Increasing the Integrity of Public Procurement in Moldova through Cooperation with Civil Society
In September 2020, PTF, in partnership with the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS Viitorul) in Moldova embarked on a project to enhance the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and journalists to engage in informed and responsible monitoring of public procurement. The objective of this project is to empower citizens to hold relevant institutions accountable, with the goal of increasing the integrity of public procurement through increasing transparency and fairness of processes and outcomes. Ultimately, this will benefit all citizens in Moldova through both lower cost and improved quality of goods and services contracted using public funds.
The project, which will run for a little over two years, will train CSOs, journalists, and other relevant groups, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to understand the risks of abuse at all levels of the procurement process and to prepare them to professionally and responsibly monitor public procurement at all stages. A key tool to facilitate such monitoring is the e-procurement platform MTender, the pilot version of which was launched in 2018 and which is in the process of being expanded and updated.
Outputs of the project will be at least fifteen organizations in Moldova, as well as CSOs and journalists that have been trained to understand the risks in procurement, important red flags, risk indicators, and risk evaluation. In addition, between three and six of the trained CSOs will be selected for eighteen months of funding to engage in actual monitoring, while receiving mentoring and support from the project team. Outcomes will include trained civil society watchdogs that will identify, quantify, document, and report abuses/irregularities to relevant Moldovan authorities for action and redress.
The project is in the Inception Phase which includes a baseline study of the legal and regulatory environment, dialogue with key stakeholders, identification of key risks in public procurement, and development of an implementation plan. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most of the work is being carried out thr ough desk studies and Zoom meetings. However, it is hoped that widespread vaccination will make it possible to hold in-person meetings and conduct an official project launch in Chisinau in the second half of 2021.