Delivering the keynote address was H.E. Sr. Gastao Francisco de Souse, Minister for Public Works, Transport and Communications. Other invited guests included H.E. the Ambassador of Australia to Timor-Leste, Their Excellences Ministers of the Cabinet of the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL), the International Labour organization (ILO) Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Representatives of Development Partners and Donors, Municipal authorities, Government officials, Representatives of Employers and Workers’ Organizations, and ILO R4D staff.
We are also looking forward to continue our collaboration for the continued implementation of R4D with the rural people of Timor-Leste and other R4D stakeholders. Whereas considerable achievements have already been made, there is still much work to be done in terms of further strengthening capacity, in streamlining procedures, standards, and specifications to ensure that optimum returns to investments can be achieved and in ensuring that effective coordination takes places at all levels between the concerned stakeholders."H.E. Sr. Gastao Francisco de Souse, Minister for Public Works, Transport and Communications
Australia’s Ambassador to Timor-Leste, H.E. Peter Doyle, explained that “improved rural roads are a vital condition to enhanced social and economic development. Better roads and access to water are consistently the biggest priority of Timor-Leste’s rural communities.”
improved rural roads are a vital condition to enhanced social and economic development. Better roads and access to water are consistently the biggest priority of Timor-Leste’s rural communities."H.E. Peter Doyle, Australia’s Ambassador to Timor-Leste
The first phase of the R4D program ends on 31st March 2017. The Government of Australia (GoA) contributed AUD 36 million for capital investments and technical assistance for this first phase. The GoTL contributed USD 23 million for physical road works and the provision of resources for staffing and operational costs. To-date 313 km of rural roads have been rehabilitated by R4D. Continuous routine maintenance systems have also been established with approximately 400 km of rural roads being maintained using trained Community Maintenance Groups.
A 5-year (2016 - 2020) Rural Roads Master Plan and Investment Strategy (RRMPIS) was developed by R4D to provide a framework for the development of the rural roads sector in Timor-Leste. The RRMPIS was approved by the Council of Ministers in May 2016. Other achievements during phase I included the development of systems and standards for planning, delivering and monitoring investments in the rural road sector in Timor-Leste. Comprehensive social and environmental safeguards frameworks were also developed and operationalized.
During phase I training was provided to 882 staff of contractors and 345 Government staff. Training was provided on planning, procurement, implementation and management aspects of rural roads rehabilitation and maintenance works. 611,000 worker-days of employment – of which 25 percent for women – were created in the project areas.
Conducted impact studies confirm the importance of R4D. Already substantial benefits to rural people materialized from improved rural road access. These include increases in economic activities and employment, better access to agricultural land, schools, health centers and other services, and reductions in travel times and travel costs.
R4D Phase II will continue receiving financial support from the Government of Australia - AUD 26 million over the next four years for the ILO to continue to provide technical assistance. This technical assistance programme will be called R4D Support Programme (R4D-SP). GoTL’s contribution to phase II will cover capital investments (including investments in rural road maintenance) and resources for staffing and operational costs. MPWTC-DRBFC will assume the full responsibility for R4D’s implementation of rural roads rehabilitation and maintenance works during phase II, with the R4D-SP technical assistance mainly focussing on capacity development.