The development of the Timor Sea is very important to the future of Timor-Leste, but this also raises highly complex legal, industrial and regulatory issues. This is why the Timor Sea Office has strongly emphasized extensive community education and consultation.
Frequent visits to outlying district centres have been the main focus of the TSO's outreach program. This is aimed at overcoming the isolation faced by many communities in Timor-Leste's mountainous regions. The office has also focused on briefing key institutions, including the national parliament, the media, universities and schools, and the armed forces.
The format for these briefings generally involves showing a 17-minute video, Our Country, Our Future, followed by a question and answer session. The district meetings regularly attract sefi do sukus (village chiefs), district and sub-district administrators, departmental officials, and non-government organization representatives. They generally run for more than 2 hours, with ample time for people to ask questions and to comment.
Briefing at Same' district administration, September 2003. More Pictures
Council of Ministers and National Parliament
The Council of Ministers is briefed by the Timor Sea Office on a frequent basis, and a number of extensive briefings have been given to the National Parliament and relevant committees on Timor Sea matters, including the Bayu-Undan tax legislation and Timor Sea revenues generally.
The Timor Sea Office also responds to the significant interest in the Timor Sea from the local and international media. The negotiations of the Timor Sea Treaty and International Unitisation Agreement for the Greater Sunrise field attracted significant international media attention, and this has continued now that permanent boundary negotiations are underway.
Local and international NGOs have taken an active interest in the development of the Timor Sea, reflecting its importance to the nation's future. The Timor Sea Office has also given priority to keeping these groups informed.
Raising awareness among young people is also a priority. The office briefs high school and university students regularly, and even the very young are not left out. The office sponsored a 5-page article in January 2004 edition of the children's magazine Lafaek. Published by CARE Canada, Lafaek has a print run of 150,000 copies and is used as a core teaching material in primary schools across the country.
The Norwegian Petroleum Education Assistance Program makes available grants for Timorese university students who wish to specialize in a petroleum-related topic and is now also announcing two scholarships for Timorese who wish to take a petroleum related degree and later work for the civil service in the petroleum sector.
Lists of candidates including those selected for interview and of applicants for the small grant are now published.
The Norwegian Petroleum Education Assistance Program has decided to award degree scholarships to the following two candidates from outside the civil service: 1. Mateus Da Costa 2. Gilsel Emmanuel M. C. Borges.
Submissions received in response to the Timor-Leste Government's draft petroleum laws and model PSCs can be found here.