RAEOA – ZEESM-TL and UNDP** evaluate work done and sign a new agreement to support Innovation, Agriculture, Education and Tourism in Oé-Cusse

RAEOA – ZEESM-TL and UNDP** evaluate work done and sign a new agreement to support Innovation, Agriculture, Education and Tourism in Oé-Cusse

The President of the Special Administrative Region Authority of Oé-Cusse Ambeno (RAEOA – ZEESM – TL), HE Dr. Mari Alkatiri, met on Wednesday morning, January 23, 2019, with the Resident Representative of UNDP in Timor Leste, Mr Claudio Providas, to outline and officially sign the work program for the next triennium (January 2019 – December 2021). During the meeting, the UNDP team took the opportunity to recall the work that, in partnership with RAEOA – ZEESM – TL, has been developed in areas ranging from Education to Health, Entrepreneurship to Agriculture, and Tourism to Procurement. Thus, in the context of cooperation with a budget of around USD 1 million, the UNDP has allocated a number of specialized human resources to the Region, as well as procurement support, which has enabled savings of more than 20%, compared to previous years, on vehicles and computer equipment.

In the Agriculture sector, newly introduced rice production technology increased local production by 136%. The pilot project will be replicated throughout 2019 in an additional 14,000 ha of land, involving several producers and their respective communities. At the same time, a value chain assessment study has been developed to help determine profitable crops, and within these varieties, which crops should receive investment support given their potential for income generation for subsistence farming families. Using advanced technology, farmers in Oé-Cusse will have access to genetically improved seeds and training to increase productivity and competitiveness, as well as pedagogical actions to increase financial literacy and management capacities for both individual and cooperative.

In the Tourism sector, besides the mapping of local attractions, the project has developed brochures with relevant information for tourists and placed signage on selected areas. With the aim of developing the Social Economy, community specific tourist guides are being created. Moreover, the Oecusse Business Incubator has supported with financial and technical power, dozens of entrepreneurs and small business. A new workshop for innovation is planned for February 2019. The incubator will also enter a second phase, with more training, more support and a stronger bet on innovation and young entrepreneurs. In order for the continued success of these initiatives, UNDP officials emphasized the important work that is being done by the Region led by the President of the Authority, Dr. Mari Alkatiri and the suco chiefs.

For the next three years, the partnership between RAEOA – ZEESM – TL and UNDP intends to contribute to the acceleration of the growth of the local economy. President of the Authority has summarized that “we want above all, to support the poorest people of Oé-Cusse to leave poverty behind by giving them tools and support.”  

At the end of the meeting, UNDP and ZEESM TL RAEOA signed a new project called “Leveraging ICT to Improve Education and Skills in Timor-Leste” that is worth  USD$ 881,193.20. The project will be funded by the India-UN Development Partnership Fund. The project aims to improve primary and secondary education by providing children and young members of the community in the Oé-Cusse region with ICT skills and knowledge to prepare them to better address the challenges and opportunities of the economy. 

The meeting was also attended by the Regional Secretaries Arsenio Bano, Leónia Monteiro and Inácia Teixeira.

**The United Nations Development Program is the organ of the United Nations whose mandate is to promote development and eradicate poverty in the world.