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This report was written to form part of an Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief for Macedonia written by Sida’s Environmental Economics helpdesk at the University of Gothenburg. These policy briefs are used by Sida to inform their country assistance programmes. In the case of Macedonia there was a specific focus in the brief on implications for Macedonia’s accession to the EU.

Current Climate and Hazards

Due to its mountainous nature Macedonia has a varied climate that ranges from sub-Mediterranean to Alpine. Macedonia is not badly affected by climatic disasters, but current hazards include droughts and floods [1]. Temperatures have been observed to be increasing in Macedonia, in particular in the sub-Mediterranean climatic region, with increases of 0.7C since 1960 at Valandovo in the SW of the country. Precipitation totals for the period 1970-2000 are lower than those for 1960-1990, and this decrease is particularly marked at stations in the Alpine and sub-Alpine regions. [2]


Projections from the IPCC show that average annual temperatures in southern Europe will warm by 2.2-5.1C for the 2081-2100 and results interpolated from global models to Macedonia indicate warming of 1.6-2.1°C by 2050 and 2.7-5.4°C by 2100. [3] The greatest changes are projected for the alpine and sub-alpine regions of the country and for the summer season. [4] Results for precipitation change have more certainty than in many countries as climate models show good agreement that there will be a decrease in precipitation in the Mediterranean basin. Decreases for Macedonia are estimated to be -2 to -7% by 2050 and -5 to -21% by 2100. Heat-waves and droughts are likely to become more frequent, and the return period for extreme precipitation events will decrease.

Additional regional climate modelling and/or statistical downscaling is needed to further explore local changes within Macedonia, as it can be expected that the complex orography of the country will lead to significant local modifications to national average changes.


The temperature increase will increase evapo-transpiration, which will amplify the effects of decreased precipitation and lead to reduced water availability. Run-off could decrease by up to 25% in some areas by 2100 with the east of the country likely to experience greater water stress than the west. [6] There is a large information gap on monitoring water resources, with no soil or groundwater monitoring currently in place, and this will need to be addressed. A decrease in the amount and duration of snow-cover, and earlier snow-melt will also affect the hydrological regime in the country.

Reduced precipitation, more frequent summer drought, increased salinization and soil erosion are likely to reduce yields of crops such as wheat, alfalfa, apples and grapes, the cost of which is estimated at €30m by 2025 and €40m by 2100. Mortality from cold spells during the winter will decrease, but this is likely to be countered by a larger increase in mortality due to heat-waves in the summer months. Heat-waves such as the extended and severe events of June-July 2007 can be expected to become much more common by the end of the century. The elderly will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of warmer temperatures. The incidence of vector-borne diseases can also be expected to increase. Winter tourism will suffer from a decrease in the length of the ski season, and non-snow dependent activities will need to be found to reduce dependency on good snow cover. The summer season will be extended, but there may be an issue around the provision of water resources.

Rising temperatures mean that the Alpine ecological zone could be lost in many places within 50 years, threatening species such as the Balkan Chamois, and reducing biodiversity in the country. Forest fires are likely to intensify and become more frequent due to hot, dry conditions, and cause increasing levels of damage to economically valuable forests (forest fires in July 2007 caused €21m worth of damage).


Emissions of carbon dioxide in Macedonia in 2006 were 3.94tonnes/capita and 2.03kg/$ of GDP. This compares to 5.70t/capita and 2.54kg/$ for central and eastern Europe and 4.28t/capita and 0.74kg/$ for the World. The EU by comparison has emissions of 8.07t/capita and 0.42kg/$, with total emissions in 2006 of 3,983Mt of carbon dioxide. [7] Macedonia is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol on emissions reduction, however as part of the non-Annex 1 group of countries has no binding emissions targets under the first commitment period of the protocol (2008-2012). The energy sector accounts for 70% of total emissions in Macedonia.[8]

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) receives a lot of attention in national planning documents as a way to reduce emissions and also receive investment. The Ministry of Environment and Physical planning (MOEPP) is the Designated National Authority for the CDM and has the role of ensuring that any CDM projects are in line with the sustainable development objectives of the country. There are currently no CDM projects being implemented in Macedonia, although a National Strategy on the CDM has recently been launched and agreements are in place with Italy and Slovenia on developing CDM projects.[9] Macedonia has high carbon intensity when compared to other countries in Eastern and Central Europe because it relies heavily on coal for energy generation, and rapid emissions savings could be made from investment in renewable energy . Estimated savings through the CDM are 4Mt CO2eq/year, which would create income of roughly 24-36m Euros/year at the current price for carbon. [10]

The two mitigation scenarios for the electricity sector outlined in the National Communication still increase emissions by 46 and 32% compared to the 2008 baseline. The BAU scenario gives an increase in emissions from this sector of 71% by 2025. Overall emissions are projected to increase across all sectors, but significantly less if the more stringent mitigation scenario is implemented. Much of the current energy infrastructure comes to the end of its life in 2020, so there is a good opportunity to invest now in a more sustainable energy infrastructure.

