The UN-supported relief, rehabilitation and development programme in Timor-Leste has managed to make progress in rebuilding several components of the country’s infrastructure, the Secretary-General says in his report to the UN General Assembly, which covers developments between July 2001 and May 2002. Meanwhile, the presence of UN peacekeepers in Timor-Leste has ensured a stable security environment necessary for the rebuilding and development activities, the Secretary-General notes. The return of refugees from West Timor also must remain a firm priority to guarantee that security on both sides of the board is enhanced. Mr. Annan says that raising the economic and social status of the country’s poor will be a major challenge, with more than 40 per cent of the Timorese living in absolute poverty, earning less that the national poverty line of 55 cents per person each day. He notes there is also a grave shortage of qualified and experienced Timorese across all areas of government activity, particularly the justice sector, the private sector and civil society. “Building human and institutional capacities will be a challenge,” he writes, stressing that the initiatives of the Timorese Government and donors in reaching Dili’s development targets need to be well coordinated and monitored to ensure their maximum impact and value. In underscoring the vital need for continuing UN support in building and strengthening the country’s public administration, the Secretary-General encourages Member States to continue to back efforts “to build on the success already achieved and to assist [Timor-Leste] along its development path to self-reliance.” read more