The Law on Youth (2016), last amended in 2022, “regulates the principles and objectives of youth policies, the areas of state intervention in the field of youth, as well as the requirements for actors of youth policies.”

Published on October 4, 2023
Updated on February 20, 2024

Definition of youth

According to the Law on Youth (2016), youth is defined as "young people, citizens of the Republic of Moldova, aged 14 to 35." Before the Law on Youth was passed in 2016, youth was defined as those between the ages of 16 and 30 years.

Definition 1
14 - 35 years

Source: Law on Youth 2016

Definition 2

Voting Rights

Majority age
18 years
Voting age
18 years
Criminal responsibility
15 years

Candidacy age

Lower House
18 years
Upper House
--- (unicameral)
--- (tbc)

Marriage & Gender

Without parental consent
18 years
18 years
With parental consent
18 years
18 years


Is same-sex marriage legalized?


Are other genders recognised?
compulsory medical diagnosis

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?

The Law on Youth (2016), last amended in 2022, "regulates the principles and objectives of youth policies, the areas of state intervention in the field of youth, as well as the requirements for actors of youth policies."

In 2022, the Ministry of Education and Research released the Youth Sector Development Strategy "Youth 2030". Divided into two progressively implemented programmes, the strategy "proposes an initially vertical integration, followed by a horizontal integration of the youth perspective into the relevant sectoral policies in the second programme." It lists three general objectives:

  1. Increasing the number of young people benefiting from quality youth programmes through capacity building within the sector and professionalisation of human resources;
  2. Increasing civic participation and involvement through training, capacity building and empowerment programmes for young people;
  3. Harnessing the potential of young people to carry out social innovation and community development initiatives through financial and material support instruments.

The strategy is accompanied by an Implementation Programme (draft) for the years 2023-2026, as well as an Action Plan (draft). The formulation of the strategy was informed by and based on the conclusions and recommendations of the final evaluation report of the preceding National Youth Sector Development Strategy 2020.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority that is primarily responsible for youth?

Since an administrative restructuring in 2017, youth has been part of the portfolio of the Ministry of Education and Research (MECC), which absorbed the former Ministry of Youth and Sports. The specific tasks of the MECC concerning youth are outlined in Article 9 of the Law on Youth (2016, last amended 2022).

According to Government Decision No. 146 on the Organisation and Functioning of the Ministry (2021), the ministry has a Youth Directorate which appears to be its primary unit specifically focusing on youth. No further information on the work or mission of the Youth Directorate is available.

Moreover, the National Agency for the Development of Youth Programmes and Activities (ANDPAT), subordinate to the Ministry of Education and Research, was established by Government Decision No. 598 in 2020. According to the ministry's announcement, ANDPAT is responsible for "the implementation of the state's youth policies, ensuring the training and improvement of youth workers and specialists, the development and implementation of youth programmes, services and activities, as well as their monitoring and evaluation."

Youth & Representation

Does the country have a national youth organization or association?

The National Youth Council of Moldova (CNTM) was founded in 1999 and works as an associative structure of 36 youth organisations. It promotes the rights of young people and represents the interests of youth organisations in the process of elaboration, implementation and evaluation of youth policies.

According to its Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2022, the CNTM "aims to increase the number of young people in leadership structures, to involve them in the decision-making process and to form their civic spirit, promoting volunteering and youth participation."

The CNTM has 5 main priorities outlined on its website:

  1. Youth education;
  2. Youth rights and social inclusion;
  3. Development of youth organisations and initiatives;
  4. Youth policies and advocacy activities;
  5. Youth development and economic empowerment;
  6. Climate action and environmental protection.

Youth work

Is youth work a formally recognised profession?

Youth work is defined in Chapter 4 of the Law on Youth (2016) as "a set of actions supporting the multilateral development of young people, organised with their participation, enabling them to be active outside the family and formal education, and contributing to their better social integration."

The law distinguishes between "youth workers" and "youth work specialists":

  1. "A youth worker is a person who carries out different types of activities with young people� without necessarily following a planned and systematic activity. The youth worker may be a youth leader, a volunteer, a person from a youth organisation or from any other organisation."
  2. "A youth work specialist carries out a planned, systematic and professional activity in relation to the young person or the group of young people within an institutionalised service for youth. A youth work specialist is professionally trained in youth work and works within an institution providing services for young people."

The Ministry of Education and Research is implementing a Youth Centres Development Programme 2017-2022 in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The topic of youth work is also covered substantially in the Youth 2030 Strategy.

Budget & Spending

Does the national youth policy have a dedicated budget?

The Implementation Programme 2023-2026 (draft) for the Youth 2030 Strategy (2022) summarises the estimated annual costs for each objective of the strategy. In total, the Implementation Programme estimates a budget of MDL 176.1 million (USD 9.12 million) for the strategy for the years 2023 to 2026.

According to Annex No. 3 of the 2022 State Budget, the Ministry of Education and Research received a budget of MDL 2.78 billion (USD 144.2 million) in 2022, of which MDL 16.1 million (USD 834,000) were allocated to youth.

Contextual Figures

Liberal Democracy Index
Youth Progress Index

Economic Indicators

GDP per capita
Human Development Index
Gini coefficient

Additional background

After the administrative restructuring in 2017, the Ministry of Education and Culture absorbed the former Ministry of Youth and Sports and was renamed Ministry of Education, Culture and Research. In another restructuring in 2021, its name was changed to Ministry of Education and Research; the domain Culture moved to a newly established, separate ministry.

According to the CoE-EU Youth Partnership report "Youth Work in Eastern Europe" (2020):

"Moldova has recently substantially reformed its youth policy and integrated European practices in its legal framework."

"According to the Law on Youth, both central and local authorities are involved in the planning, support and delivery of youth work. However, despite being assigned a leading role in the development of the youth sector, and its clear definition, the local public authorities (LPAs) are severely constrained by the absence of local public administration reform, which is expected to provide methodological and technical assistance, and necessary resources and capacities."

"The evidence base for youth policy mostly comes from civil society actors benefiting from the financial support of international organisations (UN agencies, World Bank and others). Additionally, the government contracts think tanks to evaluate its sectoral strategy."

According to the Youth 2030 Strategy:

"If in 2019 young people aged 14 to 35 years constituted 743,200 or 27.7% of the total population, by the year 2035 it is forecast that the contingent of young people will decrease to 575,500 people and 21.7% of the total population. These changes may increase the vulnerability of young people through low representation in central and local governing bodies, ignoring their interests and needs."

"According to the results of the Labour Force Survey, in relation to current activity status, more than one third of young people aged 15-34 were employed (37.3% or about 244,000 people), i.e. they had a job; about 2.0% (11,000) were unemployed; and the rest, 61.0% (more than 398,000), were economically inactive (people outside the labour force). Among the latter, more than 42.0% were in the national education system."

"According to NBS data, in 2021, every sixth young person aged 15-24 (17.2%); more than a quarter of 15- to 29-year-olds (26.4%); and almost every third person aged 15-34 (30.4%) were neither in education (formal or non-formal) nor in employment. The phenomenon of NEET* youth in the Republic of Moldova is quite pronounced. Increasing by 3% compared to 2020, the rate of NEET youth in the Republic of Moldova is one of the highest in Europe."

*NEET: not in education, employment or training


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