Irrational use of natural resources in Moldova in the past decades, combined with intensive use of agricultural land, application of environmentally hazardous technologies in agriculture and industry, soil and water pollution lead to a decrease in the efficiency of natural resources. This has had an adverse impact on the environment, especially on water resources, air, soil and biodiversity. The low level of afforestation (10.3%) causes soil erosion, land slides, water resources degradation, and intensification of draughts. Households practicing subsistence agriculture, being among the poorest, are particularly affected by agriculture pollution, erosion processes and loss of fertile soil, and lack financial resources to tackle these problems.
Starting in the mid-1990s, environment protection projects, under the National Action Plan for Biodiversity Conservation, as well as a series of laws and regulations on biological resources, capacity building for the enforcement of environment legislation were supported by the World Bank.
The non-reimbursable financing agreement for the APCP was signed in March 2004; its objectives are to reduce soil nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus) agricultural sources in Republic of Moldova, the Danube River and the Black Sea. Changing soil pollution control practices, and strengthening national policy, legal and institutional capacity to ensure nutrient pollution control will contribute significantly not only to protection of the soil, but also of people’s health.
56 sub-projects to implement environmental pollution mitigation good practices were approved in 2004-2006, and about 10 additional funding applications are to be reviewed by the end of 2007. Up to now, 3 community manure storage platforms and 450 small household platforms were built, respectively in Negrea, Carpineni and Lapusna villages from Hincesti raion. In the pilot area of Hincesti and Leova integrated soil pollution control management was implemented. The local team was assisted by national, USA and Romanian experts.
The Soil and Agro-Chemistry Institute „N. Dimo” team established 13 testing/demonstration fields for environment friendly practices in Negrea and Pascani villages. These fields are used to demonstrate advanced agricultural technologies such as nutrient management based on nutrient soil testing; crop rotation cultivation, and strip cropping. The Code of Good Agricultural Practices was developed based on local and European countries experience. Training courses continue to be delivered to prepare 340 national level trainers in environment protection.
At the end of January 2004, an Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) was signed between WB Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) and Moldsilva, the State Forestry Agency. The agreement stipulates the PCF will purchase during 14 years from Moldsilva, the about 1.3 million tons of carbon emission to be generated by the newly plated forests under the Moldova Soil Conservation Project (SCP). The total area included in the PCF ERPA is of 14,500 hectares. In 2002 – 2006, Moldsilva has planted about 34 thousand hectares of new forests, of which an additional area of about 6,000 hectares (additional to the areas covered by the PCF ERPA) was determined to meet carbon finance eligibility criteria, and thus eligible to claim credits for carbon sequestration. Moldsilva has offered these eligible amounts for sale to the BioCarbon Fund, also administered by the World Bank, which agreed to purchase them under a separate ERPA, signed on June 16, 2006. The ERPA stipulates for the purchase by the BioCarbon Fund of emission reductions generated on the additional 6,000 ha - about 600,000 tonnes of CO2. It is expected Moldsilva will receive about US $ 7 million through both ERPAs until the end of the crediting period (y.2017).
This is the first time that funds for soil conservation on degraded agricultural lands through afforestation and carbon sequestration are allocated to the Republic of Moldova under the framework of the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism.
During project implementation, Moldsilva’ personnel capacities were strengthened through learning new methodologies and technologies, including using simulations and forecasts for forest planting at the initial stage (which are not used in the current forestation practice), using special models for the estimation of sequestration by wood vegetation; using relevant technologies of geographic informational system; building and operating databases for forest resources, obtaining additional financial resources as a result of traditional activities. Communication plans for “Moldsilva” with other actors during implementation of strategies and national forestation programs were developed, and a social dialogue was initiated.