22 April 2023

The potential, challenges and risks of developing the blue economy in Timor-Leste

On 2 March 2023, the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry (MTCI), together with the development partner UNDP, organized a round-table discussion on entrepreneurship linked to the blue economy in Timor-Leste. For almost 20 years, the country's economy has depended on money from oil and gas, and Timor-Leste will face a fiscal cliff as a result of this dependency. Therefore, we must plan well to diversify the economy to create new sources of income to replace the dependence on oil and gas revenue.

In many coastal countries, the concept of a blue economy has become a focus of intervention by development partners, international agencies, and the government itself. "Blue economy" refers to using or taking advantage of marine resources, and at the same time ensuring the sustainability of the resources. La'o Hamutuk believes that it is important to provide an introduction to this idea, including its relevance for Timor-Leste, opportunities and risks, to help Timor-Leste decide on the fairest and most sustainable way to develop our blue economy.

Potential, Risks and Challenges

International agencies have identified activities that could be the base of a future blue economy. According to UNDP, fishing, maritime transport and tourism are activities that are already happening, but are not yet optimal. The blue economy brings opportunities to strengthen and diversify our economy, but we must be careful and take into account the possibilities and weaknesses in implementation, including all obstacles to ensuring environmental sustainability, and the empowerment of local communities.

In 2017 the Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAP) and with support from development partners, developed the National Ocean Policy, but it has not yet been passed. Timor-Leste needs a legal framework to protect all of our resources in the sea and the Ocean, including communities that depend on the sea to sustain their lives. Recently, La'o Hamutuk observed that the implementation of new policies and initiatives in Timor-Leste will face major challenges due to lack of coordination of services; if efforts are made to develop the blue economy, but the Ocean Policy has not been implemented well, we will confront problems in the future. Therefore, a strong legal and policy regime must be established before the blue economy is developed. 

We should be careful to avoid high-risk activities that a blue economy could bring to Timor-Leste. For example, in India, the Government promotes deep seabed mining as an aspect of their plan to strengthen the blue economy. Therefore, we must be cautious about exploiting undersea minerals, an activity that could pose a great risk to the marine environment if it is done without thorough understanding of the risks and impacts. There is no evidence that Timor-Leste's maritime territory has the potential for such activities, but we can learn from India’s experience that developing a blue economy can also open the way to unsustainable activities, posing serious risks to the environment and to marine ecology.

In other places, observers have noted that the potential and efforts to promote the blue economy which prioritizes a "market solution" could reduce the role and rights of communities who have long used the sea for their lives (such as small-scale fishers). The UNDP study mentioned above also discussed the possibility of selling carbon credits from Timor-Leste’s sea. Such activities, when incorporating natural resources into the private market, must consider the perspectives of climate justice, community rights, and sustainability. Therefore, Timor-Leste needs to carefully evaluate any proposal for these activities. We should not simply believe and accept that the beautiful term "blue economy" automatically means that everything is good and positive, but we must be careful and learn from the experiences of other nations.

How can we avoid risk and use our potential effectively?

The development of a blue economy should be in line with principles of sustainability and blue justice. The sea is common property, in that everyone can access it freely, and it is different from dry land. The sea has a large potential and has a variety of resources and biodiversity that can be developed to be economically productive. It should be developed in the context of the nation in a way that respects cultural, social and inclusive economic aspects, including integrating community participation in maritime governance.

The concept of blue justice arose in response to the concept of the blue economy itself. We have observed that efforts to develop a blue economy often give priority to the private sector and large fishing companies, rather than prioritizing communities which have long used, managed and depended on coastal and maritime resources for their lives and livelihoods. In addressing the blue economy, a perspective of blue justice can help the Government and the community make wise, fair, and sustainable decisions.


For Timor-Leste to plan well to develop the blue economy, fairly and sustainably, we need deep understanding of the various proposals and interests, when performing these activities. We should not just believe that the pretty name "blue economy" means everything is good and positive, but we must learn from the experiences of other countries. In the future, Timor-Leste should have a national maritime legal and policy regime (Ocean Policy) to ensure, protect, maintain, and restore coastal and ocean resources to support a sustainable economy according to our people’s social and cultural values, in a fair and equitable way.

The State must strengthen its management of ongoing activities, such as the maritime transport system, fishing (which is not yet going well), in order to improve and strengthen communities that have already undertaken small activities, such as producing edible seaweed, harvesting fish, shellfish, crabs and so on, before the start of new activities called the Blue Economy.

