10 February, Pante Macassar. A workshop between the officials of the Authority of the Região Administrativa Especial de Oé-Cusse Ambeno (RAEOA) and the Zonas Especiais de Economia Social de Mercado de Timor-Leste (ZEESM TL) and members of the United Nations Country Team was held on 10 February 2016 in Pante Macassar. The workshop was presided by His Excellency, Dr. Mari Alkatiri, President of the Authority while Mr. Knut Ostby, UN Resident Coordinator as well as Country Directors, Resident Representatives and other senior officials of all the UN agencies and the Regional Secretaries of the Authority of the RAEOA and ZEESM TL participated in the event.
The workshop, which was organized jointly by the Authority and the United Nations, was aimed at developing closer coordination between the UN agencies and the Authority and to review priority areas. Speaking on the occasion, President Alkatiri shared his vision for Oé-Cusse’s economic and social development, highlighted investments already made in public institutions and public infrastructure and shared plans for developing policies and strategic frameworks that will benefit every citizen of Oé-Cusse.
“It is important to stress that this is not a project, but an integrated program for transforming the lives and livelihoods of the people of Oé-Cusse”, said Dr. Alkatiri. “I know there are many challenges before us, but our vision is clear and our resolve is unwavering. And as I have always maintained, our model of economic development is one that is centered on people. Inclusion, equity and equality—these are the cornerstones for Oé-Cusse’s vision of social markets”. Dr. Alkatiri also stressed on improving policy frameworks, creating enabling conditions for businesses, and investing in skills development that lead to creation of jobs, adding that “I believe in the power and value of partnerships—and we hope to develop partnerships with all UN agencies, that allow pooling of expertise and resources and help deliver tangible results”.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Knut Ostby, UN Resident Coordinator thanked the President for his initiative to organize the event and congratulated him on the rapid progress being made on building better infrastructure and public services, stating that “Oé-Cusse is a torch bearer on many fronts and the UN agencies are looking forward to contributing to the process of its socio-economic development”. He further stated that “We are encouraged by the focus on policy and governance frameworks and admire the entrepreneurial spirit with which the Authority is approaching its challenges”.
A number of decisions were taken in the light of an energized debate between the UNCT members and officials of the Authority, including agreement on an institutional mechanism for follow up actions. Summarizing the discussion and presenting the institutional coordination mechanism, Mr. Arsenio Bano, Regional Secretary for Education and Social Solidarity, stated that “This marks the beginning of a long term engagement with the UN agencies. We have agreed to hold senior-management meetings on a bi-annual basis to provide oversight for all work done together by the UN agencies and the Authority; set up a Joint Working Group for operational coordination; and involve the UN agencies in policy decisions through their representation on important policy forums such as the Oé-Cusse SDGs Response Team. We will also use online collaboration and communication tools like Slack and WhatsApp for information sharing”, he added.
The UNCT members were also taken on field visits to select development projects where they were able to see the results of investments made to improve public services.