A joint partnership between the World Bank, the Moldovan Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry and the Ministry of Environment was launched in Moldova's capital in the late days of October. The new partnership aims to consolidate Government and Bank efforts to reduce the vulnerability of Moldova's farmers to climate change. The program will be managed by the World Bank and supported by about $350,000 in grants from the World Bank, the Bank-Netherlands Partnership, and the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development.
On October 28, the World Bank hosted a national awareness raising and consultation workshop dedicated to the vulnerability of Moldovan agriculture to climate change. This national event was preceded by a regional launch of the World Bank World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change and the regional flagship report Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia. Integrating global and regional knowledge on climate change with national and sub-regional responses is a must in tailoring effective adaptation solutions to the impacts of climate change on agriculture.
"Helping countries prepare for climate change is one of the World Bank's global priorities, and since agriculture in Moldova is so important and so vulnerable to climate change, we are going to support the Government and farmers here to develop a more resilient agriculture," said Melanie Marlett, World Bank Moldova Country Manager.
Moldova is already experiencing the effects of growing climate variability and change, with increasing seasonal temperatures, moisture deficits, and extreme events like drought, floods and frost. Furthermore, climate projections for the future predict a hotter, drier and more variable climate across most of the country. These changes could significantly affect the livelihoods of Moldova's farmers, and highlight the need to begin developing and implementing actions to increase the resilience of agriculture to climate variability and change.
What's next? In the coming months, the World Bank will provide technical support to Moldovan institutions to enhance their ability to integrate climate change adaptation into agricultural policies, programs, and investments. Support will include improving hydro-meteorological services, investing in irrigation or water use efficiency, developing new crop varieties, and enhancing farmers' technical skills. The figures speak out for themselves. In 2007 alone, Moldova lost over US $1 billion in agriculture due to a devastating drought. With a probability of catastrophic drought now down to one in two years, there's no time to be wasted.
"Climate change and variability are already happening in Moldova. It is clear that the country can't afford business as usual and that now is the time to develop and implement adaptation responses to climate change", said William Sutton, Senior Agricultural Economist, Europe and Central Asia, during the national climate change workshop on October 28.
Some presentations are available in English:
Contributed by Victor Neagu in Moldova