Skip to main content

UNDA Project 1819AE: North Macedonia - Enhanced climate change action towards more ambitious national commitment


Since its third EPR, North Macedonia has made progress in climate change actions. The country’s 2005 Law on Environment already provided a backbone for a legal framework. However, with the currently drafted Law on Climate Action which is currently drafted and should be submitted to the government before the end of the year, the country will have a special law targeting climate change through low-carbon development and climate change resilience. The country being in the process of accession to Europe, EU legislation and requirements are expected to be transposed in this new legislation. In addition, an implementation of reforms is also required by the EU Economic and Investment Plan for Western Balkans, a programme aiming at the economic recovery of the region in a green and digital way by, among others, bringing the region to the EU single market and making the area more attractive for investment. In terms of policy documents, given that the EU recognises the links between climate change and the energy sector, the country is preparing a National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), which covers the period from 2021 to 2030 following the 2019 National Energy Strategy. As part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, the country has set both an initial nationally determined contribution (NDC) in 2015 and an enhanced one in 2020. Therefore, to achieve these different international and European goals, the country plans to implement a number of policies and measures in the energy, agriculture and forestry, and waste sectors. 

In North Macedonia, climate change is expected to impact different sectors such as biodiversity, protection of cultural heritage, health, forestry, water resources, tourism and agriculture. In terms of GHG emissions, the country is 30% lower than the EU-28 average. Nevertheless, CO2 intensity per capita is important, mostly caused by the large share of the energy sector, with coal representing 80% of the total energy demand. Recently, in response to the Covid-19 pandemics, the country has set up a financial recovery plan. Despite the fact that the pandemics and the enhancement of climate change actions may have different goals with economic stimulus, on the one hand, and target-setting to address climate change on the other, synergies and win-win situations can be created. 

Therefore, under UNECE’s supervision, a study has been conducted, assessing the current institutional, legal and political framework for climate change actions. A careful investigation of the planned policies and measures allowed to analyse them in terms of economic and environmental effectiveness as well as their SDGs contributions. The study led to a dozen of recommendations for further steps. These latter focus on the legal, political and institutional frameworks, the monitoring and information aspect and the need for awareness raising, education and youth engagement. Main topics include the implementation of NDC and the promotion of circular and green economy.