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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

FY 2007 SEED Act Implementation Report


Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
FY 2007 U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Central and Eastern Europe
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Country Overview

U.S. FOREIGN POLICY AND FOREIGN ASSISTANCE OBJECTIVES & PRIORITIES

Romania, the largest European Union (EU) country in Southeast Europe, with a well-educated population and substantial natural resources, is a key strategic ally for America in the region and in global affairs. Even before joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Romania was an active partner in Balkan peacekeeping and since then has developed “niche” military capabilities within the Alliance. The bilateral strategic partnership with the U.S. is a model, with Romanian soldiers continuing to serve together with American troops in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The continued healthy growth of the Romanian economy and the increasing democratization of its governance will enable Romania to assume a significant role in the stability of the Black Sea Region. During FY 2007 the U.S. was Romania’s sixth largest foreign investor, but there is still considerable room for growth in the economic and trade relationship. Romania entered the European Union on January 1, 2007, becoming the seventh largest member state, with 35 representatives in the European Parliament. Romania has made considerable strides harmonizing its legal framework to be compatible with EU legislation, but effective implementation remains an issue.

In FY 2007 USG assistance addressed the basic issues needed to support Romania’s continued democratic and economic transition. These programs facilitated Romania’s entry into the EU. United States government (USG) security assistance focused on transforming Romania’s armed forces to better support coalition operations through enhanced expeditionary capabilities and increasing professionalism of the officer and noncommissioned officer corps. USG security assistance also focused on Romania’s law enforcement agencies in areas such as trafficking in persons and cyber crime. These programs contributed to the growth of regional institutions and security. During the year, further assistance was given to prepare Romania in the event of additional Avian Influenza outbreaks or the onset of pandemic influenza.

During FY 2007 improvements gained through assistance programming were consolidated so that reforms made to date are sustainable in key priority areas including reproductive health, child welfare, private sector growth, the rule of law, democratic participation, and the role of civil society. FY 2007 represents the last year of large-scale USG development assistance in Romania, and provides an opportunity to reflect upon several of the key resulting in part from that support since 1990. These achievements include: the improved quality of services and standards in the child welfare system; the role of NGOs as service providers in child welfare now serving as a model for other sectors; the decrease in the number of children in orphanages from 170,000 in 1990 to 26,000 in 2007; the dramatic decrease in the rate of abortion from 1,099 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 685 per 1,000 live births in 2006 with the declining trend continuing; the creation of the National Family Planning Program which is serving as a model for the region; the decrease in the time needed to register a business from over 100 days to three; the creation of mortgage lending; the linking of rural communities through Information Technology (IT); the improvement of competitiveness and ability to find new markets in agribusiness; improved access to credit including the acceptance of cash flow-based lending; improved environmental protection; reform in the energy sector; strengthened advocacy non-government organizations (NGOs); strengthened independent media; strengthened and more transparent local government; and, a more modern and transparent judicial system.

OPERATING ENVIRONMENT

Although Romania's economy is in its seventh consecutive year of rapid expansion, it still lags behind other recent EU entrants in some respects. Lingering concerns about the stability of the investment climate, weakness in public administration and the judiciary, and pervasive corruption remain obstacles to Romania's economic and political maturation. Romanian efforts to make needed structural reforms and attract more foreign direct investment have been hampered by domestic political instability. Improving Romania's business climate and competitiveness will not only lead to more sustainable growth but will contribute to America's prosperity by increasing U.S. trade and investment. The USG intends to continue to advocate strongly for the interests of U.S. firms and investors. Supporting Romania's role in securing a more reliable energy supply to Europe is a high priority.

FY 2007 Country Program Performance

PEACE AND SECURITY

Romania’s continued commitment to support coalition operations and its strategic location in the Black Sea region and in the Balkans make it a vital U.S. ally. Romania is an active partner for stability in the Balkans, with troops serving in Kosovo and Bosnia. It plays a key role in the War on Terror with troops serving side-by-side with U.S. forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan. In August 2007, the U.S. and Romania successfully conducted the Proof of Principle Demonstration establishing Joint Task Force-East. For the first time, the U.S. will have a small, permanently assigned cadre of personnel stationed in Romania to conduct training and help strengthen relationships between the United States and its Eastern European allies. Romanian military facilities will be jointly used by U.S., Romanian, and allied forces to better confront 21st century security challenges and provide enhanced training opportunities in the Black Sea region.

Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform - The USG helped to restructure and modernize Romania’s military so that it can contribute more effectively to NATO’s evolving missions. The USG assisted the Government of Romania (GOR) to improve cooperation with neighboring states, particularly those along NATO’s new frontier to the north and east. Improved cooperation worked to resolve outstanding disputes and led to increased success against cross-border criminal activity.

USG military assistance included partial funding and advising senior Ministry of Defense officials regarding the purchase and upgrading of five C-130 aircraft, improved surveillance and secure communications in the Black Sea region, the running of a simulation center to reinforce U.S. and NATO doctrine prior to troop deployments, and the purchase of critical equipment and training to support the deployment of Romanian troops with American and NATO forces. The USG continued to develop Romania’s niche capability by providing anti-terrorism training to improve Special Forces and intelligence capabilities. To enhance the professionalism of Romania’s officer and non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps, the USG supported the Romanian NCO Academy, and funded the attendance of 230 officers and NCOs at U.S. military educational and training institutions.

Due in large measure to USG military financing assistance, Romania continued to make significant strides in transforming its military and developing an expeditionary capability to directly support the U.S. in the GWOT. Romania owns a fleet of five C‑130 aircraft and can deploy and support its own forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Through USG programs, Romania developed its special forces and intelligence niche capabilities. The USG supported the training and equipping of approximately 2,000 Romanian troops currently deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo. With the assistance of the USG, Romania enhanced its capability to monitor the Black Sea region and securely share information with the U.S., significantly improving U.S. knowledge of events in Southeastern Europe.

The USG’s goals for the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center, and the Southeastern Europe Prosecutor’s Advisory Group (SEEPAG) in 2007 were the continued promotion and strengthening of both organizations as viable and self-sustaining regional law enforcement/prosecutorial institutions uniquely suited to the coordinated targeting of Balkan, trans-border organized crime, and establishing a permanent USG law enforcement presence at the SECI Center to support both institutions in furtherance of the USG’s overall assistance in the development of Romanian law enforcement and judicial systems. For a more detailed description of USG support to SECI and SEEPAG, please see the Europe Regional assistance section.

Transnational Crime - The USG assisted Romanian agencies as they drafted and implemented new criminal procedures. Assistance supported improved pre-trial services and increased victims’ access to the courts. Donations of U.S. equipment increased the capacity of local task forces to conduct undercover investigations. The USG promoted institutional development to encourage the cooperation of Trafficking In Persons (TIP) victims with the criminal justice system. USG assistance also facilitated the creation of a criminal procedure working group to identify best practices and advise Romanian officials on proposed amendments to the criminal code. A USG-funded alternate dispute resolution program assisted the overburdened court system by providing an accepted legal alternative.

The USG provided training in organized crime investigation, computer forensics, public corruption, forensic chemistry, cyber crime, case management, and undercover operations. Four specialized courses in the use of forensic software were supported during the year. The National Police have made it a priority to provide leadership and management training to the new generation of law enforcement managers. In support of this, the USG funded a training needs assessment and provided senior managers with the findings. Romania sent 24 officers to International Law Enforcement Academies and 3 officers to the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Romania remains on the U.S. watch list for intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements. A USG program supported seminars in Romania on cyber crime that incorporated instruction on IPR occurring over the internet. The USG also promoted the creation of a specialized unit to prosecute IPR offenses and further cooperation between governmental and non-governmental institutions involved in IPR enforcement.

Policy-making on TIP shifted from an Inter-Ministerial Group to a new National Anti-Trafficking Agency. USG-provided advisors worked with the new agency to incorporate new victims’ programs into the national strategy. The USG donated video testimony equipment to courts of appeal to assist in prosecuting TIP cases and other cases with vulnerable victims.

