Many lessons learned from UN experience in East Timor, Annan says

Many lessons learned from UN experience in East Timor, Annan says

The United Nations experience in East Timor enabled the world body to learn many lessons, including those relating to supporting institution-building and planning for complex operations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a conference on the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today.

One of the defining characteristics of the Security Council resolution that created UNTAET in 1999 was that it mandated the mission with inherently open-ended tasks related to building the very fabric of a nation, the Secretary-General said in a message to the Tokyo meeting, which was sponsored by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

"I have no doubt that you will find that UNTAET, as with any such complex organization, was stronger in some areas than others," he said in his message, which was delivered on his behalf by UNITAR Executive Director Marcel Boisard.

Over the following two and a half years, the Transitional Administration managed to restore stability and establish the basic administrative and political structures for an independent East Timor, the Secretary-General recalled.

"The Transitional Administrator [Sergio Vieira de Mello] and UNTAET staff deserve great credit for the mission's accomplishments, and it is on these foundations that the people and leaders of East Timor are now continuing the work of building their country," he said.

The Secretary-General noted that the international community's work is continuing in East Timor, through the UN Mission of Support (UNMISET), which is assisting the country in consolidating and expanding the gains made so far.

"Ultimately, the courage and determination of the East Timorese people, and their commitment to build their nation in a spirit of justice, reconciliation and democracy, will be the key to ensuring that the foundations of nationhood laid during the transitional period are preserved," he said.