In Moldova, multidimensional shocks exacerbate inequalities

Multiple crises halt progress as 9 out of 10 countries fall backwards in human development, UNDP report warns

September 8, 2022

The Republic of Moldova ranks 80th out of 191 countries and territories as per the Human Development Index (HDI) for 2021, which measures national progress in health, education, and standard of living.  Moldova’s HDI value for 2021 is 0.767, which puts the country in the high human development category.

The latest Human Development Report, “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World”, launched today by UNDP, argues that layers of uncertainty are stacking up and interacting to unsettle life in unprecedented ways. The last two years have had a devastating impact for billions of people around the world, when crises like COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine hit back-to-back, and interacted with sweeping social and economic shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and massive increases in polarization.

Moldova registered the smallest loss of human development (2.5%) in the region of Europe and Central Asia because of human pressure on the planet (accounted by carbon dioxide emissions per person and material footprint per capita), in comparison with the 10.4% regional average.

Nonetheless, as inequalities increase, so does the loss in human development. Moldova's HDI loss due to inequality is 7.3 percent. The country has a gender inequality index value of 0.205, ranking it 51 out of 170 countries in 2021. The 2021 women HDI value is 0.771 in contrast with 0.763 for men.

Moldova is also facing multidimensional shocks caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. All these have the potential to negatively affect recent positive progress in terms of human development.

“An unprecedented inflation rate, the negative impacts of the war in Ukraine, the deepening of an energy crisis, and looming food security issues due to drought – all are important challenges and sources of uncertainties for the country and the people of Moldova. The progress of the country in terms of sustainable human development achieved in the last two decades is at risk of being compromised. The compounded crises are negatively affecting all the key dimensions of human development and putting additional pressures on the social protection system. Food and energy poverty are emerging as new forms of poverty in Moldova, while noting the consistent efforts of the Government and the development partners to minimize the negative effects on the quality of life of people,” said Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

According to another recent UNDP report, Moldova is one of the countries facing the most drastic impacts of the global cost-of-living crisis catalyzed by war in Ukraine.

Data from the first half of 2022 suggest a reduction in the rate of economic growth, while estimates show that the war in Ukraine could cost the economy of country between 2 and 10% of GDP, depending on the duration of the war, the intensity, and the territorial coverage.

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To learn more about the 2022 Human Development Report and UNDP’s analysis on navigating the new uncertainty complex, visit