“Local government needs investment and innovative approaches. We must properly assess our possibilities and our development overtime, and properly plan a local capacity development.” This was the message of Victoria Cujba, the head of the Decentralization Policy Divison of the State Chancellery, at the opening session of the first Forum for Investment and Innovation, which was held on 23-24 May 2013, in Costesti village, raion Ialoveni.
Convened with the theme “Cooperation for Development”, the Forum brought together over 150 mayors from the central region of Moldova, members of civil society, foreign experts and potential investors. The Forum aimed to create an open and interactive platform for exchange of knowledge and practice in regional development. Invited foreign experts presented several regional development projects, which were successfully implemented in Romania, Poland, Slovakia and Estonia. Participants discussed the opportunities of regional development in Moldova in the working panels of the Forum, which were focused on diversifying the rural economy, balanced urban development and inter-municipal cooperation.
“Administrative-territorial fragmentation poses serious impediments to the modernization of Moldova,” believes Ghenadie Ivaşcenco, project manager and expert on inter-municipal cooperation within the Joint Integrated Local Development Programme (JILDP) conducted by UNDP and UN Women, and funded by the Government of Denmark. According to experts, 85 percent of the country's municipalities lack sufficient human resources and capacities to provide a minimum of public services – water, sanitation, waste disposal – and the costs of creating such services at such a small level are excessive. As a consequence, citizens are affected.
A viable solution to this problem is inter-municipal cooperation: a mechanism of joining efforts of several municipalities to provide these services, thus ensuring a minimum rentability threshold. In 2011, JILDP developed an Inter-Municipal Cooperation Guide, and, in the next two years, the Programme aims to create functional models of joint provision of public services in 10 clusters of villages in all regions of Moldova. During the Forum, the UNDP shared lessons learned within this efforts as well as lessons to be learned in the context of this ambitious national goal.
The first Regional Forum for Investment and Innovation “Cooperation for Development” was organized by the Ministry of Constructions and Regional Development and the Centru Agency for Regional Development, with the participation of other state institutions and in partnership with the donor community.