The European Union is investing 22.8 million euros to support the development of smart, inclusive and sustainable regional growth poles in Ungheni and Cahul, to bring a better quality of life and new opportunities to citizens.
The European Union launched today in Ungheni the second of the two initiatives under the new „EU4Moldova: Focal Regions” programme. The EU is investing 22.8 million euros, in a total budget of 23.3 million euros, to spur smart, inclusive and sustainable economic development in the areas of Ungheni and Cahul. The initiative EU4Ungheni will involve Ungheni city and its neighboring communities within the Ungheni district during 2019-2025. The program is implemented by UNDP and UNICEF under the strategic guidance from the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova.
A similar initiative under the EU4Moldova: Focal Regions was already announced also for Cahul (EU4Cahul).
The launch event in Ungheni combined a fair of local producers, a drawing competition on the subject of “How do I see my city changing in 5 years’ time” which registered 99 works submitted, so as a concert of artists, including some native from Ungheni.
“The involvement of Ungheni Municipality in this programme represents a great opportunity for the sustainable development of our community. On behalf of all Ungheni citizens and neighboring communities, I would like to thank the EU and its member states for supporting our city on its European course. Civic engagement and qualitative public services are priorities for a well-developed community. Together with the citizens, we commit to adhere to the principles of transparency and integrity during while actively engaging in this meaningful exercise,” noted Alexandru Ambros, mayor of Ungheni city.
The EU Focal Region of Ungheni shall benefit from substantial EU support to improve the quality of life of its citizens, ideally to a level comparable with EU standards. The ‘EU Focal Regions’ is a pilot initiative which aims at spurring systemic changes by creating stronger synergies from past, ongoing and future EU funded initiatives and the other many projects of Donors Development partners and Public Institutions. Filling the gaps and connecting the dots among these initiatives will create a solid and sustainable basis for a long-lasting economic development.
“I am proud to launch today the EU4Ungheni programme. With this ambitious initiative the EU is investing substantial resources to engage with citizens and local communities to create strong partnerships on the basis of common values. This programme is for citizens and it aims at improving their day to day life. I am convinced that altogether we will make Ungheni and Cahul the smart, inclusive and sustainable growth poles of Moldova” mentioned Peter Michalko, European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova.
The EU Focal Regions will also contribute to increase the investment and entrepreneurship attractiveness of the areas by fostering their role as growth poles, also by leveraging the Smart Specialisation approach with the view of creating new and attractive job opportunities.
“It is indeed a pleasure to be here today at the launch of the EU4Ungheni project of the partnership EU Focal Regions Programme. Last week, we were at the launch of a similar initiative in Cahul and it was deeply touching and to feel people’s enthusiasm and determination to be part of this Programme and benefit from its planned results. I see the same enthusiasm and determination today and I am confident this programme will help you transform Ungheni and the adjacent rural areas into a growth pole, improving women’s and men’s lives,” said Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative for the Republic of Moldova.
The EU4Ungheni is also ensuring inclusive development in line with the goals and aspirations of the renewed European Union (EU) Youth Strategy 2019-2027 seeking to engage, connect and empower young people. During the next 5 years this EU initiative will support a number of initiatives on social services, such as education and protection services for adolescents and children, including child care services but also policies in favour of children and youth will be improved as well as innovative tools will be deployed to ensure youth empowerment, engagement and participation.
“As part of this EU project we will support modernizing schools and making them even more inclusive and student friendly, while also deploying innovative tools to ensure youth empowerment. Together, we can ensure that all young people develop to the best of their potential here within Ungheni itself,” mentioned Desiree Jongsma, UNICEF Moldova Country Representative.
The programme is also meant to improve citizens’ engagement in the decision-making process through strengthened transparency and accountability of local public authorities. Citizens will be involved and engaged throughout the project. The first competition was also announced at the launch event, a Call for Ideas for improvement of Ungheni city center. Ideas are being collected and the most inspiring, innovative or interesting shall be awarded. More details are available on eu4ungheni.md.
The Ambassador of Germany was present at the event and praised the EU4Moldova: Focal Regions programme, also in light of complementary projects implemented by GIZ.
Among other EU funded initiatives is the project implemented by UN Women on consolidating capacities in the field of gender equality in the districts of Cahul and Ungheni, with a budget of 5.25 million euro, which will focus on promoting gender sensitive local policies and domestic violence prevention. In total the EU contribution for both Cahul and Ungheni regions reaches 1 billion lei.