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Project management as a tool of regional and local development. Wielkopolska experience for the North Development Region of Moldova

Regional development is a strategic priority for the Republic of Moldova. However, the concept itself is relatively new for this country. The Ministry of Regional Development and Construction (MRDC) and the Regional Development Agencies (including the NRDA) were established in 2009. Currently, particularly at the regional and local levels, there is a shortage of skilled specialists competent in executing project tasks. Central administration staff are active, motivated and have certain theoretical and practical skills, but the NRDA staff and local administration officials lack the formal educational background needed for planning regional development and managing projects. The deficit of officials capable of taking on the duties of a project manager is evident particularly at the local level. These circumstances are an important factor that slows down regional development.

In Moldova there are no public institutions capable of assisting in the development of the skills of NRDA personnel and local administration that could be applied to planning regional development and managing projects.

The skills of local administration staff are developed mainly through training projects carried out under development aid. The NRDA has been the beneficiary of several such projects, funded by the governments of Germany (GIZ), France, the Czech Republic and Latvia. Aid projects that support capacity building in regional development policy are also funded by the government of Poland, e.g. through the Local Authorities Information Centre in Ialoveni (Polish Aid and USAID), expert missions, and training organised by Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID), financed by the Polish Aid programme.

The project will be a continuation and expansion of the contacts of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship with the NRDA, initiated in the course of the project of Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, entitled “Strengthening of public administration capacity in Moldova in the scope of preparation for implementation of projects supporting increased competitiveness and development potentials of regions in Moldova” (Polish Aid 2014). NRDA staff were the final beneficiaries, and the Marshal’s Office of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship was a partner of the MID and co-organiser of one of the undertakings.

The MRDC and NRDA staff, having regard for the experience of Wielkopolska in the successful absorption of EU funds, with high appreciation for the standard of training and study visits under the MID project, requested that a training project for NRDA staff be prepared. The training programme, by transferring the best practices of Wielkopolska concerning regional development policy and managing projects, will enable the NRDA to train its own staff to address the task of absorption of funds from external sources, and particularly EU pre-accession funds. The trained NRDA staff will serve as trainers who pass on knowledge to the local administration level. This task will be facilitated with the creation of information material which will be useful for disseminating know-how of Wielkopolska also after the project has been completed, as well as outside the NRDA.

Project management as a tool of regional and local development. Wielkopolska experience for the North Development Region of Moldova

The main project aim is to transfer knowledge and experience of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship concerning the utilisation of EU funds to Moldovan officials of the North Regional Development Agency (NRDA) and the local administration of the North Development Region. The acquired skills will make it easier to better utilise development funds. Four project measures have been planned:

  1. A preparatory and training visit to the North Development Region (April 2015)
  2. Internship in the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship (May 2015)
  3. Preparation of a publication entitled “Funds for regional and local development. Preparation and implementation of projects” (May-August 2015)
  4. A visit of experts from the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship to the North Development Region. Training and assessment of project plans of representatives of micro-regions of the North Development Region (September 2015)

Project management as a tool of regional and local development. Wielkopolska experience for the North Development Region of Moldova

The project’s implementation has led to the following results:

  1. Organisation of a preparatory and training visit to the North Development Region (5 Polish/35 Moldovan participants in the preparatory and training visit);
  2. Organisation of internships in the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship (10 Moldovan participants in the internship);
  3. The issue of a publication entitled “Funds for regional and local development. Preparation and implementation of projects” (100 copies of the publication);
  4. An organised visit of experts from the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship to the North Development Region. Training and assessment of project plans of representatives of micro-regions (4 Polish/35 Moldovan participants in the visit of experts).

A lasting project result is raising the value of human capital in regional and local administration of the North Development Region. A group of NRDA officials acquired in-depth knowledge on regional policy and managing projects. This knowledge was further utilised by the officials when they became trainers upon their return to Moldova. The group of local administration staff of the North Development Region acquired basic knowledge within the above field, which they can supplement through NRDA staff. The publication prepared under the project is useful in this.

The government in Chișinău apportions specific budgetary funds for regional development. Thus, the knowledge transferred under the project will not be used solely on hypothetical projects funded with external sources, but on initiatives carried out with Moldovan funds.