Timor-Leste: Strengthening governance through Open Conversation

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As decentralization takes place in Timor-Leste, more and more it becomes a hot discussion topic within society. An Open Conversation with members of civil society, the government, and development partners was held today at the World Bank Office in Lecidere where Justice for the Poor's team delivered a presentation on "Articulations of Local Governance in Timor-Leste: Implications for Decentralization."

Justice for the Poor is a World Bank program that focuses on mainstreaming justice considerations and conflict management into development processes. In particular, the program aims to support the poor and marginalized groups to understand and enforce their socio-economic rights. The Justice for the Poor team was represented by Pamela Dale, David Butterworth, and Geraldo Moniz da Silva; while the Team Leader Matthew Stephens-currently visiting Dili-moderated the discussion.

How government, donors and civil society can strengthen relevant and effective democratic practices at the local level became the central question that Justice for the Poor's team offered to the participants. The team also presented the findings from their research that was conducted in Aileu and Lautem between June - September 2009.

During the Open Conversation, capacity building became a key issue as most of the participants agreed that it is essential to improve capacity in both the national and local levels in order to ensure that decentralization accurately responds to the people's needs, especially in addressing poverty.

The Open Conversation is part of the World Bank's outreach program that aims to raise awareness in the community about the work that the Bank conducts in Timor-Leste.