Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review - 06 June 2008

[Poster's note: Repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list ( have been removed.]


(International news reports and extracts from national media. UNMIT does not vouch for the accuracy of these reports)

SRSG meets with civil society- TVTL

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare has asked members of civil society to keep their commitment to establishing peace in Timor Leste. During a meeting held in the office of FONGTIL in Kaikoli yesterday, civil society members and students discussed security and defence issues, reformation of the PNTL and F-FDTL, corruption and cost of goods among other things.

SRSG Khare said that before long, the United Nation would be transferring power to PNTL in all districts. He also added that the officers involved in crimes would not be allowed to undertake their positions in the police or military. Regarding this, UNMIT has signed an agreement with the General Prosecutor to set up an investigation team in some districts including Dili, Baucau and Bobonaro to investigate alleged crimes. 

Horta told Salsinha not to be afraid to tell truth – Radio Timorr-Leste

President Horta has encouraged Gastão Salsinha not to be frightened to tell the truth of the 2006 crisis and the events of February 11 and to collaborate with the Court. The President confirmed that Salsinha is being treated well in prison and is able to give his statement to the Court. Salsinha is awaiting his judgment in Becora Prison.

Rogerio to be freed conditionally – Radio Timor-Leste

The Former Minister of Interior Rogerio Tiago Lobato has been freed conditionally for five years as he return home from Malaysia. President Ramos-Horta has praised the decision to free Rogerio as he has already fulfilled a quarter of his sentence. "I think it is a good thing…¦If he does something wrong then he should be back to prison for seven years," said PR Horta.

Last week's meeting: Horta encourages Salsinha to tell the truth – Timor Post

President José Ramos-Horta has strongly encouraged Gastão Salsinha to tell the truth about the events surrounding February 11.

"It is true that I asked the Prosecutor-General and the Court if I could have a short time to meet Salsinha. As a human being and a President, I wanted to talk to him and tell him not to be afraid and to collaborate with the Court and to reveal what he knows. I also inquired about his condition in Becora [Prison] to see whether there have been any abuses committed," said the President. "I am not influencing him. I do not know his information. I just told him not to be afraid as there no one could take vengeance on him."

Luxurious cars and laptops: necessary for the dignity of each MP – Timor Post

Opposition MPs have criticised the plan to provide MPs with luxurious cars (Toyota Prado) and high capacity laptops. AMP Government MPs argue that purchases are a positive step and are necessary to preserve the dignity of MPs. However, MPs from Fretilin and PUN are vehemently against the plan arguing that this is not time to buy luxury items when people are still going hungry. 

"I think it will cost lots of money to buy cars for each MP. It is better to buy two or three cars for each commission of the National Parliament," argued Ms. Fernanda from PUN. The costs of the cars is estimated at US$2million.

Op-ed: Climate Change: Timor-Leste confronting the environmental challenges of the developing world – <Timor Post, Suara Timor Lorosa'e and Diario Nacional

By the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Finn Reske-Nielsen

The World Environment Day on 5th June can be best observed by reminding ourselves of the grave effects the climate change will have on our lives and livelihoods if we do not act today.

What is at stake is no less than the future of humanity and especially vulnerable is the population that lives in the developing part of the world that already faces a myriad challenges. Developed countries emit more carbon in per capita terms than developing countries. The UNDP estimates that if every person living in the developing world had the same carbon footprint as an average person in the US or Canada, we would need equivalent of nine planets to absorb the carbon emissions.

Timor-Leste, as a small island developing state, with a fragile and depleting natural resource base and growing population faces a severe threat from climate change. The vast majority of the population depends on subsistence agriculture and already faces food insecurity that may be exacerbated by an increase in extreme weather events. Unstable agricultural practices like 'slash-and-burn' and current levels of deforestation are unsustainable.

Rather than following a ‘grow first, clean up later' approach, Timor-Leste has shown tremendous foresight and leadership in taking up environmental issues at an early stage of development. The Government has already ratified Conventions on Climate Change, Desertification and Bio-diversity and, more recently, the Kyoto Protocol.

Through a demonstrated willingness to join forces with the international community, Timor-Leste has shown a political will to address climate change by incorporating environmental issues into mainstream development challenges.

However, Timor-Leste's also needs other nation states to take action to bridge the already serious inequalities between rich and poor countries.

Scientists and development practitioners suggest ways in which this can be done through international cooperation in adaptation, mitigation, technology and financing. 

This is the central message of the UNDP's Human Development Report 2007/2008 that was globally launched towards the end of 2007. Just after the report's lease, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated at the Bali Conference on Climate Change that it's the "defining challenge of our age". "Time for equivocation is over. The science is clear. Climate change is happening. The impact is real. The time to act is now," the Secretary-General stated.

Overwhelming scientific evidence produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns us of the grave consequences if we do not act now. These include an increase in severe weather such as extreme temperatures, floods, droughts and cyclones; a serious impact on water with many rivers becoming seasonal rivers, saltwater intrusion, perishing coral reeds and marine life.

The human development impact of climate change will have five major effects including reduced agricultural productivity, heightened water insecurity, an increase in extreme weather events, the collapse of ecosystems and increased health risks.

Each of these poses a direct threat to the Millenium Development Goals. An increase in climate change-related diseases will reduce the number of productive days for workers and increase the cost of health. Housing issues will become further complicated as climate disasters force people to look for safer places. Women will share a disproportionate burden of the climate change through having to work harder and walk longer distances to fetch water and fuel for the house. Girls may be forced to drop out of school.

Climate change is a global phenomenon and must be addressed by all countries. Yet the moral responsibility of acting now must fall in particular on those that have contributed most to this problem and have more resources to address this.

World Environment Day is a day when we should all yell the call to action to reverse climate change and avoid further damage to the one and only one earth we have.



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