- About Moldova
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 3.5 million, including the breakaway Transnistrian region. The country is divided into thirty-two districts and five 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.
While European aspirations have driven the Government’s reform agenda since 2009, progress has been uneven, hampered by political instability, shrinking external trade, currency devaluation and wide-scale corruption. The process of public service modernization suffers from a fragmented regulatory framework, budgetary limitations and weak institutional capacity. Civil society is not meaningfully included in the public debate and does not have means to monitor the implementation of policies and exercise accountability checks.
The perceived inefficiency of governance, the low trust in public institutions and low levels of social cohesion are feeding deep societal divides along ethnic and linguistic lines. Women and men, particularly from marginalized and vulnerable groups, are not able to claim their rights effectively. Young people’s potential is largely untapped, as they are reluctant to engage in community development.
Moldova faces the most daunting demographic challenges across the Europe and Central Asia region, with the lowest fertility, aging population and the highest net emigration rates, depleting social capital and brain-drain. Gender-based violence is widespread, with state institutions ill-equipped to address this.
Reforms aimed at growth and employment are hampered by a sub-optimal regulatory framework and limited access to economic opportunities and services. The growth model is driven by non-labor income (social benefits, pensions, remittances), especially for the poorest; hence, their vulnerability is greatest and the labor market is unable to integrate those who need it most, and this remains a persistent challenge for Moldova.
Moldova is one of the most carbon- and energy-intensive economies in the ECA region with energy intensity twice the EU average. The country imports 87% of the energy, which poses a serious energy security risk. Pollution and unsustainable management of natural resources are a sign of weak environmental governance, which affects Moldova’s sustainable development.
Moldova has the highest vulnerability to climate change and disaster in the Europe and Central Asia region, with average annual economic loss of 2.13% of GDP. Due to catastrophic events of 0.5% annual probability occurrence, the country will lose 10% of GDP per year. These risks are affecting primarily the rural poor and women.
Simmering instability is stemming from the frozen conflict in the Transnistrian region, which remains isolated, leading to decreasing living standards. Heavily affected by outward migration, worsening economic conditions, political uncertainty and degrading quality of basic services, the decline in the region is contributing to a gradual erosion of social cohesion, thus hindering effective reconciliation. Due to the unresolved status, people living in the region do not benefit from the same opportunities as the rest of the country, widening the development gap and fuelling existing grievances.
The United Nations Development Assistance Framework evaluation confirmed that impactful results were delivered during the 2013-2017 programming cycle. UNDP’s comparative advantages were highlighted, including its role as an honest broker, convener and facilitator, and credible, impartial and trusted partner. UNDP’s ability to bring top-notch technical expertise, provide context specific and relevant policy advice, and generate innovative solutions to complex challenges was emphasised. Outcome evaluations confirmed that transformative results were accomplished by UNDP in partnership with other development actors, such as: strengthening the capacity of public institutions across the three branches of power; spearheading innovation and applying it to policy development and service design and delivery; promoting social cohesion and building confidence across conflict divide; generating employment and providing access to decent jobs and quality social services to more than 500,000 people in all regions of Moldova, including Gagauzia, Taraclia and Transnistria. UNDP’s ‘modus-operandi’ in Transnistrian region has been appraised and commended by external partners.
The Government is committed to implement 2030 Agenda and fully align the new National Development Strategy 2030 with the Sustainable Development Goals. The need for consolidating policy planning and budgeting framework, as well as strengthening horizontal and vertical integration and coordination is well-recognised. UNDP’s support towards this end has been requested by the Government.
Jointly with UN Women and OHCHR, UNDP engaged civil society and legislators in a comprehensive advocacy campaign, leading to the adoption of the ground-breaking law on Gender Equality in April 2016, including 40 percent gender quota in the Cabinet and on the political parties’ candidate lists. Proving its efficiency, engagement of civil society in wide advocacy campaign will continue in the future. With UNDP support, first shelter for domestic violence survivors was opened in the Transnistrian region, providing specialized services for women from the region.
Significant progress has been made in environmental management, climate resilience and low-carbon development. Key strategic planning frameworks were established with UNDP support, including the Low Emissions Development Strategy – Moldova being the first country in the world to adopt it. Moldova has signed and ratified the Paris Agreement. Climate change adaptation was mainstreamed into policy documents in agriculture, energy and transport sectors, while risk-informed decision making was introduced at district level. UNDP’s interventions in renewable energy increased its share in the total energy mix from 5 to 14 percent and strengthened the energy security of the country, connecting 157,000 people to affordable heating and creating 150 new jobs for operators and biofuel producers. The first National Park in the country was established in Orhei, increasing the share of protected areas with 1%.