In-depth

The National Parliament building in Dili.
The National Parliament building in Dili. Photo Sandra Magno/UNDP TL

UNDP’s support for democratic governance in Timor-Leste is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness and integrity of the governance institutions, systems and processes through policy support and capacity development. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)

The Justice System Programme (JSP) is a comprehensive capacity development initiative that supports the work of Timor-Leste’s courts, prosecutor, public defender and the Ministry of Justice, to improve people’s access to, and boost public confidence in, the formal justice system, particularly at the local level.  The Legal Training Centre (LTC), which is supported by the JSP, is the country’s only professional training facility for justice sector officials. The 51 judges, prosecutors and public defenders who have graduated from the LTC now comprise the backbone of the country’s functioning justice system, a remarkable achievement given that in 2002 there was not a single Timorese judge, prosecutor or public defender in the country.

A two-pronged approach guides UNDP’s work with Timor-Leste’s National Parliament. We are strengthening the democratic foundations of oversight and accountability by strengthening legislative, oversight and representative functions of the Parliamentarians and also increasing the technical capacity of the Secretariat as a source of long term institutional support to the parliamentarians.

UNDP is also helping to strengthen parliamentary democracy by providing technical and advisory assistance and expanding on existing capacity development initiatives. This includes active support for the Gender Resource Centre (CEGEN) whose efforts have led to such ground-breaking legislature as the law against domestic violence as well as the election of 25 women MPs in 2012. At 38 per cent of the legislature, this is the highest representation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Timor-Leste’s Constitution provides clear provisions for a strong, democratic and efficient local governance system. UNDP supports this mandate by assessing options for local government and helping in the preparatory work on policy, legal and regulatory frameworks for decentralization. It has also supported the introduction of  mechanisms for citizens’ engagement in decision making at the local level and strengthening capacities of local institutions in inclusive planning and implementation of community  development initiatives.  

The Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice (PDHJ) is charged with promoting and protecting the rights of the Timorese people. UNDP is helping the PDHJ broaden its knowledge and skills base including investigative techniques and human rights monitoring. UNDP’s efforts were instrumental in the development of the office’s first Strategic Plan, which will guide its work through 2020.

UNDP began supporting Timor-Leste’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2011 with programmes that strengthen institutional capacity in civic education, research on anti-corruption matters and partnership building between ACC and civil society organizations. In 2012, UNDP also helped the ACC complete its self-assessment under the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).