21 April 2023

Poténsia, dezafiu no risku dezenvolvimentu Ekonomia Azúl iha Timor-Leste

Iha dia 2 de Marsu 2023, Ministériu do Turizmu, Komérsiu e Indústria (MTCI) hamutuk ho parseiru dezenvolvimentu UNDP organiza diskusaun mesa redonda kona ba emprendedorismu liga ho ekonomia azúl iha Timor-Leste. Besik tinan 20 ona ekonomia nasaun nian depende maka’as ba fundu husi mina no gas, no Timor-Leste sei hasoru rai naruk fiskál nudár rezultadu husi dependénsia ne’e. Tanba ne’e, tenke iha planu didi’ak kona ba diversifikasaun ekonomia atu hamosu fontes rendimentu foun hodi substitui dependénsia ba fundu mina no gas. 

Iha nasaun kosteiru barak, konseitu ekonomia azúl sai ona fokus intervensaun husi parseiru dezenvolvimentu, ajénsia internasionál, no Governu rasik. Konseitu ekonomia azúl refere ba prosesu atu uza ka aproveita rekursu tasi nian, no iha tempu hanesan asegura sustentabilidade rekursu refere. La’o Hamutuk konsidera importante atu fornese introdusaun ba ideia ida ne’e, inklui relevánsia ba Timor-Leste, oportunidade inklui risku sira, hodi ajuda Timor-Leste atu deside oinsá mak meius justu no sustentavel liu atu dezenvolve ekonomia azúl.

Potensiál, risku no dezafiu

Ajénsia internasionál identifika ona atividade balun ne’ebé iha posibilidade atu sai baze ekonomia azúl iha futuru. Tuir UNDP, peska, transportasaun maritima, no turizmu, nudár atividade ne’ebé la’o ona maibé seidauk la’o ho optimál.  Ekonomia azúl hatudu oportunidade atu hametin no diversifika ita nia ekonomia, maibé ita tenke kuidadu no konsidera mós poténsia no frakeza iha implementasaun, inklui obstákulu hotu atu asegura sustentabilidade ambientál no empoderamentu komunidade lokál sira.

Iha tinan 2017 Governu liu husi MAP (Ministériu Agrikultura no Peska) no apoiu husi parseiru dezenvolvimentu sira, elabora ona Polítika Nasional Oseanu maibé to’o agora seidauk konsege pasa. Timor-Leste tenke iha Rejime legál atu proteje ita nia rekursu hotu iha tasi no oseanu inklui protégé komunidade sira ne’ebé depende maka’as ba tasi hodi sustenta sira nia moris. Kleur ona, La’o Hamutuk observa katak, implementasaun polítika no inisiativu foun iha Timor-Leste sei hasoru dezafiu boot tanba koordenasaun servisu menus; se esforsu duni atu dezenvolve ekonomia azúl, maibé Polítika Oseanu seidauk konsege implementa ho di’ak, ita sei hasoru dezafiu boot ba oin. Tanba ne’e tenke iha rejime legal no polítika ne’ebé forte antes hahú dezenvolve ekonomia azúl.

Ita tenke kuidadu no presiza prevene atividade sira ho risku maka’as ne’ebé sei tama iha Timor-Leste ho razaun ekonomia azúl. Ezemplu iha India, governu promove atividade minerais iha tasi nia okos (deep seabed mining) nudár aspetu ida husi planu hametin ekonomia azúl. Entaun, esplorasaun minerais iha tasi nia okos, nudár atividade ne’ebé bele fó risku boot ba ambiente tasi nian, maske seidauk iha evidénsia kle’an kona ba risku no impaktu sira, maibé tenke kuidadu. Seidauk iha evidénsia katak territóriu maritima Timor-Leste nian iha potensiál atu realiza atividade hanesan ne’e, maibé ita bele aprende husi esperiénsia India nian katak, dezenvolve konseitu ekonomia azúl bele mós loke dalan ba atividade ne’ebé la sustentavel, no bele mós fó risku maka’as ba ambiente no ekolojia iha tasi.

Iha fatin seluk, observadór balun nota ona katak iha poténsia no esforsu atu promove ekonomia azúl ho prioridade ba “solusaun merkadu nian” ida ne’e, bele hamenus knaar no direitu komunidade ne’ebé kleur ona uza tasi ba sira nia moris (hanesan peskadór skala ki’ik nsst).  Iha estudu husi UNDP ne’ebé temi iha leten, diskute mós posibilidade atu fa’an karbonu kréditu husi Timor-Leste nia tasi. Atividade hanesan ne’e, bainhira hatama rekursu naturais iha merkadu privadu, tenke konsidera kle’an husi perspetiva justisa klimátika, direitu komunidade, no sustentabilidade.  Tanba ne’e, Timor-Leste presiza konsidera ho kle’an proposta atu hala’o atividade hirak ne’e. Ita, la bele fiar no simu de’it (tolan tomak de’it) konseitu sira ho títulu furak hanesan “ekonomia azúl” katak buat hotu di’ak no pozitivu, maibé tenke kuidadu no tenke aprende esperiénsia nasaun seluk nian.

