USAID Provides Assistance to Increase the Capacity of Local Governments
On June 26, 2012 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Moldova held an official event to launch its latest project – the Local Government Support Project (LGSP). U.S. Ambassador William H. Moser, who attended the event, noted that the U.S. Government was proud to continue its contribution to good governance in Moldova through the LGSP.
As a means to improving the lives of Moldovans, LGSP aims to assist local governments in the design and implementation of sustainable policies and procedures that contribute to good governance. LGSP is being implemented within the framework of an assistance agreement between USAID and the Government of Moldova, which establishes a partnership for improved local governance. The project will improve local services and infrastructure in Moldova by helping local governments increase their capacity to plan, finance and manage infrastructure, municipal services, and energy efficiency projects. This assistance will strengthen decentralization and the linkages between local governments and citizens.
In his opening remarks, Iurie Tap, the chairman of the Special Parliamentary Commission for Decentralization and Consolidation of Local Authorities, underlined the timeliness and the importance of the LGSP. In particular, he mentioned that the project builds on the Local Government Reform Project (LGRP) which USAID supported from 2001 to 2007. “LGSP will directly contribute to the Decentralization process, which is a key strategic priority for the ruling Alliance for European Integration,” noted Chairman Tap.
In looking forward to LGSP’s work, Chairman Tap also praised the achievements of the LGRP. In his former role as the mayor of Floresti, Chairman Tap personally participated in the program, which helped to increase civic participation, improve local governance, and improve the management of public finances and delivery of municipal services in 120 partner communities throughout Moldova. With LGRP assistance, project partner communities held over 200 public hearings on strategic and budget planning, attended by more than 17,000 citizens. LGRP also helped communities modernize public financing and accounting by providing new software and hardware. LGRP assisted local governments to implement 156 demonstration projects in water supply management, gas systems extension, solid waste management, and construction projects. The demonstration projects totaled $3 million and improved the daily lives of more than a quarter of a million citizens.
To build on the successes of the LGRP, the newly launched LGSP introduces innovative and sustainable instruments, such as the Municipal Performance Index, to help local authorities monitor their progress toward achievement of their priorities. MPI will remain available to all towns after the lifetime of the project. Another innovative tool, the Excellence in Municipal Management program, is a training and assistance program that aims to strengthen local capacities, and to promote competition and public recognition of local authorities’ achievements.
“The US Government wants to continue providing support to the government where it is closest to the citizens of Moldova, and that is at the local level,” Ambassador Moser noted in the closing of his remarks. Through LGSP, USAID will be able to make a significant contribution toward the goal of improved local government capacity and performance.