Press Release

Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and UN agencies join hands to support the Republic of Moldova social protection system

25 November 2022

  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and World Food Programme (WFP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to provide emergency cash assistance to crisis-affected populations and integrate shock response into the national social protection system in the Republic of Moldova.
Caption: Joint UN-Ministry of Labour and Social Protection press conference
Photo: © UN Moldova

This programme is the first of its kind at its scale in Moldova, enabling a holistic and inclusive approach that will enable communities to become more shock resistant.  

The programme was officially launched on the 25th of November with the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Marcel Spatari; UN Resident Coordinator, Simon Springett; and the Heads of the UN Missions: Nigina Abaszada for UNFPA; Francesca Bonelli for UNHCR; Maha Damaj for UNICEF; Lars Lonnback for IOM; and Jonathan Campbell for WFP.

"This joint project shows international solidarity with Moldova and its people; these international funds complement government assistance programs and will allow us to make cash transfers to 40,000 of the most vulnerable families affected by the increase in energy and food prices that are worrying so many households. It will also allow us to have technical support to meet the additional demands brought by the current situation", stated the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Marcel Spatari.

UN Resident Coordinator, Simon Springett noted that “We all feel the enormity of responsibility to support citizens and communities amidst the current and likely prolonged period of uncertainty and instability and to ensure that no one is left behind.  From the beginning, the UN in Moldova was committed to a joint coordinated response that complements the refugee emergency response with development interventions addressing the impacts of the socio-economic crises”. 

"The eligibility criteria for the programme were established through a mutual agreement between the UN agencies and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. The eligible families will benefit from MDL 700 financial aid monthly in the next 6 months. The selection will be done through the already existing "Ajutor Social" and “APRA” systems", said Jonathan Campbell, Emergency Coordinator of WFP Moldova. 

Factors deciding family eligibility for this assistance include families already selected for Ajutor Social or APRA; whether any family member has a degree of disability; the family consists of a single parent with children aged between 0-17; families with at least 3 children aged 0-17; families with pregnant or breastfeeding women with at least one child between the ages of 0-2.   

“While the people of Moldova have shown unstinting solidarity by hosting the large number of refugees, this has squeezed existing resources and coping mechanisms of ordinary families. In order to sustain social cohesion among communities, we must not forget about the children in Moldova, who are the most vulnerable collateral victims of the war in Ukraine and who must always be protected” said Maha Damaj, UNICEF Country Representative. 

“UNFPA prioritises the special needs of pregnant and lactating women who face multiple levels of vulnerability during times of crisis.  It is important that this programme will increase the access of women and girls to services.  There is robust evidence that cash assistance to pregnant and lactating women increase their service utilisation for earlier and more frequent antenatal care and skilled birth attendance, which has a direct impact on improving maternal health outcomes” said Nigina Abaszada, UNFPA Resident Representative 

UNHCR Country Representative Francesca Bonelli emphasised that “the people and Government of this country have set a global example in how they have received refugees from Ukraine –  and the MoU signed recently for the programme is one way for the international community to share that responsibility. UN support for Moldova’s social protection systems means that more Moldovans and refugees will get help when they need it.”

“IOM’s contribution to emergency cash provision for vulnerable Moldovans during this challenging winter will enable even more Moldovan families in need to receive much needed support. By joining hands with our UN partners and under the leadership of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, we are reaching out to people in need this winter: not only to vulnerable refugees who have fled the war in Ukraine, but also, through this project and others, to vulnerable Moldovans who would otherwise struggle during the cold months. We are all in this together. Beyond the winter, we will continue our support to the Government of the Republic of Moldova and its social protection mechanisms to ensure they are robust and can support all vulnerable people in the country”, stated Lars Johan Lönnback, Chief of Mission, IOM Moldova

Thanks to the generous support of UK Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, The Netherlands, USA, Norway, Italian Government, BPRM (USA), and HAC funds, this programme will reach more than 40,000 vulnerable Moldovans through financial support to compensate their essential needs for six months consecutively.

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The UN agencies UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM and WFP, involved in the programme, have a mandate that integrates humanitarian interventions with government social protection system-strengthening, and have extensive global experience in contexts of fragility, displacement and conflict. Their experience in providing cash transfers in emergencies, emergency preparedness and shock-responsive social protection, and expertise in refugee and forced displacement crises make the agencies well placed to work effectively with governments and partners to assist vulnerable families and to ensure better preparedness to respond to shocks.   

For more information, please contact us on the following email addresses and phone numbers: 

For MLSP: Diana Blanaru, Head of Communications Department; +37369750710; 

For UNFPA: Ene Tuyliyeva, Communications Analyst, +37360246241;  

For UNHCR: Irina Odobescu, Communications Associate; +37369166030;  

For UNICEF: Angela Munteanu, Communications Officer; +37369123630;  

For IOM: Riccardo Severi, Communication and Information Officer; +37360407660;  

For WFP:  Daniela Oleinic, Communications Associate; +373 68302207; 

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Organization for Migration
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Food Programme

Goals we are supporting through this initiative