Dili, 11 March 2002


A delegation representing the Australian state of New South Wales's Ministry of Environment is scheduled to arrive in Dili tomorrow for a 12-day visit during which they will explore means of creating a National Park in East Timor.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with officials from the ministries of Agriculture, Environment, Tourism and Foreign Affairs, and visit Tutuala beach and Jaco island in Lospalos district.

A similar delegation from New South Wales visited Tutuala and Jaco in January, and on this trip the officials are expected to consult with members of the Lospalos community about the possibility of turning the two areas into a National Park.

Tutuala and Jaco are among 15 "protected wild areas" listed in a regulation promulgated by SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello in June 2000. The regulation includes stipulations prohibiting the erection of structures, the building of roads, the hunting, trapping, taking or disturbing of animals, and the use of a protected wild area for agricultural purposes.

Following its January visit, the delegation said it had spoken with many East Timorese who showed a strong desire to preserve lands for present and future generations.