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The Republic of Moldova

Since June 2013, the UNECE secretariat to the Convention on the Environmental Impact Assessment in the Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention) assists the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Moldova to prepare for the accession to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Protocol on SEA) to the Convention. The activities aim to develop a national environmental assessment system in line with the Protocol on SEA (European Union SEA Directive) and were implemented in the framework of the EU programme ’Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood’ (EaP GREEN) in three phases:
  • Phase I (June 2013 to July 2014) focused on a review of legislative and institutional frameworks for SEA
  • Phase II (July 2014 – June 2015) aimed at testing the draft Law on SEA (developing during Phase I) through pilot SEA application for Orhei Town Master Plan  
  • Phase III (August 2015 – December 2017) included mainly implementation of the second pilot SEA for the Road Map on Green Economy, preparation of SEA Guidelines and SEA/EIA capacity building roadmap, and further dissemination of the information on SEA.

Phase I included a review of legislative and institutional frameworks for the application of SEA. The results of the review were discussed at the round-table meeting of 3 September 2013. Based on the results of the review, the Ministry requested UNECE to provide further assistance for the development of national legislation on SEA. The draft Law on SEA was prepared from January to July in 2014 and underwent consultations with the national stakeholders on 29 July 2014. Although the adoption of the Law had been originally planned by the end of 2014, due to the parliamentary elections the adoption process was postponed and the draft Law was re-submitted to the new government in August 2015. It was approved by the Government on 25 May, 2016, and submitted to Parliament for examination and adoption. It is expected that the Law will be adopted by the Parliament by the end of 2016. In addition to the targeted priorities concerning SEA, the EaP GREEN based on the request of the Ministry of Environment supported the Republic of Moldova in developing bylaws for application of environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure in accordance with the Espoo Convention and relevant EU legislation. This assistance resulted in adoption of the first and second amendment of the Espoo Convention by the Republic of Moldova.  
Phase II aimed to build national capacities in the practical application of the SEA through implementation of the SEA pilot project, which represents the first SEA ever conducted in the country.  The objectives of the SEA pilot were defined as follows:
  • To assess test and demonstrate opportunities of practical application of the draft law on SEA;
  • To provide recommendations for environmental optimisation and modifications of the selected plan and programme;
  • To develop recommendations for further improvement of national legislative and institutional frameworks on SEA in the country. 

The Orhei Town Master Plan was selected as the strategic document for the pilot SEA, which was initiated in July 2014. The SEA process included a number of training workshops and stakeholders’ consultation meetings, the final event to present and disseminate the results of the pilot project was organised on 17 June 2015 (see the summary of the SEA report presented at the event). The final SEA report can be downloaded here, the detailed information about the SEA pilot can be found on a dedicated webpage here or in a brief summary report here. The results and conclusions from the SEA Pilot were presented at the Side Event on SEA organized within the 8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference (Batumi, Georgia, 8 - 10 June 2016)
Phase III of the Programme started on 1 September 2015 and lasted until December 2017. The main priority was given to implementation of the pilot application of the SEA procedure at the national level (i.e. the 2nd SEA pilot project) as a part of development of the Road Map on Green Economy of the Republic of Moldova. The 2nd pilot project shall:
  • Introduce SEA as a tool for greening the economy
  • Contribute to further building of the institutional capacities and expertise to conduct SEA at the national level;
  • Help to clarify the roles and responsibilities of various national authorities in the SEA system;
  • Provide recommendations for environmental optimization of the Road Map on Green; and
  • Support elaboration the Guidelines for the implementation the draft Law on SEA. 

Detailed description of the 2nd SEA pilot in Moldova can be found here.
Following the conclusions of discussions with the Government of Moldova further support within Phase III also included preparation of the SEA Guidelines. The SEA Guidelines aims to support implementation of the draft Law on SEA by providing practical recommendations on how to apply the SEA procedure set out in the legislation. The working group for developing the SEA Guidelines was established inviting representatives of the Ministry of Environment as well as external experts. The first draft was developed in September 2016, and the document was finalized in April 2018. Also, as part of Phase III, the video and the brochure on the Protocol on SEA and its benefits in Romanian language were prepared. 
The objectives of the final dissemination event (Chișinău, December 2017) were defined as follows:
  • To present the outcomes and results regarding SEA and EIA achieved within the EaP GREEN in Moldova;
  • To summarize the key principles of efficient SEA and EIA practice and its benefits;
  • To discuss priorities and needs regarding further development of SEA and EIA system in the country.

The conclusions from the discussion were integrated in the SEA/EIA capacity development roadmap which was drafted in order to outline next steps and actions towards national SEA and EIA system meeting the requirements of international legal framework - especially the Espoo Convention and its Protocol on SEA, and EU SEA and EIA Directives.
Besides national activities, representatives of Moldova had an opportunity to participate in the regional events. In December 2014 five national experts took part in the Study Tour on Sharing Best Practices of the Czech Republic in the field of applying SEA. National experts learned about the Czech SEA system by discussing challenges and success factors.
In November 2015, five national experts attended the regional conference to share experience in drafting the SEA legislation and the SEA train-the-trainers workshop. The participants of the training are supposed to further support development of SEA system in the country – they should be involved in SEA trainings for the national stakeholders and as well as to carry out SEAs with the minimum involvement from the international experts.
Representatives of the Republic of Moldova also participated at the second sub-regional workshop 'Sharing experience with introducing SEA and EIA in selected countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus', organized in Ukraine, 31 October - 2 November 2017.
The participants of the sub-regional events are supposed to take further lead in SEA development in the country - in particular to act as the lecturers in the training workshops and awareness raising events as well as to carry out SEAs with the use of the national expertise and knowledge to a maximum possible extent.
Main results and achievements
The adoption of the EIA Law and SEA Law in 2014 and 2015 respectively are the most apparent landmarks of the progress towards the functional system for SEA and EIA application meeting the standards of Espoo Convention and EU regulations.
The two successfully completed pilot SEAs demonstrated the added value of the SEA process for the planning. Namely the SEA capability of facilitating the dialogue between relevant authorities and other stakeholders, identify priority environmental problems and potential solutions or possibilities for improvement. Data gaps identified during the analytical SEA-related works helped to formulate the needs to change/upgrade the data collection schemes and national statistical reporting. The SEA also delivered significant inputs in the national level strategic planning, ensuring the integration of the national objectives from Batumi - BIG-E in the Green Economy Program of the Republic of Moldova.
In response to the lessons learned from the activities conducted under the EaP GREEN and the observed challenges, the Roadmap on Capacity Building on SEA and EIA in the Republic of Moldova was prepared March 2018 to outline further steps in developing SEA and EIA systems in the country.
Should you have any questions or suggestions please contact Ms. Elena Santer, Espoo Convention Secretariat at [email protected] or Ms. Iordanca-Rodica Iordanov, the National Coordinator of the EaP GREEN Activities in Moldova ([email protected]).
The EaP GREEN programme aims to help the Government of Moldova to establish an integrated policy framework for the transition to a green economy through reforming policy instruments, adopting new analytical tools, improving access to finance, supporting capacity development, and rolling out pilot projects in the public and private sectors.