Timor-Leste leader tells UN debate of plans to become medium-high income country

25 September 2012

Timor-Leste, which was shepherded to independence by the United Nations in 2002 after it seceded from Indonesia, aims to rise out of poverty and become a prosperous country by 2030, its Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said today.

“Today we have a plan, a vision, a goal – to transform Timor-Leste from a low income country to a medium-high income country by 2030,” he told the 67th UN General Assembly on the opening day of its annual General Debate.

“We want to be a prosperous and safe nation with a healthy and educated population with skilled employment for all,” he added.

But he warned that in the short term, Timor-Leste would not meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that aim to slash extreme hunger and poverty, maternal and infant mortality, diseases and lack of access to education and medical services, all by 2015.

He praised Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for creating a High-Level Panel to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, with Timorese Finance Minister Emilia Pires serving as a member.

“Timor-Leste wants to contribute in a clear and constructive manner to the debate on the issue. It is urgent to address the structural factors that have hindered the efforts that so many good willed people have made without obtaining tangible results,” Prime Minister Gusmão said.

“The United Nations, which consists of all of us here today, has a duty to humanity,” he noted. “We should all acknowledge that we are the privileged agents of the necessary collective change into a better and safer world.”

Other issues touched upon in his statement to the General Debate included food security, the strengthening and reform of the United Nations and environmental threats to natural resources.

In addition to Prime Minister Gusmão, scores of the world’s heads of State and government and other high-level officials are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.