Municipalities Join Forces to Fight the Effects of Climate Change

20 Jul 2013

Civil servants from ten municipalities of the South-East Planning Region gathered in Strumica this July to launch an important project to counter the negative effects of climate change—an event followed a day later, by a meeting in Veles of their counterparts from the Vardar Planning Region.

The civil servants, all of them specializing in various aspects of environmental protection and urban planning, met to establish the research parameters of the project ‘A Governance Assessment on Local Action for Climate Change’.

Funded by the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre and administered by the Local Development Programme within the UNDP Country Office in Skopje, the project is being implemented in the South-East and Vardar planning regions in close collaboration with the two Centres for Development of the regions. The main objective is to prepare an in-depth report assessing the obstacles faced by local government and identifying the actions that need to be taken to tackle the effects of climate change. The report will provide a valuable tool informing policy-makers in developing future legislation on climate change.

To help the civil servants prepare the report, the UNDP Country Office in Skopje has hired a team of experts who will implement the findings of the research using tools such as questionnaires, interviews with relevant stakeholders, field visits, data collection, workshops and forums. At the July meetings, the UNDP experts presented the working methodology and operational plan of activities. As well as identifying ways of overcoming obstacles to tackling climate change at the level of local government for both planning regions, the project will also prepare a vulnerability assessment for the Vardar Planning Region, analysing the impact of climate change on grape production – a major economic activity of the region. The final assessment will recommend appropriate measures to adapt to climate change, replicating the methodology used in the South-East Planning Region.

“Through the research we will gain an overview and assessment of the capacity of municipalities of local government to implement activities in the field of climate change. By implementing the project activities under the action plan and the intended methodology (completing the questionnaires, meetings, debates, interviews), the representatives of local government will come to a clearer understanding of the concept of climate change as an interdisciplinary complex category. This will result in further integration of the issue of climate change in the performance of the municipalities” says local expert, Professor Biljana Puleska.

All of the attendants confirmed that the research of the project had been extremely useful for their municipalities and for all their citizens. All agreed on the crucial need for active participation and reaffirmed their commitment to the project research. The governance assessment and the vulnerability assessment will be conducted in the period July – November 2013.