Bringing citizens and government together in Moldova
As Moldova continues its path toward alignment with the European Union (EU), the country is taking a number of steps to improve its democracy and increase citizen participation. At an event on April 7, 2015, co-convened by FHI 360, Moldovan government leaders met with representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) and diplomats from the United States and Europe to agree upon and announce strategies for effectively engaging citizens in social change.
U.S. Ambassador to Moldova James D. Pettit; U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Moldova Country Director Kent Larson; Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova Pirkka Tapiola; ambassadors from Sweden, United Kingdom, Romania and Poland; the United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Dafina Gercheva; Speaker Andrian Candu and Vice Speaker Liliana Palihovici of of the Moldovan Parliament; Natalia Gherman, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration; representatives of the donor community; and, CSOs from across Moldova came together to identify;specific;actions that support the work of citizen groups. The event was co-organized by Moldova’s Parliament and by the National NGO Council of Moldova, a coalition of organizations working to foster a favorable regulatory environment for sustainable development of the civil society sector in Moldova. The organization Tineri si Liberi is Secretariat of the NGO Council, and receives funding from FHI 360’s USAID-supported Moldova Partnership for Sustainable Civil Society (MPSCS) project.
The event culminated in a number of important policy announcements. The Government of Moldova promised to: (1) approve a new regulation allowing citizens to give 2 percent of their income tax to nonprofit organizations, (2) shorten the period to register an organization from the current 30 days to as little as three days, which would be shortest period for CSO registration in the region, and (3) develop a social entrepreneurship law that would allow CSOs to create social enterprises that generate income to fund needed services. Moldova’s Parliament also announced its intention to create a Consultative Council for Civil Society. At the event, CSO leaders urged the government to improve civil society participation in public decison making and to do more to help increase the financial viability of CSOs.
Reflecting on shared successes so far, participants noted that the Government of Moldova has improved communication with CSOs, rapidly created focal points for coordination at each ministry, made it easier for people to volunteer, increased state funding for CSOs and launched a social contracting mechanism enabling authorities to contract CSOs to provide social services, thus increasing the long-term financial sustainability of Moldovan organizations.
MPSCS is a five-year (2013–2018) project funded by USAID and implemented by FHI 360. The project works to improve the ability of Moldovan CSOs to represent citizens’ interests and influence policy for positive social change.