- H.E. Sr. Gastao de Sousa, Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications
- H.E. Sr. Ambassador Alexandre Leitao, European Union Head of Delegation to Timor-Leste
- Secretary General, Director Generals, Directors and Officials of Ministries
On behalf of the ILO Country Office for Timor-Leste and Indonesia, it is my privilege to take part of to this important signing and launch event for the project “Enhancing Rural Access (ERA) Agro-Forestry’’ which is supported by the European Union (EU). Today’s event symbolizes strong commitment and partnership between EU, Germany, Government of Timor-Leste and ILO to contribute to economic development, market access and food security for Timor-Leste's rural community.
Under this project, ILO is responsible for the component of capacity building and technical support to the Ministry of Public Works Transport and Communication, and relevant institutions for rehabilitating and maintaining rural roads that will be linked to agro-forestry areas for improved market access.
I wish to take this opportunity to express ILO’s gratitude to the Governments of Timor-Leste and the European Union for the trust and confidence given to the ILO. My special thanks to the EU Ambassador, His Excellency Sr. Alexandre Leitao and his team to keep the full trust in ILO to implement this vital programme for Timor-Leste’s development and future prosperity with the Government of Timor-Leste.
Based on the successful achievements and experiences of ERA project phase I, ILO is proud to continue with ERA phase II Agro-Forestry project to be part of this important development history of Timor-Leste.
Since Timor-Leste became a member State of the International Labour Organization in 2003, ILO has forged a very constructive working relation with the Government of Timor-Leste. Through its tripartite structure –Government, employers and workers nd the ILO is in the position to provide a platform to discuss and find solutions for issues of mutual concern in the world of work which should lead to promotion of social justice, stability for lasting peace.
Key priority areas for ILO’s cooperation with Timor-Leste at present are formulated around the three key areas:
- We promote of youth employment and social protection
- We integrate employment in rural economic development
- We improve labour market governance.
With full support of the EU, the ILO is committed to continue to provide quality technical advisory services during the project implementation. Together with community and government institutions, we will ensure a positive impact on the access and the livelihoods of the rural people of Timor-Leste.
The ILO shall also continue to support the Government in mainstreaming appropriate labour standards throughout project implementation.
And of course, the technical assistance will be aligned with requirements at Municipal level, in accordance with the Government’s on-going decentralization agenda.
ILO’s technical assistance through ERA is not limited to the work on rural road rehabilitation and maintenance.
Yes, the rural roads need to be build and maintained, we will work on the technical design standards, specifications required for the planning and delivery of capital investments for quality roads. But the ultimate goal for all of us is to benefit the community and increase their social and economic benefit.
As you know, ILO puts great importance on rural economic development in terms of access to employment and income generating opportunities. Maximum work opportunity will be created during the road rehabilitation, construction and maintenance using labour-based methods for the community. Then once the rural access is improved, it will maximize agro-forestry development in rural areas for further social and economic gain.
Lastly I would like to emphasize that the fight against poverty and rural development needs the joint commitment of all.
All of us, including the private sector and development partners, need to work together to make an impact and ensure that productive economy, food security and jobs are realised not only in urban setting but also in rural communities.
Based on the experiences of last 4 decades in promoting the application of employment-friendly policies and strategies for public investment in infrastructure, I am certain that this project, together with the Government of Timor-Leste, EU and ILO will produce a tangible results in increase of local jobs and economy through rural road access.
ILO’s Philadelphia declaration of 1944 is still relevant today: “Poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere”.
Let us continue our journey together, our new ERA of Timor-Leste: Peace, stability and prosperity.