The USG anti-corruption strategy dovetailed with the initiatives of the Romanian government. The USG donated equipment to the National Anti-Corruption Department that brought it up to standards similar to those of U.S. task forces. These donations resulted in the creation of a sustainable technical support service to assist in undercover investigations of public corruption. This service is being expanded to include a series of territorial offices and has resulted in significant investigations of bribery by local officials and judicial officers. The USG also facilitated and improved the bi-lateral relationship between the Romanian and U.S. financial intelligence units (FIU). It continued to increase the profile of the FIU among Romanian institutions and supported the adoption of legislation expanding the FIU’s jurisdiction over non-financial institutions.

Statistics from the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police reveal that 166 cyber crime cases were investigated jointly by Romanian and USG authorities in 2006. In 2007, that number increased to 297. The General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, under which the cyber unit is organized, advised that 90% of internet fraud cases investigated by the police involve American businesses or individuals. USG-GOR inter-governmental law enforcement cooperation continued at a very high level in FY 2007. This is especially true in the counter narcotics portfolio. During the reporting year the Drug Enforcement Administration was able to successfully conclude arrest plans for two high profile cases due to the excellent relations they maintain with Romanian counterparts – relationships that have been facilitated by training interactions.

GOVERNING JUSTLY AND DEMOCRATICALLY

Seventeen years after communism, Romania’s embrace of democratic practices remains uneven, with the role of civil society, minorities, and a free media in flux. With Romania’s graduation from large scale development funding, assistance during FY 2007 focused on strengthening the following main areas: Rule of Law and Human Rights, Good Governance, Political Competition and Consensus Building, and Civil Society. Program objectives included support for citizens to better advocate with the government for their interests, and to select NGOs to consolidate civil society; promote civic awareness, political involvement, tolerance, and community responsibility, including exchange programs to improve the understanding of the Holocaust in Romania through educational initiatives promoted by USG “American Corners”; monitoring of the implementation of the controversial new religion law to ensure that minority religions are respected and not disadvantaged with respect to property restitution and other legal privileges accorded to the dominant religions in Romania; and improving the quality of the press, including investigative and political reporting.

USG assistance in FY 2007 built on successful projects in advocacy and citizen participation, judicial reform, and media education, and completed assistance for decentralization and political party and parliamentary strengthening. The USG provided assistance to public policy and watchdog organizations in Romania. Programs helped NGOs strengthen their sustainability, improve their advocacy and outreach capacity, and establish partnerships with private groups and the Government of Romania (GOR). They also helped intermediary support organizations expand and provide new programs and services to their member NGOs.

USG assistance helped develop models of handling family cases in Romanian courts and provided recommendations to the GOR for long-term policy and institutional reforms. It continued to fund a major Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program designed to help streamline the Romanian legal system. The program has resulted in the adoption of new legislation on mediation and the creation of a National Council on Mediation to promote its use in Romania.

To promote media freedom and independence, USG assistance promoted media monitoring and professional ethics, investigative journalism, modern broadcast management, and the economic independence of the media. It also provided professional training in the U.S. to up-and-coming journalists.

The USG funded 55 grants to public policy NGOs, 49 of these were to develop 60 projects addressing issues such as the accountability of local and national politicians, citizen participation in local decisions, fund raising, media responsibility, social and health reforms, combating domestic violence, the rights of mentally disabled people, access of Roma to education, corporate social responsibility, and community resource mobilization. The 49 organizations partnered with an additional 148 NGOs. They developed 10 advocacy coalitions with 335 member organizations and 14 partnerships with 87 members. The USG brought American speakers to Romania to discuss ideas for handling issues of diversity and tolerance in meetings with Romanian educators and education officials.

The USG continued to promote the teaching of civic education, as teachers trained by the USG in previous years extended training into the elementary schools and published additional training materials for teachers. U.S. support permitted civics education trainers to conduct regional conferences and promote student government projects in high schools. In addition, assistance made possible the expansion of debate clubs in schools. U.S. experts on civics education teaching came to Romania to work with Romanian counterparts with the support of Support for East European Democracy (SEED) speaker funds. Support for civic education culminated in a decision by the Ministry of Education to make civics education a curriculum requirement for the 11th grade, ensuring that students will be trained in the practice of basic democratic principles before they graduate.

