Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK to launch new health programme to combat child malnutrition in Timor-Leste [September 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 29 September 2023.

Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, will visit Timor-Leste 29 Sept-2 Oct to launch a UK-UNICEF programme combating child malnutrition.

  • UK to boost health collaboration with Timor-Leste with launch of new UK-UNICEF Health Programme
  • Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan to reiterate UK support for Timor-Leste’s upcoming accession to The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  • she will also attend a UN Women event, enabled by ASEAN-wide UK funding, to promote women’s participation in security, conflict resolution and development policy

To enhance UK-Timor-Leste collaboration on health and development, UK Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan will arrive in Timor-Leste today (Friday 29 September) for a 3-day visit. The visit will be the first by a UK minister since Timor-Leste gained independence in 2002.

Minister Trevelyan will hold high-level talks with Timorese counterparts including President Ramos-Horta, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, and Foreign Minister Bendito dos Santos Freitas. Discussions will focus on opportunities to deepen cooperation between the 2 countries on health and development, including through a UK-UNICEF Health Programme to help combat child malnutrition which the Minister will launch during her visit.

Supported by £1 million of UK government funding, the programme will train community volunteers and establish support groups to encourage and advise parents on healthy food practices.

Minister Trevelyan will also attend a Women in Leadership event co-organised by the Government of Timor-Leste and UN Women. This event is supported by UK funding to UN Women, part of a wider £3.2 million UK-ASEAN programme announced earlier this year. The programme will promote women’s roles in peace and security initiatives throughout Southeast Asia.

The visit comes in an important year for Timor-Leste, as it accedes to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the foremost political and economic bloc in the region. Minister Trevelyan will reiterate the UK’s sustained support for Timor-Leste’s accession, with the UK having become an ASEAN Dialogue Partner in 2021. Southeast Asia is a global centre of economic growth and prosperity, and the UK’s engagement as an ASEAN Dialogue Partner supports the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy.

Ahead of the visit, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

As an ASEAN Dialogue Partner, the UK continues to work closely with partners across Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific to secure sustainable peace and prosperity in the region and address the challenges of the future

On my first visit to Timor-Leste, I look forward to discussing opportunities to enhance our bilateral relationship and collaboration on shared health and development priorities.

We remain steadfast in our support of Timor-Leste’s accession to ASEAN as a key partner on the global stage.

The UK’s increased engagement with Timor-Leste demonstrates its long-term commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, in line with the Integrated Review Refresh published in March 2023.

In addition to development cooperation, the UK is supporting Timor-Leste to maintain regional stability, with Royal Navy vessel HMS Spey visiting Dili in August 2023.