Institutional framework

Macedonia acceded to the UNFCCC in 1998 and to the Kyoto Protocol in 2004. The MOEPP is the focal point for the UNFCCC, and also the Designated National Authority for the CDM.

The Climate Change Project Office was set up in 2000 and sits as a unit within the MOEPP, driving work on climate change within the ministry. The National Climate Change Committee (NCCC) is separate from the MOEPP and is composed of representatives of government (including inter-alia, ministries of the Environment, Finance, Transport, Economy, Education and Science, Health and Agriculture, Forestry and Water [11]), NGOs, the private sector and research organisations. The function of the NCCC is to oversee national policies on climate change and to ensure that these policies are consistent with national development strategies and priorities. Implementation of environmental policy occurs through a wide range of public and private sector entities, and the MOEPP is only the coordinator of environmental policy.

Macedonia has started to integrate climate change into national strategic planning documents and laws. Article 4 of the Law on the Environment explicitly mentions ‘Restraining greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere’ and encouraging the use of clean technologies and renewable energy [12]. In the Law on the Environment it is stipulated that Macedonia should adopt a National Plan on Climate Change, but this has not yet been developed. The 2nd National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), and the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD – funded by Sida) both include climate change, with Energy and Climate being identified as key elements in achieving the goals of the NSSD[13]. The focus in the NSSD are to develop a less carbon intensive energy sector (through both switching supply and increasing efficiency) and to engage strongly with the CDM. Adaptation is recognized in the strategy but is secondary to mitigation [14]. Measures in the strategy to conserve and manage natural resources will also improve the adaptive capacity of ecosystems.

The focus of the government has been on mitigation rather than adaptation to climate change, however there is an Inter-Sectoral Adaptation Action Plan which includes integrating adaptation into the management strategies for different sectors, establishing early warning and monitoring systems and building the capacity of different actors through training and the provision of additional funding . Decentralization is a key pillar of the national strategies of Macedonia, and as such it is local government and other local actors who will be tasked with the implementation of many of these plans. The government recognizes the need to rapidly build the capacity in these actors if national environmental strategies are to be successfully implemented. To provide local authorities with the capacity needed to implement environmental regulations, the government estimates that it needs to more than double the number of civil servants responsible for environmental implementation in local authorities and greatly increase the number of official inspectors. [15]

Implications for EU membership

EU membership can be considered as the overall strategic objective for current development policies in Macedonia, and strategy documents such as the 2nd National Environmental Action Plan are aimed at the requirements in the EU acquis, and harmonization of environmental policies.

The second National Communication has strengthened national capacity on preparing greenhouse gas inventories, however several institutional and legislative measures need to be adopted to further strengthen and embed this procedure. This inventory will serve as the background for the establishment of a GHG registry, which is a country requirement for EU accession. There will need to be some amendments to the existing Law on the Environment and Law on Energy in order to pave the way for a Law on GHG allowance trading so that the Emission Allowance Trading Directive can enter into legislation. A pilot emissions trading scheme will be adopted for 2 years in order to prepare local actors to participate in the EU emissions trading scheme. [16]

It is unclear what effect Macedonia becoming a member of the EU would have on the EU’s targets for a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020, to be achieved by country specific reductions, and whether a target would be imposed on Macedonia. If new countries are included in this target then there will be negotiations to set a target that takes into account national circumstances. It is extremely unlikely Macedonia would be obliged to make the full 20% reduction, but may be required to ensure that its emissions do not grow over the period, for example. In the area of energy and climate Macedonia appears to be progressing well towards the requirements for EU integration.


  1. ↑ Centre for research on the epidemiology of disasters 2009
  2. ↑ MOEPP (2008) Second National Communication on Climate Change of the Republic of Macedonia.
  3. ↑ [ IPCC 2007 Regional Projections
  4. ↑ For more detail on sub-national climate projections for Macedonia, readers are referred to this interactive map
  5. ↑ Largely from Macedonia’s 2nd National Communication
  6. ↑ UNFCC 2008 Climate Change Impact to the Water Resources in the Republic of Macedonia
  7. ↑ IEA 2009: Selected indicators for The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Accessed 19/03/09
  8. ↑ MOEPP 2008 2nd National Communication of the Republic of Macedonia
  9. ↑ CDM Pipeline Accessed March 2009
  10. ↑ MOEPP The Republic of Macedonia, Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol
  11. ↑ Environment chapter of Macedonia’s response to EU questionnaire on accession
  12. ↑ MOEPP 2005 The Law on Environment of the Republic of Macedonia
  13. ↑ MOEPP 2008 Second National Communication on Climate Change of the Republic of Macedonia.
  14. ↑ NSSD 2008: National Strategy for Sustainable Development of the Republic of Macedonia: Climate and Energy. Accessed 24/03/09
  15. ↑ National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis Communitaire 2008
  16. ↑ MOEPP 2008 Second National Communication on Climate Change of the Republic of Macedonia.

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