UNECE is supporting the Government of Moldova in its efforts to enhance its national innovation system to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development. During the online meeting on 16 June, the two sides agreed to develop a Roadmap for Innovation and Technology Transfer, which will feed into a major strategic document, the new National Programme for Research and Innovation (2024-2027). These efforts, together with broader reforms in digitalization, support to innovative entrepreneurship and policy governance, will make a strong contribution to Moldova advancing to a more circular, resilient and green economy.
The reforms respond to policy recommendations made in the newly published Innovation for Sustainable Development Review of Moldova. The Review provides an in-depth analysis of the national innovation system and its performance. Focus areas of the Review include enhancing innovation policy governance, strengthening industry-science linkages, developing the innovation and technology transfer infrastructure, and leveraging the diaspora for innovation-driven sustainable development.
The Review finds that over the past two decades, Moldova has taken significant steps to transition to a fully-fledged market economy and has achieved impressive growth in GDP per capita. However, this growth was mainly led by domestic consumption, financed to a significant degree by remittances. By contrast, R&D expenditure stands at only 0.3% of GDP, with private sector R&D expenditure as low as 0.01% of GDP and only a few examples of successful innovation applications in specific sectors, so-called “pockets of excellence”.
This model of development is reaching its limits. It is neither able to sustain past rates of economic growth, nor is it compatible with Moldova’s commitments under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and efforts under the circular economy transition. To move to a truly sustainable development path requires improvements in productivity and capitalizing on opportunities to shift from lower to higher value-added sectors of the economy. This transition is possible if improving the capacity of R&D institutions and the private sector to systematically experiment with ideas, in other words, to innovate, takes centre stage in Moldova’s policy efforts.
UNECE support on innovation to Moldova adds to the activities on regulatory and procedural barriers to trade, digital and sustainable trade facilitation, measuring impact of COVID-19 on trade and structural transformation (the evidence from SMEs sector), and cooperation in the field of gender-responsive standardization.