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.
The ruling coalition of Moldova, the Alliance for European Integration, has lost a vote of no confidence, spelling the end of its second term in government.
The Alliance, formed in 2009 by the country’s then main opposition parties, including the Liberal Party (PL), the Liberal Democratic party (PLDM), and the Democratic Party (PDM), succeeded in countering the influence of the Communist Party (PCRM) (which had unfairly benefited from a higher electoral threshold and minimum participation rate).
The July 2009 parliamentary election saw the Alliance secure 53 out of the 101 seats. This first term (2009-10) in government ended after failure to nominate a president. Parliamentary elections held in November 2010 again saw the Alliance’s three main parties successfully promote an agenda for European integration, holding their parliamentary majority with 59 seats (compared with the PCRM’s 42). During this second term of the coalition government, a president was finally chosen in March 2012 with the election of Nicolae Timofti.
Recent months have seen tensions within the coalition emerge publicly. In February, Prime Minister and PLDM leader, Vlad Filat, expressed an end to supporting his coalition partners. In today’s censure motion, initiated by PCRM members, 15 PDM deputies voted against the government. PDM leader, Marian Lupu, who served as Acting President of Moldova from 2010 until 2012, was formerly a prominent member of the Communist Party but left them in June 2009 to lend his support to the pro-European and reformist parties by assuming leadership of the Democratic party. The vote of no confidence was supported by 54 out of 101 deputies.
Now the prospect of a PCRM return to power suggests to most outside observers that Moldova may abandon its hope for better ties with Europe, returning instead to reinforce ties with Russia.
Today, the Moldovan Interior Ministry and Information & Security Services declassified some 15,000 documents from the country’s past as a Soviet Socialist Republic.
This follows from the first such release of archived material, classified under the old Moldavian Communist Party, in 2010, when 10,000 cases of victims from the period 1921-1950 were made public.
The latest declassified cases are said to contain details of mass killings, deportations, famine and collectivisation over the period 1940-1955, covering the terms of six of the ten Communist Party First Secretaries of the Moldovian SSR.
Source (Romanian): publika.md 15.01.2013