Inclusive societies and development

Youth well-being policy review of Moldova: A 60 seconds guide



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What is the Youth Well-being Policy Review of Moldova? 

The Youth Well-being Policy Review of Moldova assesses the situation of youth in Moldova with regards to employment, education, health and civic participation. This multi-dimensional approach allows us to capture the diverse facets of youth livelihoods.

The review includes:

  • A full diagnosis on the situation of youth in Moldova using a well-being lens.
  • An inventory of key youth policies and a description of the institutional framework for youth development.
  • An analysis of gender social norms and health disparities among youth.

The review is part of the Youth Inclusion project, co-funded by the European Union and implemented by the OECD Development Centre


How's life for young Moldovans?

With youth (aged 14-35) accounting for one-third of its population, Moldova has a unique socio-economic development opportunity. However, Moldovan youth continue to face multiple and interconnected challenges.

According to the Youth Multi-dimensional Deprivation Indicator (Y-MDI), developed by the EU-OECD Youth Inclusion project, one in three young Moldovans faces difficulties in multiple dimensions of well-being, in particular in employment, civic participation and, to a lesser degree, health.

Despite the positive trends in educational attainment, education quality remains a challenge. In 2014, 38.2% of young people obtained a tertiary diploma. In fact, the share of young people with tertiary education almost doubled between 2004 and 2014 (from 20.5% to 38.2%). However, almost a third of students do not have the basic skills to enter the labour force.

Young Moldovans find it hard to access decent work. Most employed youth are paid below the average (86.3%) or are in informal employment (30.7%). Moreover, more than a quarter (27.9%) is overqualifi ed for their job. Given these challenges, 57.3% of youth consider changing jobs.

Although youth are concerned about societal problems, their civic engagement and political participation have been limited. Only 18.1% are involved in volunteering activities and hardly 25% express their interest in politics. In 2014, only 37.1% of youth voted in the parliamentary elections. Low youth turnout at elections stems from their alarmingly low trust in public institutions, including the Parliament (3.0%), the President (4.1%), the Government (5.2%) and political parties (6.8%).

The overall health situation of young people has improved in recent years. The youth mortality rate declined from 91 per 100 000 youth in 2004 to 70.5 in 2014. Nevertheless, challenges persist. A lack of awareness of youth-friendly services and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) makes youth vulnerable to health risks such as HIV/AIDS — 20.5 per 100 000, signifi cantly higher than the EU/EEAA average (5.7), and teenage pregnancies — 25.6 per 1 000 young women, more than twice the EU average (10.9). 

Did you know...?


Moldovan youth face important gender disparities in health. Yet, very few health and youth policies include the gender dimension in their provisions. The review shows that from 2008 to 2015 the HIV/AIDS incidence for young women was almost twice as for young men.


How to address those challenges?

Youth is a priority for the Moldovan government. Its National Youth Development Strategy 2020 and Action Plan, adopted in 2014, set a clear vision for their inclusion and empowerment. The new Ministry of Education, Culture and Research (MoECR) is in charge of the implementation and evaluation of national youth policies. Moreover, the Governmental Commission for Youth Policies, created in 2011 and headed by the Prime Minister, aims to co-ordinate the development, implementation and monitoring of youth policy at central level and ensure inter-sectoral co-operation.

Despite these formal efforts, the Commission is not operative and the implementation of the Strategy is weak at regional and local levels. Over the years, the ministry mandated for youth policy had been facing important obstacles, notably in terms of institutional stability and vision, as well as human and financial resources. Experts in the youth fi eld, particularly local level civil servants, do not always fully comprehend youth needs and related policies; and youth workers, who play a crucial role at local level, are not adequately trained or paid, which affects the quality of services.


What can the government do?

Strengthen the institutional framework and governance of youth policies

  • Mainstream youth in all sectorial ministers.
  • Enforce cross-sector co-ordination mechanism to implement youth policies efficiently. 
  • Ensure institutional stability for the ministry mandated for youth policy and formulate a clear institutional vision.
  • Ensure adequate human resources by increasing the number of qualified and trained staff in the ministry mandated for youth policy implementation.
  • Increase the budget and transparency of the mandated ministry’s youth programmes and implement results-based management.
  • Create an information system on youth, monitor and evaluate youth policies.

Professionalise local youth service provision

  • Establish structures for youth policy implementation at the local level.
  • Train civil servants to correctly integrate youth in their work and implement national policies.
  • Harmonise the occupational responsibilities and requirements of youth workers.
  • Consider specialists in youth work as professionals within the education sector. 
Increase the gender sensitivity of health policies
  • Include SRH and gender specificities in education curricula.
  • Promote gender equality and positive role models in schools.
  • Promote Youth-friendly Health Centres (YFHC) services and identify vulnerable youth with reduced access to services.
  • Increase the number of YFHC experts and educational professionals and train them in youth and gender-sensitive work.
  • Adapt health services to gender specific needs.



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