December 10, 2022

The Millennium Development Goals: Taking Stock in Moldova

Moldova released its Millennium Development Goals report on 24 September.  With the deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)  less than two years away, many countries are taking stock of where they stand in relation to their ultimate goals for 2015. Moldova’s MDG report indicates that there are a few key development obstacles that still must be overcome in order to succeed…

The UNDP explains:

“Moldova’s progress on the MDGs is best likened to a traffic light where green indicates improvement and red signifies stagnation or deterioration. On the one hand, progress has been made in reducing extreme poverty andchild mortality. On the other hand, the incidence of HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis remains stubbornly high. Progress in maternal health has been erratic, and the political representation of women is low.”

The UNDP continues:

“However, even in those areas where the aggregate achievement is commendable, a deeper examination suggests a more worrying picture. When the data are disaggregated, they reveal glaring gaps and challenges in key areas that threaten to undermine further progress. Our MDG progress report has identified four such challenges.

The first of the 4 key challenges identified is the disparities between rural and urban Moldova. According to UNDP analysis:

“Since 2006, the national poverty rate has fallen by almost half (from 30.2 percent to 16.6 percent). The extreme poverty rate fell drastically from 4.5 percent to 0.6 percent. However, significant gaps between urban and rural areas persist. Slightly over79 percent of all poor people live in rural areas. Rural inhabitants face a risk of poverty that is three times higher than for urban residents. The gap between average incomes in cities versus villages grew from 25 percent in 2006-2007 to 33 percent in 2011-2012.”

Statistical disparities in access to safe water, health services and education are also worrisome. High levels of migration are also an obstacle to sustainable development in Moldova, the UNDP finds, as a quarter of the labour force currently lives abroad:

“On the one hand, remittances sent by Moldovans working abroad have helped lift thousands of people out of poverty….these flows have had many benefits, especially in rural areas. They helped support private expenditures for education and health. They eased pressure on the labour market, lowering unemployment rates.  Furthermore, they provided liquidity for the banking system.”

But there are negative by-products:

“On the other hand, remittances have come at a cost. For example, migrants are among the most vulnerable to tuberculosis (with an incidence rate of 17 percent). Many children are left behind by their migrant parents – with negative consequences for their education and health. In addition, women migrants of reproductive age are among those most vulnerable to maternal mortality, which rose from 16.0 per 100,000 live births in 2006 to 30.4 in 2012.”

Gender inequality is also still a big concern in Moldova. However, the areas where inequality arise may not be visible on the surface–as, for example, girls have even greater access to general compulsory education than boys.  It is at the age of adulthood that issues of inequality appear to arise:

“…when girls grow up the tables are turned. Although the wage gap for women is relatively low (women earn 87.8 percent that of men), women have fewer economic opportunities, since they are twice as involved in household chores and family care. Representation of women in professional occupations is around 30 percent less than that of men.”

In addition, representation of women in high level positions, and political sectors is also low:

“…less than one-third of high-ranking public officials are women. Furthermore, men are over-represented in politics. Women make up one-fifth of parliamentarians, and only one-quarter of government ministers are women. The situation at the local level is not much better: only 18.7 percent of mayors and only 9.3 percent of rayon-level presidents are women.

The final obstacle that the UNDP identified is the gap in the use of modern technology.  From one angle, Moldova’s technological development has been highly successful in recent years:

“Mobile telephone coverage has reached 114.6 percent. According to some, internet penetration is already at57 percent nationally. New technologies are among the key reasons for falling infant mortality rates from 11.8 per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 9.8 in 2012. In the near future, new technologies might also play a key role in improving access to, and the quality of, education. Modern technologies can advance open governance and help to open data.”

From another side of the spectrum, such technological advances only present a stark contrast to large portions of the population who are struggling to have even the basics:

“However, significant gaps will remain in certain areas no matter how much information technologies spread. Only 62 percent of the population has access to improved water, and 56.6 percent of people have improved sanitation. (The situation in rural areas is even more dire.) Digital technologies, therefore, are less useful when people are struggling to satisfy their basic needs.”




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