Milieukontakt Macedonia, in frames of the USAID’s Municipal Climate Change Strategies project (MCCSP) successfully organized the Third International Climate Change Conference at FON University in Skopje, from 3-5 February, 2017.
The International Climate Change Conference, organized for the third time in frames of the MCCSP, has become a benchmark for strengthening a multi-stakeholder approach to climate action and encouraging cooperation on joint activities to advance climate change resilience in the country and the region.
This conference brought together over 150 participants, including national and international experts, decision-makers, scientists and practitioners in the field of climate change adaptation and mitigation, experts on sustainable development, and environmental CSOs from Macedonia and the region (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Albania) to:
- share USAID MCCSP’s achievements and results;
- exchange climate change-related approaches and experiences;
- identify new ways to advance urban resilience to climate change;
- encourage climate considerations in development planning and decision-making processes on local level;
- establish a scientific component in the climate process by promoting academic findings on climate change and their practical application.
USAID Macedonia Mission Director, James Stein, Rector of FON University, Nano Ruzin, the National Coordinator for Climate Change at the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Teodora Obradovic Grncarovska and the Executive Director of Milieukontakt Macedonia, Igor Slavkoski gave remarks marking the opening of the three day conference.
As the four-year MCCS Project ends on February 28, 2017, the Third International Climate Change Conference marked the closing of the project and leveraged this forum to promote the project’s results, celebrate successes, and share knowledge and experiences gained throughout the project’s lifecycle.
The first conference panel session was leaded by the Executive director of MKM and Chief of Party of USAID MCCSP, Mr. Igor Slavkoski together with USAID Macedonia’s Program Director, Ms. Jennifer Connolly who gathered the mayors from the ten partner municipalities to recognize the progress we have made together over the past four years to address local climate change challenges facing the local communities.
The conference also increased the momentum for development and implementation of converging de-carbonization pathways as discussed at COP 22 in Marrakesh. Decision-makers, CSOs, representatives from public and private sector, the National coordinator for climate change at the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, the Director of the National Energy Agency, the Head of Energy, Environment, and Disaster Risk Reduction Unit from UNDP, together with members of the municipal governments holded a contructive discussion on the integrated approach and coordinated actions needed in support of the Paris Agreement on national level.
Scientific component of the Third International Climate Change Conference
In recognition of the importance of academia in climate change, this year’s conference, in cooperation with the FON University, incorporated the role of science in the climate change debate, highlighting the practical application of scientific findings on climate change through the principles of sustainable development.
The second day of the conference began with a scientific session where ten presentations were delivered by academics and young researchers on the following topics:
Presentation 2: Topic: “Current issues of sustainable development and ecological management”
Authors: Prof. Mirko Tripunoski, Ph.D., Prof. Aleksandar Nikolovski, Ph.D. and Flera Ferati – Mustafi, LL. B
Authors: Asst. Professor Ph.D. Viktorija Mangaroska, arch. engineer, Faculty of Architecture, FON University; Professor PhD Kosto Mangaroski, arch. engineer, Faculty of Architecture, St “Cyril and Methodius” University
Authors: Kristina Petrovska, Fana Hristovska, Aneta Kitevska
Authors: Ristovski Igor, Milosevska Vesna, Filkoska Tanja, Blinkova Martina, Macanovski Ivan, Lazarevska
Authors: Suzana Kasovska-Georgieva, Martina Blinkova
Author: Ass Professor Ph.D. Naser Etemi
Author: Prof. Temelko Risteski Ph.D
Author: Natalija Aceska – Advisor,Bureau for development of education in Macedonia/EIA and SEA expert/CEO of NGO Knowledge Harvest
Authors: Lazar Arsovski, Ph.D., Maja Tripunoska, BA in Economics, Borche Sibinovski, MSc
Additionally, through this conference we encouraged continuation of the constructive spirit and the firm foundations laid together with our project partners to tackle local climate change challenges in the future. Experts in the field of climate change and sustainable development leaded eight Panel sessions on different topics aimed to identify new ways to creatively work together to solve local climate challenges in the future.
Panel leader: Ms. Anita Kodzoman, Programme Officer, Head of Energy, Environment, and Disaster Risk Reduction Unit, UNDP
Panel leader: Mr. Zlatko Samardziev – National Programme Coordinator, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) Macedonia
Panel Leader: Ms. Aleksandra Bujaroska, Environmental law expert, CSO “Front 21/42”
Guest speaker: Mr. Aleksandar Nastov, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of Macedonia
Panel leader: Ms. Vesela Lambeska – Rural Development Network of the Republic of Macedonia
Panel leaders: Ms. Pavlina Zdraveva -Project Manager. “Second Biennial Update Report on Climate Change” UNDP
Ms. Maja Markovska – Green Agenda expert, Milieukontakt Macedonia
Ms. Elena Gavrilova – Advisor at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Panel leader: Mr. Aleksandar Trpkovski, CSO Go Green Skopje
Panel leader: Mr. Stole Georgiev, Trainer/expert on GA process.
We acknowledged the results obtained from using the participatory GA approach in development of effective, home-grown, locally-owned municipal strategies for climate change and promote its application across the region.
Using the GA approach, we partnered with citizens, the business sector, local authorities, and CSOs to prepare 10 Macedonian communities to respond to and better prepare for the effects of climate change through the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures, promoting civic activism and strengthening the communities’ commitment to partner on issues of shared concern.
Conclusions of the conference:
- More intensive involvement of the scientific community in the debate on climate change;
- Strengthening of the individual and organizational capacities as an essential prerequisite for sustainable development;
- Activities related to practical education on environmental protection and climate change to be intensified, with particular focus on the youngest generations;
- Application of climate change adaptation measures in the agriculture sector and promotion of the “farmer-to-farmer” education approach;
- Continuation of the process of preparing greenhouse gas inventories at the local level as an effective instrument for measuring the achievements of the climate change mitigation measures;
- Replication of the Green Agenda methodology for developing local climate change strategies and action plans in other municipalities of the Republic of Macedonia, especially in the Skopje region;
- Stimulation of new, innovative approaches and new technologies aimed at strengthening local resilience to climate change;
- More efficient solid waste management through waste segregation;
- Complete review and investigation of the procedures for implementation of the tourism development zones and traffic solutions that pose a serious threat to the biodiversity and the status of protected areas of the Ohrid lake and the “Studencica” Wetland;
- Commencement of proceedings for declaration of the Ohrid lake and the “Studencica” Wetland for Ramsar areas in Republic of Macedonia;
- Initiating resolutions for protection of the Ohrid Lake and “Stundencica” Wetland;
- Implementation of strategic approach to tackling climate change at local and national level, by involving the general public and the expertise of the academia.
This conference marked the successful accomplishment of the USAID MCCS Project. The event demonstrated to the domestic and international community that the implementation of this project by Milieukontakt Macedonia strengthened the bottom-up and multi-stakeholder approach to climate action and encouraged strong partnerships among all community stakeholders on joint activities to advance climate change resilience on local level.
Bringing together local governments, citizens and CSOs the project devised effective, home-grown, locally-owned strategies to lower emissions and promote adaptation. In addition to strengthening local resilience to climate change, this project strengthened civil society by promoting civic activism and increasing the community’s commitment to partner on issues of shared concern.