BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor     home

" ... the human system is an integral part of the ecosystem. A society is sustainable only if both the human condition and the condition of the ecosystem are satisfactory or improving. If either is unsatisfactory or worsening, the society is unsustainable.
... The livelihoods of East Timorese people depend on a healthy and productive environment. All people and industries for example, depend on a healthy water supply. Agriculture, fisheries, and tourism also depend on the environment. To meet people’s needs now and for future generations, East Timor’s natural resource base must be conserved and improved." Mr Jose Lobato, Timor Aid
See also:

Jan 25-31 2001 CSD: Program for Conference on Sustainable Development  Summary
Jan 25-31 2001 CSD: Recommendations of Conference on Sustainable Development  Added
Jan 25-31 2001 CSD: ETTA: The Natural Resources of East Timor  Overview
BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development' - A collection of recent press releases, reports, and articles
Bahasa Indonesia:
Jan 25-31 KPB: Pembangunan Berkelanjutan di Timor Lorosa’e  Article 

Introduction to Conference on Sustainable Development

Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor
Konferensi Pembangunan Berkelanjutan di Timor Lorosa'e

The purpose of the Conference is to highlight the environment and to promote and facilitate dialogue about sustainable development in East Timor, so that principles of sustainable development can be incorporated into future planning.

The Conference will be highly participatory, bringing together East Timorese and international experts, United Nations bodies, non-government organisations and individuals. The Conference will build strong networks within East Timor and establish alliances with international sustainable development organisations.

The program covers a comprehensive range of sustainable development issues; Introduction to Sustainable Development, Natural Resources and Conservation, Economy, Social Issues, Institutions and Technology.

The format of the conference includes plenary sessions in the mornings, followed by workshops to discuss the topics addressed. The workshops will identify and discuss specific issues and solutions relevant to East Timor.

The conference has been formatted with the aim of producing tangible outcomes. It is proposed that a Task Force on Sustainable Development is established to carry forward the ideas generated. Anticipated outcomes also include outlining a framework for an educational exchange program, and identification of priority pilot environmental projects.
 

Sustainable Development

Development that is sustainable meets environmental, economic and social needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

Over the past 30 years, growing numbers of people have come to recognise that efforts to improve their standards of living must be in harmony with the natural world. Many have also realised that a lack of development can be as great a threat to nature as reckless or misguided development.

East Timor has suffered major destruction - from the ashes a new independent nation is being built. East Timor has the opportunity to develop an integrated sustainable development strategy; to build a sustainable economy and infrastructure, to protect the environment, reverse environmental degradation and conserve natural resources for future generations.
 

History of Sustainable Development

Public awareness campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in governments around the world beginning to address environmental issues. Sustainable development emerged from a global recognition of environmental problems.

The term sustainable development was introduced by the World Conservation Strategy in 1980. The report of the World Commission on Environment and Development 'Our Common Future' (1987) put sustainable development firmly on the global agenda. ‘Our Common Future’defined development as sustainable ‘if it meets the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
 

Agenda 21

The Rio Earth Summit in 1992 resulted in a major new sustainable development strategy - Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is designed to prepare the world for the challenges of the new century, to addresses poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and environmental degradations as a set of interrelated issues.

It is an action plan that calls on nations to adopt national strategies for sustainable development. Many countries around the world are presently working towards implementing National Sustainable Development Strategies.

Around the world people struggle with what sustainable development means in practice and how to achieve it. They have wrestled with the meanings of sustainable and development. Some have proposed other terms, such as ecologically sustainable development, or ethical sustainable development, sustainable living and sustainable well-being. A strong argument has been put that sustainability also incorporates spiritual and cultural aspects.

Regardless of the terminology, the central concept is the same; the human system is an integral part of the ecosystem. A society is sustainable only if both the human condition and the condition of the ecosystem are satisfactory or improving. If either is unsatisfactory or worsening, the society is unsustainable.

Environmental degradation is a major source of unsustainability. There is a need to tackle environmental issues as an integrated component of overall development.

The livelihoods of East Timorese people depend on a healthy and productive environment. All people and industries for example. depend on a healthy water supply. Agriculture, fisheries, and tourism also depend on the environment. To meet people’s needs now and for future generations, East Timor’s natural resource base must be conserved and improved.
 

