Supporting regional development in Moldova
Strengthening institutional capacity and building new partnerships in Moldova has created a framework for the identification, financing and implementation of innovative regional development projects that respond to local needs. This four-year project supported the Government of Moldova to roll out a national strategy for regional development that promotes inclusive economic growth. Declining Soviet-era industries and high rural-urban migration has resulted in large social and economic disparities across Moldova’s regions, creating marginalised communities experiencing high levels of unemployment and poverty. Our team provided technical assistance to national and local authorities to address these issues by supporting the establishment of new regional development institutions. By strengthening institutional capacity to plan strategically, improve financial management, and strengthen monitoring and evaluation, the project has created systems for aligning better resource allocations with local development needs. Promoting partnership building has created a model for sustainable regional development that maximises the opportunities arising from international and local expertise and knowledge-sharing.
Development across Moldova’s regions has been uneven and unequal. Poverty is widespread and deep-rooted, especially in rural areas and small towns that have suffered as Soviet-era industries have declined. High levels of out-migration are exacerbating the disparities and creating whole communities dependent on remittances from migrant workers. Government efforts to address these issues to date have been constrained by a lack of capacity at both national and local level compounded by frequent changes in government structures and institutions. Donor support to Moldova has been disjointed and inconsistent and the duplication of aid efforts has resulted in failure to produce significant impacts at a regional level.
The team worked with the Government of Moldova and district and local authorities to support the design and implementation of a National Strategy for Regional Development.
During the design phase of the project, the team carried out assessments and reviews to identify a number of important focus areas for promoting effective regional development. These included the need for systems for gathering high-quality data to act as an evidence-base to measure development indicators against, and building mechanisms for, the effective financing of regional development projects.
Based on these results, a programme of technical assistance activities was developed, placing particular emphasis on strengthening the institutional framework for regional development and building cross-sector partnerships. This ‘bottom-up’ approach aimed to align regional development strategies with national policies while creating opportunities for the leveraging of resources to encourage innovative solutions to local problems. The key output of the project was the establishment of three functioning regional development agencies in the north, centre and south of the country.
Technical assistance support we provided included:
- Establishing and strengthening regional development institutions and supporting partnership development
- Supporting the establishment and management of a national fund to finance regional development projects
- Developing guidelines and operational manuals on accounting and procurement to improve the transparency of regional development financing
- Designing and implementing a comprehensive system for monitoring and evaluating projects backed by a set of indicators for measuring regional development against
- Building staff and organisational capacity through formal and on-the-job training, study tours and the introduction of automated systems and processes
This project has achieved significant results. Regional development has been pushed up the political agenda with Regional Development Agencies and Regional Development Councils now operational and Regional Development Strategies being implemented in each of the three development regions. Moreover, the Government of Moldova has adopted and successfully rolled out the National Strategy for Regional Development and has established a functioning National Co-ordination Council for Regional Development.
Improved financing and public procurement mechanisms have been adopted by stakeholders across all levels and are integrated within national budgetary systems. As a result, a pipeline of regional development projects is being financed through the National Fund for Regional Development.
Improved communication has resulted in greater awareness of regional development amongst the general public and donor interest has also increased with several new donors providing funding to a wide range of Moldovan regional development initiatives.
Overall, this project has provided a model for the delivery of improved local and district services that promote wider inclusive economic growth in line with Moldova’s national policy priorities