Our Perspective

      • Moldova on the Pathway to Achieving the Global Goals

        28 Sep 2015


        World leaders have adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals. They represent an agreed vision to put people and planet on a sustainable path by 2030. This is the bedrock of a new development agenda that can set the world on a course of action to end poverty, transform lives and protect the planet. In Moldova, we focus our work on poverty reduction, access to education and women empowerment, where many challenges still persist. The regional turbulence, together with the many challenges the country is facing, require new ingenious approaches from the people of Moldova and the development agencies working to support the country. I believe the new Goals will guide us through the next mile of development – from guaranteeing inclusive access to key services, which is the first step, to looking at the aspects of quality, accountability and justice. The Sustainable Development Goals spell out how we work together to promote dignity, equality, justice, shared prosperity and well-being for all, while protecting the environment. We are the first generation that can end poverty and the last one that can avoid the worst effects of climate change. I’ve learned from my work with the United  Read More

      • Moldova: Small country, big data?

        05 Aug 2015


        Most people don’t know a lot about Moldova. One prominent story to make international news recently, was a widespread scandal involving the theft of US $1 billion from three of the country’s leading banks. Thus, few might realize that the small country between Romania and Ukraine also happens to be at the forefront of the data revolution – having moved towards open data at a much faster pace than any of its neighbours. It’s been only five years since Moldova began to take steps towards reforming its public service. As part of this reform, the government committed to opening up its data and launching its first open data portal in 2011. Four years later, date.gov.md is already on version 3.0, and home to over 800 datasets. Moldova has passed legal reforms committing to making government data open by default. In the process, it has gathered a small but ardent community of open data enthusiasts, many of whom I had the opportunity to meet on a recent trip to Chisinau. “Yes, but” Here were my questions: - Did open data really make governance in Moldova more transparent? - Did the government become more accountable to its people? - Are Moldovans actually using  Read More

      • From design to access: MiLab goes on safari

        29 Jun 2015

        Photo: UNDP/Victoria Puiu

        We often consider the buildings we’re constructing as comfortable and accessible for all. How often do we remember what a challenge they can be for those living with disabilities? As a part of a diversity initiative task force, we made an effort to assess the level of accessibility of our very own United Nations in Moldova premises. We conducted three user safaris with people with physical, visual and hearing impairments. What’s a user safari? A user safari is a valuable way of understanding how people interact with and experience a service or environment. There is no one better to spot the weaknesses when it comes to accessibility than with people who experience those challenges first-hand. Empathizing and co-creating with users is at the heart of MiLab’s work, and this time was no different. In order to overcome any initial awkwardness or trepidation, we used role-playing to break the ice. We assigned each participant a role he/she had to perform throughout the whole user-safari – i.e. a staff member, presenter, or participant at a project meeting. Keep an open mind…and schedule. As facilitators, we had to be flexible going throughout the exercise. Each person had their own way of interacting with the  Read More

      • We the people: Insights from post-2015 Moldova

        08 Apr 2015

        Complexity and energy: When biomass means more than just heat

        The sustainable development goals have yet to be adopted; however, the first signs of changes in the way we work are already there. Here are five reflections on what we’ve learned so far in Moldova: 1. It’s the complexity, stupid If ever we needed a powerful jolt to remind us about the pitfalls of thinking and working in silos, the post-2015 consultations were it. Time and again, horizontal issues such as jobs, inequality, and governance topped citizens’ concerns. In Moldova, we saw how governance and the rural-urban divide impact development in the country. This helped us to adapt our perspective on how we observe the progress on MDG implementation. As we become increasingly context- and connectedness-aware, we start treating development phenomena more holistically: TB treatment is not just a matter of taking one’s pills, and providing access to energy in a resource-poor country is not just a matter of laying the pipeline. 2. Smarter, not bigger government Trust in public institutions in Moldova has reached new lows, but government is still seen as the main actor for improving people’s livelihoods. How do we address this conundrum? Society faces complex challenges such as rapid technological change and a general democratization of political space. In  Read More

      • Ready for post-2015? A place to start in Moldova

        09 Mar 2015

        Every beginning is difficult: Read the authors’ first post on the Futurescaper experiment

        In our previous blogs, we reflected on the nature of development complexities that emerged as part of our foresighting exercise in Moldova. In this post, we will focus more on some of the specifics: What institutions should take the lead? What are the biggest institutional challenges?What are key recommendations? Leaders, not followers Omne initium difficile est goes the Latin saying. This is especially applicable when it comes to public institutions taking the lead in adapting the Sustainable Development Goals. As the issues emerging from our first experiment with Futurescaper are largely crosscutting, the government and parliament appeared as the main actors to lead the charge. All in all, this outlines the need for intra-governmental coordination and communication, which will be crucial for any success. Another important institutional ingredient will be leadership: It is critical that our institutions have the capacity to take the risks and demonstrate political will. Tall orders of tomorrow With the world around us in flux, traditional institutional hierarchies and business-as-usual solutions are being upended; however, many internal predicaments sound all too familiar. Our survey highlights eight of them. Again, even from the first glance at the graph, it is clear this is not a series of predicaments, but an interconnected web.  Read More