Pandemic highlighted the importance of coordinating UN efforts to reach vulnerable groups

The pandemic has succeeded in arguing the need to reform the UN system and highlighted the main function of the RCO - that of coordinating joint efforts of UN.

"I am a widow, with four minor children, the survivor's allowance does not cover all family needs. The UN support is very useful, both the food and the hygiene products, as it allows to focus on other family needs related to education, health and others." says Liubov, 30 years old single mother and one of the recipients of the support provided by UN Moldova.

Exactly two years ago, the most ambitious reform of the UN development system in the history of the organization was launched, to deliver on the promise of the 2030 Agenda and change the way to act, respond and deliver results. The intention was to have a more efficient and responsive institution to requests, including urgent ones, from the Member States.

The Republic of Moldova is among those over 162 countries in which the Resident Coordinator's Office were strengthened as a result of the reform. The team in Moldova is composed of ten local and international specialists, and led by the Resident Coordinator, the highest-ranking official representing the UN Secretary-General at the country level.

The purpose and expectations of a UN Resident Coordinator's Office are very clear and, at the same time, ambitious - to coordinate the efforts of the UN development system in Moldova to support the country in the process of sustainable development. The office strengthens the complex process of development cooperation and coordination and effective communication and collaboration with UN Moldova agencies and funds, Government representatives, development partners, and other key actors involved" says Simon Springett, UN Resident Coordinator in Moldova.

Liubov is one of those over 500,000 vulnerable and marginalized people who received assistance to cope with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges/difficulties arisen, such as job loss, increased burden to carry and insufficient financial resources. This support by the UN was possible due to the timely identification of the citizens and communities affected by the pandemic and their needs, and the timely mobilization of the necessary financial resources.

The UN Moldova COVID19 Response and Recovery Plan was prepared under the auspices of the Resident Coordinator's Office with the support of the government to address both emergency needs such as those of Liubov, as well as longer term recovery programmes. Today, the plan includes 99 specific projects and actions meant to help the country and its citizens in times of crisis, of which 47 are currently being implemented or have already been completed.

The UN Moldova COVID19 Response and Recovery Plan is anchored in Human Rights and the over-riding goal to leave no citizen behind. ”Human rights are at the core of the UN system's work, and at all times, including in times of crisis, it is essential to ensure that the support provided does not leave anyone behind. When programmes, projects and actions are designed and ultimately implemented we work with all UN agencies to identify vulnerable and marginalized groups as well as civil society organizations through which aid can and will reach the most vulnerable," said Bea Ferenci, Head of UN Human Rights Office in Moldova/Human Rights Adviser.

The expertise of the UN Human Rights Office in identifying the needs of the most vulnerable groups of people, combined with the capabilities and possibilities of other UN agencies to ensure an efficient supply of the necessary products and to provide technical assistance, has led to the implementation of three projects funded by the Austrian Development Agency, the United Kingdom and the UN COVID19 Multi-Partner Trust Fund.  

The UN Moldova Country Team includes 22 resident and regionally located UN entities with different mandates and capacities. The great challenge was to identify those contact points and complementarities of the UN entities to engage them in the development and implementation of joint projects. The pandemic has managed to trigger and amplify the need for effective coordination, and the role of the Resident Coordinator was more needed and visible than ever.

The pandemic crisis has succeeded in arguing the need to reform the UN system and highlighted the main function of the Resident Coordinator's Office - that of coordinating joint efforts, resources and possibilities of UN agencies.

Even before the first case of infection in Moldova, UN Moldova, through the UN Resident Coordinator's Office and WHO, was in constant communication with the Government, being one of the first development partners to provide assistance to the country in fighting the pandemic.

Written by
Cristina David
Communications and Advocacy Officer
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office