DILI, 03 february 2023 (TATOLI) – The Government of Timor-Leste( GovTL) and United Nations (UN) held a national multi-stakeholder consultation on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Ministry of Finance, Aitarak – Laran, Dili on Friday.
The National Consultation of Voluntary National Review (VNR) was hosted by Prime Minister H.E. Taur Matan Ruak and was attended by more than 200 participants from the National Parliament, Government, sub-national representatives, civil society, academia, private sector, United Nations and development partners.
Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak in his speech highlighted the importance of the Second Voluntary National Review ‘titled People Centred Sustainable Development’ which aligns with the Government’s priorities and focus.
PM made this comment following Timor-Leste’s efforts to reduce the negative impacts on people during the last year of covid-19 while identifying appropriate recovery policies that put people at the center of development.
“Since the submission of the first VNR in 2019, Timor- Leste implemented comprehensive policies to achieve the SDGs, with a specific focus on reducing disparities between regions and different groups within the society. Therefore, it is important to develop the second VNR to share knowledge of Timor-Leste with international audiences and to use the results of the VNR in policymaking. All stakeholders’ involvement in the VNR is encouraged,”
The main objective of the national multi-stakeholder consultation was to provide opportunities for stakeholders to shape the key issues and messages of the second VNR report to review the progress and challenges of SDGS and identify ways to accelerate implementation.
The United Nations Timor-Leste supported the national consultation. The national consultation is part of the broader stakeholder engagement and consultations to be held with target stakeholders, including under-represented groups.
In 2022, the Government of Timor-Leste considered the time is right to prepare a second VNR.
“As the country is coming out of the COVID-19 global pandemic and conducted a mid-term evaluation of the National Strategic Development Plan. The theme for the second VNR is ‘People-centered Sustainable Development: Leaving No One Behind’ in line with the Government priorities and policies. The results of the second VNR will be presented at the High-Level Political Forum in New York in July 2023 alongside 40 countries,” said PM.
The Minister of the Presidency of Council of Ministers Fidelis Magalhães encouraged Timorese to work together in the implementation of the VNR to ensure the country‘s welfare including the welfare of the people of Timor – Leste.
“Timor- Leste presented its first VNR in 2019 in New York. It helped us to understand where we were at the time in terms of SDGs progress. Some government agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and ANAPMA used the VNR results to inform national budget and program priorities. Now the second VNR provides opportunities to reflect and assess what has changed since 2019 in Timor- Leste and for each member of the society,” said Magalhães encouraged
Meanwhile, Funmi Balogun, UN Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste, noted: “The VNR is an inclusive, participatory, and transparent process that is evidence-based and it enables the country to produce tangible lessons, solutions, and commitments to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. It is critical that Timor-Leste can hold an open discussion involving multiple stakeholders in one room reflecting the country’s democratic achievements that focus on people’s participation in all levels of policies in Timor-Leste. All stakeholders should use the VNR results widely this time as the report is evidence-based and focuses on people.”
In addition, Brigida Soares, Technical Coordinator at ANAPMA shared the process involved to identify the main theme of the Second VNR as People at Centre of Sustainable Development.
The Second VNR should build on the stories and lessons learned from the First VNR, People Centred Sustainable Development was one of the main recommendations from the VNR in 2019.
Also, a targeted stakeholder survey was conducted by the VNR Secretariat in November where the majority of the participants proposed topics in line with investing in human capital as a development priority. After a thorough discussion at the VNR Commission meeting, the theme “People at Centre of Sustainable Development was proposed to the Council of Ministers on 2 December 2022 and was agreed upon. This theme will help guide the key questions and priorities to be addressed in the Second VNR report.
At the same place, Elias dos Santos Ferreira General Director of the General Directorate of Statistics explained the importance of using evidence-based data and transparency and accountability in the VNR and overall government policy processes.
“Under the premise that national programs align to SDP and SDP aligns to SDG’s mean government programs and activities, indicators and targets also align with the SDGs where relevant. The VNR contributes to improving coherent reporting across different levels of government” he concluded
During the national consultation, the main objectives and scope of the VNR were presented. The participants were divided into 9 groups each focusing on a key development area and discussing the main successes and challenges and future actions to accelerate the SDGs. The key areas were: Health and nutrition; Education: Social protection and basic services; Economic diversification and resilience (agriculture, tourism, industry, and environment); Job creation and private sector development: Institutions and good governance; Decentralization; Justice. security and peace and the SDG’s means of implementation.
Timor-Leste presented its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2019 at the High-Level Political Forum in New York alongside 46 other countries under the theme From Ashes to Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Sustainable Development”.
Journalist : Camilio de Sousa
Editor : Nelia B.