Donors Support Rebuilding Of East Timor

TOKYO, December 17, 1999 - Nearly 200 delegates from over 50 countries and international agencies gathered in Tokyo today to pledge around US$520 million in grant funding over the next three years to rebuild East Timor and to ensure its smooth transition to future independence.
"I would like to see joint planning and systematic coordination in all the humanitarian, governance, and reconstruction programs taking place in East Timor," said Xanana Gusmao, National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) leader in his opening remarks. "Development programs will have more chance of success in the long term if this consultative approach is taken right down to the grass roots level."

Some US$370 million of the approximately US$520 million pledged will be designated for the recurrent budget and for development and reconstruction efforts over the next three years. Out of the US$370 million, US$215 million will be allocated to two trust funds.

A reconstruction trust fund will be established to cover sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, and macro-economics. The trust fund will be administered by the World Bank, partnering with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the preparation, appraisal, and supervision of projects. The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and East Timorese representatives will be responsible for approving projects and overseeing their implementation.

A second trust fund will be administered by UNTAET, and will focus on governance and capacity-building projects, in addition to East Timorese public administration costs.

In addition to the trust fund pledges, US$158 million has been pledged for other bilateral and multilateral reconstruction assistance

Further to the development and reconstruction pledges, donors were also able to contribute to United Nations Consolidated Inter-agency Appeal for humanitarian relief efforts and for transitional and emergency reconstruction measures. Pledges for these efforts are estimated to be US$149 million.

"It is extremely significant that international donor countries and agencies expressed their support for nation-building efforts in East Timor at the meeting," said Shozo Azuma, Japanese Senior State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. "The key to success is the self-help efforts by the East Timorese themselves. I strongly hope that the participating donors and international organizations will continue their support and that the East Timorese themselves will make utmost efforts for self-reliance." During the meeting, Japan announced that it will extend around US$100 million over the next three years for the development and reconstruction of East Timor.

As part of the envisioned development and reconstruction program, participants supported the creation of a committee that would prioritize assistance projects and ensure East Timorese participation and ownership. The group would be composed of East Timorese and UNTAET representatives that would work together in defining the development priorities for the country.

The formation of such a committee would not only ensure East Timorese ownership of the process but will also provide a mechanism for smooth transition from UNTAET's governance to East Timorese effective management in the near future.

"The East Timorese people have an extraordinary resilience, generosity, and courage," said Sergio Vieira de Mello, co-chair of the Donors' Meeting and Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations. "And our efforts to work together as partners in the rebuilding of East Timor under the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, and peace should serve as an example for countries across the globe."

During the transition period for East Timor, full participation of the East Timorese at every level will be critical, in addition to continued international donor coordination and support for the relief and reconstruction processes.

"The international community has really been able to come together quickly and effectively to help East Timor in their time of need," said Jean-Michel Severino, co-chairman of the Donors' Meeting and World Bank Vice-President for the East Asia and Pacific Region. "But continued support and realizing the commitments that we have made here today is absolutely necessary for East Timor's success and sustainability as it transitions into independence. Clearly, unified, straightforward assistance mechanisms are needed to support East Timor quickly and effectively. The international community looks forward to the new millennium with the emergence of this new state and the new opportunities for cooperation and friendship that lie ahead."

All participants of the Donors' Meeting agreed that regular discussion and evaluations of East Timor's development progress were needed and agreed to meet again in six months time. The Government of Portugal will host the mid-year review in Lisbon.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia (observer), Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States. Also in attendance were representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Care International/Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response, East Timorese NGO Forum, European Commission (EC), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)/Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Labor Office (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Oxfam International, People's Peace Relief Project (PPRP), Timor Aid, United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and East Timor Delegation, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), World Bank, World Food Program (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), and Yayasan Hak.

For more information on the Donors' Meeting for East Timor please see: http://www.worldbank.org/eap

Contact Person:

In Tokyo: Tomoko Hagimoto 813-3597-6650
Lucy S. Oh 813-3597-6650

In Washington: Peter Stephens 202-458-2281