Following the extreme heat experienced this summer, the Government of Moldova, with assistance from UNEP DTU Partnership (UDP), implemented key elements of the country’s Technology Action Plan (TAP) for climate change adaptation. Daytime temperatures were sustained above 35 degrees in late July, which were far above the seasonal average.
Given the increased likelihood of extreme weather events in the future, Prime Minister Pavel Filip instructed the Ministries of Health, Education, Interior and local authorities to put in place more permanent risk mitigation measures, including public information campaigns and education for school children on the risks associated with extreme weather. All of these measures were detailed in the country’s national climate change TAP, which was finalized in 2013, with support from UNEP DTU Partnership. UDP worked closely with the Climate Change Office of the Ministry of Environment in Moldova, over an 18-month period, to provide methodological training, peer review and financing for the analysis conducted by the national Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) team. This analysis, based on rigorous stakeholder consultations, led to the design of specific measures and interventions detailed in the TAPs.
The Prime Minister also called a meeting of the heads of the country’s emergency services on 2 August, to decide how best to respond to the crisis brought on by the extreme heat. A focus was placed on how to deliver medical first aid to vulnerable people, especially the elderly living alone and unable to leave their homes. Moreover, 17 new ‘rehabilitation points’ were set up across the country to deliver first aid to citizens affected by the extreme heat, treating a total of 45,000 people (mostly children and the elderly) within a one week period. Measures were also taken to manage the outbreak of open fires. In July, alone, Moldovan fire services were called to help extinguish over 750 fires, prompting authorities to introduce a short-term ban on burning dry vegetation, in what is a predominantly agricultural economy.
This experience shows how the work conducted within national TNAs can lead to practical, life-saving, solutions. In particular, it shows how simple, clear and low-cost interventions can be implemented rapidly, to address short-terms issues, as well as help build longer-term resilience to climate change.