National response to COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has shown the critical importance of effective and responsive governance systems and institutions. Transparency and accountability on actions taken has the potential to reinforce the crisis response and further underpin people’s trust in government and democratic processes and civic engagement in terms of compliance with the imposed limitations.
In a time when human rights and access to justice could be compromised and inequalities exacerbated due to increasing quarantines and clamp downs, UNDP works to ensure that gains made on gender equality, non-discrimination and other human rights will not be rolled back. The crisis also presents specific justice needs, such as addressing the rise in gender-based violence and making additional institutional reforms to strengthen the effectiveness of the justice chain in a radically shifted social context.
We’ve seen the need for significant support and investments in effective digital governance, particularly to bridge digital divide, enhance literacy and ensure the continuity and delivery of core government functions and services. But this digital transformation must go hand-in-hand with strengthening organizational structure, developing skills and leadership, and protecting privacy.
COVID-19 has also threatened social cohesion, with increased polarization, hate speech and stigmatization. That is why pandemic responses need to build confidence and relationships between government and its citizens through an approach anchored in human rights, extensive collaboration, and innovation to advance the (new) social contract.
Like many other crises, the pandemic provides fertile ground for corruption to flourish, especially in societies with weak governance institutions, lack of transparency and accountability, and lack of trust in government structures. At the same time, crises like this are an opportunity for the public and private sector to raise their commitments in addressing corruption and building a culture of integrity and accountability.
This area of work is more important than ever as the government (both at the central and local levels) comes under pressure to navigate crisis and uncertainty, deliver digitized services, enable access to information and social protection, and function in transparent, accountable and effective ways. Government and civil society will need to work together to advance social cohesion and gender equality while upholding human rights and the rule of law.
Here's what we're doing:
- Support for the Ombudsperson office to develop an on-line tool for the submission by the whistleblowers of the requests for protection was offered and a campaign was conducted among healthcare workers to promote this mechanism.
- In partnership with WHO, several webinars with overall 1,100 participants (mayors, district presidents, employees of the 35 Territorial Employment Agencies) were conducted, covering local epidemiological situation and containment measures, as a means to support coordination between central and local authorities, crisis leadership and communications.
- UNDP Moldova assists local public authorities, as frontline workers, in their efforts to contain the virus through awareness-raising and information activities. A communications guide (available in Romanian and in Russian) at local level was developed and distributed online.
- The National Legal Aid Council was assisted to develop functionalities for the electronic submission of legal aid requests through the e-legal aid system, contributing to a swift access to legal aid in the context of physical distancing requirements.
- Round of regional-level consultations of the Women MPs Platform Dialogue (Women Caucus) with women local councillors on the strain of pandemic on education and social protection took place in March 2021. As a result of the consultations, an amendment of law benefitting teachers was adopted. The advocacy events were supported by UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women.
- UNDP, with the financial support provided by the U.S. Government, supports the development of a feasibility study for the future Intranet system of Police, who alongside doctors and other professionals, have one of the basic roles in managing crisis situations, like the one caused by COVID-19 spread.
- UNDP, as part of the UN-Sweden human rights programme, conducted an informational campaign on both banks of the Nistru river on COVID-19 and its human rights implications.
- Taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP contributed to the correct and accessible information of citizens with the right to vote, who participated in the 2020 presidential elections and the early parliamentary elections 2021. UNDP supported information and awareness campaigns on protection measures against COVID-19 in polling stations.
- In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to facilitate voting procedures and rule out human error, the Central Electoral Commission of Moldova used 240 scanners in the 2020 Presidential Elections and will use them in the early parliamentary elections in 2021. The scanners were procured with the support of UNDP. With their help, voters are registered in the State Automated Information System “Elections”. The technique is used for the polling stations abroad, the most popular polling stations in Chisinau and the polling stations for the voters from the left bank of the Nistru river.
- UNDP is currently looking into possibilities to advance electronic voting in Moldova, as follow-up of the 2016 Feasibility study on Internet Voting for the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Moldova. E-voting would increase the accessibility of the electoral processes, reduce costs for the organization of elections overseas and would ease the participation of Moldovan citizens living abroad, of youth, as well as of persons with disabilities. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, would allow for a safe exercise of voting rights.