BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home   June news

"Following consultation amongst the NGOs in East Timor, the following are the key issues that national and international NGO’s wish to draw to the attention of international donors:
1. Timeframe For Transition; 2. International Tribunal; 3. Capacity Building As A Priority; 4. Involvement Of A Broad Sector Of Timorese Society; 5. Monitoring And Transparency Of Reconstruction Process; 6. East Timorese Must Direct Their Own Development." Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e / The East Timor National NGO Forum


(The voice of Civil Society calls the Donors)

Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e
The East Timor National NGO Forum


13-16 JUNE 2001

The NGO Forum represents national and international non government organizations and a broad spectrum of civil society in East Timor, which continues to be active across all sectors and in all districts throughout the country.  Following consultation amongst the NGOs in East Timor, the following are the key issues that national and international NGO’s wish to draw to the attention of international donors:


NGOs recognise the enormous task at hand in East Timor both in the reconstruction and development efforts and in establishing the foundations for an emerging nation. NGOs are therefore concerned to ensure that the pace for transition in all areas is realistic.

The timeframe for political transition should allow for adequate consultation and civic education with the women and men of East Timor, to ensure that the political will of the people can be genuinely exercised.  NGOs believe that the rapid pace of the “consultation” adopted by United Nations in East Timor does not allow for a genuine process of popular debate regarding the election processes or the development of the constitution.

The current timeframe allows only one and a half months for popular consultation on the constitution leading to the elections and then a further 3 months for drafting by the elected assembly.   As a result the views of many East Timorese men and women will not be heard or taken into account.

NGOs request donors to morally support and financially commit to longer timeframes regarding the political process.  We also request donors to provide more resourcing for an adequate consultation .

Apart from the political transition, NGOs believe that the general pace set for nation wide transition and the resources allocated towards it need to be more realistic.  Donors should be aware that communities are not yet engaged as equal partners in development and implementation of projects in East Timor. Donor approaches should  involve setting up gender sensitive partnerships with communities, and include commitments to the pace and the  priorities set by East Timorese people.


NGOs  recommend that international donors financially support an international conference in East Timor to discuss the need for an international tribunal.  This conference should be held as soon as can be practically arranged in order to assist the community to reach a common position on an international tribunal.

There can be no reconciliation without justice.  Therefore, the creation in East Timor of a functioning court administration needs to be a priority for the international donor community.  NGOs recommend that funding for adequate and appropriate capacity building within this sector be prioritised as a matter of urgency.


There needs to be a long term strategy for development of human resources in East Timor. This strategy needs to be developed in consultation with all groups of East Timorese society. Lessons learnt from experiences to date need to be incorporated into the next phase.

Donors are asked to join with NGOs  to insist that international staff working in East Timor work to objectives related to capacity building of national counterparts.

In order to ensure that East Timorese men and women are actively involved in decision making, there must be a focus on the recruitment of East Timorese at all levels in UN agencies and international organisations.  Donors should ensure the recruitment process should have safeguards in place to ensure genuine capacity building is occurring.


There is a great need for increased district level consultations with young people, women, rural communities are essential in this next phase of transition.  Administrative decentralisation in decision making and service provision will assist in this process .

We call upon the International Donor Community to support the formation and strengthening of community groups and national NGOs that are linked to local communities.


We call upon the International Donor Community to focus on strengthening the role of East Timorese civil society to monitor and assist the reconstruction process and to ensure transparency during and after the transition.


There are concerns that some programs in East Timor are inappropriate and donor driven. Care must be taken, for example, not to jeopardise sustainable livelihoods through encouraging farmer dependence on cash crops such as coffee.

Health and education programs funded by the donors should ensure that attention is paid to issues of access in program design. Programs must be geared towards accessibility for men and women, particularly from marginalised groups.

Donors should ensure that all programs receiving funding are realistic, and sustainable in the long term. They must enhance the ability of the East Timorese people to carry out projects independently in the future.

East Timor National NGO Forum / Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e  Updated June 14
Umbrella agency for East Timorese Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
VISION: To contribute to the building of a pluralist, democratic, just and sustainable East Timor through the development of a strong, independent and responsible civil society committed to upholding and making real in the daily life of the community, both village and urban, the full range of human rights so that all East Timorese, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, can enjoy the fruits of liberation and development in an East Timor forever free.
MISSION: To realise its vision by promoting a culture of learning, cooperation, partnership with the community and respect for human rights and good practice amongst East Timorese NGOs and between them and other development actors, both domestic and international, and by serving as a collective, independent voice for the rights and needs of the community.
VALUES AND PRINCIPLES: a rights approach to development; inclusiveness, participation; accountability; gender balance; respect for the environment; non-party political; non-sectarian; good governance; volunteerism.
Kaikoli Street, Dili-East Timor  Telephone +670(390)322772
E-mail:  Homepage:
Jun 7 ETNGO Forum: Donors Meeting must be for Rural People:

See also:

May 14 LH: NGO Forum declines to join UNTAET Constitutional Process  Letter added May 16
"The NGO Forum has chosen to coordinate with, but remain independent of, the UNTAET Constitution building process because of strong concerns that UNTAET’s process is rushed and highly inadequate." Lao Hamutuk, East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal - A collection of recent reports, articles and news

Apr 17 STL: Mario Carrascalao: UNTAET Does Not Have A Timorization Target  News from ETimor added Apr 19
“In order for Timor Lorosae to be fully independent, it is necessary [for the transitional administration] to have full capacity-building in order to create a definite level of Timorese administrators ­ till all the administrative positions in UNTAET are filled by Timorese people,” Mario Carrascalao, vice-president of CNRT/CN

BD: East Timorese Women's Issues - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news

Watching & Monitoring Reconstruction

BD: Financing Reconstruction in East Timor - A collection of recent reports and articles

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