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TLPDM: Aid effectiveness needs to improve in Timor-Leste

The Dili Weekly - June 25, 2013

More rigorous oversight of development projects is needed to improve aid effectiveness in Timor-Leste, according to the consensus reached following the annual Timor-Leste Development Partners Meeting in Dili.

The annual two-day conference was held to coordinate the direction of development assistance in Timor-Leste, which contributed $213.9 million to the country last year.

At the TLDPM, development partners and the Timorese government agreed to set up new systems to monitor development projects in order to make aid more effective. Some of the new mechanisms include annual action plans for each sector and quarterly meetings on progress for stakeholders in each sector.

The meeting also discussed the challenges facing development in Timor-Leste, with concerns raised about the poor quality of education, the weak justice system and lack of human resources within government institutions.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said there was now a strong commitment from development partners to achieving goals in the government's 2010 Strategic Development Plan. "The challenges to development can be overcome if we work together responsibly and with strong commitment," he said.

European Commission Director Gerhard Sabathil called on the Timorese government to give ministries enough resources to contribute to quarterly meetings.

"There needs to be a greater understanding that coordination is a resource intensive undertaking, it cannot be effective unless adequate human resources are actually committed," he said. Dr Sabathil also called on each ministry to create their own capacity building plans so donors can support them better.

Head of AusAID Vincent Ashcroft said Timor had made a lot of progress, especially in the area of economic growth, but said it could take a long time for these benefits to reach people.

"Growth itself will take a long time to make a difference to the lives of poor people and growth as a measure doesn't tell us much about inequality or people's lives."