On 28 February 2018, the kick-off meeting for presenting the regional project SDG Implementation in the Western Balkans was held at the REC Country Office Macedonia. The meeting was led by Milena Manova Ilikj, in the role of Project Coordinator of the project and Jozhe Jovanovski, Technical Expert, both from REC Country Office Macedonia, who welcomed the auditorium in the absence of the Project Manager, Kornelija Radovanovikj, from REC HO Hungary.
Ms. Ilikj expressed gratitude for the response and interest shown by the participants and pointed out that in the interest of maintaining the continuity, previously established by the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia (ZPVRM) in charge for economic affairs, as the competent institution responsible for managing the process of integrating the Sustainable development goals of the United Nations (UN) in national trends, through the establishment of a National Technical Sustainability Support Group to support the National Council for Sustainable Development (in 2015). Among other participants there were also representatives of relevant stakeholders and experts who were once involved in activities with this institution and worked on topics related to SDG’s.
During the meeting, the REC was introduced as an international organization responsible for implementing the project in all three beneficiary countries (FYR Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro) – representing its role and mission in addressing sustainable solutions for the improvement of the environment, areas of expertise etc. Among other things, several projects from the portfolio of REC Country Office Macedonia were presented, which demonstrated the way this organization works in the Western Balkan countries, and the contribution that REC and the national office in Macedonia have addressing in SDG’s and their application in the national trends (mainly through: capacity building and improvement of knowledge about SDG’s in all spheres of the education system, focusing on high school and secondary vocational education; promotion of business opportunities subject to green ideas; encouraging energy efficiency in the industry; initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars, etc.).
At the beginning of the discussion, and after the presentation of Project by the Representatives of the REC, participants (most of the members of the technical working group that carries out activities in accordance with the Council for sustainable development and the Coordinator (ZPRVM) pointed that in absence of the representative from the Cabinet of ZPVRM for economic affairs, as the competent institution for coordination of the Agenda 2030 in the Republic of Macedonia, are unable to commit on future needs on a national level in the context of the requirements of Agenda 2030.
By the representative of the UNDP Office in Macedonia, it was concluded, that it is a complex issue for whose further directions should be decided by the competent institutions, and only then discuss their operationalization and possible factors in the process.
The representative of the UNDP Office in Macedonia noted that there are few previous analysis and discussions, such as, e.g. detailed GAP analysis prepared with the help of the UN in 2016, at the request of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia. The analysis was prepared by experts, but during its preparation, consultative processes were organized in which representatives of all UN agencies in Macedonia, the institutions and the civil sector participated. All these opinions were taken into account in the analyses and recommendations contained in the document.
In addition, the representative of UNDP stated that, in determining starting point, it is worth considering that existence of the Partnership for Sustainable Development of the United Nations and the Government of RM for the period 2016-2020, as a document adopted by the Government of RM and already aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In the meeting, among other things, the participants pointed out that when determining the priority SDG’s on a national level, the priorities of the EU integration process, the recommendations of EC Progress Reports on the fulfilment of the criteria for EU membership should be taken into account, but also from the recommendations of the institutions for monitoring the implementation of the various UN Treaty Bodies in the field of human rights, social inclusion, fight against corruption, environmental protection, where the Republic of Macedonia is a contracting party.
The participants pointed out that the globally adopted UN SDG’s are relatively new, and the UN guidelines and methodology for their implementation are subject to constant updating and amending, so there is necessity for strong commitment and engagement for providing continuous monitoring and compliance with the determination of our country.
At the kick-off meeting participated, upon the invitation of REC Country Office, the representatives from the following institutions/organizations:
- The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy,
- The Ministry of Finance
- The Ministry of Transport and Communications,
- The Ministry of Education and Science,
- The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning,
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
- Economic Institute, Skopje
- UNDP – UN Coordination Sector,
- State Statistical Office and
- the NGO’s sector.
This project is financed by the German Environment Agency (UBA) through their Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) for environment protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighboring the European Union – a programme from the German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.