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Article July 19th, 2022
Cities • International Development • Innovation

Can urban waste management be reimagined? The journey of Călărași, Moldova

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💡Can urban waste management be reimagined? @akapysheva & @ValCroJr explore how Călărași is engaging the community to create solutions to the town's waste management problem.

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🏙️ Towns and cities must embrace complexity-informed approaches if they are to develop effective solutions to local challenges and create places that are future-ready. Read about the journey of Călărași, Moldova.

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Explore how @CPI_foundation & @UNDPEurasia are supporting 🏙️cities and 🌃towns like Călărași, Moldova, to develop solutions to pressing local challenges through the Urban Imaginaries programme.

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The Călărași town calmly lies along the banks of the river Bic in the region of the miraculous Moldovan hills of Codru. But not everything is that miraculous, calm, and green. Like many other towns, the town has a waste management problem. What is exciting is that they decided to tackle it in a new way and engage the entire community around it.

“The problem of waste management is relevant for the whole community. Citizens – children and adults, public institutions, companies – everyone is affected. This is a common problem and now we want the engagement of our community to make a contribution and transform the way we live”

- Lilia Rata, Investment Specialist at the City Hall of Călărași

So how are they going to do it?

The spring of 2022 brought a new way of thinking in Călărași public administration. The municipality boldly embarked on a journey to embrace the future and use complexity-informed approaches to start solving local issues. The new way is called Urban Imaginaries, a new pro-gramme within the EU-funded Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) initiative delivered by UNDP and the Centre for Public Impact. The programme introduces human-centred design and sensemaking, which can be major catalysts for change because they allow citizens’ voices to be heard and solutions for urban transformation to be co-created. The municipality teams are encouraged to start their journey by selecting a problem they want to focus on, then to reimagine public spaces, and how to engage citizens in the process. The municipality teams are encouraged to experiment and are supported financially to design and demonstrate their solutions with a 60,000 EUR seed fund.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to develop new capabilities that will enhance the human factor and communication with our citizens. Every idea has a beginning, and this project teaches us how solutions to a problem can turn into unique and sustainable ideas for our community and be an example for other communities. "

- Olari Ion, Mayor of the Town of Călărași

Read the full article on the UNDP M4EG website.

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Explore how Călărași, Moldova, has been reimagining its waste management services as part of the Urban Imaginaries programme. 

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Written by:

Aizhan Kapysheva Head of Solutions Mapping, UNDP Accelerator Lab
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Valentin Croitoru RM Project Coordinator Mayors for Economic Growth Facility, United Nations Development Programme
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