East Timor's Environment

East Timor has a very fragile environment. It is particularly dry compared with other parts of the region, and is prone to regular droughts. Deforestation combined with steep slopes, thin soils and heavy seasonal rains have resulted in erosion, soil loss and diminished water quality, which in turn threaten coral reefs and fisheries.

While the biodiversity of East Timor’s fauna is high, many species are at risk of extinction due to deforestation. East Timor has many valuable plant species, including Sandalwood and Teak but only small stands remain due to overharvesting in Portuguese and Indonesian times.

In urban areas, pollution and waste is a problem. Air and ground water pollution impact directly on human health and the climatic disruption caused by global warming is causing major disasters affecting the health and living conditions of people all around the world.

Sustainable development in East Timor will depend on effective environmental planning and management. Appropriate technology will allow small villages to participate more fully in the economy and affairs of East Timor, and community participation in civil society is another vital component of building independence.

The conference will explore many aspects of development, including many essential components required to implement sustainable development. For example, environmental laws at national and international levels will be discussed, as well as data management for effective environmental planning and management. The conference will provide important opportunities for exchange of scientific and technical information, playing an important role in sustainable development for East Timor.
 

Additional excerpt added August 3:

Sustainable Development in Timor Lorosa’e

It is proposed that the Conference adopt the internationally recognised definition that “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable development addresses the linkages between environment, economy and social wellbeing.

Timor Lorosa’e is a rights-based country. This has special implications for sustainable development since human rights are the foundations on which sustainable ecomonic, political and social development and environmental justice are built. The colonial and occupation periods resulted in extensive damage creating a great need for infrastructure and environmental restoration. Sustainable development, however, requires much more than repairing past damage. Sustainable livelihoods, enterprises and communities will be the effective expression of equity and justice for the Timorese people.

Sustainable development has not been fully factored into transition planning. A sustainable development strategy should be in place by the time of independence. This strategy should influence decisions within government, business and civil society. It is a major challenge, linked to governance, development planning and both domestic and foreign policy. There will be substantial immediate and longer-term benefits arising from a sustainable development strategy that can be implemented locally and nationally. For example, reforestation of watersheds will enhance economic wellbeing through restoration of biodiversity and commensurate production of a more diverse range of products, while reducing the impacts of floods and drought. Health will be improved by sanitation and clean water supply. Greater revenue could come from sustainably certified export products starting with organically grown coffee.

These and other consequences of sustainable approaches to development will come about only if certain conditions are met. The Conference recognised that sustainable development depends upon:

* Commitment of both national and local leadership
* Introduction of integrated planning and environmental assessment
* Development of a cultural basis for sustainable development
* Poverty reduction and sustainable economic opportunities
* Environmental security and freedom from further military intervention
* Full participation of business and civil society as well as government
* Participation of women in decision making
* Economic incentives for environmental improvement
* Innovations in technology, institutions and decision processes
* Realistic expectations and time-lines

Progress will begin only when there is the courage to take action. Sustainable development action can start today, and should not be delayed and put off to some time in the future.
 

The Conference on Sustainable Development was initiated by Jose Ramos Horta and Timor Aid.

Conference Supported by:

USAID
HIVOS (Netherlands)
Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD)
Trocaire (Ireland)
Embassy of Finland
Timor AID
UNICEF
UNDP
NZAID
AusAID
Canada Fund.

Further Support from:

Protimos Foundation,
Ecological Architects Australia,
RECOFTC,
Environment Australia,
International Union for Conservation and Nature,
Icelandic international Development Agency,
Northern Territory University,
Australian Volunteers International,
Norwegian Government,
BP Solar,
Mineral Policy Institute,
Australian Computer Society,
Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria,
RMIT Department of Geospatial Science.

Conference Advisors:

Mario Nunes -ETFOG,
Joaquim Fonseca - Yaysan HAK,
Aderito de Jesus, SAHE,
Domitrio Amaral -Haburas,
Angus Mackay & George Bouma, EPU UNTAET,
Carlos Alberto Baros Forindo- Ema maTA Dalan ba Progresso ETTADEP.

