Annan urges donors meeting in Norway to support East Timor over long haul
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged donors meeting in Norway to continue supporting sustainable development in East Timor beyond its independence, which is scheduled for next May.
“We look to the donor community again today because much remains to be done in East Timor,” Mr. Annan told participants in Oslo for the fifth Donors’ Conference for East Timor. “Institutions are fragile. Poverty is widespread. The situation of an estimated 60,000 East Timorese refugees has yet to be resolved.”
The Secretary-General said that with timely, targeted investments, East Timor could increase its agricultural production, profitably export fish and coffee, and generate revenue from oil and gas to boost long-term growth. "But for all this to happen, East Timor will need donors to stay for the long haul," he said. "I urge you to remain engaged."
Also today in Oslo, the Secretary-General and his wife, Nane, were awarded the Torstein Dale Norwegian Red Cross Prize. They received the honour, which recognizes humanitarian work, during a meeting with representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In his address, Mr. Annan paid tribute to the key role played by NGOs, who he said "have long experience in advocacy on issues ranging from human rights and the environment to development and disarmament." In that connection, he stressed the importance of the International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held next March in Monterrey, Mexico, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to take place next September in Johannesburg.
During subsequent high-level talks with Norwegian officials, including the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, Mr. Annan discussed Afghanistan, the Middle East and other pressing issues.
The Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan also attended a performance by Oslo school children on war and peace. "The work for peace begins with every one of us," he said, thanking the children. "I hope that every day, you will keep picturing the world as you would wish it to be, and work to make that dream a reality."