Chisinau, April 12, 2011 - The World Bank, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry, the Ministry of Environment, farmers, NGOs and other national stakeholders, international and local experts convened today for a one-day conference to build national consensus and identify key priorities for policies, programs and investments to reduce the vulnerability of Moldova’s agricultural systems to climate change. The effort is part of the World Bank’s Regional Program on Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Agricultural Systems. This Program is being implemented in Moldova, Albania, Macedonia and Uzbekistan and aims to mainstream climate change and agriculture into short, medium and long-term efforts to reduce the vulnerability of agricultural systems to climate change at the national and agro-ecological zone (AEZ) levels.
This National Dissemination and Consensus Building Conference was attended by more than 60 participants from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry, Ministry of Environment, UNDP, IFAD, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, farmers and other stakeholders. Opening remarks during this conference were given by Mr. Vasile Bumacov, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, who stressed the importance of this work in helping Moldova address the challenges posed by climate change in the agricultural sector. “Moldova needs to prepare for climate change as part of its national strategy,” stated Bumacov during these remarks, “this conference is a great opportunity for the government and people of Moldova to prioritize policies, program and investments for implementation.”
Opening remarks were also given by the Moldovan Minister of Environment, Mr. Gheorghe Salaru, who emphasized the importance of mainstreaming climate adaptation in agriculture as a proactive approach to sustainable development. Both Ministers along with the World Bank Representatives highlighted the urgent need to strengthen extension services and training of famers in new farm technologies at the grass roots level.
This Conference follows an Awareness Raising and Consultation Workshop, held in October 2009, which laid the ground for an in-depth analysis of the impacts of climate change on Moldova’s agricultural systems. An analysis has been carried out at the national and agro-ecological zone (AEZ) levels and a draft Impact Assessment and Menu of Adaptation Options for Climate Change and Agriculture in Moldova was developed in partnership between national experts and farmers and a team of world-class experts from the Industrial Economics Incorporated (IEc) consulting firm. Consensus on key priorities and recommendations going forward will be formulated on the basis of discussions of this report.
Recognizing that agriculture is both extremely important to rural livelihoods in Moldova and highly vulnerable to climate change, the World Bank’s Regional Program works to develop appropriate adaptation measures to reduce the vulnerability of Moldova’s agricultural systems to climate change. The drought and floods that hit the country in recent years highlight the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to growing climate variability and change and underline the need to implement appropriate adaptation measures to help reduce this vulnerability. Climate projections indicate that temperatures in Moldova will increase, while precipitation will decline, resulting in increased and more severe climatic events.
These changes could significantly affect the country’s agricultural systems and negatively impact the livelihoods of Moldova’s rural population by decreasing crop yields and increasing exposure to new pests and diseases for agricultural crops and livestock. The projected impacts of climate change highlight the need to develop and implement urgent actions which can increase the resilience of agriculture to climate risks in the short and long term. The program has worked to identify measures which can have immediate positive impacts on the agricultural systems in Moldova while simultaneously adapting to future climate projections, creating "win-win" options and recommendations.This program is being managed by the World Bank and supported by grants from the World Bank, the World Bank-Netherlands Partnership (BNPP), and the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD).