16 May 2011

UNDP National Human Development Report released

After three years of work, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has released its third Human Development Report for Timor-Leste, Managing Natural Resources for Human Development: Developing the Non-Oil Economy to Achieve the MDGs. The report was launched by President Jose Ramos-Horta on 3 May 2011, with observations by UNDP head Finn Reske-Nielsen, economist Rui Gomes, Dr. Rui Maria Araujo (Council of State), Deputadu Joaquim Amaral, UNTL Rector Aurelio Guterres, and Charles Scheiner from La'o Hamutuk. UNDP distributed an Executive Summary (also Tetum), a Press Release (also Tetum) and a Statistics summary (also Tetum).

La'o Hamutuk's comment Timor-Leste Must Win Independence from Petroleum (also PDF or Tetum), included a Tetum slide show. While supporting the objectives of the report, we focused on several points, including:
China is the only nation which has achieved long-term double-digit GDP growth, and we should plan with realistic goals of less than 7%. UNDP changed how it calculates the Human Development Index to use GNI instead of GDP and years of school instead of literacy, which reduces its usefulness for Timor-Leste's extremely petroleum-export-dependent economy with an inexperienced, under-resourced educational system.

Timor-Leste spends much more now than in 2009, when much of the report's data was collected. The allocation for education and health dropped from 15.6% to 9.6%, although countries making progress toward the MDGs spend 28% on these essential investments in human resources, Timor-Leste's population is growing rapidly, and there are twice as many children under 10 as young adults aged 20-29. Today 15,000 people enter the labor force every year; in 2023, when Bayu-Undan is exhausted, it will be 34,000.

Timor-Leste's total petroleum wealth is extremely limited, and income from cannot fund future
State activities at today's levels of $2.65/person/day, even with optimistic assumptions.
Current spending policies could entirely empty the Petroleum Fund by 2030.

Follow the links above for more complete explanation, documents and references on these critical issues.

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