Innovative political reform initiative launched in Timor-Leste

July 23, 2013

Earlier this month Interpeace’s local partner in Timor-Leste, the Centre of Studies for Peace and Development (CEPAD) brought together about 60 guests in the Timorese capital Dili to officially launch the Group Promoting Change (GPC).

The mandate of GPC is to facilitate the implementation of recommendations on priority peacebuilding issues put forward by a wide cross-section of the Timorese population. More specifically GPC will focus on two of the four priority areas identified in an earlier nationwide consultation process that involved over 900 Timorese: (1) the promotion of individual and political party interests over the national interest and (2) corruption, collusion and nepotism (known as KKN).

An action-oriented mandate

GPC has an action-oriented mandate and will analyze the feasibility of the recommendations that have already been developed by the respective Working Groups on these two issues. It will then translate these recommendations into concrete policy proposals and will involve the political leadership, civil society, decision-makers and ordinary citizens in the process.

“The main role of the GPC is to fill the gap left by the lack of a countrywide, systemic approach to discussing the causes of conflict, peacebuilding priorities and implementing policy reforms in Timor-Leste,” explains Jo√£oBoavida, Executive Director of CEPAD. “As an advocacy coalition, it forms the link between the research and policy recommendations and their practical implementation.”

In the presence of H.E. Minister of Justice, Dr. Dionisio C. BaboSoares, political leaders, representatives of civil society organizations, the international community and journalists the President of GPC, Mr. LeovigildioHornai stated: “I honor and respect CEPAD’s Executive Director for bringing us together as Timorese with knowledge and capacity to look at this issue in a positive way.”

The importance of a local peace infrastructure

GPC also encourages the use of an already existing local peace infrastructure like the four Peace Houses or permanent dialogue platforms to facilitate the discussion on the development of solutions to obstacles to lasting peace. In his official launch speech H.E. Minister of Justice, Dr. Dionisio C. BaboSoares highlighted the importance of the involvement of Timorese from all walks of life: “CEPAD has been impartial and independent in undertaking this process with direct participation of citizens in the 13 districts of Timor-Leste which gives this [GPC] initiative legitimacy and merits our support…Political reform requires reform of mentality as a prerequisite to institutional reform.”

The composition of GPC

Following the selection criteria of inclusiveness and representativeness, GPC is made up of 16 members from diverse backgrounds. The GPC Secretariat consists of the President Mr.Leovigildio Hornai, President of the Timor-Leste National Youth Council; Vice President Prof. Benjamin de Araujo Corte Real, Former Rector of the University of Timor-Leste; Secretary Ms.Ivete de Oliveira, President of Women’s Network of Timor-Leste; and Vice Secretary Dr.Dionisio C. BaboSoares, Timor-Leste Minister of Justice. Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, Former President of Timor-Leste and UN Special Representative to Guinea-Bissau is an honorary member of GPC. Other members include Fr. DomingosAlves da Costa, Catholic Church; Dr. David Dias Ximenes, President of the Veterans Association of Timor-Leste; Lieutenant Colonel FalurRatelaek, National Armed Forces of Timor-Leste; Mr. Francisco Miranda Branco, Member of National Parliament and President of GOPAC Timor-Leste; Mr. Antonio Belo, President of the Press Club of Timor-Leste; Dr. Jose da Costa Ximines, Prosecutor General of Timor-Leste; Mrs. Maria Lurdes Martins de Sousa Bessa, Member of National Parliament and President of Committee B; Dr. Maria Natercia Pereira Gusm√£o, Judge of Timor-Leste Court of Appeal; Dr. Manuel Tilman, President of the Lawyers Association of Timor-Leste and Former Member of National Parliament; and Sister GuilherminaMarcal, Provincial Superior, Canossian Sisters Timor-Leste.

The GPC initiative is a key component of CEPAD’s programme “Multi-stakeholder dialogue in defining solutions and strategies for a more peaceful and democratic society in Timor-Leste” which is funded by Interpeace and MISEREOR.