On March 22, 2023 the Ministry of Environment of North Macedonia presented the final IWRM Action Plan to Ministries, scientific and public institutions as well as NGOs for official validation. The Plan had been prepared with the assistance and facilitation of GWP-Med during an almost 10-month consultation process.
The document is a significant step in the country’s efforts towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6, in line with national priorities. The strong political commitment was evident in the remarks of the Deputy Minister of Environment and Physical Planning Ms. Hristina Odzaklievska during the validation workshop who stated: “With the validation of the IWRM Action plan, which is in accordance with the existing national framework and legislation for the management of water resources, we are accelerating the development of the national strategies and the general climate action as well as realization of the Sustainable development goal 6 in the country”.
North Macedonia’s journey to achieve SDG 6 and the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme
North Macedonia is committed to meeting all SDGs and responding to the different indicators, including the obligation to draft an Integrated Water Resources Management Action Plan, as a first step towards the achievement of SDG 6 and water resources management under SDG 6.5.1.
To this end, and with support from the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning commenced the process by identifying the key institutional, legislative and technical challenges relating to water resources management. A government-led multi-stakeholder consultation process took place in the period 2022-2023, with the facilitation of GWP-Med, in order to formulate and prioritise the appropriate responses to tackle these challenges. Indicatively, some of the involved stakeholders included the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, as well as Hydrometeorological, Hydrobiological and Public health Institutes, to name a few.
Starting already in February 2022, a Task Force was set-up with the responsibility to develop the draft Action plan. Through a series of Task Force meetings and wider multi-stakeholder workshops, the IWRM Plan was prepared in an inclusive and consultative manner, involving discussions with different actors during meetings as well as written input and feedback. All input has been considered and incorporated in the final document.
In a ceremonial manner, the IWRM Action plan was validated in March 2023, on World Water Day, by the institutions, organisations and actors that actively engaged in the consultation process, while the final formalisation has been undertaken by the Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning. The value of the SDG IWRM Support Programme and the role of GWP-Med in this process have been well acknowledged, including by the Deputy Minister of Environment and Physical Planning Ms. Hristina Odzaklievska during her closing statement.
The next phase in North Macedonia’s journey towards integrated water resources management will be the preparation for the final stage of the SDG Acceleration package which involves the implementation of priority solutions aiming at achieving SDG 6.