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National response to COVID-19

Social protection

Economy of Moldova was caught unprepared to COVID-19 pandemic. The measures introduced to contain the spread of pandemic have had massive socio-economic impact and further deepened the pre-existing inequalities.

A significant part of employees in Moldova work in at-risk sectors. This includes areas like arts, recreation, accommodation and food services, real estate, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and vehicle repair.

Informality in Moldova also remains of great concern, leaving the active labour force at risk with limited protection or access to government-supported measures in the immediate downturn.

The COVID-19 crisis is also affecting the working migrants in Moldova. The imposition of quarantine measures and closure of businesses led thousands living in Russia and Europe to lose jobs. In addition, with countries tightening control at their borders and introducing freedom of movement restrictions, working migrants cannot return to their home countries. This has already led to a drop in remittances, a key factor in economic support to many people.

As an immediate response, UNDP has been supporting Moldova in providing the necessary information and personal protection supplies for the most vulnerable, including the elderly, minorities, and people with disabilities.

Now, we are exploring the magnitude of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on households, businesses and communities. These socio-economic assessments also help to identify the new vulnerable, informal workers, returnees from abroad and workers without standard employment contracts who fall outside of the social protection system, as well as institutional and systemic gaps to help chart the way forward to an inclusive and better recovery.

The prolonged period of underinvestment, informality, and changing demographics exacerbate strains on social protection, health and other care systems. 

The global nature of the pandemic has impacted production networks, supply and value chains and substantially restricted activity in sectors such as agriculture, transport, tourism and hospitality, wholesale and retail trade and industry. Small- and medium-enterprises are faced with challenges of adapting to new business models requiring new skills and focusing on remote work arrangements, digital methods and on-line processes. 

Skills mismatches have been one of the main challenges for private sector-led growth across Moldova, so adopting new techniques and skills development will figure strongly in our recovery policies.

To mitigate the negative impact on the economy in the immediate term, UNDP has been working on new solutions to skills development to ensure business continuity during the lockdown and to support the transition to risk-resilient, sustainable production and consumption practices.

Here's what we're doing:

  • UNDP undertook a local level needs assessment in 120 local communities, including the communities of the right and left banks of the Nistru, to assess the needs of vulnerable groups and local businesses. This assessment supported readjustment in a record time of most of our joint existing programmes to provide early recovery response to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • UNDP will support about 100 MSMEs across the country, through business support grants programmes, with focus on enhancing companies’ resilience to crises by increasing their access to technologies and equipment, infrastructure and markets and by fostering their financial and juridical literacy. The assistance also foresees developing B2B contacts, business development and advisory services, as well as facilitation of the direct access to markets.
  • UNDP supports the Small Business Programme with focus on vulnerable groups economic empowerment. The assistance will help entrepreneurs on both banks of the Nistru river to overcome the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to adapt their business model to new realities.
  • UNDP supports partnerships between private sector and NGOs on both banks of the Nistru to develop and implement solutions for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to help them address at least one of the challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • UNDP supports the National Employment Agency to improve the online job-placement and employment support services, though online job fairs and up-grading its digital market-place solution/platform, for the unemployed and job-seekers, including labour migrants returned to Moldova due to COVID-19.
  • UNDP supports hometown associations to conduct crowdfunding campaigns for collecting essential items for vulnerable groups.
  • During lockdown, over 500 people with disabilities from the left bank of the Nistru River were helped by a group of volunteers, and were provided with protective materials, food, and medications.
  • UNDP conducted, in partnership with Cognitive Edge, micro-narratives collection to capture real stories about the impact of COVID-19 on the communities in Moldova, including vulnerable groups. This set of thick data complemented the socio-economic impact assessment.