New Report Examines Timor-Leste’s Local Governance Strengths, Weaknesses

March 14, 2012

TimorLesteReportLocalGovernanceAfter 10 years of independence and as a nascent democracy, Timor-Leste still faces the dual challenge of building formal institutions from the ground up while ensuring that traditional, local institutions are integrated into the state. In a country where the overwhelming majority of governance functions that citizens rely on, such as security and justice, come through community authorities, the risk is that the state-building process focuses on producing formal institutions that end up existing only on paper. The result is that the state itself often lacks immediate relevancy for the majority of the population, which has concerning long-term implications for state legitimacy and stability.

In 2009, The Asia Foundation began tracking suco (village) council performance through over 750 focus group discussions in all sucos of Oecusse, Bobanaro, Ainaro, and Baucau districts, as well as across sucos in the control districts of Ermera and Manatuto. A new report, produced by The Asia Foundation, analyzes the data collected during the three-year project while highlighting strengths, weaknesses, and trends in suco governance.

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