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UNDA Project 1819AE: North Macedonia - Harmonization of RBMPs


The last EPR of North Macedonia recognized the need to strengthen the river basin management. Indeed, at the time, the process was still new. Only two river basin management plans (RBMP) were drafted, for the Vardar and Strumica river basins and none were adopted nor involved a strategic environmental assessment. The creation of river basin management councils (RBMCs) was pending. In addition, the process of how to draw in different stakeholders, the methodology and the funding were still unclear.

North Macedonia is composed of four river basin districts. In the framework of the Law on Waters, water management policy for each region is determined by a RBMP which includes a programme of measures over a period of 6 years. In order to adjust the national legislation with the EU requirement, the RMBP’s content and methodology followed the European Commission regulation. The Law on Waters has been updated to align with the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Since then, the Vardar and Strumica River plans have been developed and the Crni Drim plan is under preparation. The RBMCs for each river basin are required to be established to ensure the participation of all relevant stakeholders. They are responsible for the adoption of the RBMP of their respective area, which is then approved by the Government. However, institutional capacity is lacking, hindering the process of developing harmonized RMBs in line with the WFD.

In this context, UNECE assists North Macedonia in providing a policy paper which analyses the legislative and institutional framework and the current state and projects of the RMBPs. It also assesses the status of harmonization of the Law of Waters with the EU WFD. Recognising the shortcomings and the existing obstacles to develop harmonized RMBPs, specific objectives have been set with guidelines to harmonize them with the different requirements that have to be met regarding the EU WFD. In order to strengthen the administrative capacities for river basin management at the national and local levels, training plans including lists of relevant topics have been designed with both a short- and a long-term horizon. The project also seeks to provide assistance in the process of preparation of the RBMPs for all sub-basins. In this perspective, guidance for public consultation procedures was provided with specific objectives and time frames, including public information, consultation, and involvement of the different actors through meetings or workshops. Finally, it also assists in the process of implementation of proposed programmes of measures.