Programme overviewThe Roads for Development Program (R4D) is the leading rural roads program in Timor-Leste, supporting the development of the rural roads sector in the country. R4D is aligned with the Government of Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan 2011- 2030 and the Programs of the Constitutional Government. R4D is implemented by the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL) through the National Directorate of Roads, Bridges and Flood Control (DRBFC) in the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications (MPWTC).
The overall goal of the program is that women and men in rural Timor-Leste are deriving social and economic benefits from improved road access. The first Phase of the Program from March 2012 to March 2017 was co-funded by Governments of Australia (GoA) with a contribution of AUD 36 million for capital investments and technical assistance provided by the International Labour Organization (ILO), whilst Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL) contributed USD 20 million for physical road works and the provision of resources for staffing and operational costs.
A total of 138 km of core 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.
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.
The R4D program also contributed to key socio-economic benefits to rural communities in Timor-Leste. Rehabilitation and routine maintenance projects created short term employment opportunities for local labour generating approximately 611,000 labour days of work with 25 percent of these days for women.
Impact studies conducted during Phase I found that following rehabilitation the roads not only had year-round motorable access, but that travel times had been reduced by 50 percent. Access to services also improved along rehabilitated roads, including 24-hour ambulance service and mobile health services.
Agreements have been signed for the implementation of a 4-year Phase 2 from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021. The Government of Australia will continue to support the technical assistance provided by the ILO, but all physical works will be funded by the Government of Timor-Leste.
The name “R4D” will now be used to refer to the program implementing physical works within the Ministry, while the ILO technical assistance team will be referred to as the Roads for Development Support Program or “R4D-SP”. While the technical support provided by the ILO technical assistance team during Phase I supplemented MPWTC-DRBFC’s implementation capacity, support provided by R4D-SP team during R4D Phase II will ensure a gradual transfer of rural roads implementation responsibility to the MPWTC–DRBFC. Technical assistance provided by R4D-SP team will focus on capacity development of government and private sector stakeholders.