To improve media freedom and encourage media responsibility and independence, the USG funded a large media monitoring project designed to encourage accurate reporting. USG assistance also supported projects to improve the skills of journalists and media managers that trained more than 150 journalists from around the country.

The USG helped public policy NGOs and coalitions strengthen local constituencies, engage in advocacy and public policy development, and monitor the transparency and accountability of local and central authorities. Achievements include: the development of new types of services and approaches, such as the first palliative care units in public hospitals, community foundations, and local budgeting for social services based on need; the development of draft laws for palliative care and guarantee funding for local authorities; proposing amendments to existing legislation regarding allocation of public funds for nonprofits and transparency of decision-making; increasing access to new funding sources such as the European Social Fund; and the establishment of FOND, an umbrella organization of 34 NGOs which will work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Official Development Assistance Program. The USG also helped establish the legacy organization, Partners for Democracy and Development, whose mission is to continue to strengthen civil society and enhance participatory democracy.

All of these activities resulted in increased citizen participation in local decisions and improved the responsiveness and transparency of local and national politicians. By helping civil society become more financially and organizationally independent and mobilize local and national support, USG assistance contributed to the increased self-sustainability of civil society, a fundamental component of any democracy. Promotion of independent media in Romania remained a key USG goal. USG assistance programs also pressed to increase ways in which Romanian youth could be more actively involved in civic life and helped improve Romanian family courts.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

Private Sector Competitiveness - USG programs supported improvements in the legal and regulatory environment leading to increased competitiveness of small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly in the information technology and tourism sectors. This assistance also sought to expand SMEs’ access to credit, reform the pension system, increase agriculture productivity, energy efficiency, and environmental safeguards.

USG assistance continued to improve laws and regulations that govern the small business sector: the Fiscal Code, the Labor Code, the Company Law, the Enterprise Registration Law, the Non-Banking Financial Institutions Law, the Employer’s Law, etc. USG assistance resulted in the creation of an important legacy in Romania, a highly proficient, self-sustainable microfinance institution, Express Finance, which has an outstanding portfolio of $10.8 million and an impressive geographic reach, managing 17 branch offices in 25 counties. To improve competitiveness, USG programs assisted 700 new tourism companies and helped them access over $1.5 million in credit used to expand operations. In information technology, the program trained and certified over 200 individuals and helped the GOR to develop a branding initiative for the Information Technology and Communication (ITC) sector. The campaign helped raise international awareness on the quality of the Romanian ITC industry.

USG assistance helped the Private Pension Supervision Commission finalize regulations and norms on investment management, collection of contributions, licensing and related topics and provided on-the-job training for 25 staff of the new private pension commission. A U.S.-based study tour for the commission staff increased their supervisory capacity and improved best practices in asset management, corporate governance, and reporting to market authorities.

USG programs helped improve the business environment in the areas of fiscal reform, corporate governance, labor reform, licensing, access to finance, starting a business, and micro-lending activities. The reform has saved small businesses over $150 million in taxes in 2007. A micro-lending program disbursed loans of over $24 million and created or sustained more than 11,000 jobs, bringing the total value of micro-loans disbursed since program inception to $95 million and the jobs created and sustained to over 82,000. A tourism activity assisted rural pensions to improve services and helped in the creation of a wide variety of cultural tourism products. The assistance helped ensure an 18% increase of the tourism occupancy rate in rural areas. USG assistance brought together the National Tourism Authority with the National Geographic Society to sign a Geo-Tourism Charter for Romania. The National Geographic Society, with a grant from USG, has also published a Traveller Guide for Romania to promote tourism.

Agriculture - U.S. agricultural consultants trained agribusiness owners and employees in the wine, honey, tourism, and processed meat industries to improve the quality of their products and increase their ability to access EU development funds. USG assistance promoted biotechnology for the sustainable development of agriculture and provided advisors and training for the GOR institutions monitoring avian influenza to improve their ability to control outbreaks.

