Reducing poverty and bridging regional disparities through creating economic opportunities, improving access to quality education, healthcare services, and more accessible and efficient public services and employment, are among major priorities reflected in Moldova 2020 development strategy, sectorial strategies, national MDG commitments, international and regional treaties, as well as in EU-Moldova cooperation framework.
Moldova has made significant progress in reducing poverty in recent years. However, despite economic growth, gross domestic product per capita remains the lowest in Europe, at $3,092. Moreover, the urban–rural divide has widened, and people face a steady decline in income and access to basic services as the development gap is increasing. Dramatic decrease in the standard of living affected to a great extent population on both banks of the Nistru River, the situation being further aggravated by the so-called Transnistrian conflict. The consequences of frozen conflict in the breakaway Transnistrian region still have a negative impact on the economy and also on the social situation of the region and of the country as a whole.
UNDP is working to further expand access to basic services, and achieve more equitable and sustainable local and regional development for improving the livelihoods of the most needy and vulnerable people. Engagement of the private sector in the broader development and advocacy for responsible entrepreneurship seeks to reduce urban-rural income disparities through integrated local initiatives targeting remote and disadvantaged regions.
UNDP work is focusing on responding to issues impacting poverty and human development. Starting with 2012, growing emphasis has been put on cross-practice issues at the nexus of the key three development trends for the country:
- global – need for transition to sustainable development;
- regional – European integration aspirations of the country;
- need for profound modernization of Moldova.
The analytical work is increasingly focused on cross-practice areas to support via policy advice and research for sustainable human development. The support provided to Ministry of Economy seeks to advance policy innovations aimed at mainstreaming sustainable development thinking in traditional economic policy-making and more inclusive and innovative economic growth.
UNDP is assisting the Government in measuring and analysing poverty, making policies and plans more pro-poor and promoting innovative approaches to poverty reduction. Contributions to filling the country’s data gap on socio-economic status and poverty have been particularly important: support to the National Statistical System has helped improve data collection, dissemination and use.
UNDP has also introduced a legal and policy framework for private sector participation in the social sector. This makes it easier for private sector actors to initiate programmes in education and health, contribute to social causes and behave in a socially responsible manner.
Key to reducing rural-urban divide is enabling the local governments in Moldova to play a significant role in public services provision, water supply, road construction, maintenance and heating of public institutions. They have historically been fragmented and underfinanced, providing services that are still largely inadequate and of poor quality.
The Government has acknowledged that it is vital to bring quality services closer to the people and strengthen local governance in line with EU standards. The adoption of the National Decentralization Strategy in April 2012 is paving the way for faster progress on local development issues. It gives more autonomy to local authorities when it comes to providing improved public services such as water, waste collection, sewage systems and infrastructure.
In close cooperation with partners, UNDP has helped build the capacity of local public authorities to efficiently plan and implement local development priorities and improve local public services, involving civil society and community members. In this way, local partnerships are being fostered to take decisions and bring services closer to citizens, for both women and men equally, as well as vulnerable and marginalized groups such as the elderly and people with disabilities.
UNDP advocates for these nationally-owned solutions and helps to make them effective through ensuring a greater voice for poor people, expanding access to productive assets and economic opportunities, and linking poverty programmes with countries' international economic and financial policies. At the same time, UNDP contributes to efforts at reforming trade, debt relief and investment arrangements to better support national poverty reduction and make globalization work for poor people. In doing so, we support innovative pilot projects; connect countries to global best practices and resources; promote the role of women in development; and bring governments, civil society and outside funders together to coordinate their efforts.
UNDP contributes to confidence building between both banks of the Nistru River by involving local authorities, civil society organisations, business community and other stakeholders, as well as through economic and social development of local communities. It aims to ensure that on-going efforts at the political and technical levels are supported by development and confidence building initiatives at the community level that seek to create an environment conducive to dialogue and cooperation at all levels.