D), is one of the largest per capita infrastructure development projects in Asia-Pacific. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Infrastructure in Timor-Leste, with technical support provided by the ILO. The three parties officially endorsed the new project today (29 March) at a signing ceremony in the capital Dili.

Through the project some 1,150 kilometres of existing rural roads will be maintained and/or rehabilitated, so improving the mobility of goods and services across the country.

R4D will also develop a comprehensive road maintenance system and undertake or support the maintenance of rural roads rehabilitated by both R4D and previous programmes. The Government of Timor-Leste will also support this work with additional funding.

The positive effect on the rural economy is expected to be significant, with an estimated 4.7 million days of work created for people in rural areas. As many as 52,000 rural women, men and their families are expected to benefit from the injection of an estimated US$14 million into the local economy. In line with the principle of equal access to job opportunities for women and men, R4D will aim at a 50 per cent participation rate for women in all rural road works. Overall, the programme will boost the already successful development of an employment-intensive investment approach to infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance in the country creating new opportunities for people and enterprises.

The announcement of the Australian Aid funded R4D programme comes just weeks before the Australian Government and the ILO mark the beginning of the third year of a formal partnership agreement. During the first two years of the agreement, which runs from 2010 to 2015, the Australian Government has supported ILO technical work in 13 countries in Asia and the Pacific, to help them achieve the Millennium Development Goals and the targets set out by ILO member States in the Asian Decent Work Decade (2006 – 2015).

“Australia is a founding member of our organization and its support for our development cooperation programmes reflects its ongoing commitment. The values of our social justice mission underpin practical programmes that, in turn, guide policy development” said ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia.

“In this era of globalization, decent work for all must be at the core of strategies for poverty reduction, sustainable growth and equitable and inclusive development. Through this programme in Timor-Leste and the Partnership Programme the Australian Government’s support is invaluable in enabling us to develop and promote strategies for decent work as the basis of decent lives for people and communities in Asia and the Pacific.”

Through the Australian Government–ILO Partnership Agreement, Australia is helping the ILO strengthen the capacity of governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, to help them deal with existing and emerging workplace concerns, using tripartite social dialogue. Overall, the aim is to protect and promote workplace freedom, equity, security and human dignity for all workers.

Between 2010 and 2012 the partnership agreement provided almost US$16 million (AU$15 million) in resources for initiatives in six areas of work: the ILO-IFC Better Work Programme; labour law reform; a Pacific growth and employment plan; youth employment in Timor-Leste; green jobs; and labour migration governance.

The partnership’s technical cooperation work is currently implemented in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.

For further information please contact:

Mr Peter Van Rooij (enquiries regarding R4D)
Country Director, ILO Office for Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Tel.: +6221/391-3112 ext. 104

Mr Allan Dow (enquiries regarding the partnership agreement)
Advocacy and Communications Officer, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Tel: +662/288-2057