Democracy and Governance
USAID works with Timor-Leste as it builds a stable, secure, democratic, and prosperous country through programs that strengthen the foundations of the country’s democratic system. Good governance is the basic requirement for the development of a sound political and economic system. USAID's Democracy and Governance program partners with justice, accountability and security institutions to better meet the needs and aspirations of Timor-Leste's citizens. The program focuses in two areas: governing justly and democratically, and peace and security.
Governing Justly and Democratically
Timor-Leste has conducted seven free and fair presidential, parliamentary, and local elections since independence in 2002, and completed another successful democratic transition of power after presidential and parliamentary elections in 2012. The country still lacks some of the democratic and governance norms underpinning the social contract between the state and its citizens. The country must use its resources to deal with the ongoing threats of unemployment, socio-economic inequality, and unresolved conflict to promote stability and further consolidate democracy and good governance.
USAID’s work addresses these challenges directly. Funds contribute to more transparent and accountable democratic governance by: supporting the development of the formal justice system and broadening access to it; improving government performance and responsiveness; improving constituency representation; and expanding the range and quality of public information sources.
USAID promotes democratic institutions that are effective, responsive, sustainable, and accountable to the people. As part of its programs to improve government performance and responsiveness, USAID activities:
- provide training on policy analysis, bill drafting, budgeting and oversight to strengthen legislative and legal reform processes
- work with oversight institutions to reduce corruption and help government become more accountable to citizens
- provide training on financial planning and management, accountability, and oversight to strengthen public-sector executive functions.
Rule of Law and Human Rights
USAID promotes a society in which the state and its citizens are accountable to laws that are promulgated publicly, enforced equally, and adjudicated independently, and which are consistent with international norms and standards. USAID activities:
- improve professional capacities and administrative systems
- expand and institutionalize access to justice
- ensure adequate oversight, advocacy, and accountability.
Political Competition and Consensus Building
USAID encourages the development of transparent and inclusive electoral and political processes, and democratic, responsive, and effective political parties. USAID activities:
- provide assistance for election monitoring, oversight, and effective election administration
- support the development and reform of political parties' legal and institutional frameworks
- support political party organizational development, campaign techniques and constituent outreach
- improve the representational capacity of political parties and strengthen their ability to participate responsibly in government.
Peace and Security
Timor-Leste’s history of conflict claimed an estimated 200,000 civilian lives in the resistance era up to 1999, and further unrest in 2006 led to a breakdown in law and order that resulted in more than 150,000 internally displaced persons. Conflict discourages investment, destroys infrastructure, derails development, fuels criminality and undermines support for democracy. USAID activities promote the peaceful resolution of differences, the mitigation of violence when it occurs, and peace building at local and national levels.
Conflict Mitigation and Reconciliation
USAID supports conflict mitigation by strengthening and institutionalizing peace building efforts, particularly in the security sector and through non-governmental actors. USAID activities:
- implement a ground-breaking, community-oriented policing project that builds links between the police and communities nationwide and introduces robust civic structures to help communities address their problems
- build trust and reconciliation at the local level by helping communities in conflict work together
- engage at-risk youth and teach them reconciliation and peace-building skills through the innovative use of radio programming.
- Who We Are
- About USAID