An international conference on decentralization reform started today in Chisinau which brought together 140 representatives of local and central public administration, civil society, development partners, as well as national and international experts. During two days, participants will analyse the experience of European countries in the field of local public administration, assess the implementation of the National Decentralization Strategy and debate on the sector action plans of the decentralization reform for areas such as education, finance, property, etc.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Vlad Filat said that the approval of the National Decentralization Strategy laid the basis for a reform that will bring local public services, as well as the decision-making process, closer to people, including the most vulnerable ones. „We need to further ensure that the decentralization reform is carried out in a quick and fair manner which translates in tangible results. The transfer of competencies and necessary means to the public administration is, first of all, a transfer of responsibility to the local public authorities," Vlad Filat said.
A plenary session of the conference was devoted to human rights and gender equality based approach applied in the process of decentralization, as well as to the conflict of interest in local governance.
"Sweden has a long history of decentralized governance which clearly has contributed to our democracy and economic development. A society can fulfil its potential when men and women enjoy equal rights. When both have the same opportunities, they can contribute to the country's economic development and strengthening of the democracy. We are confident that the decentralization process with human rights and gender equality at its core will succeed in the Republic of Moldova", Ingrid Tersman, Ambassador of Sweden in the Republic of Moldova said.
An exhibition of the most successful local development projects carried out with the support of Joint Integrated Local Development Programme in 100 localities of the country was organized during the conference. During three years, the Programme, implemented with the assistance of UNDP, UN Women and funded by the Swedish Government, supported Moldova in the process of decentralization in two ways. First, through policy solutions that help improve the legal and institutional framework, which resulted in the development and adoption of the National Decentralization Strategy. Second, through local interventions where government deals strategically with the development issues in close dialogue with all community members. Hundreds of local projects tested the new decentralization policy on the ground which brought tangible improvement to the living conditions of people. Some mayors from these localities shared during the conference the lessons learnt, good practices, as well as the mechanisms used in the process of implementation of local projects.
"The United Nations in Moldova commends the huge work that has been done to move the decentralization reform forward. But much more is to follow and now is the momentum for consolidated action. It is extremely important that everybody benefits equally from the reform. The UN stands ready to offer support to the Government of Moldova, and most of all to the local authorities for whom the reform opens new opportunities, but most of all brings new challenges", Narine Sahakyan, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Moldova, said.
A documentary on the benefits of decentralization reform was screened during the event. In addition, journalists who won the contest „Decentralization reform in mass media", organized by the State Chancellery with the support of Joint Integrated Local Development Programme, were awarded. The panel selected three winners, whose reports met the requirements of the contest. The first prize was awarded to Valentina Ursu, from Radio Free Europe. The second prize was awarded to Natalia Hadirca, from „Adevarul" and to „Gazeta de Sud" newspaper. Olga Bulat from „Ziarul de Garda" and „Reporter de Garda" was awarded the third prize.
At the end of the Conference, the participants presented the conclusions and recommendations drawn during the plenary sessions and passed a statement which calls for building the institutional and management capacities of the decentralization reform. The statement will be available at www.descentralizare.gov.md
The Conference "Decentralization Reform: From Strategy to Actions" was organized by the Government of the Republic of Moldova with the support of UNDP, UN Women, UNICEF, Embassy of Sweden, Council of Europe and Soros Foundation Moldova.
For further information, please contact: Natalia Costas, Communications Consultant Joint Integrated Local Development Programme, Tel: (+ 373 22)69221141, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org