Chisinau takes steps to strengthen urban resilience
The COVID-19 crisis in Chisinau, the capital city of the Republic of Moldova, underlined the weaknesses in disaster preparedness and response, including the low resilience of the health sector. The lack of practical plans in place and the limited capacities to manage such intense events revealed government’s limited attention to such events and delayed preparedness until the need to react is imminent. But one specific positive aspect of COVID-19 was the fact that the local authority decided to use this crisis as an opportunity to bring significant changes to planning and resilience.
In October, the General Mayor of Chisinau, Ion Ceban signed the letter expressing Chisinau’s interest to join UNDRR flagship initiative Making Cities Resilient 2030. Good governance, better infrastructure and stronger partnerships with community-based organizations are some of the city’s goals to be achieved within the next decade while part of this global movement. The official signing ceremony is planned for December 11th, 2020.
Also, on November 3rd and 6th Chisinau Municipality hosted a two day workshop on urban resilience. The participants in the workshop represented various parties involved in resilience and disaster risk management: civil servants from local and central government, representatives of emergency services, representatives of the public health system, representatives of municipal companies and representatives of private companies (energy and communications). During these days, the 25 participants completed the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities and the Public Health Scorecard Addendum. The deputy Mayor of Chisinau, Angela Cutasevici (pictured above), in her opening remarks highlighted the importance of engaging various stakeholders and the community at large: “The key aspect is that all stakeholders should contribute to the resilience of the city in order to be better prepared to respond to the challenges that Chisinau faces. I am glad that the representatives of state institutions and private companies are also involved in this process, as only together we can identify the best solutions".
As the exercise was organized for the very first time, the workshop contributed to an initial assessment of urban resilience indicators, including public health indicators. Assessing and identifying present and future risks will lead to better preparedness of the actions to be taken to reduce the negative impact of all disasters. At the same time, this assessment will play a major role in facilitating the development of a long-term resilience strategy. But despite the rather challenging and long journey ahead, it is very encouraging to see steps done in the right direction to improve disaster resilience. Preparedness is one of the things that governments are for!