MPs approve Resolution n. 35/II
On 25 August, Parliament approved two legal instruments dealing with the protection of the ozone layer and the substances that deplete it: Resolution n.35/II, “Adesão à Convenção de Viena para a Protecção da Camada de Ozono” and “Protocolo de Montreal para a Redução de Substâncias que Empobrecem a Camada de Ozono.”.The tally was 45 votes in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions,
Parliament to discuss the remuneration of elected and appointed office holders
On 26 August, Project of Law n. 14/II, “Estatuto remuneratório dos titulares de cargos políticos” was admitted to Parliament and referred to the Committee for Economy, Finance and Anti-Corruption (Committee C). This Project of Law deals with the remuneration of elected and politically appointed office holders, such as the President of the Republic, Members of the National Parliament and of the Government.
New Parliamentary Friendship Group between Cuba and Timor-Leste
On 26 August, Parliament established a new friendship group between Cuba and Timor-Leste. Friendship groups are informal groups comprised of members of Parliament, which aim to foster a better understanding of other countries through links with national legislatures. The Groups usually meet with members of visiting parliamentary delegations, other distinguished visitors and with diplomatic representatives of these countries in Timor-Leste, as well as with their counterparts when traveling overseas.
Committee H continues Public Hearings on Sports Law
On 26 August, the Committee for Youth, Sports, Labour and Professional Education (Committee H) held Public Hearings on Government Bill n. 24/II “Lei de Base do Desporto” - the first legislative initiative in Timor Leste to regulate the area of sports and define the system, structure, conditions and opportunities to practice sports as a fundamental activity in the development of youth and for the strengthening of national identity. The Hearings started last week with a meeting involving the National Olympic Committee and the National Para-Olympic Committee of Timor-Leste and continued this week with meetings involving martial arts groups (Kork, Kera Sakti, Rajawali, Pajajaran, THS-THM, PSHT, 5-5, 7-7, 12-12, Kolimau 2000) and representatives of Timorese Universities.
Committee C holds Public Hearings on Budget Law
On 27-28 August, the Committee for Economy, Finance and Anti-Corruption (Committee C) organized a workshop to discuss Government Bill n. 28/II regarding “Orçamento e Gestão Financiera” (Budget and Financial Management), which was admitted to Parliament on 18 August.
President La Sama opened the two-day seminar, which took place in the UNPAZ auditorium. It included a presentation of the Government draft law by the Minister of Finance, Ms. Emilia Pires, as well as several presentations on public expenditure management, the links between public expenditure and poverty reduction, budget oversight, as well as government lending and borrowing. Participants included representatives from the World Bank, UNDP, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the International Cooperation Agency of Japan (JICA).
Development partners meeting at the National Parliament
On 28 August, President La Sama hosted a development partners’ meeting in order to discuss the recently developed draft Strategic Plan and its implementation. The Plan aims to serve as a roadmap for the continued development of parliament over the next five years (2010-2014). Participants included the Ambassadors of the United States, Australia, Portugal, Japan, the European Commission and Indonesia, as well as country representatives of several donor agencies. In his opening speech, the President of the Parliament underlined the important role the Strategic Plan will play in strengthening Parliament’s ability to exercise its constitutional mandate and consolidate the democratic process in Timor-Leste.
Study visit to India of Committee E
From 4 -16 September, members of the Committee on Poverty Reduction, Rural and Regional Development and Gender Equality (Committee E) undertook a study visit to India in order to share experiences, best practices, and lessons learned in the areas of legislation, oversight and implementation, particularly with regard to gender mainstreaming in parliament, gender-responsive rural development and pro-poor and gender-responsive poverty reduction. The visit also aimed to strengthen the partnership and cooperation between Committee E and Indian counterparts in Parliament, Government, women’s groups/NGOs and CSOs.
Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry created
Following a decision of the National Parliament on 25 August 2009 to accept a request by MPs from five political parties to examine allegations of corruption related to the Government’s purchase of rice, on 14 September a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry was established (Inquérito Parlamento No1/II). The Commission is composed of 11 MPs who have been nominated by the leaders of the party benches according to their proportional representation in Parliament.
MPs approve Parliament Budget for 2010
According to the recently adopted Organic Law, all parliamentary Committees, as well as the Office of the President, the Women’s Caucus, the party benches and all directorates of the Secretariat have to submit a budget proposal and annual action plan to be discussed and approved by the Plenary. On 17 September, the budget for 2010 - Project of Resolution n. 30/II “Orçamento do Parlamento Nacional para 2010” – was approved with 32 votes in favor, 0 against and 2 abstentions.
MPs approve Government Bill n. 28/II
On 23-24 September, Parliament approved Government Bill n. 28/II on “Orçamento e Gestão Financiera” (Budget and Financial Management) with 31 votes in favor, 0 against and 2 abstentions. The Budget and Financial Management law defines the role of the executive and legislative regarding the budget and financial management and outlines the principles of public financial accountability. It replaces UNTAET Regulation 2001/13.
Parliament Project starts capacity development programme for national staff
On 22 September, Parliament started an intensive capacity development programme for national staff with support from the UNDP Parliament Project. The programme includes 2 daily one-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, to accommodate staff schedules. In the initial phase, training is envisaged for 100 hours over a period of three months and will focus on the foundations of the legal and parliamentary system in Timor-Leste. The capacity development programme is conducted by the advisers of the UNDP Parliament Project.
Workshop on Basic Education
On 1-2 October, the Committee for Health, Education and Culture (Committee F) will organize a workshop to discuss the strategy of the Ministry of Education for implementing the national policy on basic education. The President of the National Parliament, Mr. Fernando La Sama de Araujo, will open the two-day seminar, which will include participants from UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, UNESCO, World Bank, and the Ministry of Education, as well as the Bishop of Baucau, school directors and children. Items on the agenda include the role of Parliament and the responsibility of the national leadership for ensuring an educated population in support of peace-building and national development, challenges in delivering basic education in Timor-Leste, and an analysis of resource needs to achieve basic education goals.