(13.01.2016) Today, the Minister of Environment and Physical PlanningNurhan Izairi had press-conference through which he informed the public of the work of the Ministry in the past year. On that occasion, he said:
- I would like to welcome you to our first meeting in the New 2016, at which I will inform you on the work of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning in the past year. My commitment was and we devoted all available resources of the Ministry on systematic work I the protection of all environmental media and in all parts of the country. This is in accordance with he Programme for Work of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in which the protection of the environment is highly ranked and also in harmony with the process of approximation with the European Union. This has imposed significant obligations in terms of increased investments in the environment, but also in the processes that need to be implemented towards capacity improvement, institutional restructuring and strengthening of administrations at central and local levels. Taking into account the ongoing processes, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning implemented series of projects, measures and activities in the area of environment:
Protection of water resources through construction of systems for water supply, collection and treatment of waste waters was one of the priority area of activity in the past year. The Ministry implemented several projects with funds provided from the Budget, donor funds and funds provided under the IPA Programme. I would like to mention that the number of such project exceeds 40 and their value is around 30 million EUR. I should mention the following as the most prominent: Construction of collection main for fecal and storm waste water in the populated place Singelikj, Municipality of Arachinovo – 1.5 million EUR. Construction of part of the fecal sewerage in the populated place Singelikj, Municipality of Gazi Baba – 91 million denars. Construction of water supply for Tetovo – 115 million denars. Construction of wastewater treatment plant and main collector in Kochani with overall value of 23 million Swiss Franks; Designing and construction of filtering station in the water supply system in Gostivar with a total value of 2 million EUR. Construction of wastewater treatment plant in Gevgelija – 9.6 million EUR. Construction of sewerage network I and II phase with wastewater treatment plant in Prilep – 25 million EUR and many other projects.
It is especially important to point out that, during 2015, we managed to utilize significant portion of available European funds for pre-accession assistance. Namely, in 2015, under the IPA components, 7 projects were completed and 11 other projects are under implementation; for 2 projects, evaluation was completed and they should start in January 2016 and 2 projects should start in March 2016.
In parallel with the above, it was a great challenge to us to complete the tender documentation concerning construction of three wastewater treatment plants in the Republic of Macedonia, in Strumica, Radovish and Kichevo, as well as extension and rehabilitation of sewerage networks in Kumanovo and Berovo. I am especially pleased to point out that contracts have been concluded for the two last mentioned projects and activities will start in February 2016 upon conclusion of the contracts for supervision.
In the segment of preparation of plans and programmes for water resources protection, the following documents have been prepared: Bregalnica River Basin Management Plan, Strumica River Basin Management Plan, Implementation of Prespa Lake Basin Management Plan, Crn Drim River Basin Management Plan, as well as preparation of National Study of Waters.
Furthermore, the Ministry has allocated financial resources acquired on the basis of collection of compensation from energy production from fossil fuels as targeted supplements for 2014 implemented in 2015 for the Municipalities of Novaci, Bitola, Mogila, Kichevo and Gazi Baba with a value of 30 million denars. In this period, the implementation of the Action Plan for rivers and riverbeds cleaning continued and total of 708.000 liters of oil were delivered up to 09.12.2015. In the course of 2015, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, we signed 15 contracts for concessions for construction of 25 small hydro power plants.
As far as waste management is concerned, the initiated processes proceeded during 2015. In the past period, our activities were focused on the finalization of the required documents for regional waste management in Eastern and Northeastern regions, as well as initiation of the procedure for preparation of the required documents in four additional regions: Vardar, Skopje, Pelagonija and Southwestern regions. All these activities have been implemented through four projects in the frames of the IPA programme and supported by funds amounting 5 million EUR.
In the domain of ambient air quality monitoring, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning performs regular maintenance of the state monitoring system, and citizens are permanently informed on the state of the air through the web portal. The report on the operation of the Macedonian information system can be accessed on the web site of the Ministry. On this occasion, I would like to turn to the most actual issue by which we finished the previous year and that is monitoring of the ambient air quality. In this context, within the scope of the competences that we hold under the law, we initiated two important projects. In the frames of the Twinning Project “Further strengthening of the capacity for effective implementation of the acquis in the field of air quality”, preparation of the Plan for Air Quality for the City of Skopje and preparation of short-term action plans for Skopje and Tetovo was initiated. Additionally, in the frames of the Twinning Project, the Plan for air quality for Tetovo will be developed. Under the same project, indicative measurements of heavy metals were initiated in Skopje and Tetovo, which will enable us to detect the sources of air pollution. The results of these measurements are expected by the end of April.
With regard to the protection of natural values, the Project “Programme for Nature Conservation” is implemented with the financial support from the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency; activities were initiated towards preparation of National Strategy for Nature Protection as an obligation deriving from the national legislation, as well as preparation of National Study on the state of biodiversity and geological heritage in Macedonia. Furthermore, web-site titled “Let’s make nature happy” was developed to promote National parks Mavrovo, Pelister and Galichica (http://priroda.moepp.gov.mk).
I would like to underline the success achieved by the Ministry in the area of climate change. Namely, in cooperation with national and international partners, we prepared and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted the First Biannual Reviewed Plan on Climate Change which was submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. By this, the Republic of Macedonia became the first country in the region and 11th country on global level to fulfil this obligation. In the frames of our presidency with Central European Initiative (CEI), the Ministry organized Ministerial Conference “Towards Paris Summit, challenges for Member States of the Central European Initiative” held in Skopje, on 6 November 2015. Subjects of discussion on the Conference included national contributions to climate change by the countries. The Conference resulted in adopted Joint Declaration on the importance of reaching an agreement in Paris. Delegation of the Republic of Macedonia participated in leadership and ministerial segments of the Paris Summit on Climate.
In the course of 2015, the Ministry implemented high number of activities in other spheres of its competence as well. A number of legal acts was adopted and many bilateral and multilateral meetings were accomplished in the frames of the international cooperation. Those opened topics and opportunities for development of wider and strengthening the existing cooperation. More details can be found in the handouts prepared for this press-conference.