Visit to Timor-Leste with UNDP
This year marks the deadline set for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. In the coming days His Royal Highness The Crown Prince will be visiting several worthwhile projects throughout Timor-Leste.
The Crown Prince began a three-day field visit to Timor-Leste on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today. UNDP has planned a busy programme for Crown Prince Haakon, who has served as Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP since 2003. The main focus of the Crown Prince’s annual UNDP trips is to meet professionals in the field and, not least, people whose lives have improved as a result of projects funded by the development programme.
Important meeting with the president
Following a brief welcome at the airport in the capital city of Dili, a meeting was held with H.E. President Taur Matan Ruak, Crown Prince Haakon, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Timor-Leste Knut Østby, and Ambassador Stig I. Traavik. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss UNDP’s activities in the country and to further strengthen the excellent ties between UNDP and Timor-Leste.
Four million plastic bottles have given a better future
Today the Crown Prince also had the opportunity to meet with local young people who now have better lives and a brighter future thanks to UNDP, four million plastic bottles and a project entitled “Green Hope Recycling Project”. The business launched under the project is one of several examples of how UNDP supports social entrepreneurship in the country. The project also has major environmental benefits. Instead of being left strewn in nature or along the roadside, plastic bottles are now being used to generate income for many people.
There is no bottle deposit scheme in Timor-Leste. The idea behind the project is to collect used plastic bottles, cut them into smaller pieces and sell them as plastic for recycling purposes. In this manner, the young people participating in the project can work and earn their own money, which in most cases is spent on food and further education. The project also generates income for local people who help to collect the bottles.
Crown Prince Haakon visited the business’s head office, which also provides courses in English language, leadership and other topics. When encouraged to try his hand at production, the Crown Prince took a pair of scissors and helped to cut the bottles into strips. The project is also working to install a machine that will simplify the process and boost capacity. The young people involved in the project told the Crown Prince that the project has had a positive impact on attitudes with regard to the environment.
Later in the week, Crown Prince Haakon will visit several other projects operated by UNDP in Timor-Leste, including a project that brings clean water to several hundred households, the Justice System Programme to bring mobile courts out to the districts, and a salt production facility run by women farmers that provides food and income for many families.
About the UN Millennium Development Goals
In 2000 all the countries in the world agreed to establish common goals to eradicate poverty, and eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were formulated.
The general goal – MDG 1 – was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The first of three targets under the goal was to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than USD 1 a day.
The eight MDG were to:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
At the end of 2015, significant progress had been made in all eight areas, and the countries of the world decided on 17 new goals - the Sustainable Development Goals.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.