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Timor - Leste. UN Support to Decentralization in Timor Leste The Local Governance Support Programme (LGSP ) . by Susanne Kuehn susanne.kuehn@uncdf.org 04/2010. Some facts on LGSP. Project partner: Ministry of State Administration and Territorial Management (MSATM)

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UN Support to Decentralization in Timor Leste The Local Governance Support Programme (LGSP )

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Timor - Leste

UN Support to Decentralization in Timor LesteThe Local Governance Support Programme (LGSP)

by Susanne Kuehn



Some facts on LGSP

  • Project partner: Ministry of State Administration and Territorial Management (MSATM)

  • Project duration: 2007 - 2011

  • Builds on two predecessor programs: the Local Development Program (2003-2006) and the Local Governance Options Study (2003-2006)

  • Budget USD 7,750,000 (UNDP, UNCDF, Irish Aid, Norway, GoTL: 3,470,000)

  • Currently 20 staff

The Local Governance Support Programme (LGSP)

Objective: support the establishment of accountable and effective local governments.

Piloting of procedures, processes and systems for effective local-level infrastructure and service delivery in selected districts

Support to GoTL for the establishment of an institutional, legal, and regulatory framework for local government

Support to GoTL for the implementation of local government reforms

(1) What are we piloting through LDP?

  • Objectives: enhance capacities and prepare local authorities to receive future responsibilities

  • Test and pilot local planning, financial management of public expenditures and procurement for infrastructure and service provision, Feed lessons learned into the policy making process

  • Sub-national government institutions (District & Sub-district Assemblies)

  • Local Development Fund (LDF) is a key component, allocation based on number of population per area and a small equal share distribution (ca $ 3.5 per capita)

  • Initially 4 pilot districts, since 2008 expanded to 8 pilot districts , up-scaled to all 13 districts in 2010

  • Since 2008 LDP grants are 100% government funded

(2) Key activities to support the decentralization policy & legislation process

  • Clarifying existing procedures and feeding lessons learned from LDP into the policy process

  • Consulting broadly with stakeholders, including all relevant line ministries

  • Developing a strategic framework as well as action plan and timeline for the drafting of the law proposals and the implementation of the decentralization process

  • Supporting the process of drafting the law proposals, including reviewing existing legislation

    (3) Support to GoTL for the implementation of local government reforms

  • Civic education for local governance

Decentralization in TL – key steps

  • 2003: First presentation of the Local Governance Options Study results – 6 options (endorsed in 2006)

  • 2004: Approval of the Local Development Program (LDP) as official GoTL policy pilot

  • 2006: Approval of Decentralization and Local Government Policy (revised in 2008)

  • 2006: Approval of Decentralization Strategic Framework Resolution (DSF I), leading to the approval of LG laws

  • 2008: Decentralization Strategic Framework (DSF II), leading to set-up of municipalities

  • 2009: Set of three Local Government laws submitted to parliament: Law on Territorial and Administrative Division (approved), Organic law on Local Government, Municipal elections law (pending approval)

  • 2010: Subsidiary legislation incl. Municipal planning and finance, procurement, suco-municipal relations

Key features of decentralization in TL

One tier of local government = 13 municipalities, using present district boundaries, sucos will not be part of LG system

Phased approach: probably first batch of 4 municipal elections (Baucau, Bobonaro, Dili, Oé-cusse), second batch for remaining 9 municipalities

Fully fledged local governments with responsibilities for planning, budgeting and implementation of local service provision

Elected municipal assemblies and mayors, accountable to the MA, the municipal administration will be headed by a Executive Secretary (chief civil servant)

Gradual assigning of service delivery functions to Municipalities; initially devolution and delegation of responsibilities in two sectors: primary health and water provision

Providing Municipalities with appropriate financing and fiscal arrangements (transfers and fees but no right to levy taxes)

Next Steps

  • Approval of remaining decentralization laws by NP

  • Set specific dates and prepare for municipal elections – 2013

  • Finalize and approve the subsidiary legislation for decentralization

  • Implement Decentralization Capacity Development Strategy: prepare districts and other key stakeholders

  • Raise awareness of citizens with regard to decentralization reforms incl. rights and responsibilities - broad civic education and communication campaign

  • Explore the devolution/delegation of additional sectoral function to future municipalities in cooperation with sector ministries and other key stakeholders

  • Ensure systematic monitoring of performance and capacity development needs of district/municipalities on the basis a systematic Local Governance Baseline Survey

The way forward: Joint National Decentralization Programme (JNP)


  • Strengthen the capacity of Municipalities to deliver public goods and services and contribute to poverty reduction


  • New Municipalities will need a lot of support (capacity building, fiscal resources, etc.) to succeed in delivering high quality services

  • Legislative and institutional framework will need to be adjusted over time and more functions devolved

  • Central ministries will need to get support in order to play their new role

  • Support needs to be carefully coordinated and consistent – otherwise we will end up with something that is “patchy”, overlapping, and inconsistent

Proposed Components

  • Policies, procedures & piloting: to enable careful monitoring of implementation, fine-tuning of systems and procedures and pilot “second generation” reforms

  • Systematic Capacity Development Strategy: strengthening (a) the ability of Municipalities to actually plan, budget and implement programmes and (b) the ability of Ministries to provide them with appropriate support and policies

  • Fiscal support: expanded fiscal transfers (as block grants and specified transfers) to Municipalities, thus increasing their capacity to meet local needs and address local priorities

Government-led platform for coordination of ongoing activities, related to decentralization supported by UN and other agencies


  • UNMIT UNV “Suco Support Officers” since January 2010 for suco and municipal elections & logistical : Sucos Office organization, Sucos Councils Mandatory meeting planning, the recruitment of Administrative Assistants to the Sucos Chiefs and Sucos Councils, Communication between the different levels of administration

  • ILO training for contractors

  • World Bank PFMCBP to MoF

  • Etc.

JNP: How to make it happen

Build on existing LGSP steering committee and programme under Ministry leadership

JNP Management Structure

Thank you!

For more information onLGSP please see www.uncdf.orgwww.estatal.gov.tl

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