• 0.69

    Human Development Index (2014)

  • 21.78%

    Parliamentary seats held by women

  • 11.4%

    Poverty rate (2014)

  • 1138.5

    Per capita income, USD (2013)


Orheiul Vechi, a landmark historical site. Photo: UNDP Moldova/Valerii Corcimari
Orheiul Vechi, Moldova's landmark historical site. Photo: UNDP/Valerii Corcimari

Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, bordered to the west by Romania and to the north, east and south by Ukraine. It is one of the most densely populated European countries, with a population of 4.1 million, including the breakaway Transnistrian region. The country is divided into thirty-two districts and three municipalities.

The Republic of Moldova declared its independence in 1991.  A new Constitution was adopted on 29 July 1994. On March 2, 1992, Moldova joined the United Nations. There have been many positive changes in recent years, in particular in relation to poverty reduction and democratic governance. Key reforms in justice sector and decentralization underpinned progress on the path of the country’s European integration. However, further progress is needed to ensure sustainability of economic growth and implementation of major reforms.


Since its independence, the Republic of Moldova passed through a complex stage of transition to democracy and market economy. The country has witnessed political instability and de facto territorial disintegration, whereby the breakaway region of Transnistria succeeded in establishing de facto independence from Moldova in 1992, but it is not recognized by the international community. The still unresolved status of the Transnistrian region has posed significant development challenge to the Republic of Moldova and can be seen as major obstacle for better human wellbeing for population on both banks of the Nistru River.


After nearly twenty years of transition to the market economy, the Republic of Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe, although poverty has steadily declined throughout the last decade. Despite high economic growth and decline in poverty, significant concerns about its inclusiveness and economic sustainability remain. Indeed, the growth has remained unbalanced in geographical terms as a couple of big cities grew rapidly, while many villages and small towns languished. As 82% of the poor reside in rural areas and rural population faces other multiple deprivations such as access to safe water, sanitation, education and health services, the urban-rural divide has emerged as a key development challenge for Moldova.

Furthermore, the current model of economic development cannot secure stable economic growth in the future. With all the drive for change, the growth remains overly development on the private consumption fueled by the remittances sent by Moldovan labor migrants. With demographic outlook turning dim (permanent emigration and aging) and regional growth prospects uncertain, Moldova increasingly needs new engines for economic development that would combine economic expansion with social inclusion. 


Roma women
Women discuss Roma inclusion in decision making. Photo: UN Women

Moldova has made good progress in its dialogue with the EU, concluding negotiations on a number of important matters, such as customs cooperation, setting up of a common aviation area, protection of geographical indications, and association to the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, which opens up access to EU thematic programmes.  With these agreements, Moldova has been among the strongest performers in the Eastern Partnership countries aspiring to conclude Association Agreements with the European Union. By end of 2012, 23 out of 24 chapters of the Association Agreement have been provisionally closed.

Decentralization reform progressed significantly, with the Decentralization Strategy adopted by the Parliament on 5 April 2012. The strategy aims to strengthen the role of local public authorities in making public expenditure more transparent and efficient, and to equitably improve people’s access to basic public services, such as education, health, and water and sanitation. While major challenges such as administrative territorial reform remain to be addressed, in the long term it is expected that the decentralization reform will also help Moldova overcome the rural-urban divide.

Further progress has been made in the area of human rights. In 2012, the Government finalized the process for consideration and acceptance of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations, and incorporated them into the National Human Rights Action Plan 2011 2014. The adoption of the Equal Opportunities Law in May 2012 established the institutional framework for ensuring nondiscrimination.

Country flag
Country map
3.5 million (incl. Transnistrian region)
33,700 sq. km
Moldovan (Romanian)
Poverty rate
11.4 % (2014)
Per capita income
1138.5 USD, PPP (2013)
Human Development Index
0.693 (2014)

Sources: 2013 Human Development Report;2012 UNPF Progress report;Second MDG Report; IMF, World Economic Outlook Database;http://www.moldova.md/en/