This month, Moldova and the European Union have concluded talks on establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). This is a positive step in improving relations under the EU-Moldova Association Agreement, and is expected to boost trade of the two parties.
Moldova sends over half its exports to EU member states. Yet it is essential to strengthen Moldova’s economy by encouraging increased exports and a more diversification of trade. This can be achieved through improving Moldovan companies’ access to the EU market. Up until now, many tariff and non-tariff barriers have inhibited their access. Removal of non-tariff barriers within the EU was a central premise of establishing the Single Market (completed in 1992).
The DCFTA, which is far more than a simple free trade agreement, paves the way for greater trade relations. It will provide a platform for both parties to carry out reciprocal efforts to tackle non-tariff barriers. Barriers to trade and investment throughout various economy sectors will be eliminated, and an agreement on a trade and trade-related legislation framework will help to raise commercial standards to be compatible with those of the EU.
The implications for Moldova include institutional reforms and more transparency in a range of regulations, reinvigorating the economy and promoting sustainable growth and modernisation.
‘EU and Moldova conclude Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area’, 13th June 2013.
‘DCFTA EU - Moldova: Challenges and Economic Implications’, EaP Community, July 2011.
Great news for Moldovans today as the country’s parliament passes a vote of confidence in it’s new governing coalition, led by Prime Minister Iurie Leancă, who has led an interim government since April 25th.
At this year’s World Water Day ceremony in The Hague, projects from Japan and Moldova were acclaimed for their great successes in long-term sustainable management of water resources. The ‘Water For Life’ Best Practices Award is delivered annually as part of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-15 programme, with this year’s focus on ‘Water Cooperation’. Category 2, for “best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices”, has been awarded to Ormax NGO from Drochia, Moldova, for their project ‘Safe Water and Sanitation for all in The Republic of Moldova’.
The initiative has sought to improve access to safe water and sanitation in rural areas through mobilising citizens and the authorities.
At the core of this project are two principles: respecting for the essential human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation; and the sustainable management of local resources. Implementation entails maintaining clean water sources to improve human health, preserving the environmental integrity of aquatic ecosystems, and also protecting biological diversity. Local residents were encouraged to participate in all stages of the project, through educational workshops and training, testing and mapping the wells, identifying the sources of pollution, cleaning activities, and demonstrating solutions for effective water protection in rural areas.
More than 60% of Moldova’s population of 3,559,000 million lives in rural areas, “the most vulnerable segment of the society in terms of welfare and security” (IMF, 2009). While between 2000 and 2005 the country’s GNP rose more than 30% and the poverty rate was more than halved, in 2009, 885,000 people continued to live below the poverty line, 706,000 of which resided in rural areas. Today, over one third of the rural population remains in poverty and 73% of rural inhabitants have no access to safe drinking water. Even those with a domestic supply are not guaranteed safe water. It has been calculated that polluted drinking water (in both rural and urban regions) causes between 950 and 1,850 premature deaths annually and 2-4 million ‘sick days’ taken off work each year. The cost to the national economy was estimated to be in the range of 5% - 10% of GDP.
The Ormax NGO initiative was carried out in 10 selected rural villages across northern Moldova, targeting some 25,000 citizens. Selected villages were those which possessed seriously inadequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation, dependant on community and private wells, and on rainwater stored in cement or plastic tanks.
Access to safe water and sanitation is a human right, deriving from the right to an adequate standard of living as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 25) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Art. 11). In the ICESCR, Article 11 provides for a number of rights that emanate from, and are indispensable to, the realisation of the right to an adequate standard of living “including adequate food, clothing and housing”. The use of “including” is significant, indicating that this list of rights is not exhaustive. The right to water clearly falls within the category of guarantees essential for an adequate standard of living, particularly since it is one of the most fundamental conditions for survival.
In 2010, the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council recognised the human right to water and sanitation. GA resolution 64/292, adopted in July 2010, “recognized the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights”. Human Rights Council resolution 15/9, of September 2010, affirmed this recognition and clarified that the right is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living.