17 June 2014

Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of State Administration and Counterpart International to Support Local Governance and the Decentralisation Process

ETLJB 17/06/2014 - Dili, Timor-Leste (30 May 2014) –  Today, the Ministry of State Administration and Counterpart International held a ceremony to mark the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding outlining their cooperation for the implementation of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) funded four-year, $6 million Ba Distrito project, implemented by Counterpart International.  Ba Distrito, which is funded by the American people through USAID, will run until 23 September 2017.

The pilot Ba Distrito project aims to strengthen local governance and improve access to justice by working closely with suco councils, local civil society organizations and district level authorities and justice institutions.  The project will be implemented in 100 sucos, in 5 districts around Timor-Leste, starting first in Baucau, Covalima and Oecusse and then expanding into Ermera and Liquisa districts next year.

Working to support the Ministry of State Administration’s vision of evolving decentralised governance, Ba Distrito will support national NGO Belun to strengthen local governance and the decentralization process by enhancing the capacity of suco councils to increase citizen participation and representation in local governance and improve communication and links between suco councils and district administrations, line ministries, and other providers of basic public services at the sub-national level.

H.E. Ministery Teme said “... today MSA marks another new step, by signing the Agreement with Counterpart for the Ba Distrito program to undertake capacity building activities for the suco council members”.  Commenting on the training the suco council members will receive from the program, the Minister said “What the Ministry really sees as important is that after receiving this training and capacity building from the Ba Distrito Program, the Ministry hopes that the members of the Suco Councils will be more active in participating in the development of their own sucos;  they can’t just be obervers but must become authors of their own development.”

The launch of the Ba Distrito project coincides with important developments in local governance including the recent promulgation of the Organic Statute of the Structure of Administrative Pre-Deconcentration Decree Law and anticipated revisions to the law regulating sucos in preparation for the 2015 suco elections.  “Ba Distrito will create opportunities for community leaders and their constituents to come together and find solutions to shared challenges and engage in a more informed way with the decentralization process” said Carolyn Tanner, Chief of Party for Counterpart International.

The signing ceremony was attended by H.E. Minister of State Administration, Jorge da Conceição Teme;  Director General for Local Development, Miguel Pereira de Carvalho; Director General for Administrative Decentralization, Abilio Jose Caetano; Director Sebastiao Pereira from the National Director for Support and Administration of Sucos, as well as representatives of USAID, Counterpart International, and national NGO Belun. Source: Counterpart International Press Release 30/05/2014 

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