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Filed under: Development Gender equality Migration and remittances Poverty

What do people in Chişinău say they need for a better life?

Of course we need to closely follow the progress of each Millennium Development Goal (MDG), but have you ever thought: What is the development story behind the MDGs in various national contexts?

The importance of such a development story goes beyond even ‘passing the last mile’ of MDG achievement well into the post-2015 development debate.

So, with this post, and some analysis, I will attempt to shed light on the development challenges that transcend the topics of each Millennium Development Goal.

As in many countries, Moldova’s progress of MDG achievement is a mixed bag of resounding successes as well as those areas that we cannot call successes.

But beyond the sector-like evolution under each MDG, the mixed character of progress reveals challenges that most probably will not be addressed by 2015.

So the current analysis gives rise to the issues and questions to be addressed post-2015:

  1. Despite recent progress, the development gaps between urban and rural Moldova have barely budged. From poverty to access to education, from access to water to maternal health, the rural population has consistently been underwhelmed. And people living in rural areas constitute over half of the country’s population. Taking into account an ageing population and urbanization, how do we manage transition of the countryside to a more equitable and sustainable development?
  2. The gender gap stubbornly persists. The gap isn’t obvious in the laws, or even in childhood. It seems that girls enjoy the same benefits as boys. However, once grown-up, women have a much tougher time getting the same opportunities as men. From entrepreneurship and pay to political and corporate hierarchy, women find it increasingly difficult to get up the ladder. Again, lives of more than half of the country’s population are at stake. What can we do to increase women’s opportunities in all areas of life?
  3. People respond to the lack of economic or political opportunities by leaving. With no less than a quarter of the Moldovan labour force already abroad (and counting!), the benefits and risks are tremendous. On the one hand, remittances sent by workers have been crucial for nailing down poverty, propping up education and health expenditure by many Moldovans, ensuring increased inflows into the public budget and relieving the local labour market from pressures. On the other hand, labour migration is becoming permanent, the social fabric has come under increasing stress and, somewhat ironically, future economic prospects may be severely undermined by lack of labour. If the demographic tipping point is reached, will development for all turn out to be just a pipedream?

Last but not least, new technologies have transformed the development reality in many instances. Indeed, whether traditional infrastructure often languished, the “2.0 infrastructure” has flourished and brought positive spill-over to many sectors from economic development and public administration to better access to education and health.

However, the magic worked by new technologies should not mask the failures in provision of certain basic services. Indeed, no internet connection or mobile application can substitute access to clean water or proper sanitation.

Ultimately, the complex realities transpiring from deep beneath the MDG targets also underline the need for more complex approaches to setting the post-2015 goals and targets.

What is your take on this?

Eastern Europe and Central Asia: What kind of world do you want?

>> Third National Report on Millennium Development Goals, Moldova

  • George Hodge

    Excellent blog Alex!

  • Alex Oprunenco

    thanks, George!