Rede ba Rai Timor-Leste Secretariat iha Fundasaun Haburas, Rua Celestina da Silva, Farol, Dili, Timor-Leste telefonu: +670 730 7800 email: firstname.lastname@example.org [English translation of Tetum original]
Minimum Requirements for Effective Public Participation on the Draft Transitional Land Law
10 June 2009
• A public consultation period of at least 5 months. At least a month is needed to share information and promote public discussion on the draft law before public consultation meetings begin.
• A summary of key elements and concepts of the draft law which people with limited formal education can understand, to be released together with the draft law.
• A timetable of public consultations with dates and place names. This needs to be issued at the start of the process so that communities and civil society are aware of when consultations will occur in their area.
• Distribute the draft law, summary of key points and timetable of public consultations to all Suco councils, district administrators, other local governance organs and DNTPSC and Ita Nia Rai offices before the public consultations start. Post information about the consultation and timetable to all Sede Suco noticeboards.
• Make copies of the draft law, summary and timetable of public consultations available to other agencies, civil society organizations and members of the public. This will help to ensure fair distribution to all members of the community.
• Ensure Ministry of Justice/Ita Nia Rai facilitated public consultation meetings are held, at a minimum, in all 13 districts with broad public participation.
• Devise a mechanism that reaches people at more local levels. For example, coordinate with civil society groups and district DNTPSC offices, and train Xefe Councils, in order to engage communities at the suco level, or at the very least in all subdistricts.
• Make it clear in all announcements that all community members are invited to attend public meetings and take measures to actively encourage broad participation. We encourage meeting organizers to help facilitate transport for community members.
• Facilitators for public consultations need to provide specific opportunities for women participants to speak (not only by keeping it generally open for women to speak). Facilitators should also ensure that people of all ages have an opportunity to speak.
• Public meetings to consult with communities should last at least 2 - 3 days. The first day to provide information, and the following day/s for communities to give their input and ideas.
• Hold public consultations in Tetum, with the flexibility to incorporate ideas and input in community languages (such as through informal translations by community members).
• Monitor public attendance and participation in consultation meetings to track the inclusion of vulnerable groups such as women.
• We encourage incorporating a variety of perspectives in public consultation meetings. This could include inviting speakers from civil society, academia, and customary land authorities to present.
• Produce a publicly available and timely report to record input and suggestions from the public consultations. Determine the parameters of this report and who is responsible for it before public consultation begins. This will strengthen accountability for how public suggestions are incorporated into the draft amendments.
• Provide a statement to outline how public input is incorporated into the draft law.
Image added by ETLJB: East Timorese farmers.