USG programs in agriculture sponsored 15 wineries on five marketing trips to Western Europe and Russia, and trained 164 beekeepers, of which 120 were certified as organic producers. USG assistance helped five international agribusinesses analyze Romanian investment opportunities that led to new or increased investments, and trained 580 agribusiness staff to improve production quality and comply with EU standards and regulations. In tourism, USG assistance helped 445 Romanian tourism professionals improve their rural tourism services. These programs led to the development of 21 new tourism packages sold on international and domestic markets.

U.S. advisors worked with the Romanian National Authority for Sanitary, Veterinary, and Food Safety to develop food safety regulations and practices that meet EU requirements, to reform its management structure, and to improve the monitoring of the sanitary and veterinary practices in order to be better prepared to react to disease outbreaks. Also, specialized training was delivered to the poultry industry to prepare them in fighting Avian Influenza.

As a result of direct USG agribusiness assistance, partners increased sales by $18.3 million and invested an additional $11.03 million in upgrading and expanding their operations. USG programs also helped agribusinesses with the development of financial packages for EU funding in the amount of $12.5 million of new farm equipment, beekeeping operations, rural tourism businesses, food processing equipment, and many others. Five Romanian companies received Food Safety Inspection Service clearances to export to the U.S. as a result of USG assistance.

Energy - USG funding supported further reforms in the energy industry and implementation of a social safety net to ameliorate the impact of rapidly rising energy prices on the poor. Assistance also increased Romania’s energy competitiveness and capacity to play an important role in the regional energy market.

During FY 2007 four workshops were organized in which 120 stakeholders from the energy sector discussed measures to increase energy efficiency in municipalities and reduce the impact of rising energy prices on low-income populations. Important actions resulting from the workshops have been taken into account by the GOR when developing its energy and rural development strategies. Additionally, the USG funded energy program continued to support sector legislative reform by contributing to the amendment of an important law on the rehabilitation of building heating systems, approved by the Parliament in 2007.

Environment - The USG continued its support to the Ministry of Environment and Water Management and other responsible authorities to improve their capacity and attract investment needed to manage water resources and water disasters, particularly floods. The best practices and lessons learned during the implementation of pollution prevention and environmental management systems in small industrial plants and local water utilities were disseminated country-wide.

The GOR, with USG environmental assistance, finalized a Flood Intervention Plan template that will enable local authorities to access and assemble information for flood management via the Internet. This assistance also provided ongoing flood management technical advisory services and supplied emergency flood response to the Ministry of Environment and Water Management. USG environmental assistance resulted in the development of financing strategies that attracted $136 million to rehabilitate water infrastructure in six micro regions in Bihor County. Also with USG support, the Romanian government began implementation of the integrated water management project. This project will take five years to implement and will cost $180 million in total.

Macroeconomic Reform - USG assistance also resulted in the launch of the private pension system in Romania. To date, the assisted regulator authorized seven pension funds, six administrators, four depositary companies, four auditors and 48 marketing agents for the voluntary private pension system, and 18 pension funds for the mandatory private pension system.


INVESTING IN PEOPLE

In FY 2007 USG funding in this area focused on cementing the gains achieved in 17 years of assistance in both health and social services for vulnerable children. Health programs helped increase the use of modern family planning methods, enhanced prenatal and postnatal care, combated discrimination towards people living with HIV/AIDS, and supported family planning NGOs to become self-sustaining after USG assistance ends. USG funding provided for efficient and comprehensive reproductive health services in primary health clinics, and continued to support the use of modern family planning methods. The USG further assisted the Ministry of Public Health to develop and adapt streamlined protocols for general practitioners on preventive care services and treatment of chronic diseases.

Romania’s unique HIV/AIDS profile, with an unusually high number of children infected in the late 1980s and early 1990s, required creative interventions. To address this environment, the USG funded major awareness campaigns and education programs in partnership with the National Union of People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNOPA) to reduce HIV/AIDS transmission and fight discrimination and stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS. The Global Development Alliance formed by the USG together with the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Education continued to provide support to raise awareness and change attitudes about HIV/AIDS and family violence. The Romanian Orthodox Church, with its unique capability to reach remote places, proved a key partner in this work.

