Regional development

What is Regional Development…

Regional Development is an integral part of the European Union’s Cohesion Policy, which provides Member States and regions with coordinated tools to address complex challenges in a 7-year financial cycle specific to the European Commission, which, under other conditions, would fully materialise in 15-20 years. Regional policy is an expression of solidarity, as it focuses on supporting less developed regions. This policy also addresses all regions and cities, encouraging job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, all of which lead to improving quality of life. Regional policy is a set of measures, actions and tools that support the development of regions. The European Council defined the region as a “territory which forms, from a geographical point of view, a net unit, or a similar set of territories in which there is continuity, where the population possesses certain common elements and wishes to retain its specificity thus produced and develop it in order to stimulate cultural, social and economic progress” [Anca Ghinea,“The Republic of Moldova closer to the European Union through regional development. The example of Romania”].

In the initial approach, the aim of regional development policy was to reduce disparities and strengthen economic and social cohesion between European countries. Since 2014, the paradigm of this approach has changed, in that the regions seek to specialise in the sectors offering the greatest potential for growth and competitiveness, in which the given region already has a competitive advantage or can develop one.

In the Republic of Moldova, this approach is mentioned also in the Moldova-EU Association Agreement, which stipulates that regional development is a priority for the country. By approving the Law no. 438-XVI from 28 December 2006 on regional development in the Republic of Moldova, the Government began the implementation of regional development policy in the 6 development regions defined by Law – North, South, Centre, Chisinau, Gagauzia and Transnistria. Currently only 4 of the 6 regions are functional.

The National Strategy for Regional Development (NSRD) is the main regional development planning document reflecting the priorities, mechanisms and priority measures. During 2009-2020, there were several implementation cycles for this strategy at both national and regional level. With the change of the Regional Development Paradigm in the Republic of Moldova, the elaboration of a new NSRD for 2021-2027 has begun. Central and local public authorities, as well as representatives of civil society and international organisations participate in various stages of Strategy development.

What institutions implement the Regional Development policies…

Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment (MARDE) is the central specialised authority of the public administration to elaborate and promote the state policy in the field of regional development. MARDE’s mission is to analyse the situation and problems in the concerned field, develop effective public policies and monitor the quality of these policies and normative acts, as well as propose justified interventions that will provide effective solutions in the field of regional development.

National Coordination Council for Regional Development (NCCRD) is set up to approve, promote and coordinate regional development objectives at national level. NCCRD structure and regulation are elaborated by the Ministry of Regional Development and Constructions and approved by the Government. NCCRD includes: representatives of line ministries, Regional Development Councils, private sector and civil society.

Regional Development Council (RDC) is a functional deliberative structure at the level of each development region, set up to coordinate and promote regional development objectives at regional and local level. The regional council consists of rayon presidents, mayors, private sector and civil society representatives. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Regional Council are elected from among its members – representatives of local public administration authorities. The Regional Council is responsible for the overall development of the region and for the approval of the Regional Development Strategy and Action Plan. The Regional Council identifies, according to nationally defined criteria, disadvantaged areas in its development region, approves and promotes regional development projects.

Regional Development Agency (RDA) is created in each development region. The Agency is a legal entity and operates according to a regulation approved by the Agency based on a framework regulation, developed and approved by the Government. The Agency assesses the social-economic development in its development region and elaborates, coordinates, monitors and evaluates the implementation of regional development strategies, plans, programmes and projects. Currently, there are 4 established Regional Development Agencies: North RDA, Centre RDA, South RDA, UTA Gagauzia RDA.

What are the funding mechanisms…

The National Fund for Regional Development (NFRD) is the main instrument for regional development projects and programmes funding. The fund comprises yearly allocated sums from the State Budget, is managed by the authority for regional development policy implementation which allocates its sources with prior NCCRD approval.

The Fund can attract any other financial sources from the public and private sectors at local, regional, national and international levels, including those provided via European Union assistance programmes and those of other development partners.

What is MLPS project support…

  • At national level, the Project supports the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment (MARDE) in developing a coherent regional development strategy in line with legal framework and EU standards.
  • At regional level, the Project provides support to Regional Development Councils and sector working groups to increase their performance with regard to integrated regional planning and programming.
  • Also, the Project improves the capacities of all four Regional Development Agencies (North, Centre, South and UTA Gagauzia) in planning and implementing regional development strategies, setting up integrated planning and carrying out local infrastructure project.