At a meeting of the South RDA specialists with the national and local experts of the International Cooperation Agency held this week, at Cimislia, the implementation partners reviewed and discussed the Operational Plan of the MLPS 2016-2018.

The working meeting proved to be appropriate to discuss the issues related to milestones and activities proposed in the Operational Plan of the MLPS.

At the opening of the meeting, Angela Dumitrasco, the Senior National Consultant in the field of regional development policies at GIZ, said that the draft Operational Plan of the MLPS project was previously submitted to the Regional Development Agencies, during the visits of the Director of GIZ to Moldova, Philip Johannsen.

However, the GIZ representative come up with some clarifications on the general structure of the MLPS project at the phase 2, which, unlike previous years, will be composed of four areas of intervention. Thus, the area of intervention I will be focused on supporting the MRDC in applying some conditions necessary for implementation of the Regional Development Strategy or, generally, the regional development policies and will be led by Alexandru Muravschi. The area of intervention II will be related to capacity building of the Regional Development Councils, which is to be directed by Petru Veverita.

The area of intervention III will be related to the RDAs capacity building, especially in implementing pilot projects and projects funded from European funds, being coordinated by Dietrich Hahn.

The area of intervention IV will be interdisciplinary and closely linked to the other 3 areas of intervention and having a special mandate to institutionalize all training modules that GIZ will offer to beneficiaries and operators of services under the implemented projects.

As for funding, Angela Dumitrasco said that the MLPS project will continue to benefit from the support of the main donor, i.e. the support of the German Government, at the moment 3.7 mln euros are confirmed, and 4.0 mln euros are expected to come for the period 2016-2018.

There is also a co-funding provided by Switzerland, making up around 3.0 mln. euros and by the Romanian Government to complete the pilot project in Cahul.

There are several projects proposed for funding from the European Union Fund, developed in the previous phase of the MLPS project, and there is some EU funding (3.5 mln euros) for completion of projects initiated in the previous phase of the project, particularly focused on energy efficiency and water supply and sewerage.

According to the expert, funding of 39.8 mln euros from the European Union Fund is being negotiated to implement the projects in the list of project proposals, developed with the support of GIZ in the first phase of the MLPS project. It is estimated that around 18 projects of energy efficiency and water supply and sewerage will be financially covered.

Negotiations are also held with the Government of Sweden for 3.7 mln euros that will not be used for investment measures, but for capacity building, technical assistance, which will be distributed among the areas of intervention, based on their needs.

However, given the large sums of funding that are expected and the experience of the first phase of the MLPS project, Angela Dumitrasco reiterated that, if funding is awarded in 2017, and implementation of the project portfolio proposed requires at least 3 years, eventual extension of the deadline for implementation of the MLPS project until after the 2018 is not excluded.

In turn, Valentina Plesca, the Senior National Consultant in the field of local public services at GIZ, noted that many aspects of implementation of the Operational Plan of the MLPS project 2.0 provide for new activities, therefore for the month of September 2016 joint training for all actors involved in the process, including for the South RDA specialists, GIZ regional consultants, are expected. Great importance within training will be given to the new public procurement procedures.

Referring specifically to the objective of the Area of Intervention III, Valentina Plesca explained that it relates directly to the RDAs capacity building to implement Regional Development Strategies. According to the GIZ expert, the first indicator is to provide to the RDAs support in developing the Regional Development Strategies for the period 2016-2020, an indicator virtually achieved.

The second indicator will relate to providing support in implementation of investment projects identified previously within the 12 PRSs. This indicator, as Valentina Plesca said, provides for that 18 of 39 projects will be supported in implementation.

The 39 projects are divided into 15 projects of Water Supply and Sewerage (WSS), 11 projects of Energy Efficiency (EE), 3 projects of Solid Waste Management (SWM) and 10 projects of Local and Regional Roads (LRR). The LRR projects were passed to the World Bank.

At the first phase, only 26 EE and SWM projects, which will be admitted for implementation, will be examined. Work on these projects was already initiated, 15 SWM projects were forwarded to the Department of Construction in Germany to rapidly assess them. The pilot projects in Leova and Cahul Rayons, which were initiated at the first phase of the MLPS project already obtained the opinions of the Department of Construction in Germany and are being implemented under its aegidis.

As for the EE projects, at the request of the EU, GIZ will fund development of energy audits. A part of documentation developed at the first phase of the MLPS project, will serve as base for development of these audits. The terms of reference for their development were already carried out, these audits will be carried out in a centralized manner, through GIZ.

In conclusion, Valentina Plesca pointed that only the best projects that will meet the quality criteria agreed between the MRDC, GIZ and the EU will be selected for funding. It is estimated that 10 SWM projects and 8 EE projects will receive funding. An important criterion is availability of funds.

As to the RDAs capacity building to ensure an efficient activity, Maria Culesov, Director of the South RDA invoked the need to increase the number of specialists and organize some training for employees of the RDA in the field of public procurement, accounting, communication, project management and regional planning.

After the speech of the GIZ consultants on the Operational Plan of the MLPS project and its detailing, the parties agreed that the South RDA will submit to GIZ in the nearest time a list of proposals to adjust the document.

At the next phase a joint meeting is expected to be held by MRDC-RDA- RDA -GIZ on consultation and approval of the Operational Plan of the MLPS project.