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The first 8 Local Action Groups from the Republic of Moldova registered as legal entities

The programme “EU4Moldova: Local Communities” is an initiative implemented by the Team Europe, with financial support from the European Union, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Austrian Development Agency and Polish aid. The overall objective of the programme is to improve the quality of life and to address the economic and social consequences of COVID-19 in the selected local communities of the Republic of Moldova, thus contributing to their long-term resilience. The implementation period will last from September 2021 to December 2025.

The programme is constituted of 4 components, which aim:

  1. To improve the quality of local public service delivery within the selected local communities;
  2. To enhance the access of men and women to social, economic and technical infrastructure and associated services;
  3. To enhance business and job opportunities for men and women;
  4. To enhance community-led local development.

Since the launch of the programme, several activities (under component 4) were focused on supporting the institutionalisation process of the LEADER approach in the Republic of Moldova. Thus, following the collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry of the Republic of Moldova (MAFI), a Local Action Groups (LAGs) Guide was elaborated and approved on 21 October 2021, aiming to provide recommendations on the process of establishing and registering LAGs and ensuring the methodological basis for the development of the Local Development Strategies (LDSs).

The approval of the Guide allowed LAGs to update their LDSs and to prepare for registration as legal entities. Thus, in the months of February – March 2022, the first 8 LAGs in the Republic of Moldova were registered by the Public Services Agency in the State Register of Legal Entities: “Movila Măgura”, “Valea Cuboltei”, “Calea Dropiei”, “Steaua Bugeac”, “Serpentina Nistrului”, “Stîncile Prutului”, “Hora Ciulucului”, “Vasile Stroiescu”.

The creation of the above- mentioned institutional framework prepared the ground for the launch of the National LEADER Programme in 2022 and would allow LAGs to absorb up to 5% of the National Fund for Agricultural and Rural Development (NFARD), managed by the Agency for Intervention and Payments in Agriculture (AIPA).

LEADER represents a European innovative approach to rural development, which is implemented in the Republic of Moldova since 2016 and is constantly adapting to the local context. Currently, in Moldova, there are 47 LAGs covering 438 administrative-territorial units that include 732 localities (50% of Moldova’s localities) which comprise more than 1 million inhabitants.

The creation of the legal framework for LAGs was a complex process, which involved the promotion and adoption of a series of amendments to the legislation in force, as well as the adoption of the Law no 50 of 9 April 2021 regarding Local Action Groups. Due to the joint efforts of the institutions and organisations involved, the Republic of Moldova has become the first and currently the only non-EU country to implement the LEADER Programme as an instrument of public rural development policies.