Statement

UNFPA Welcomes Timor-Leste into the United Nations Family and Renews Commitment to its Reproductive Health Efforts

27 September 2002
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 27 September 2002 - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) warmly welcomes today's admission of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste as the 191st Member State of the United Nations. The Fund also congratulates Timor-Leste's Government and people for joining this home of the community of nations.

As we celebrate Timor-Leste's new United Nations membership, we reaffirm our commitment to the country's economic and social development. Our continued support to the new nation will go a long way in strengthening reproductive health services, developing a usable population and health database and combating gender-based violence.

Timor-Leste suffers high maternal mortality, high level of violence against women, and weak national institutions. As few as 17 per cent of births are attended by trained midwives, whose numbers have dropped to an estimated 200. Access to emergency obstetric services is very limited, with just five obstetrician/gynaecologists operating in the country - three of whom are supported by UNFPA.

Our activities in Timor-Leste began with the provision of emergency reproductive health kits immediately following the crisis of September 1999. Working with the Government and other partners, we have been supporting the availability of trained attendants at birth, providing women with access to emergency obstetric care and promoting family planning to protect the health of the mother and child.

In addition to training midwives and providing them with the needed equipment and supplies, UNFPA will launch a programme to provide them with transportation to allow them to reach as many women as possible. We are also testing maternity waiting homes near midwives for women about to go into labour.

The Fund has facilitated training for a wide variety of stakeholders on the subject of domestic violence. It will also support the development of legislation to address domestic violence and design programmes that involve a wide variety of partners to help them become effective partners in halting gender-based and domestic violence.

UNFPA is happy to support the Government carry out the country's first national census as well as to analyse and disseminate its results. That will enhance the Government's capacity to meet the country's pressing needs for all types of demographic, social and economic data - particularly due to the severe dislocations among the population since the last census was conducted in 1990. Once again, my colleagues at UNFPA and I look forward to continued close work with the Government and people of Timor-Leste in their nation's new capacity as Member State of the United Nations.

Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of
Population : 1.4 mil
Fertility rate
5.2
Maternal Mortality Ratio
215
Contraceptives prevalence rate
29
Population aged 10-24
35%
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 55%
Girls 64%