Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Office of the Vice Prime Minister and UNICEF

Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Office of the Vice Prime Minister and UNICEF

Image Tatoli/Antonio Daciparu

DILI, 11 june 2024 (TATOLI) – To further strengthen and deepen cooperation and partnership between UNICEF and the Office of the Vice Prime Minister, Mariano Assanami Sabino, the Vice Prime Minister, the Coordinating Minister for Social Affairs, and the Minister of Rural Development and Community Housing for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and Bilal Aurang Zeb Durrani, UNICEF Country Representative, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MOU outlines UNICEF’s support to the human capital development in social sectors, including in the areas of Early Childhood Development, Nutrition and Food Security, and Youth Empowerment.

The signing of this MoU formalise ongoing work between UNICEF and the Office of the Vice Prime Minister (VPM). In addition, the MoU documents UNICEF’s commitment to supporting the vision and goals of the recently constituted Inter-Ministerial Task Force for Social Affairs (IMTSA), which was set up in 2023, to promote coordination efforts between relevant Government ministries through making investments in Early Childhood Development, Nutrition and Food Security and Youth Empowerment.

“On behalf of the government of Timor-Leste, I am honored to sign this MoU between UNICEF and my office as the Vice Prime Minister. This MoU will assist UNICEF to provide technical assistance and support to the Inter-Ministerial Task Force for Social Affairs to address cross-cutting challenges in the areas that are relevant to human capital development, such as Early Childhood Development, nutrition and food security, and youth empowerment,” said H.E. Mariano Assanami Sabino. “I am confident that through our collaborative efforts, we will pave the way for a brighter future for the children and the people of Timor-Leste.”

In Timor-Leste, 47 per cent of children under five experience stunting, which has significant long-term effects on their physical and mental health, affecting their cognitive abilities and productivity later in life. Among the youths, who make up nearly 65 percent of the population, high levels of unemployment and limited access to quality education, limits their capacities to thrive.

Investing in holistic approaches to learning, growth, and development, especially for children aged 0 – 8 years, sets the right foundation for the raising of citizens who are healthy, happy, and who have the skills to contribute to the national development.

Working through different departments in the Office of the VPM, UNICEF has provided technical support to Institutu Nasionál Defesa Direitu ba Labarik (INDICCA), the National Council for Food Security, Sovereignty and Nutrition in Timor-Leste (CONSSANTL) and the Unidade de Missão para o Combate ao Stunting (UNMICS). The MoU therefore states UNICEF’s commitment to support this work, which aims to ensure that children in Timor-Leste are healthy, well-nourished, learning, and safe.

“UNICEF greatly appreciates the leadership of the Office of the Vice Prime Minister in ensuring improvements in the social sectors, including the recent setting up of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce for Social Affairs, which will support a coordinated approach for the country’s sustainable human capital development,” said UNICEF Country Representative, Bilal Aurang Zeb Durrani.

“Through the taskforce, the National Early Childhood Development (ECD) policy has been finalized and is ready to be taken to the Council of Ministers for approval. This policy will help in ensuring equitable and easier access to high-quality ECD services which will help every child has a solid start in life, especially in the first 1 000 days.”

Relevant News: UNICEF Country Representative receives the Highest National Award, the Order of Timor-Leste


Journalist: Camilio de Sousa

Editor: Filomeno Martins 


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