Coordinating Committee & Contacts:

Maria Isabel Da Silva,
Americo Da Silva,
Ajerino Vieira,
Annalisa Koeman,
Carrie Deutsch,
Russell Anderson. Email: rander12@scu.edu.au

Others who worked on the Conference:

Marc Beuniche,
Selma Hayati,
Susie Russell,
Sue Lennox,
Alfredo Issac,
Filomena da Silva Soares,
Steve Malloch,
Bret Eartheart and all those others that have volunteered some of their time.

The Conference on Sustainable Development was initiated by Jose Ramos Horta and Timor Aid:

José Ramos-Horta  Added June 12
* Mr Jose Ramos-Horta is an internationally-renowned spokesperson for the East Timorese cause. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for “sustained efforts to hinder the oppression of small people”.
* Mr Ramos-Horta has been a dynamic and determined advocate for a free and independent East Timor. From 1976 until 1989, he was the permanent representative of the Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste Independente (FRETILIN) at the United Nations.  He currently holds the position of Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs, United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor.

Timor Aid, also known as Timor Aid-Tulun Rai Timor  Updated July 25
Timor Aid is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO).  TA is also an ACFOA member and as such adheres to a Code of Conduct.
TA is an aid organization founded by East Timorese, whose seat is in Dili. It provides relief, reconstruction and development aid to the people of East Timor. Besides relief and reconstruction work during the current emergency, Timor Aid also engages in long term development projects mainly in the areas of health, education, human resource development, the advancement of women, and income generation. TA is the aid and development arm of ETISC.
Homepage:  http://www.timoraid.org/


See also:

Jan 25-31 2001 CSD: Program for Conference on Sustainable Development  Summary up-dated Aug 3
"The 22 workshops on sustainable development issues first identified 4 priority issues and then listed strategies to address them. ...
Summary includes: Sustainable Economic Development; Education -at all levels of society; Capacity Building -at all levels of society; Transparent and Integrated Planning Process; Clear Policies -developed in consultation with the community; Transparent System of Regulations, Enforcement and Penalties; Recognition of Traditional Structures and Knowledge." Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor

Jan 25-31 2001 CSD: Recommendations of Conference on Sustainable Development  Added Aug 3
"In addition to the many specific suggestions arising from the Conference papers and workshops, seven overarching recommendations are made. These represent important starting points to begin the journey towards sustainable development in Timor Lorosa’e." Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor

Jan 25-31 2001 CSD: ETTA: The Natural Resources of East Timor  Overview added July 25
"Because East Timor has ruled by other people for so long, the management of natural resources in this country has not received serious attention. The result is that today there is widespread deforestation and there are several species of bird and animals that are threatened with extinction. ... Thus if we wish to develop a better future for East Timor, the biophysical environment and natural resources of East Timor must be given attention so as to avoid further destruction and to repair environmental damage." Mario N. Nunes, Manger ETTA Forestry Unit

Conference on Sustainable Development: http://members.tripod.com/sd_east_timor/

BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development' - A collection of recent press releases, reports, and articles

Bahasa Indonesia:

Jan 25-31 KPB: Pembangunan Berkelanjutan di Timor Lorosa’e  Article added July 27
"Konferensi ini mengusulkan agar definisi yang sudah diakui dunia internasional tentang pembangunan berkelanjutan akan dipakai di Timor Lorosa’e, yaitu: “pembangunan yang memenuhi kebutuhan-kebutuhan generasi sekarang tanpa mengurangi kemampuan generasi yang akan datang untuk memenuhi kebutuhan-kebutuhan mereka”. Pembangunan berkelanjutan menjawab keterkaitannya antara lingkungan hidup, ekonomi dan kesejahteraan sosial. ... Kemajuan hanya dapat dicapai apabila ada keberanian untuk mengambil tindakan. Tindakan-tindakan untuk memulai penerapanpembangunan berkelanjutan sebaiknya dimulai hari ini, dan sebaiknya tidak ditunda-tunda untuk dilakukan suatu saat nanti di masa depan." Konferensi Pembangunan Berkelanjutan di Timor Lorosa'e


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home
Website: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood Email: wildwood@pcug.org.au
Postal address: BACK DOOR GPO Box 59 Canberra City ACT 2601 Australia
Receive FREE weekly email Web-updates: email wildwood@pcug.org.au and include the words "Subscribe BACK DOOR" in the message header. more info