Urban Development Strategy for the City of Chisinau

Chisinau, Republic of Moldova

This project addresses challenges using participatory approaches in the area of local governance, finance, and the application of modern urban and land management practices.

This project aimed at strengthening Chisinau City Council and the Mayor’s Office institutional and financial capacity to support achievement of long-term development goals and improve service delivery. The project envisaged three main components: 

  • strengthening institutional development and municipal governance
  • support in reforming municipal public finance
  • support for better planning, infrastructure rehabilitation and service delivery improvements

For these reasons, the City of Chisinau requested UN HABITAT support to develop an Urban Development Strategy, in order to further city potential as a European capital city. The main problems faced are in the area of local governance, finance, and application of modern urban and land management practices. Key priority areas included:

  • Basic infrastructure and services (water/waste)
  • Municipal finance
  • Housing upgrading and development.


City information

Size and population development
City: 674,500 Metro: 804,500

Population composition
67.62% Moldovans, 13.92% Russians, 8.28% Ukrainians, 4.49% Romanians, 1.24% Bulgarians, 0.91% Gagauz, 0.37% Jewish, 0.12% Polish, 3.05% Other

Main functions
Capital City

Main industries / business
Financial and Business center of Moldova

Political structure
Mayor and City Council

Administrative structure
Five sectors or pretors

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Background and objectives

The first objective, known as Institutional Development and Municipal Governance Component, is to enable management processes and structures in Chisinau to effectively face the challenges of municipal development. It is designed to improve transparency and responsiveness in the City of Chisinau by increasing involvement of various stakeholders in municipal governance.

The second objective, entitled Municipal Public Finance and Assets Management Component, aims at enhancing the capacity of the municipality for better and more effective management of its property and improving municipal planning, execution and control of budgetary functions and systems.

Third objective, entitled Planning, Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Service Delivery Improvements, has the purpose of improving the capacity of the Mayor’s Office to better manage urban space and implement the General Urban Plan, as well as supporting the Mayor’s Office through technical assistance and advice. Furthermore, the Mayor’s Office is to be supported to increase availability and quality of service delivery through better management of investment and to show tangible improvements.


Preliminary assessment and elaboration of a reform strategy was undertaken by a team of qualified consultants who also drafted detailed terms of reference for the next stage, i.e. the functional analysis. In addition, functional analysis of municipal administration and subordinated bodies was conducted by an expert international company as part of this step of the implementation. The functional reviews resulted in recommendations with a draft action plan and timeframe for their implementation. The specific objectives of the functional analysis included:

  • scaling roles and responsibilities of municipal bodies for policy development and implementation according to ‘Good Governance principles’ outlined in the reform strategy
  • eliminating certain responsibilities through greater consolidation of organisational functions along service lines
  • designing organisational structures and procedures beneficial to more effective and efficient achievement of strategic goals and service provision
  • identifying functions which do not contribute to responsibilities, and unfunded mandates with a view to their discontinuing 
  • designating proper delegation as a subsidiarity principle and accountability mechanisms 
  • evolving institutional optimisation plans and evaluating budget implications.

Analysing the Financial and Budget Management was carried out by an international expert or company and the reviews resulted in specific recommendations with a draft action plan and timeframe for implementation. The specific objectives of the analysis included:

  • review of institutional structures and legislation related to budget and financial area;
  • analysis of systems for planning, budget, financial administration, accounting and internal control; budget formulation process and execution 
  • analysis of human resource management in budget and financial areas
  • fiscal information disclosure 
  • municipal procurement system

Furthermore, capacity building required evaluation in terms of local public expenditure management, strategic planning, investment programming, budgeting, implementation and procurement, asset management, accounting and financial reporting, internal controls and monitoring, evaluation and audit.

The second phase (18 months) will focus on:

The second phase of implementation comprises assistance for restructuring institutions, capacity building and fundamental reforms in municipal administration and in general financial management bodies, and in particular revenue generation and collection. It includes support for improving governance i.e. e-governance, through increased responsiveness and transparency towards citizens, and also support for low-cost, quick-win infrastructure and service delivery improvements, as well as support for planning larger infrastructure measures.

A detailed list with all activities included is availible in the resources section.

Financing and resources

Below are the resources available for the project in Chisinau. 

Total budget 2,000,000 USD

Allocated resources: 100,000 USD

Regular 100,000 USD

Unfunded budget: 1,900,000 USD

Results and impacts

Monitoring and evaluation will follow the UNDP guidelines on Monitoring and Evaluating for results. A monitoring and evaluation plan was developed during the inception phase. In order to ensure efficient monitoring and evaluation of project results, to maintain continuous cooperation between all project partners at all stages of implementation, the project board met every three months. Members of the Project Board provided feedback on lessons learned proposed corrective actions to solve problems, ensured accountability and made recommendations on how to improve the quality of current and future intervention. The project manager, under the direction of the national project coordinator and UNDP Moldova programme representatives, prepared and submitted quarterly work plans and quarterly reports to the members of the board, prepared according to UNDP standards.

The project was subject to an annual review. The project manager, in consultation with the national project coordinator and the project stakeholders, was responsible for preparing and submitting the annual project progress report in UNDP format to the annual review meeting. It was prepared in draft sufficiently well in advance to allow review and technical clearance by the project partners, at least one month prior to the annual review meeting.

Barriers and challenges

The City faced problems in the past decade, listed below:

  • serious backlogs in human capital and knowledge
  • rather weak local institutional capacities / skills
  • little investment in infrastructure / services
  • lack of a diversified economy

Probably one of the most important and difficult tasks was improving city governance, through increasing accountability of local public administration bodies and increasing involvement of the community in promoting urban development objectives as well as building trust between administration, private sector and community organisations.

It is important to realise that for the first time in its history Moldova is in a position to govern independently. For this a new governance system is necessary in order to realise new administrative machinery able to deal both with new demands from Moldovan citizens and with international economic and political changes. As an exogenous factor, on the positive side, European transport corridors and regional corridors will connect Moldova and its capital Chisinau to the European economy.


Lessons learned and transferability

This strategy was prepared using participatory approaches involving public and private stakeholders. The proposal also aimed at maximising benefits from lessons learned in the application and implementation of Cities Alliance approaches in other countries, as well as to share the lessons and knowledge throughout Moldova.


- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Project Document; Chisinau Municipality Development Project

- City Development Strategy for the Municipality of Chisinau; Housing Concept Paper; prepared by Dr Tsenkova with the assistance of Svetlana Dogotaru; UN-HABITAT & World Bank Project; October 22, 2006

(see the links below)

External links / documents