The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia country briefing - The European environment — state and outlook 2015

Briefing Published 18 Feb 2015 Last modified 11 May 2020
6 min read
Photo: © Marjan Lazarevski

Main themes and sectors addressed in the national State of Environment report

The adoption and implementation of national legislation demonstrates efforts to attain sustainable environmental protection. The preparations of reports are based on the "Law on Environment"[1] and sectoral laws. For the SoE reports, a "Rulebook on the form, content, targets, methodology, data sources, and report assessment"[2] was adopted. 

Under Article 45 and 46 of the Law on Environment, the Macedonian Environmental Information Centre[3] develops reports and contributions to international fora. Reports include:

  • Quality of the Environment report – Yearly (2013)[4]
  • Environmental Indicators report - biennial (2012)[5]
  • Environmental statistics - biennial (2013)[6]
  • SOE – every fourth year

The Rulebook stipulates the use of Driving force, Pressure, State, Impact, Response frameworks (DPSIR), indicators, ICT tools, as well as providing analysis and interpretations.   

Key findings of the State of Environment report 

Air pollution from 2002-2011 shows a fluctuating trend for SO2 and NOx. Meanwhile CO and TSM increased during the period 2002-2008, and then decreased during the period 2008-2011. Emission and pollution reductions measures and programmes are not the main reason for reduction, but issues related to business practice, energy production, industrial processes, etc.

Total emissions by sectors, under the Selected Nomenclature for Air Pollution (SNAP)[7], are due to combustion processes (60%), transport (30-40%), production processes (30-35%), and other - (less than 5% due to lack of data).

Air quality shows no increase above concentration limit values and alert thresholds for SO2, NOx and CO. Exceedances of O3 target values are annually recorded during summer, due increased solar radiation.

Exceedance of PM10 daily limit values resulted in exceedance of the annual average limit value. PM2.5 follows the trend of PM10 and remains a challenge for the future.

Figure 1. Exceedance of PM10 daily limit values

36th highest mean daily concentration of PM10

SourceEnvironmental Indicators in the Republic of Macedonia 2012

Total consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) dropped by more than 99% between 1996-2012 to only 13 tonnes of which 75% of total consumption was in the foam and refrigerator sectors. We should note that there is no domestic production of ODS.

Total emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) between 2000-2009 decreased by 28%. The sharp decline of 12% that took place between 2008 and 2009 was due to the global economic crisis, impacting industrial production and energy demands. GHG emissions by sector are:

  • energy 73%; 
  • agriculture 10-13%; 
  • waste 7%;
  • industry 7%.

Water is under pressure from climate change and anthropogenic activities. Use of freshwater resources fluctuated during the period 2002-2011, including an increase in 2004, due to the processing industry as a principle user. Key consumers are:

  • agriculture 42%;
  • industry 29%;
  • households 24%;
  • energy production 2%.

Water supply systems are managed by public enterprises. Connection rates in urban areas are between 82%-100%. 1 200 000 inhabitants are connected to the public water supply system. In rural areas, connection rates are between 10%-100%. 

Water quality is within limit values, as prescribed in the decree for water categorization[8]. In cities, demand for drinking water is 0.300-0.400 m3/capita/day, while in rural areas 0.250 m3/capita/day. The sanitary-hygienic condition of drinking water is within limit values. 

Only "Drisla" fulfills EU Directive criteria on landfills. In 2008, 74% of collected municipal solid waste (MSW) was landfilled. This rose to 99.74% in 2012 due to increased coverage of the nationwide MSW collection system. About 1 000 uncontrolled landfills in rural areas remain a challenge. 

In 2012, the share of recycled packaging was 12% of total packaging placed on the market, but recycled rate per material is:

  • glass 0.31%;
  • plastic 19%;
  • paper and cardboard 18%;
  • metal packaging 4%.

The designated areas target is 12% of the territory (until 2020) according to the National Spatial Plan. Currently, national parks make up 5%, natural monuments 3% and 1% multipurpose areas as part of total designated areas.  

