UN Head in Moldova: “UNDP-EU partnership making a significant difference for people’s lives”
The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Moldova, Ms. Nicola Harrington-Buhay, was on a recent visit to Brussels to discuss with key interlocutors within the European Union about the on-going UNDP-EU collaboration in Moldova.
Despite its recent progress, Moldova is the country with the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) when compared with the group of new-EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe, Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries. With an HDI level of 0.649 in 2011, Moldova ranked 111th globally, seeing little improvements during the last decade in terms of its rank. The country is particularly lagging behind the new-EU member states for the different HDI components, such as per capita income, health and education achievements.
However, Ms. Harrington-Buhay highlighted that “Moldova has been going through a very intense period of change” and emphasized that the “the European path constitutes a long-term aspiration and a central policy path of the Moldovan authorities to achieve the long-term development of the country”. To achieve this goal, Moldova is undergoing a fundamental transformation. “The country needs to modernize its rule of law and governance structures and reform the functioning of its public administration, including at local level. Also, more is needed to be done in Moldova to transform the current economic growth model into a more sustainable and green model that benefits all parts of the population”, she added on.
On the existing UNDP-EU partnership in the country, Ms. Harrington-Buhay emphasized that the “relationship between the two institutions in Moldova is very close, since we both focus on a common objective of improving people’s lives. The UN and the EU also share the same overarching framework of international norms and standards, particularly with regard to the protection and advancement of all human rights”.
Furthermore, she explained that UNDP and the EU “found areas to work together which really had very tangible and visible benefits on peoples’ lives”. One of the major areas of of UNDP-EU collaboration has been to foster links between the break-away region of Transnistrian and the rest of the country to further human development. “We have promoted confidence-building measures among the communities on both banks of the Dniester River to solve common problems and adopt practical solutions to improve their lives together”, Ms. Harrington-Buhay said.
UNDP and the EU have also joined efforts to support the country’s ambitious attempt to promote sustainable renewable energy. “Our joint Energy and Biomass project has had a major direct impact at local level and also on the renewables industry in the country”, mentioned the UNDP Resident Representative. “It has enabled production of biomass fuel made from readily available agricultural waste. By selling biomass, farmers were able to increase their income and several hundred new jobs were created”. Started in 2011, the initiative is designed to help 130 public institutions, including schools, kindergartens and health centers, with heating from biomass fuels. Already, nearly 120 villages in 26 districts have begun the conversion, with benefits for over 75,000 people.
Last but not least, Ms. Harrington-Buhay underlined the extensive policy work jointly conducted by UNDP and the EU in support of the Moldovan authorities. “EU policy advisors play an active role in all reform areas which are of relevance for Moldova’s long-term aspiration of integration into the EU, such as anti-corruption, border control management, environmental protection, educational reform and communications”. These advisory services are helping to modernize the Moldovan State and society. “This policy work is translating into very concrete measures and touch people on a daily basis”, she concluded.