People in East Timor have many questions about the hundreds of millions of dollars that have flowed into the country since September 1999. Most have little idea where the money is going. The lack of public awareness, transparency, and participation in funding matters leads many to conclude that something is wrong. At the same time, there is a pervasive perception that, given the levels of funding, there has been insufficient progress in the rebuilding of East Timor.
At a meeting of international donors in Dili on 29 March, for example, Xanana Gusmao criticized various aspects of the reconstruction process, telling the donors of money ill spent and delays in the implementation of projects. The CNRT leader told the conference attendees not to be "overly impressed" with all the activity in Dili, stating that "in the interior the economic situation of the population has not changed much" since the Indonesian military's September 1999 campaign of terror and destruction.
While such problems are not merely matters of funding, funding is central to the concerns raised by Xanana and many others. That is why this issue of the Bulletin focuses on the primary external funding sources in East Timor, and how their money is spent.
Undoubtedly, there is a great deal of money involved in the international community's efforts in the territory. Indeed, donors to East Timor have allocated more than one billion US dollars since December 1999.
Despite its small size and an economy based on subsistence agriculture, East Timor presently has one of the most complex external funding and public finance structures in the world. It is important to understand the different sources of this money, what it pays for, and the decision-making processes that govern its allocation. In this way, the people of East Timor can better evaluate the uses of this money, and more effectively influence its future flows and, thus, the reconstruction process.
La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis Updated May 11
La'o Hamutuk (Tetum for Walking Together) is a joint East Timorese-international organization that seeks to monitor, to analyze, and to report on the reconstruction activities of the principal international institutions. It believes that the people of East Timor must be the ultimate decisionmakers in the reconstruction process and that the process should be as democratic and transparent as possible ...
East Timorese staff: Inès Martins, Fernando da Silva, Thomas Freitas; International staff:Pamela Sexton, Mark Salzer Executive board: Sr. Maria Dias, Joseph Nevins, Fr. Jovito Rego de Jesus Araùjo, Aderito Soares
International contact: +1-510-643-4507 Email: email@example.com Homepage: http://www.etan.org/lh
La’o Hamutuk Bulletin: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletin.html
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