Lucreţia Ciurea, Head of Foreign Aid Division of the State Chancellery
Ms Ciurea, the year 2010 was an important milestone in the area of external assistance coordination, given the adoption of the Regulation on Institutional Framework and the Mechanism for Coordinating the Foreign Assistance provided to the Republic of Moldova by international organizations and donor countries. How do you assess the development of aid coordination since then?
According to the new mechanism, approved by Government Decision Nr. 12 of 19 January 2010, the National Foreign Assistance Coordination Authority was entrusted with the planning, monitoring and operational and met-hodological evaluation, as well as with the registration and ensuring transparency in regard to foreign assistance provided to the Republic of Moldova by the donors" community. This new mechanism was designed to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the foreign assistance by means of better coordination throughout the entire process of foreign assistance planning and implementation along with building the capacity of the NCU to take the technical leadership in the identification, preparation and implementation of activities funded by external assistance. The Government decision provides the basis for the work of donor coordination in general, and in sectors in particular, by establishing the sector coordination boards with their membership and functions. Sectors were obliged to establish these boards and both development partners and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were becoming members. 21 sectoral councils on external assistance were created in the State Chancellery, 16 ministries, the Land Relations and Cadastre Agency, "Moldsilva" Agency, National Bureau of Statistics and the Centre for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption.
You mentioned sectoral councils on external assistance. What is their role and tasks?
According to the Regulation, the sectoral councils are fulfilling important tasks: they make recommendations on sector policy and priorities through joint analytical work and identification of sector assistance priorities and project proposals. They participate in drafting sector strategies, action plans, and expenditure plans, including sector aid allocations, as well as sector monitoring and evaluation frameworks. The Councils monitor and evaluate implementation of the sector policy, as well as efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the aid deli-vered. They approve sector monitoring reports and provide inputs to NDS / EU-Moldova progress reports. The Councils are chaired by the minister of the sector, who is acting as Sector Aid Coordinator. Membership includes the representative of each Development Partner active in the sector, the Heads of relevant Ministerial Departments, NCU staff, relevant NGOs and private sector representatives. The establishment of the sector councils has been followed up in 2011 with the establishment of the Joint Partnership Council headed by the Prime Minister and with key ministers and heads of development partner representations as Members.
May we focus on a narrower subject, and namely the Twinning instrument. In relation to it, would you emphasize more its quantitative side or the qualitative one?
What is Twinning?
Twinning is one of the main tools of Institution Building accession assistance. Twinning aims to help beneficiary countries in the development of modern and efficient administrations, with the structures, human resources and management skills needed to implement the acquis communautaire to the same standards as Member States. Twinning provides the framework for administrations and semi-public organisations in the beneficiary countries to work with their counterparts in Member States. Together they develop and implement a project that targets the transposition, enforcement and implementation of a specific part of the acquis communautaire.
In my opinion, both sides are equally important. Of course, the quantity of Twinning projects matters, since it is an efficient means of institution building; but we should not forget about the qualitative side. Only a good-quality Twinning project will make it possible for the institution to achieve all the objectives set and produce the envisaged results. And if we dig more deeply into what the quality of a Twinning project depends upon, I would say that this is the human factor first of all - which implies the motivation of people involved in their implementation (local staff, as well as their counterparts), their readiness and willingness to work as a team. Besides, the political support at a significantly high level is also important. Not of lower importance is the relevant experience of our partners from EU member countries—it is of great significance that the selected Member State institution has the relevant knowledge, experience, that can be applied in practice here, in Moldova. And last but not least – clear understanding of the situation and the context, as well as plans and objectives for the future are also crucial.
How many Twinning projects would you like to see in Moldova in 2-3 years" time?
I wouldn"t answer here "the more, the better", because, again, it is not only the quantity that matters. In my opinion, Moldova should not have as an objective the "as many as possible" aim—but rather focus on the quality of the work to be done. It is better to achieve fewer, but successful Twinning examples in the present phase of development in Moldova, than more, but of worse quality, troubled with implementation and effectiveness problems.
Since you mentioned the motivation of people involved in project implementation, how, in your opinion, can that be increased?
Here I would like to mention first the means of non-financial motivation and, specifically, the great range of training opportunities that are available for the people involved in the implementation of Twinning projects. In this respect, I would like to focus your attention on the recently-launched Twinning English / Professional Skills Training Programme, which is a joint initiative of our division and the EU Project "Support to the State Chancellery". These courses cover more than 60 civil servants which are involved either in the implementation or in the preparation of Twinning, TAIEX, SIGMA or other projects. It goes without saying that in a Twinning project, since it is about "change", human relations and mutual understanding are of significant importance. A pre-condition for this is should be when project partners talk to each other without an interpreter. Except for this, specific workshops for institutions in the implementation phase, as well as for those in the preparatory phase of Twinning, were held. During these, participants could acquire overall knowledge and understanding of the Twinning instrument, the related possibilities and obligations, benefits and drawbacks, as well as the specific working steps of preparation and implementation of Twinning projects. I encourage everyone to follow our web-page, www.ncu.moldova.md, in order to learn about new training opportunities, as well as about events scheduled for the future.
Thank you for the interview.