Special guests of honour in attendance included the Minister for Public Works, the Secretary of State for Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, the UN Women Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, a representative of the Australian Embassy in Timor-Leste and the UN Resident Coordinator.
The ILO remain committed to strengthening the government’s capacity in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in Timor-Leste. The ILO believe that there are no equal rights, without equal opportunities. The ILO projects has translated this belief into actions by continuously engaging and involving women in all the activities."Augustus Asare, Chief Technical Advisor for ILO-R4D programme
Currently in Timor-Leste, the ILO is strengthening capacity of the government to implement two Employment Intensive Investment Programmes, with the overall goal of providing social and economic benefits from improved road access for women and men in rural Timor-Leste. The two programmes are the Roads for Development Programme (R4D) and the Enhancing Rural Access (ERA) Agro-Forestry Project.
These two projects have realised impressive results and significant impacts for rural communities. For example, 338 km of rural roads have been rehabilitated to all weather standards and 552 km put under maintenance. Approximately 1,504,000 labour days of employment has been created with approximately 30 percent being women and in 2018 almost 50 percent of the contractors trained and awarded contracts under R4D and ERA Agro-Forestry were women-owned firms.
We can also see how women are building the country, from female entrepreneurs and workers constructing rural roads to the 26 female Parliamentarians who are driving the county's legislative development."Anna-Karin Jatfors, UN Women Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific
Meanwhile Anna-Karin Jatfors, UN Women Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, emphasized the important role of women in the development process that were in line with this year’s theme. “Across the Asia Pacific Region and in Timor-Leste, we can see that women are often innovators, as the main caregivers in their homes or as the majority of vendors in the marketplace. We can also see how women are building the country, from female entrepreneurs and workers constructing rural roads to the 26 female Parliamentarians who are driving the county's legislative development.”
R4D is the leading rural roads programme in Timor-Leste. Aligned with the Strategic Development Plan of the Government of Timor-Leste, R4D is implemented by the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications, with financial support from the Australian Government and technical support from the ILO.
While ERA- Agro-Forestry is a component of the Partnership for Sustainable Agro-Forestry implemented through Ministry of Public Works, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the ILO with a specific objective of implementing a capacity building and labour-based programme to rehabilitate and maintain rural roads so as to provide access to agro forestry areas, thus creating employment and economic opportunities for local populations.