In May 2002, Timor-Leste gained independence from Indonesia. In 2006, the country suffered large-scale internal conflict, which led to the displacement of 150,000 people.
The latest parliamentary polls on 7th July, 2012 were considered an important milestone towards peaceful democratic governance. The UN announced that evidence of fair and peaceful polls would trigger the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping force UNMIT and additional forces comprised mainly of Australian troops.
Despite its troubled political past, Timor-Leste’s economy continues to grow rapidly. Offshore gas reserves have increased state income, and Government spending is starting to contribute to poverty reduction and improved social outcomes.
However, food insecurity remains widespread throughout Timor-Leste with 20% of the population food insecure and 44% vulnerable to food insecurity. Though the majority of the population works in subsistence agriculture, agricultural productivity is low and Timor-Leste depends on food imports. High inflation rates, partly caused by the large oil-exports, make access to food and services increasingly difficult.
Malnutrition among children <5 is a widespread health concern with health services in Timor-Leste characterized by weak infrastructure and low human resource capacity.
The country is prone to severe and recurrent drought, flooding and landslides. Tropical cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis also represent risks.