Our Perspective

      • Getting Ahead of the Game: Using Foresight to Address Complex Water-Related Challenges in the Strumica River Basin

        11 Feb 2015

        Monospitovo wetlands, Strumica River Basin (Photo: UNDP/ Ljubomir Stefanov)

        The successes achieved in UNDP’s major ongoing project to restore the ecosystem of the Prespa Lake Basin are well known and clear for all to see—in the way that local farmers have shifted to more sustainable practices, in the construction of modern water treatment facilities, in Prespa’s first monitoring station, in the region’s first composting plant, in heightened local awareness of the importance of preserving the health of waterbodies… the list goes on and keeps growing as the project proceeds. But the foundation for the success of the Prespa project is more complex than meets the eye. The sound basis on which all these interlinked efforts have been developed and implemented lies in a detailed set of principles and measures elaborated in the country’s first-ever Watershed Management Plan developed in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive.   By adopting this Directive’s basic principles, the planning and implementation efforts for the Prespa Lake Watershed are aligned with the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management—an  approach that has emerged to meet the ever growing complexity and importance of preventing the degradation of global water resources. Behind this concept is the realization that traditional centralized approaches to managing water resources have proven inadequate  Read More

      • My Municipality – A Super Tool for Local Development Initiatives

        06 Feb 2015


        Over 6,500 citizens have already taken up a new opportunity to communicate their top priorities for local development to decision-makers through an innovative data-gathering system called My Municipality. Through the installation of highly user-friendly touchscreens and an interactive website (www.moja-opstina.mk) the My Municipality project has enabled citizens in the four pilot municipalities of Tetovo, Kumanovo, Prilep and Shuto Orizari to identify—with just a few clicks—the three local development issues and policies most important to themselves and their families. The tool has helped the municipalities and UNDP to gather valuable and accurate data about people’s needs and priorities, including the changing trends in the needs of the different groups in the population. All this data provides an excellent basis for policy-makers to make better informed decisions at local level, and in this way local government actions and development projects will truly reflect the needs of local people. In December last year, only six months after the project started, we began funding and helping to implement small-scale projects based on the priorities identified in the pilot municipalities. ·       In Kumanovo, citizens have prioritized the need to improve opportunities for entrepreneurship and business. A new project has enabled twenty Roma men and women to  Read More

      • Twitter 4 #DRR

        18 Jun 2014


        As the recent devastation wrought by flooding in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina has shown, social media has a vital role to play in spreading information about natural and human-made disasters.   Twitter is a great example of a platform that can deliver information to a vast number of people at rapid speed.  So Igor Miskovski and I decided to run an initial analysis of tweets in the country from 2011–2013  to find out what percentage of tweets were related to Disaster Risk Reduction (or what we call DRR in UN-speak). There are estimated to be some 20,000 – 25,000 Twitter users in the country, of which approximately 15,000 can be identified through a number of online applications. Analysis of DRR-related tweets provided a very interesting insight: Macedonian Twitter users tweet most on Mondays and least on Saturdays, suggesting that tweeting is an activity that people consider part of their working week. Twitter activity increases during work hours from 08:00 till 16:00, reaching saturation from 16:00 till 18:00. After 18:00 it starts to grow again, reaching a peak at 23:00. But even Twitter users need some rest: from 00:00 to 08:00 there is an exponential drop. Most Twitter users are in  Read More

      • Greenhouse gas inventory: Data that makes a difference

        28 Jun 2013

        The new national greenhouse gas inventory was launched in a public bus.

        We just launched a brand new inventory of national greenhouse gas emissions developed to help fYR Macedonia meeting the requirements of the International Convention on Climate Change. We’re all convinced that the information in this database will be valuable for policy-makers in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. The level of data accuracy has significantly improved and for the first time many new sectors have been included. Aviation is one of the new sectors included, with data on emissions at a level of detail and accuracy only achieved by a few developed countries in the world!Some of the most interesting findings about greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors: -Approximately 74 percent of greenhouse gases are emitted by the energy sector. Most of these emissions come from the use of lignite to produce electricity. - Most emissions from industry originate from the processing of mineral and metal products, with the cement industry and the production of ferroalloys responsible for over 90 percent of total emissions. -Emissions from the waste sector account for seven percent of total national emissions. The average share of the waste sector in national emissions in developed countries is two to  Read More

      • Domestic violence: Breaking down the cultural barriers

        29 May 2013


        Until I worked for UNDP, I was not aware that there were such rigid cultural barriers in this country when it comes to the issue of domestic violence. When I joined UNDP in 2011, I was assigned the task of monitoring a large-scale project on domestic violence—a joint project involving a number of United Nations agencies and with funding of 2.5 million dollars. Working daily on the issue of domestic violence, I soon came to realize just how deeply the phenomenon is rooted in our society and how much it remains hidden, particularly in rural areas. Over the past five years, the United Nations has been working closely with national institutions and civil society organizations to address the problem of domestic violence in the country. Good news at the policy level: the country’s signed the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women – one of the first countries in Europe to sign the Convention. Domestic violence is considered to be one of the most serious forms of violations of human rights, yet strong cultural barriers still exist in relation to this issue: When we developed a documentary in 2012 to increase awareness about reporting domestic violence, I  Read More

      • Social marketing: Promoting social values

        02 May 2013

        Drawing by Marina Danev for the “Saving energy” campaign

        What impresses me most about the whole concept of social marketing is how it applies the tried-and-tested techniques of commercial marketing to ‘sell’ social values in ways that have the potential to change our behaviour and improve society as a whole. When you think about it, social marketing is not so different from other efforts to influence public behaviour.People have different needs, of course, and form different groups in the community to resolve common issues that affect their lives. In short, they initiate different forms of association and make efforts to influence our behaviour: the same aim as that of social marketing campaigns. Adopting a social marketing approach, we recently succeeded in ‘selling’ the benefits of saving energy to 1,600 young people from seven different municipalities (Gevgelija, Valandovo, Bogdanci, Kocani, Probistip, Kicevo and Oslomej ) who ‘bought’ into the idea of energy efficiency. To ensure an effective social marketing campaign, we enlisted the help of the very people we were marketing to: young people. Why? Because people are often more receptive to messages coming from people they perceive as their peers.The relevant stakeholders—the municipal administration, teachers and principals and local NGOs, together with young people – agreed on the best way  Read More

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