Oinsá mak atu evita risku no uza poténsia sira ho di’ak?

Dezenvolvimentu ekonomia azúl tenke haktuir prinsípiu sustentabilidade no justisa azúl. Tasi nudár propriedade komún, katak ema hotu bele asesu ho livre no diferente ho rai maran. Tasi iha poténsia boot no iha rekursu no biodiversidade oin-oin ne’ebé bele dezenvolve nudár ekonomia produtivu. Tenke dezenvolve tuir kontextu nasaun nian ne’ebé respeita aspetu kulturál, sosiál no ekonomia inkluzivu inklui integra partisipasaun komunidade iha governasaun tasi. 

Konseitu Justisa Azul mosu nudár resposta atu responde ba konseitu ekonomia azúl rasik. Ho observasaun katak, esforsu hotu hodi dezenvolve ekonomia azúl dala barak setór privadu no kompañia peska boot sira mak hetan prioridade, duke prioritiza komunidade ne’ebé kleur ona uza, jere, no depende maka’as ba rekursu iha tasi no tasi ninin sira ba moris no ekonomia. Hasoru asuntu ekonomia azúl, husi perspetiva justisa azúl bele ajuda Governu no komunidade oinsá foti desizaun ne’ebé matenek, justu, no sustentavel.


Bainhira Timor-Leste halo planu no estratéjia atu dezenvolve ekonomia azúl ba oin ho di’ak, prinsipalmente tenke ho maneira ne’ebé justu no sustentavel, no presiza hatene didi’ak proposta no interese oin-oin, bainhira atu hala’o atividade hirak ne’e. Ita, la bele simu ka fiar de’it konseitu sira ho títulu furak hanesan “ekonomia azúl” katak buat hotu di’ak no pozitivu, maibé tenke hatene no aprende esperiénsia nasaun seluk ne’ebé hahú ona. Tuir mai, Timor-Leste tenke iha rejime legal no polítika nasional Tasi nian (Polítika Oseanu) atu asegura, proteje, mantén, no restaura rekursu kosteiru no oseanu hodi sustenta ekonomia ne’ebé sustentavel tuir valor sosiál, kulturál povu nian ho maneira ne’ebé justu no equitavel. 

Governu ou estadu tenke hametin didi’ak jestaun ba atividade ne’ebé la’o hela, hanesan sistema transportasaun maritime, peska ne’ebé seidauk la’o didi’ak oinsá mak bele hadi’ak liu tan no haforsa komunidade hirak ne’ebé halo ona atividade ki’ik sira hanesan prodús budu tasi, hakiak ikan, boek, kadiuk no seluk tan, molok hahú fali atividade foun sira ho naran Ekonomia Azul.

Bele hare aprezentasaun husi La'o Hamutuk iha ne'e.

19 April 2023

Semináriu Nasional: Dezenvolvimentu Alternativa Hafoin Mina

La’o Hamutuk hola inisiativa nudár organizasaun sosiedade sivíl ne’ebé mak hala’o nia knaar liu-husi peskiza, analiza, advokasia no tau matan ba polítika estadu no polítika husi instituisaun internasionál sira liga ho prosesu dezenvolvimentu iha Timor-Leste. Daudaun ne’e La’o Hamutuk organiza Semináriu Nasional ida iha Dili kona-ba asuntu nasional sira ne’ebé sai preokupasaun públiku liga ba Timor-Leste nia Ekonomia ne’ebé iha tinan barak sei depende ba setór petróleu. Tanba ne’e ita realiza Semináriu Nasional ida, ho nia tópiku “Dezenvolvimentu Alternativa Hafoin Mina”.

Semináriu ne’e hala’o iha loron 25 Abril 2023 iha Salaun Katedrál - Vilaverde, Dili.

Orador sira diskute topiku sira ne'e:

  • Dezenvolvimentu Produtivu ba Sustentabilidade Ekonomia husi Sra. Hergui Luina Alves, Empresaria Feto (Prezidente AEMTL) (PowerPoint ka PDF)
  • Empoderamentu Komunitáriu ba Dezenvolvimentu Ekonomia husi Sr. Mateus Tilman, Reprezentante Akademia
  • Dependénsia ba Fundu Petróleo no Ekonomia Alternativa husi Sra. Eliziaria Febe Gomes, Peskizadóra La'o Hamutuk (PowerPoint ka PDF)

Bele mos hare entervista televizaun ho Febe, artigu iha Neon Metin ka kobertura iha GMN-TV (relatoriu segundu).