Bucharest, 17 December 2018 - After 47 years of partnership, UNDP closes its presence on the ground in Romania. Focusing on innovations since its inception, the partnership brought the first computer in Romania in 1967 and trained 16.000 government officials on how to use it, provided advisory support that enabled Romania open its first subway in 1979, stood by the country’s side as it recovered through the 1977 destructive earthquake. In the early 2000s, Romanian citizens suffering from HIV/AIDS had for the first-time guaranteed access to specialized healthcare. This pioneering partnership that marked the lives of millions of citizens and contributed to a better Romania will close its gates on the ground in December 2018.
To mark this occasion, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister of Romania, H.E. Ana Birchall, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania, H.E. Teodor Melescanu, the Deputy Director of UNDP in Europe and the CIS, Mr Rastislav Vrbensky, long-standing partners and colleagues who served under the United Nations flag, UNDP organized the farewell reception “A brief history of building the future”. This event highlighted a timeline of achievements that marked the UNDP-Romania partnership. Opening the event, H.E. Ana Birchall highlighted the diversity of our work from modernizing agriculture techniques to empowering entrepreneurs thrive and flagged how Romania stands ready for opening a new chapter of the partnership with UNDP.
Acknowledging the uniqueness of this partnership from its early days, Mr Rastislav Vrbensky highlighted in his opening remarks that the UNDP field office in Romania was the first and only office to open in a former Warsaw Pact country and that officer in other former “socialist countries” were opened only 2 decades later: “We can say that, for Romania, the UNDP was a window to the West, as for the UNDP, Romania was a window to support the development of the East”.
UNDP and Romania will continue working together under a fresh beginning which will take the partnership to the next level. With UNDP's wide network of country offices on the ground and Romania in its current capacity as donor of development cooperation, the partnership will continue to support those that need it the most across the globe.