In just two decades, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has made considerable progress in social and economic reform, establishing itself as an upper middle-income country. To sustain these development achievements, additional efforts are needed in a range of areas to ensure continued economic growth, social cohesion and sustainable development.
Together with the Government, UNDP is helping to build an inclusive society with a sustainable future in which everyone has access to services and can participate in making decisions that affect their lives. To achieve this aim, the Government and UN partners are guided by the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF 2010–15).
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia peacefully gained its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Two years later, the country became a member of the UN and international financial institutions which played a key role in the economic reforms, liberalization and transformation of the system towards a market economy.
Following an internal conflict in 2001, the internationally-brokered Ohrid Framework Agreement pledged to improve the rights of all communities in the country, paving the way for decentralization reforms – aiming to bring local government closer to citizens. Full implementation of the Agreement remains a government priority.
The country is committed to reforms that can open the door to membership of the European Union and NATO, and in December 2005 the European Council granted the status of candidate country to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In 2009, the European Commission recommended that the Council opens negotiations with the country. The Commission repeated its recommendation for opening negotiations in the following years, though a starting date has still not yet been set.
Poverty and unemployment persist in the country. Over a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line and the unemployment rate in the country is around 30 percent.
The steady growth in Gross Domestic Product over recent years began to slow down in 2009, following the global economic crisis. Job creation, targeted support to address growing inequalities and social inclusion of the most vulnerable groups remain a key priority for the Government.
The Government has deepened its commitment to the EU reform process through the High Level Accession Dialogue, a joint initiative with the European Commission.
Through this Dialogue, the Government adopted a roadmap for reforms in 2012, which is regularly reviewed at ministerial level. As a result, the EU accession process has a central position in the country’s political agenda.