"Human Capacity Building and Decentralisation Reform in a Traditional Post-colonial State: The Case of Timor-Leste"

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Presenter:  Egas Alves, Masters by Research Candidate, School of Creative Arts & Humanities

Date: Jul 22, 2015

Time: 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Contact person:  LEBA Research and Postgraduate Office
T: 08 8946 6156
E: lebaresearch@cdu.edu.au

Location:  Orange Building 6, Level 2, Room 10, Casuarina Campus, CDU

Target audience:  CDU Students and Staff


The government of Timor-Leste embraced the administrative decentralisation policy a few years after gaining independence in 2002; however, implementation is currently far from reality.  This is due to several factors that inhibit the implementation, and human resources capacity is one of the key issues that are obstructing the implementation process.

Is the question of the availability of Human Resources (HR) the critical challenge for the effectiveness of decentralisation? Embarking on the decentralisation reform means to transfer power and resources to the lower management level such as assets, personnel, and finance requires political decisions and organisational changes. Thus, it may disrupt the delivery of public services both at national and local level. This disruption could also extend to lessening the accountability of bureaucrats and thus provide opportunities for patronage and corruption at the local level. It is a both a question of the capacity and a question of how the system is structured such as to allow good, bureaucratic decision-making.

Moreover, a successful implementation of decentralisation should include the local citizens and their leaders, whose lives are grounded in customary, colonial, and resistance heritages, and how they understand and engage with democratic state authority.

This thesis explores the above questions in an attempt to analyse the process of the decentralisation of human resource management/development in two Timor-Leste's municipalities respectively – Dili and Viqueque.

The study is vital as it investigates the issues associated with the lack of human resources capacity in the territory. The issue of human resources as a part of the bureaucracy in the Timor-Leste government apparatus has thus far been poorly researched and is inadequately understood. Additionally, for the improvement of governance at the local level, is imperative for the government to depoliticise the bureaucracy prior to the deployment of the bureaucrats to the local government level.

This thesis will use a combination of primary and secondary data, with the primary data to be collected from interviews with the policy-makers, and mayors of the two municipalities; and the secondary data to be obtained from the available literature. The data will be used to analyse and identify the driving forces and implications of human resource management in the process of decentralisation in Timor-Leste.