Communities build resilience in Moldova

 community members in Moldova
Community members in Marianca de Jos, Moldova attend meetings to develop disaster risk assessments and develop measures to build resilience. Photo: UNDP in Moldova

Since 2007, Svetlana Bivol has been the mayor of Marianca de Jos, a village in southern Moldova that sits in a valley where a small river flows. Its 600 residents mostly depend on subsistence agriculture. With few other livelihood options available, there is little margin for error.

As is the case in many villages in this region, climate change threatens to increase both the frequency and intensity of existing hazards, including flooding due to heavy rainfall and soil erosion. The community already has inadequate access to freshwater (the local river does not provide drinkable water), and the scarcity will only worsen as the effects of climate change grow.   

“The community has to be ready and prepared for different types of disasters brought on by climate change,” says Mayor Bivol. “We already felt some of its consequences, and we decided to act now, before it is too late.”

Highlights

  • Marianca de Jos crafted a long-term development plan that incorporated disaster risk reduction and resilience measures and identified climate-related hazards and suggested locally-appropriate adaptation measures.
  • The community built a 1.2 km drainage system to reduce flooding, restored a bridge and planted over 2 hectares of trees as a “forest barrier” to reduce wind strength.
  • Rapid risk screenings were performed in 20, with 10 villages implementing pilot projects to reduce vulnerability and strengthen their capacities to manage disaster and climate risks.

In 2012 the community partnered with UNDP to make the village more resilient against such threats. The Disaster and Climate Risk Reduction Project identified key challenges at the community level and implemented several important changes. This included building a drainage system (totaling 1.2 km in length) that would help reduce flooding, and restoring a bridge that was damaged during a storm. In addition, 2 hectares of walnut trees, maple trees, and black locust trees were planted to form a “forest barrier” that would reduce the strength of winds coming from the northwest.

The community also began the process of crafting a long-term development plan that incorporated disaster risk reduction and resilience measures. It used a UNDP-developed package of procedures and tools that help communities to incorporate risk management measures into development planning. Using data, risk estimation, and local discussions, the community identified climate-related hazards and could suggest locally appropriate adaptation measures.

The activities conducted in Marianca de Jos are part of Moldova’s countrywide disaster risk reduction efforts. With the aim of reducing vulnerabilities and strengthening capacities at the local level, Moldova has developed a procedure for creating disaster and climate risk assessments that can be used by communities. From June to September 2012, a rapid risk screening was performed in 20 communities, with 10 of them implementing pilot projects to reduce vulnerability and strengthen their capacities to manage disaster and climate risks.

The pilot communities installed receptacles to collect rainwater; built run-off systems to prevent flooding; and built greenhouses to introduce new agricultural approaches to mitigate the effects that climate change will have on traditional crops in the region.

“There are many small communities like Marianca de Jos in Moldova,” says Svetlana Drobot, a representative from the Civil Protection and Emergency Situation Service. “We can measure our success based on the pro-activeness and readiness of every Moldovan to protect himself, his family and his community.”

As of 2015, Marianca de Jos continues to implement and expand the measures that were started three years ago: The community has acquired an additional plot of land and planted it with trees for the forest barrier project; the drainage system has been expanded by several streets; and the community continues to seek out additional ways of making itself even more climate resilient.

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