As per CORINE Land Cover, the biggest land take change occurs in broad-leaved forests which turn into transitional woodland with shrubs. This results in 45% of total changes, due wood cutting and forest fires. Meanwhile 14% of total changes are due to reforestation. 

Main policy responses to key environmental challenges and concerns

The country is in a process of EU integration, with continuous adoption and implementation of the EU Acquis.

The Law on Environment is the basis for environmental policy and management, thus providing guiding principles and policy instruments also.

The latest European Commission Progress Report[9] notes full transposition of the Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Public Participation and Environmental Information directives. Some progress is noted under the INSPIRE Directive and the Environmental Crime Directive. There is notable progress for the NEC, CAFÉ, the Heavy Metals Directive and the VOC petrol stations and Phase II VOC directives.

In 2012, the National Plan for the protection of ambient air quality[10] was adopted, with measures for transport, energy, industry, agriculture, air pollution and air quality. The Programme for gradual reduction of emissions of polluting substances at national level[11], contains projections for 2012-2020 and reduction measures. 

Specific policies stimulate structural industrial changes, with benefits for low energy intensive industries, improvement in technologies, equipment and systems, use of renewable energy in emission intensive areas such as households and industry.

Efforts are needed to integrate climate change into other sectoral policies. Legislation was adopted on consumer information on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for new passenger cars. The Third National Communication on Climate Change[12] identified 40 installations for Emission Trading Scheme activities.

Urban transport policies aim to improve flows, traffic, and the role of transport infrastructure reducing GHG. Passenger cars are the dominant mode of passenger transport, with a 77% share in total passenger km, impacting the environment and health.

Related to water quality,the Law on Water[13], National Water Strategy, Law on Water Economies[14], Law on Drinking Water Supply and Urban Wastewater Collection[15] and other secondary legislation have been adopted.  

With the Law on Waste Management[16], National Waste Management Strategy 2008–2020 and National Waste Management Plan 2009–2015, EU acquis alignment continues alongside other secondary legislation.

Integrated regional waste management system is a priority and investments need to increase particularly those focusing on waste separation and recycling.

By the end of 2014 the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan will be revised, aiming towards an integrated network for environmental monitoring and protection based on Natura 2000.

Monitoring and information systems need further development and investment, along strengthening of institutional capacities at central and local level. Coordination between institutions and public participation in decision-making has been highly emphasized.   

Country specific issues

Development of national Core Set of Indicators (CSI) – in line with EEA CSI's – would allow national SoE to be assessed and benchmarked with EU countries.

Various reports or assessments are available, yet only initial steps have been taken towards a national SoE report, comprehensively elaborating within DPSIR.

The report will allow for more efficient policy creation, decision-making, public outreach and awareness for the importance of SoE, with possible Integrated Environmental Assessment examples and foresight methodologies.


[1] „Official Gazette of RM“ No.53/05, 81/05; 24/07; 159/08; 83/09; 48/10; 124/10;  51/11; 123/12 and 93/13

[2] „Official Gazette of RM“ No.81/10

[3] Macedonian Environmental Information Centre, Department in the MoEPP

[7] Selected Nomenclature for Air Pollution

[8] „Official Gazette of RM“ No.18/99

[11] „Official Gazette of RM“ No.106/12

[12] Third national communication on Climate Change, 2013

[13] „Official Gazette of RM“ No. 87/08; 06/09; 83/10; 51/11; 44/12 and 23/13

[14] „Official Gazette of RM“ No. 85/03; 95/05; 103/08; 01/12 and 95/12

[15] „Official Gazette of RM“ No. 68/04; 28/06; and 103/08

[16] „Official Gazette of RM“ No.08/04; 71/04; 102/08; 143/08; 124/10; 09/11; 51/11; 123/12 and 147/13

Additional references

2nd Environmental Performance Review, 2011

Second national environmental action plan, 2006

Sustainable Development, 2013

Second national environmental action plan, 2006


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.


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