USG assistance in child welfare focused on sustaining NGOs as child welfare service providers and on the continued reform of the child welfare system. U.S. advisors worked with the GOR and county governments to develop legislation for contracting child welfare services and to identify alternative funding streams to continue child welfare services and aid to children and adults with disabilities. Training activities targeted NGO sustainability and identification of alternative funding such as marketing of social services, increasing constituencies, and fundraising. United Way Romania continued to receive USG support in developing its strategic planning and increasing its sponsorship role for NGOs working in the social sector. The Special Olympics movement became a model of growth for the region. It developed more local roots with events organized in partnership with local authorities and increased funding from local businesses.

In FY 2007 USG-funded partners trained 183 family doctors in family planning, bringing the total number of family practitioners trained to provide family planning services to 5,300 since USG assistance began in 2001. SEED-funded training in prenatal care was provided to 3,000 general practitioners, while 820 nurses from maternity hospitals were trained to provide family planning information on modern methods of contraception to women having an abortion or giving birth to further decrease the abortion rate and support birth spacing messages for the health of mothers and children. Another 111 family doctors participated in workshops on Roma cultural diversity and learned how to better respond to the health needs of disadvantaged groups. USG funded workshops on contraception were attended by 2,700 nurses and auxiliary staff from maternity hospitals. The USG supported the development of the national management logistic information system, InterCon, implemented country-wide, which allows the Ministry of Public Health to forecast the need for free contraceptives.

In 2007 800 priests and 500 religion teachers were trained in HIV/AIDS, family violence and community development issues. Throughout the project more than 2,200 people within the Romanian Orthodox Church were trained and began to educate their communities about HIV/AIDS and family violence and eliminate the stigma and isolation faced by those whose lives are impacted by these issues. More than 50,000 informational brochures on HIV and family violence were distributed in communities and in schools. Eighteen youth initiative clubs continued their youth-to-youth educational activities, leading to more than 17,000 people benefiting from various service projects organized by students.

USG assistance worked to develop a legislative-rooted system for the contracting child welfare services with NGOs. The draft legislation and methodological norms were piloted in five of Romania’s 41 counties. The Ministry of Labor, Family and Equal Opportunities that oversees all the social welfare services is in the process of adapting the norms to fit all social services. USG assistance also helped in drafting the procedures and methodology for case managers working with children in the child welfare system.

With USG support, Special Olympics Romania implemented its activities throughout the country by training coaches and volunteers and organizing family forums. During the three-year program Special Olympics Romania worked with over 24,000 athletes, 6,000 in FY 2007 alone, in programs that were implemented country-wide. In addition, training programs were developed for coaches, volunteers and athletes’ family members. The organization gained national and international recognition for its successful activities. Ioana Ciobanu, a Romanian Special Olympics athlete, is one of the two European Global Messengers for Special Olympics. In 2007 Special Olympics Romania became a well-recognized brand. The positive publicity around the Special Olympics program in Romania gained it the credibility and visibility needed to attract the domestic sponsorship that contributes to its sustainability. Strategic partnerships signed by Special Olympics Romania with Romanian institutions and businesses will ensure the sustainability and the continuation of this movement in Romania.

Romania’s women’s healthcare and child welfare systems continued to improve, due also to USG assistance. The GOR has steadily increased its commitment to reproductive healthcare by allocating a 20 fold budgetary increase, from $100,000 in 2001 to more than $2 million in 2007, for the national family planning program.

As a result of USG assistance, the family planning program is well integrated within the national programs funded by the Ministry of Public Health. Family planning services are integrated at the primary healthcare level, covering more than 80% of the country. Due in part to the contribution of USG funded family planning programs, the abortion rate in Romania decreased from 735.8/1,000 live-births in 2005 to 685/1,000 in 2006, the infant mortality rate dropped form 15/1,000 live-births in 2005 to 13.9/1,000 in 2006, the maternal mortality rate decreased as well, from 0.17/1,000 live-births in 2005 to 0.15/1,000 in 2006. More than 90,000 women were reached in the last year with information regarding modern methods of contraception and the availability of the family planning services country-wide.

