Opening Remarks at the Launch of Roads for Development (R4D) Programme Phase II of Timor-Leste

By Michiko Miyamoto, Director of ILO for Indonesia and Timor-Leste at the Launch of Roads for Development (R4D) Programme Phase II of Timor-Leste

Statement | Same, Manufahi District, Timor-Leste | 23 March 2017
  • H. E. Sr. Gastao de Sousa, Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications
  • Honourable Cabinet Ministers present
  • H. E. Peter Dolye, Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste
  • Secretary General, Director General of MPWTC, Director of DRBFC
  • Municipal Administrators, government guests, representatives of Timor-Leste Employers and Worker’s organizations
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the ILO Country Office for Timor-Leste and Indonesia, it is my honour and privilege to take part of to this important event – “Launch of the second phase of the Road for Development (R4D) project and the inauguration of the Same – Grotu road” which was rehabilitated through the R4D project.

I start with my remarks by sincerely congratulating the government of Timor-Leste for the peaceful and democratic presidential election which took place this Monday. Since the independence in 1999, Timor-Leste came a long way to establish peace and stability in the country. We are now witnessing the fruit of some hard work putting in to building of strong and independent Timor-Leste.

Hopefully Road for Development project in increasing the access of rural community contributed part of this positive development. Hopefully, all the rural residents could use the rural roads, going back to the community of origin, and be able to cast their votes to take part of the democracy in Timor-Leste.

I wish to take this opportunity to express ILO’s gratitude to the Governments of Timor-Leste and Australia for the trust and confidence given to the ILO. My special thanks the Australian Ambassador, His Excellency Peter Doyle and his team to keep the full trust in ILO to execute this vital programme for TL’s development and future prosperity. With the first phase of R4D now coming to an end this month and the second phase being launched today – ILO is proud to be part of important development history of Timor-Leste.

Since Timor-Leste become a member State of the International Labour Organization in 2003, the cooperation between Timor-Leste and the a very constructive working relation has been established with the Government of Timor-Leste and with Employers and Workers Organizations in the country.

Through its tri-partite structure the ILO is in the position to provide a platform for the Government, worker, employers where they can address issues of mutual concern – in line with ILO’s founding mission of promoting social justice for universal and lasting peace.

Key Priority areas for ILO’s cooperation with Timor-Leste at present are formulated around the 3 key areas
  • We promote of youth employment and social protection.
  • We integrate employment in rural economic development.
  • We improve labour market governance.
Rural roads hold the key to solutions to rural employment and rural economy.

With the full support of the Australian government, the ILO is committed to continue to provide quality technical advisory services during the second phase of R4D. We will ensure that we have a good return of investment in financial and human resources, and we will ensure, together with community and government institutions, a positive impact on the livelihoods of the rural people of Timor-Leste.

ILO’s technical assistance through R4D is not limited to the work on rural road construction.

Yes, the rural roads need to be build and maintained, we will work on the technical design standards, specifications, or systems and procedures required for the planning and delivery of capital investment. But the ultimate goal for all of us is to benefit the community and increase their social and economic benefit.

The technical assistant will also be aligned with requirements at Municipal level, in accordance with the Government’s on-going decentralization agenda.

The Rural Roads Master Plan and Investment Strategy that was endorsed by the Council of Minister in May 2016 will form an important document, guiding the ILO technical assistance.

The ILO shall also continue to support the Government in mainstreaming labour standards and rights at the work place. This includes the creation of appropriate occupational safety and health mechanisms in the implementation of R4D.

We will heavily focus on strengthening of capacities of the concerned government agencies and the local contractors.

Ladies and Gentleman, the fight against poverty and unemployment needs the joint commitment of all.

All of us, including the private sector and development partners, need to work together in order to be able to make an impact and ensure that productive jobs are realized not only in urban setting but also in rural communities.

This is the very reason why the ILO has – over the past 40 years – been promoting the development and application of employment-friendly policies and strategies for public investment in infrastructure in over 30 countries.

ILO promotes small enterprises in the construction sector – including labour-based contractors- and using locally available resources in an optimum manner that – without compromising the quality of the work – combine job creation in the infrastructure sector with improved and decent working conditions.

ILO’s Philadelphia declaration of 1944 is till relevant today: “Poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere”.

Let us continue our journey together, our road for development of Timor-Leste.