On September 16, 2014, the local councils of Congaz, Chioselia Rusa and Cotovscoe villages decided in a joint meeting on the founding of the first Gagauz intermunicipal cooperation association that will enable joint management of utilities in the three communities, and will help improve the living conditions of their inhabitants. To this end, the utilities company in Congaz village will be reorganized and modernized.

Modernization of utilities in the region and their expansion to communities that did not have such services before is possible due to a grant provided by the Joint Integrated Local Development Programme, coordinated by the State Chancellery and implemented by UNDP Moldova and UN Women, with the financial support of Denmark. The utility company in Congaz will be equipped with three modern multifunctional tractors from the sources of this grant and the operational management will be restructured according to modern management principles.

According to the deputy mayor of Congaz village, Mihail Esir, establishment of the inter-municipal association in the region is only the first step. “Implementation of modernization projects in the village depends on our motivation and our insistence only. We know that the welfare of all of us depends on it. We will continue to cooperate with the Government of the Republic of Moldova and JILDP to further raise the performance of LPA in Gagauzia“, said Mihail Esir, who is also the informal leader of the intermunicipal cooperation project in Gagauzia.

Gheorghii Palic, the mayor of Cotovscoie village, thinks that intermunicipal cooperation is a profitable solution to provide the residents of villages with public services.  „Our village has 1000 inhabitants – the village is too small to have its own sanitation service. Cooperation with Congaz is a true salvation for use. By cooperating with Congaz and Cotovscoe, we can reduce the tariffs applied for waste disposal to 24 lei per household – which would be 50 lei if we implemented the service on our own“.

Another project partner, Gheorghii Gospodinov, mayor of Chioselia, a village of 700 inhabitants, is also expressing his enthusiasm: “Snow removal was a big problem for us. We were served by the company from Comrat, which came to us not earlier that one week after they solved their problems. Now, in cooperation with Congaz and Cotovscoe we have our own undertaking with technical and logistical capacity to intervene immediately. Moreover, we have been able to reduce by 30% the cost of snow removal. Working with our neighbors is a great achievement for Chioselia. “

Attending the event, Genadie Ivascenco, coordinator of JILDP’s intermunicipal cooperation component said: “This project implemented by JILDP is in line with our joint efforts for implementation of the National Decentralization Strategy, approved by Parliament in April 2012. The project in Congaz is one of 10 pilot projects that we implement now in all regions of Moldova. By the beginning of 2015, 10 intermunicipal associations will be based and will be able to operate and develop quality municipal services: sanitation, road maintenance and snow removal, and street lighting, beneficiaries of which will be  over 120,000 Moldovans”.

About 25% of Moldovan municipalities have a population of less than 1500 inhabitants, and over 80% of them have less than 5000 inhabitants. The European experience shows that the creation of local public services in municipalities of less than 5000 inhabitants is difficult and uneconomical. A solution to provide residents of small villages with public services is joining the efforts of several municipalities and delivering such services together.