Child welfare’s visibility on the political agenda decreased with Romania’s accession to the EU and the official declarations of success in child welfare reform. However, Romanian and international media continued to present cases of child abuse and neglect, mostly in families. The number of children in Romanian institutions decreased to 26,000 in 2006 and variations are much smaller compared to previous years.

The GOR continued to invest in closing down the remaining large institutions. In 2007 there were 18 institutions each housing over 100 children, down from 26 in 2006. The number of children in foster care continued to increase, from 19,300 in October 2006, to 20,039 in July 2007, especially after the passing of legislation that banned the placing of children under two years of age in residential institutions.

More than 90% of the services created with USG assistance are sustainable, continuing to provide children and families at risk of separation with alternatives to institutionalization. Many of these services have been taken over by the state. Others, run by NGOs, receive local funding. The system of contracting social services, developed with USG assistance enabled NGOs to provide their services on behalf of local and county councils. Five out of 41 counties signed agreements and started pilot contracts by the end of 2006.

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

In 2007 USG funded humanitarian assistance focused on two areas: Protection, Assistance and Solution, and Disaster Readiness. The USG funding sought to ease the suffering of people displaced by the floods that occurred in the spring of 2006, while it helped Romanian central and local authorities strengthen the capacity to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

With USG support, winterization activities were conducted to improve living conditions of displaced people in Dolj and Calarasi counties, and to provide adequate shelter during the cold season. Construction materials, winter clothing, footwear and blankets were distributed to displaced populations in the two counties. Additionally, monthly food items were distributed to supplement the winter food supply and to allow the displaced families to dedicate more time to construction activities.

A total of 430 families from Spantov and Rast received construction materials and stoves, enabling them to live in decent conditions during the winter of 2007. About 3,000 displaced people from the same villages received food items (rice, sugar, oil, pasta, canned meat, margarine, flour, etc), as well as winter clothing, shoes, and blankets.

The USG continued to provide technical assistance to the GOR to increase its response capacity in case of an avian influenza or human influenza pandemic. Thus, 500 health professionals, including field epidemiologists, microbiologists, infectious disease specialists, family doctors and emergency units were trained on surveillance, prevention, and case management of avian and human influenza. An information campaign for the 2007/2008 influenza season was designed. The campaign focused on preventing the spread of respiratory infectious diseases including avian and potential pandemic influenza. Additionally, 27,500 stickers, 80,000 brochures and 35,000 thermometer cards that can be pressed against the forehead to check for fever and carrying messages on how to prevent the spread of influenza and to respect basic hygiene methods were distributed to family doctors, schools and mayors’ offices. The donation of laboratory equipment and of 2,250 personal protective equipment kits to four public health institutes complemented the technical assistance.

On August 15, 2006 USG-funded technical assistance began to the Romanian government, academic and private sector organizations to improve the Government of Romania’s rapid response capabilities in the case of a large outbreak of avian influenza, and to improve poultry industry compliance with international bio-security and food safety measures.

During the period January through July 2007 U.S. experts delivered customized training to 75 veterinarians and managers from local veterinary facilities, as well as from the Romanian Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) headquarters office in Bucharest on planning and response to avian influenza outbreaks. Exchange programs between a U.S. and Romanian university in Bucharest were created to focus on developing curricula to train laboratory technicians on poultry bio-security measures. With USG assistance, Romanian authorities initiated the development of an animal diagnostic and testing laboratory training center to provide continuing professional education for laboratory technicians, veterinarians, and supervisors. A total of 2,250 personal protective equipment kits were donated to ANSVSA to be distributed to their local branches. Additionally, equipment was donated to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

This program has fundamentally changed how the GOR and regional and local personnel will plan for and implement projects for Avian Influenza prevention and response. The project facilitated communication among veterinarians and other personnel across the country and enabled them to collaborate on projects reacting to similar problems, thus establishing a single set of standards for response. It also provided ANSVSA staff with the knowledge and skills needed to develop internal projects using international standards, and it opened new channels of communication concerning animal disease prevention and response among personnel in ANSVSA across Romania. This program spurred the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to develop a new curriculum and training laboratory to meet the needs of the commercial poultry industry, food processing companies and private veterinary labs associated with pharmacological companies. The Romanian commercial poultry association has committed to support the training laboratory.

