Macedonian climate change challenges and perspectives
Author: Nataša Markovska, Senior Researcher and Professor, Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts
The article was initially published on portal klimatskipromeni.mk
The Paris Agreement represents a dramatic departure from the past 20 years of climate negotiations, providing a broad foundation for meaningful progress on climate change. It is underpinned by the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) that reflect the national climate policies and actions of the countries. Once countries formally join the Paris Agreement, their “INDCs” shall be considered “NDCs”.
All countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement are asked to ‘formulate and communicate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies.’ Developed countries (Annex I countries) that already have 2050 targets can review their plans in the context of the agreed goals, as most of these plans must be strengthened, and developing countries (Non-Annex I Countries), like the Republic of Macedonia, can build on the experience of the INDC process to work from existing plans and develop longer-term visions.
Macedonian dual status, requirements, and synergies
Macedonia has actively contributed to the climate change international processes by fulfilling its reporting requirements. These requirements are different – under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Macedonia has a status of Non-Annex I country, while as a candidate country for EU membership, must adhere to EU Climate and Energy Policy, which actually assumes the commitments of Annex I countries. With regards to EU aspect, the Ministerial Council of Energy Community (EnC) adopted a recommendation on the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions and under the Western Balkan (WB) Sustainable Charter, the six countries (WB6) are requested to explore the best way for improving their systems for monitoring, reporting and planning their energy and climate policies and aligning them with EU relevant policies.
The reporting to UNFCCC is conducted through National Communications (NCs), Biennial Update Reports (BURs), and National Inventory Report, which have pre-defined content and level of detail. The reporting towards EU (Annex I Party) is similar, but the required content and the timetable for its submission are more demanding.
By combining available support (both financial and technical) from both UNFCCC and EU, the country has been able to voluntarily incorporate the Annex I UNFCCC reporting principles, required as an EU candidate country, as much as possible within the framework of the NCs and BURs.
The level of implementation in Macedonia is evaluated as: Annex I like, Tends to Annex I like, Steps towards Annex I like, or Non Annex I.
To shorten the Macedonian case story- the GHG Inventory reporting to a great extent is “Annex I like” or “Tends to Annex I like”. It meets the necessary technical conditions for ensuring sustainability since a strong focus is put on documenting essential information in a concise format, the activities and tasks are standardized and clear procedures stipulated, as well as the roles and responsibilities of all players are clearly defined. It is also publicly accessible, as the inventory database, documents and infographics are published at http://www.unfccc.org.mk/Default.aspx?LCID=229
Furthermore, many of Annex I UNFCCC reporting principles are incorporated in the Macedonian NCs and BURs. Namely, starting with the First BUR, the mitigation analyses are conceptualized through WOM (without measures), WEM (with measures) and WAM (with additional measures) scenarios. Also, as a part of the First BUR, a conceptual Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) framework was developed including an appropriate institutional setting.
This significant progress in reporting has been recognized by the UNFCCC and several processes and tools were identified as good practices worldwide. In addition, all these achievements have contributed to capacity building in the country, both, the analytical and the capacities of policy makers and all stakeholders to respond to more demanding reporting requirements.
On the mitigation side, within the scope of the Macedonian latest Climate Change Report (2018), it is demonstrated that raising Macedonian climate change ambition is possible by implementation of 46 measures (35 measures in the Energy sector, 8 measures in Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) and 3 measures in the Waste sector) selected from national strategic and planning documents. Moreover, approximately 80% of all emission reductions can be achieved through the implementation of ‘win-win’ measures, i.e. implementation of these measures will not only reduce emissions but ALSO create financial savings.
Summing up, the Republic of Macedonia might be small in size, but big in understanding that everybody has a role to play in combating climate change.