Opening Remarks at the Social Dialogue Seminar on Social Protection System in Timor-Leste

By Francesco d'Ovidio, Director of ILO for Indonesia and Timor-Leste at the Social Dialogue Seminar on Social Protection System in Timor-Leste, 3 December

Statement | Dili, Timor-Leste | 03 December 2015
Only 20 per cent of the world’s population has adequate social security coverage and more than half lack any coverage at all.

Social protection involves access to health care and income security, particularly in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity or loss of a main income earner.

Two months ago, the international community has approved a new set of objectives for 2030, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs propose to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems for all, including social protection floors, ensuring that no one is left behind and that prosperity is shared.

Social protection policies play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality by boosting human capital and facilitating structural transformation of national economies.

The ILO actively promotes policies and provides assistance to countries to help extend adequate levels of social protection to all members of society.

With the generous contribution of the Portuguese government, the ILO is launching the ACTION project which aims to support Timor-Leste, as well as the African Portuguese Speaking Countries (PALOP), enhancing the development of social protection systems in the framework of the ILO Global Campaign for the implementation of Social Protection Floors.

ILO has been supporting a number of countries in the region (Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia) in the design of more comprehensive social protection systems, including the use of assessment based national dialogue (ABND) exercises, which are important steps towards the implementation of nationally defined social protection floors.

One of the objectives of this workshop is to discuss the status of the Social Protection system in Timor-Leste and through that have a better idea of what can be the scope of ILO support to the country in the area of social protection.

Timor-Leste has displayed great progresses in the area of social protection: including the creation of a Universal Pension for the Elderly, the implementation of a cash-transfer for families with Children (Bolsa Mae) and initial steps towards the design of social insurance for civil servants and workers in the private sector.

... but lot more remains to be done.

I count on your positive energies to maximise your participation in this workshop and sincerely hope that this is just a first step towards a comprehensive and inclusive social protection system in Timor-Leste.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank again the generous support and of the Portuguese government without which this activity wouldn’t have seen the light.