FY 2007 Measures of Country Performance

The following data are based on the Monitoring Country Progress in Europe and Eurasia system developed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to measure and track progress in the region. The system uses four different indices to monitor progress, drawing on readily available standardized country-level data on economic reform, economic structure and performance, democratic reform, and human capital. The primary data sources are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Freedom House. The data for each of the four indices are converted and standardized to a 1-to-5 scale, with a “5” representing the best performance of the Eastern Europe and Eurasia region, and a “1 the least advancement of the region.

Romania’s Democratic Reform* Scores in 2006 compared to Romania and Bulgaria in 2002

Date: 01/01/2008 Description: The graph to the left shows Romanias democratic reform scores in 2006* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romanias and Bulgarias democratic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership. State Dept PhotoThe graph to the left shows Romania’s democratic reform scores in 2006* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s democratic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership.

*Actual 2007 scores not yet available


Romania’s Democratic Reform Scores in 2006 compared to its Reform Scores in 1999

Date: 01/01/2008 Description: The graph to the left Romanias democratic reform scores in 2006* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line). State Dept PhotoThe graph to the left Romania’s democratic reform scores in 2006* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line).

*Actual 2007 scores not yet available

* Democratic reforms include the electoral process (the extent to which elections are free, fair and competitive), civil society (primarily NGO development), the independence of media, public governance and administration, rule of law (primarily judicial reform) and the scope of corruption as well as anti-corruption income.

Romania’s 1st Stage Economic Reform* 2007 Scores Compared to Bulgaria and Romania in 2002

Date: 01/01/2008 Description: The graph to the left shows Romanias stage one economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romanias and Bulgarias economic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership. State Dept PhotoThe graph to the left shows Romania’s stage one economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s economic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership.


Romania’s 1st Stage Economic Reform 2007 Scores Compared to its Scores in 1999

Date: 01/01/2008 Description: The graph to the left shows Romanias stage one economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line). State Dept PhotoThe graph to the left shows Romania’s stage one economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line).


Romania’s 2nd Stage Economic Reform 2007 Scores Compared to Bulgaria and Romania in 2002

Date: 01/01/2008 Description: The graph to the left shows Romanias stage two economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romanias and Bulgarias economic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership. State Dept PhotoThe graph to the left shows Romania’s stage two economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to the average of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s economic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership.

Romania’s 2nd Stage Economic Reform 2007 Scores Compared to its Scores in 1999

Date: 01/01/2008 Description: The graph to the left shows Romanias stage two economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line). State Dept PhotoThe graph to the left shows Romania’s stage two economic reform scores in 2007* (the grey shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line).

* Economic reforms include “first stage” reforms of privatization, stabilization, and liberalization (domestic price liberalization and trade liberalization), and “second stage” reforms in the financial sector, infrastructure (physical and energy), corporate governance and competition policy.

Romania’s Progress on the USAID Country Progress Indices between 1998 and 2007

Date: 01/01/2008 Description: Romanias Progress on the USAID Country Progress Indices between 1998 and 2007. State Dept Photo

(1) Economic reforms index include “first stage” reforms of privatization, stabilization, and liberalization (domestic price liberalization and trade liberalization), and second stage reforms in the financial sector, infrastructure (physical and energy), corporate governance and competition policy.

(2) The economic structure and performance index tracks indicators such as the size of the private sector as % of GDP, export share of GDP, and the size of the small and medium enterprise sector as % of GDP, economic growth, inflation, debt, and foreign direct investment.

(3) The Democratic reforms index include the electoral process (the extent to which elections are free, fair, and competitive), civil society (primarily NGO development), the independence of media, public governance and administration, rule of law (primarily judicial reform), and the scope of corruption as well as anti-corruption efforts.

(4) USAID tracks progress on the Human capital index by analyzing trends in health (life expectancy, under five mortality rates, and public expenditures on health), education (secondary school enrollment rates and public expenditures on education) and per capita income.



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