Skopje hosts second bilateral meeting on Lepenec River Basin

November 24, 2014

Bilateral_Skopje1The Second Bilateral Meeting of the Expert Water Group between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo* was held on November 17, 2014 at the Parliamentary Club in Skopje. The meeting was organised within the project "Lepenec River Protection via Introduction of Integrated Water Management", realised in the framework of the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) as part of the programme for South Eastern Europe "Environmental Risks as a Basis for Cooperation: 2009-2014".

The Expert Water Group consists of representatives from Ministries of Environment and Physical Planning; Ministries of Agriculture, Forest and Water Management; Ministries of Economy; Ministries of Transport and Communication; the Public Health Institutes; the National Hydro-meteorological Services; and other competent experts from both Kosovo* and the former Yugoslav Republic Macedonia, based on a the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation between the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of Macedonia and Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of Kosovo, signed in 2013.

Findings and recommendations of national analytical reports, prepared by engaged experts for water management of the Lepenec River Basin, were presented at the meeting. The analytical reports contain available data on: the legal and institutional framework for water management; conditions in the river basin regarding anthropogenic pressures; monitoring of the quality and quantity of water; water use; erosion; floods; and other information on which a joint plan for water management of the Lepenec River Basin can be based.

It was determined at the meeting that the current monitoring regime for both countries fails to comply with Water Framework Directive requirements and needs to be upgraded. The participants gave constructive proposals regarding the finalisation of both reports. These national reports will be integrated into one joint analytical report, which will be subject to review and approval. It will represent the first step towards developing a River Basin Management Plan for the Lepenec River Basin in the future, based on terms of mutual cooperation between the two countries.

The third bilateral meeting will be held on December 16-17 in Pristina. During the event, a forum for cross-border cooperation in the area of water management will be organised. Besides the members of the bilateral Expert Water Group from former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo*, other interested parties and stakeholders will be invited to participate, such as NGOs, municipalities, representatives of the business sector and the donor community.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.