UN Country Team

The United Nations Country Team in Timor-Leste



The United Nations agencies, funds, and programmes established their presence in Timor-Leste shortly after the 1999 "Popular Referendum" for independence that resulted in national violence and massacre until the formal establishment of the country in 2002. During this humanitarian stage, UN agencies, in particular those focusing on relief, provided substantial direct interventions and support to maintain peace, reintegrating returning refugees, feeding and sheltering displaced persons, reconstructing war-damaged housing, public utilities and infrastructure and re-establishing government structures. A number of UN agencies have maintained continued presence in Timor-Leste, shifting from emergency relief through rehabilitation to longer-term socio-economic sustainable development. 

For coordination and harmonization towards a One UN approach at the country level, the UNCT comes together under the leadership and guidance of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, who is also the Resident Representative of UNDP and UNMIT’s Deputy SRSG for Governance Support, Development, and Humanitarian Coordination. 

With the establishment of UNMIT in August 2006 as an integrated mission, considerable efforts have been deployed by senior management of UNMIT, UN agencies, and a dedicated coordination team to establish the foundations for integration between the UN agencies, funds, and programmes and the work of UNMIT. 

A joint framework for collaboration was developed and agreed upon by the UNCT and UNMIT senior management. The framework is aligned to the government priorities and establishes internal coordination mechanisms that build on the comparative advantages of each part of the UN family. Working groups of the UNMIT and UNCT, which are required to develop a common work plan that defines activities, benchmarks and indicators of achievement of results, have been formed in the areas of justice, communications, humanitarian issues and HIV/AIDS amongst others. 

Integration aims to combine the comparative advantages of different parts of the UN family for a strengthened UN response to the complex challenges facing Timor-Leste, covering a range of interrelated security, humanitarian, governance and development issues. Importantly, integration and coordination between UNMIT and the UN agencies covers both programmatic and operational issues.

Within the context of an Integrated Mission, the mandate for UNMIT and relevant strategies for the UNCT, during the move from peacekeeping and recovery to longer-term peace-building is developed and implemented through this “lens” of consolidating peace and stability, within a wider human security context.

The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is the result of an ongoing consultative process intended to analyse how the United Nations can most effectively respond to Timor-Leste’s national priorities and needs in a post-conflict context. It is guided by the goals and targets of the Millennium Declaration, which has been endorsed by the Government, as well as the Programme of the IV Constitutional Government for 2007-2012, the International Compact for Timor-Leste, the 2007 National Recovery Strategy and other relevant documents. The UNDAF translates these into a common operational framework for development activities upon which individual United Nations organisations will formulate their actions for the period 2009-2013.

Consolidating peace and stability represents the cornerstone for the UNDAF; under this overarching goal, three inter-related areas of cooperation have emerged as particularly critical for United Nations support to the people and Government of Timor-Leste during this five-year period.

  1. Democratisation and Social Cohesion, including deepening State-building, security and justice
  2. Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Livelihoods, with particular attention to vulnerable groups, including youth, women, IDPs and disaster-prone communities
  3. Basic Social Services, encompassing education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and social welfare and social protection.

In all three, the United Nations offers comparative advantages with regard to achieving further tangible progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, drawing on its values, successful global knowledge base, best practices and lessons learnt; its strong normative mandate and track record in Timor-Leste; its neutrality; and its ability to encourage efficient coordination and facilitate accountability among donors.  

The UN system in Timor-Leste has been one of the first to develop an Integrated Strategic Framework (ISF) drawing on the Government’s Priority Plan, relevant Security Council resolutions, the UNDAF and UNMIT’s Medium-term Strategy and Benchmark. In general, the Integrated Strategic Framework is a shared peace consolidation plan, including peace stabilization activities, between the UN field mission and the UN country team (UNCT) that is the result of a unique development process. It provides a forward-looking strategic vision that enables the alignment or realignment of priorities and resources according to the shared understanding of the peace consolidation needs. 

The ISF cover the four priority areas recognised by the Secretary-General when he visited Timor-Leste in December 2007: 1) Ensuring security and stability, now and in the future; 2) rule of law; 3) a culture of democratic governance and dialogue; and 4) socio-economic development. While appreciating the fragile nature of the peace in this country, these areas reflect the strategic shift towards the longer-term challenges. The planning and monitoring of the UN system activities in the four areas is undertaken by distinct working groups. Gender perspectives and those of children and youth are mainstreamed in all four areas.


More Information

To view a list and details of the members of the UNCT in Timor-Leste, click here.