Moldova's Infantile Government Needs a Reformed Strategic Planning Framework

Recently, The Moldovan State Chancellery, with the support of the United Nations, conducted consultations with over 200 people and analyzed more than 60 comments on the adaptation of 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development to the context of the Republic of Moldova. The outcomes of this process were presented on 4 July 2017. The report highlights that the National Policy Agenda (NPA) is only partially aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and one third of SDGs targets are not included in any of the national policy papers. That is not a scary fact, as many of the targets do not apply to the country or are irrelevant to the domestic policies. But, there are some facts that I would like to point out and to argue, as those are vital to the country’s development and were not well crafted in the national agenda.

The main one is that Moldova’s Government must reform its strategic planning framework. The successful implementation of SDGs depends on how flexible is the strategic planning framework, which is now quite problematic in Moldova. The Republic of Moldova has too many policy papers, which often overlap and contradict each other, are not properly monitored and assessed, and the responsibilities among implementing partners are not clearly shared and integrated into the budgetary planning processes.

Well, if since its independence the country was governed by the people who created such policies for the national agenda, then no wonder why we are still the poorest country in Europe by the human development index. The report clearly states that the gaps in the national policy agenda are caused by the lack of vision in some important areas reflected by SDGs. For example, the analysis proved that the poverty issue is addressed slightly and fragmentarily in the national policy agenda, which is an important gap compared to SDG 1. Here we go, people - no proper policies, no development.

The report provides a status quo analysis of the level of correlation between GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA & NATIONAL POLICY AGENDA and, in this way, identifies the common ground and differences. Moreover, it offers recommendations to close the gaps between both agendas. Whether the proper definition of the national targets is more intuitive, the integration of the new national targets into the national agenda might be more complex. However, this approach can only ensure that the sustainable development targets are on the national agenda to some extent, while it does not guarantee the progress towards their implementation if no budgetary sources are allocated and no reporting requirements are agreed.

What I like about the common ground and differences analyses is that not only it shows what needs to be done to integrate SDGs targets into the NPA, but it also revealed what was missing in the actual NPA. What does it mean for the country? Well, it stagnates! Some identified differences were shocking facts for me too, and here are couple of them which prove that the current trends of the government policies are week in efficiency:

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

The long-term vision strategy „Moldova 2020” only partially covers the poverty issue, by making reference to retirees in the context of promoting an equitable and sustainable pension system. At the same time, “poverty”, as featured in the global agenda does not only refer to the monetary poverty, but also to access to basic services, equal rights and opportunities and social inclusion. This is an important issue especially in the rural areas, where exclusion from services, markets and society, exists alongside poverty.

Also, National Strategy for Regional Development 2016-2020 and National Strategic Program on Demographic Security of the Republic of Moldova 2011-2025 aim at “reducing poverty rates in the regions” and “prevent and eradicate poverty”, with no reference at the type of poverty, levels desired levels of poverty and determinant factors (health status, corruption, residence area, etc.). Moreover, the level of the national absolute poverty line is unrealistically low. The main reasons for the gaps are the following: Lack of several global aspects in the national agenda and superficial approach of some issues or inadequate disaggregation in the national agenda.

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Ultimately these cannot be reached without adequate human capital. This is also one of the most important issues for Moldova, included in the long-term development strategy „Moldova 2020” as an element that can change the development paradigm of the country and enhance the economic growth. While during the transition period relatively high public investment in education ensured high enrollment rates at different levels of education, the quality of education has decreased and the link to the labor market needs has weakened.

In this context, the consultation workshops and the mapping of the planning documents revealed that the national strategic planning framework is not fully suitable for an efficient implementation of the agenda for sustainable development. Moreover, sectorial strategies vary as time-frame, approach, range, degree of details, monitoring indicators of impact and progress (sometimes these are fully missing).

Many of them lack the reporting framework and financial coverage, especially budgetary allocations per separate targets. Most policy documents are not drafted using evidence or human rights-based approach. At the same time, the sustainable development agenda incorporates a set of interconnected targets that need to be integrated in a common framework in order to ensure its achievement.

Most important, from a citizen point of view, don’t you think we have an Infantile Government incapable of producing substantial change for its people? How efficient and committed it will be to achieve its targets - it’s the matter of time. Or, maybe isn’t?

On September 2015, the Republic of Moldova, along with other 192 members of the UN, committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by adopting the Declaration of the Summit on Sustainable Development, held in NYC.

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