SDC and Moldovan Ministry of Environment Sign Memorandum of Understanding
For the implementation of the ApaSan project, the Swiss Government’s contribution to Moldova, provided through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, SDC, encompasses both the provision of international expertise and a financial support of CHF 4 million, or 47,877 million converted into local currency. The Austrian Development Agency is co-funding the project with an amount of Euro 1.2 million (MDL 21,060 million) . The ApaSan project implementation in Moldova is managed by the SKAT foundation, an offshoot of the Swiss Resource Center and Consultancies for Development.
Opening the meeting, the Minister of Environment, Georghe Salaru, expressed thanks for the Swiss contribution in meeting the environmental challenges of Moldova. “The first stage of cooperation, which started in 2009, has already brought concrete results in villages. We gladly join up the project’s noble goal to secure access to drinking water in a sustainable way, and to create environmental sanitation facilities of European standards for rural residents”, the Minister Salaru said. “Moldova is a warm country, yet with numerous problems linked to water and sanitation,” he added. According to the latest official statistics, out of the 2 million people living in rural areas of Moldova, 80% have no access to safe drinking water and to adequate sanitation.
Referring to the entered engagements, the Minister of Environment pledged to contribute with timely release of the legal and regulatory acts, to promote national dialogue between the central authorities and the civil society, and, as important, to facilitate cooperation between the development partners through the practical functioning of the Coordination Council.
In response to the Minister’s statement, Georgette Bruchez, SCO Country Director, pointed out that the Water and Health domains are the two main pillars of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy with Moldova for 2010-2013. “We really appreciate all the encouraging words extended to us. We’ve seen great motivation from those who work here, in the Ministry of Environment,” Mrs. Bruchez noted.
As representative of the SDC Headquarters in Bern, Veronique Hulmann, Head of the CIS Division, shared her thoughts on her first visit to Moldova. “I had the opportunity to see the project results in villages and I saw the needs and the difficult lives of people. I’m happy that many of them have got better conditions and standards of quality. For the time being, the project covers a limited zone and we hope that, in cooperation with the Government of Moldova, it will be possible to expand activities to include a greater number of localities. I am positive that the potential and the energy of the Moldovan people will push the country forward. You may regard me as an Ambassador of your country’s needs in Switzerland,” Mrs. Hulmann said.
From 2001 till 2009, the SDC Water and Sanitation Programme in Moldova focused its activities in the rural area of four raions located in the central part of the country (Hincesti, Straseni, Nisporeni and Ialoveni) building 19 water supply systems for 25 thousand citizens, 23 septic tank toilets and eight EcoSan sanitation facilities, and four constructed wetlands (ecological waste water treatment plants) for social institutions.