Moldova advances towards a roadmap to address climate change challenges in forestry and agriculture

November 25, 2022

The Presidency of the Republic of Moldova, with the support of UNDP Moldova, the Green Climate Fund, and the Embassy of Sweden in Chisinau, has launched a national dialogue on risks and vulnerabilities induced by climate change, and the opportunities to respond to them. More than 100 representatives of central and local authorities, academia, civil society, and agricultural producers discussed on 25 November 2022 during the conference “Advancing national climate change agenda in the forestry and agriculture in Moldova”, the environmental policies that national authorities should implement to cope with drought, heavy rainfall, or unpredictable temperature changes.

In her speech at the official opening of the event, the President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu mentioned that “climate change does not ask whether we are ready for it, whether we have the resources to respond to it, or whether it has come at the right time. Adapting to these changes will be hard. Building resilience will be difficult. Especially for us, because we have fewer resources, we are less prepared, and we have weaker institutions. But we have no choice, we must adapt. To resist. For our future and that of our children, here in Moldova.”

The Moldovan authorities, with the support of development partners, are currently working on a National Climate Change Adaptation Programme so that key sectors, including agriculture and forestry, will be less affected by droughts, heavy rains or sudden changes in temperature.

The Ambassador of Sweden to Chisinau, Katarina Fried, pointed out that “Sweden is committed to supporting Moldova’s ongoing efforts in line with the country’s vision and aspirations for European integration. This will remain a priority for us within the EU Presidency next year, and beyond. We intend to make emerging knowledge, innovation, partnerships and financing available for the country’s progress on environmental and climate dimensions.”

The devastating effects of climate change are particularly likely to be felt in the key economic sector – agriculture, especially affecting rural citizens. Data from the UN’s Joint Country Analysis shows that for 57% of Moldovans, agriculture is a major source of food and income. UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova, Dima Al-Khatib, noted that “in Moldova, climate change actions are also already showing progress at both the policy level and on the ground. The next National Adaptation Programme and the mid-century, long-term Low Emission Development Programme are under way with UNDP support. Drawing on the outcomes of the COP 27, and on the ongoing policy planning process in the climate change area, UNDP remains committed to support the Government of Moldova in achieving the set ambitious climate and green transition targets and actions.”

Since the Republic of Moldova was granted the status of candidate country for accession to the European Union, the Moldovan authorities came up with a number of commitments to European partners, including in relation to environment protection. The measures to be implemented and adopted in this area should be guided by EU best practices.

The European Commissioner for Environment, Ocean and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius said: “Climate change and environmental degradation are interlinked – without tackling one, we will not be able to solve the other. We must therefore look at the broader picture - that of transforming our economies to a sustainable model, moving toward green transition, halting biodiversity loss, living in a pollution-free environment. The European Green Deal is our answer to those challenges and I welcome Moldova’s interest to base its future growth on the postulates of the European Green Deal as an EU Candidate”.

The event also shared the experience of other countries in adapting to climate change, with participants learning about adaptation measures in the Netherlands, Romania, Armenia, etc.

The Republic of Moldova is already feeling the effects of climate change and its impact will intensify in the medium and long term. Devastating effects as a result of climate change are likely to occur in particular on the key economic sector – agriculture.

Moldova’s forests are equally vulnerable to these developments. In the Republic of Moldova, almost 450 thousand hectares or about 11.3% of the country’s surface are covered by forests. Of these, mature forests, i.e. forests that are tens and hundreds of years old, account for only 9%. For comparison, the EU average is 30-45% afforestation.