The Council of Europe Action Plan for the Republic of Moldova 2021-2024 is a strategic programming instrument that aims to bring the Republic of Moldova’s legislation, institutions and practice further into line with European standards in the areas of human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
The Action Plan is intended to support the country’s efforts to honour its obligations as a Council of Europe member State. The Action Plan priorities take into account decisions, resolutions, recommendations, report conclusions and opinions issued by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CM), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (the Congress), the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (the Commissioner), the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and other advisory and monitoring bodies of the Organisation. They also take account of the national reform agenda, in particular the National Development Strategy (Moldova 2030), the Strategy on Ensuring Independence and Integrity of the Justice Sector (2021- 2024) and its Action Plan as well as the National Human Rights Action Plan.
Under this Action Plan, the Council of Europe and the Moldovan authorities have agreed to carry forward jointly, through co-operation projects, reforms initiated in the past in areas such as the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) case law at national level, aligning national legislation and practice concerning anti-discrimination and gender equality with European standards, strengthening the national child protection framework to combat sexual exploitation and abuse of children, enhancing the independence and accountability of the judicial system, improving electoral legislation and practice, reforming the prison system and promoting alternatives to detention, advancing the compliance of national practices with European standards in the field of media and Internet governance, enhancing data protection in the country, developing the capacity of law enforcement and other agencies to respond to corruption and money laundering and increasing dialogue and building confidence between both banks of the Nistru river.
New areas of co-operation identified in the Action Plan include legal aid, mediation and reconciliation in criminal matters, fighting drug abuse and illicit trafficking in drugs, protection of human rights in the health sector and addressing new challenges linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact, particularly on social rights. In addition, the Council of Europe and Moldovan authorities plan to intensify efforts to counter trafficking in human beings, prevent and combat violence against women and enhance local self-government.
This is the third Council of Europe Action Plan for the country. The previous ones covered the periods 2013- 2016 and 2017-2020. Despite several changes of government, the Moldovan authorities reiterated their requests for support from the Council of Europe. The Action Plan for the Republic of Moldova 2017-2020 embodied a solid list of achievements, including the consolidation of the institution of the People’s Advocate (Ombudsperson), improved conditions for combating discrimination and promoting equality as a result of the strengthened capacity of the Council on the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Ensuring Equality (Equality Council) to deliver its mandate in line with European standards, and the enhanced professional and operational capacity of the electoral administration to conduct elections.
Despite indisputable progress, significant challenges remain in terms of effectively implementing the democratic reforms, in particular in the field of justice. The Action Plan aims to support the Republic of Moldova in its efforts to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably Goals 3 – on good health and well-being, 4 - on quality education; 5 - on gender equality; 10 - on reduced inequalities; 11 - on sustainable cities and communities; and 16 - on peace, justice and strong institutions.
The overall budget of this Action Plan is estimated at €13.7 million. While funding in the amount of €2.6 million has been secured, additional funding is essential to fully implement the priority actions identified for 2021-2024.