#BeTheChange workshop: Youth’s perspective on the circular economy implementation in the Republic of Moldova#BeTheChange workshop: Youth’s perspective on the circular economy implementation in the Republic of Moldova
The Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE), with the support offered by the Hanns Seidel Foundation in the Republic of Moldova and in partnership with Privesc.Eu and Realitatea TV, organized on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, the sixth online event within the #BeTheChange initiative, dedicated to the discussion of the Youth’s perspective on the circular economy implementation in the Republic of Moldova.
The speakers of this event, moderated by Elena Bolocan – project assistant at IPRE, spoke about the obstacles and solutions on implementing green innovations in the Republic of Moldova, about the efforts made by public authorities in promoting the circular economy, but also about the involvement and expectations of young people in the Republic of Moldova on the transition to a circular economy.
Please find below the main contributions of our speakers.
Igor Șeremet, Lecturer, State University of Moldova: “The Extended Producer Responsibility concept is a novelty for the legal system of the Republic of Moldova, which came into force with the Law on Waste. Specifically, we are talking about Article 12, which comes in a sophisticated terminology and tries to give the notion of who falls under the Extended Producer Responsibility. Although, many questions arise here. What do we mean by “producer”? Generally, this implies a symbiosis of the “producer pays” principle where the one that brings certain goods to the Moldovan market and that distributes them domestically – that one is to bear the expenses necessary for collection, transportation, and recovery. The law mentions the list of goods that are brought to the market and distributed to consumers, and those who sell them are to contribute financially to the creation of a waste management system. For instance, it mentions primarily electronic equipment, batteries, accumulators, and packaging. Unfortunately, medication and medical devices are not found there.”
Aurelia Bahnaru, Executive Director of the Waste Recovery Association: “The association that I represent created an online platform (e-circular.org) in 2019, which is related to education, economy, and ecology, these are all interconnected. We started to certify in 2021 several courses in this field and we managed to obtain the certification of the course “Waste Management”, and now we are working on the certification of the course “Responsible for the environment”. Even if there is a national regulatory framework or other tools, but there are no skills, knowledge, and informational resources needed to put them into practice, that’s when things will always stagnate. An example in this regard would be the waste market we’ve been talking about for a long time. Thus, a mechanism of extended producer responsibility – with the producer assuming its role, the contribution of rethinking products and services on the market, and the organization of collection systems – can be achieved only when there are conditions, infrastructure, and a market suitable for waste recycling. So, at the national level, in the context where we have a sanitation service rate of only 18% in rural areas, and also problems in the urban areas, there are blockages that fail to implement the mechanism.
Gabriela Capcelea, Senior Consultant, Circular Economy and Economic Instruments Policy Service, Ministry of Environment: “An important aspect is the promotion of education related to the circular economy. Regardless of the efforts made up to this point, the Republic of Moldova is still far from having a green economy, and the society has not yet understood the roots of sustainability in the culture of appreciation and preservation of the environment. For these reasons, in the Government’s action plan for 2021-2022, measures targeting priority areas were included in the segment on environmental protection. Here we can talk about the elaboration and approval of the environmental strategy by 2030, the elaboration and approval of the project for promoting a green economy 2022-2027, as well as the elaboration and approval of the national waste management program”.
Ina Coșeru, Vice-President of the Environment and Regional Development Commission, Parliament of the Republic of Moldova: “For the past 30 years, environmental protection has not been a priority for the Republic of Moldova, and because of this we have lost natural resources. Someone got rich at the expense of the state and did not manage them rationally. Protecting the environment means: to use natural resources efficiently so as not to pollute the environment, not to harm the quality of the environment, and saving it for everyone who is now in the Republic of Moldova, but also for the future generations. When we talk about the Circular Economy, firstly, we refer to waste management. We already have a law in Moldova, adopted in 2016, which came into force in 2017 (Law No. 209 on Waste), and contains a new approach to waste management. According to the circular economy, we must deposit less than 10% of the 600 tons generated daily in Chișinău or, generally, a circular economy would mean 0 waste. Having this law, we must collect waste separately. For these purposes, our country has already signed the Loan Agreement with the European Investment Bank worth 100 million euros”.
Vladislav Kaim, UN Secretary-General’s Youth Adviser on Climate Change: “I believe that after several years of communication, both with colleagues in Moldova and abroad, I do not believe that there is a need for campaigns to raise awareness and understanding about the environment in the youth segment. Moreover, there is a need for specific programs that would demonstrate the fact that young people can be the basis of the new value chain created by CE in Moldova. There are opportunities created by CE in terms of entrepreneurship or new jobs; these opportunities are focused more in the field of skills that most people up to the age of 30-35 have.”
Andrei Isac, EU4Environment National Coordinator: “I am very glad that in the Republic of Moldova we are already in a process where the central public authorities, and the civic associations, and the researchers, which promote this circular economy mechanism, are involved. This is already a very positive indicator. The more people involved in promoting this mechanism, the more opinions there are, and we will be able to promote the principles of the circular economy at all levels. Soon, the Green Economy Promotion Program will get developed in the Republic of Moldova with the help of our development partners. This program will also include the principles promoting the Circular Economy, and we hope that the percentage of sustainable public procurement is to be increased. Currently, they are very limited, only in the field of organic agricultural products for the supply of kindergartens and schools, and the energy-efficiency windows that improve the public institutional buildings”.
Alexandr Burdian, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania: “According to the Voluntary National Assessment on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, conducted in 2020, young people in Moldova believe that in our country there is “insufficient local measures and programs that encourage the culture to be eco-friendly, to recycle and reuse where it is possible, both at home and at school or college”. Even if the young people consider that there are no certain national programs, they somehow try to make a change in the society of the Republic of Moldova engaging actively in the civil society through volunteering and association with youth organizations”.
The event was organized within the project „BetheChange: Youth for the Europeanization process of the Republic of Moldova”, implemented by IPRE, in cooperation with the Hanns Seidel Foundation in the Republic of Moldova and with the financial support of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany.