Launch of the “Clear it Up” campaign for protection and efficient inspection supervision of natural resources
Water in Macedonia does not receive the necessary protection, it is not used rationally, and not all citizens have access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The institutions in charge of this matter do not have the capacity or equipment to implement the Law on Waters and insufficient funds are allocated from the state budget to this end. Other natural resources are also experiencing excessive and uncontrolled use. Concessionaires for extraction of mineral resources do not fulfill their obligations to the state, Macedonian forests are being devastated, and without a law on soils, they are exposed to pollution. The continuous exploitation and destruction of natural resources is primarily due to the dysfunction of state institutions and the low level of punitive actions towards polluters.
With these problems as their starting point, today, the Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) launched the “Clear it Up” advocacy and lobbying campaign. Over the next year, the campaign will focus on the need for sustainable water management and more efficient inspections against the overexploitation of natural resources. “Clear it Up” aims to raise public awareness of these issues and increase the impact in the process of adopting or amending policies. The campaign will be implemented with the support and joint activities of the Alliance for Advocacy and Lobbying, which currently consists of 43 civil society organizations, faculties and media outlets, an Alliance that all those concerned with the threat to natural resources in Macedonia can also join.
“Information on environmental protection is an extremely important factor in establishing a better life for all of us, as well as accountability and transparency of institutions. We want to live in a green country and that is why I call on everyone who wants to contribute to join us over the next year, in making those changes that will bring us cleaner water and cleaner natural beauty”, said the Director of ICS Zaneta Trajkoska at today’s campaign presentation.
British Ambassador Rachel Galloway said that in order to restore trust, the Government must address the issues that concern the citizens the most. “The environmental problems that Macedonia is facing are complex, they include a judicial, social, political dimension. Dealing with these dimensions must involve the commitment, responsibility and contribution of all relevant stakeholders and then together we can make a difference,” Galloway said.
The “Clear it Up” campaign will be based on data and concrete solutions presented in two policy papers issued by the Institute of Communication Studies.
The paper titled “How to Use and Protect Water” provides insight into current problems with water resource management. It states that construction of small hydropower plants that endanger the aquatic ecosystem is encouraged, only about 3-4 per cent of wastewater from mining and industry is filtered, and water is polluted even by public utility companies. There is no fee for wastewater disposal, and the existing sewerage systems are in poor condition. As many as 11.1 percent of households in Macedonia do not have access to drinking water and water from rural water supply systems is not safe. Irrigation water is also misused, and the extraction of sand, gravel and stones from the shores is becoming an illegal business.
“The main problem concerning the issue of water is the fact that individuals and legal entities, as well as multiple state bodies, do not comply with legal obligations. The main reason why this happens is mostly budget constraints,” said Prof. Dr. Biljana Pulevska Janushevska, author of the policy paper on water management.
The second paper, “Effective Supervision as a Tool against the Excessive Use of Natural Resources” states that coal mines and metallic raw material mines are seriously affecting the environment and the health of the population, arable land is being usurped and is decreasing, and illegal logging is also a long-term problem. For more efficient inspections, more trained environmental inspectors are needed, better planning and coordination of inspections, better work equipment, databases for potential polluters, as well as availability of information on the work of inspectorates for the citizens.
“But as awareness of the harmful effects of environmental pollution grows, so does the pressure on inspectorates, because citizens demand results from their work,” said Kristina Najdovska Ilievski, one of the authors of policy paper on inspection supervision of natural resources management.
The Advocacy and Lobbying Campaign “Clear it Up” is part of the “Connecting the Dots: Improved Policies through Citizen Engagement” project.
You can see the video of the press conference on THIS LINK.
List of participants of the Advocacy and Lobbying Alliance
Civil society organizations
- Association for Democratic Initiative (ADI)
- Go Green
- Eco Svest (Eco Sense)
- Association of Business Women
- Green Institute
- Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis) (IDSCS)
- European Policy Institute (EPI)
- Kocka – Training Centre
- Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation (MCIC)
- Macedonian Young Lawyers Association
- Youth Culture Centre – Bitola
- Youth Educational Forum (YEF)
- National Youth Council of Macedonia
- “Don’t Be Trash”
- О2 Clean Air Initiative
- Ohrid ЅОЅ
- Planetum – Strumica
- Special Olympics Macedonia
- Florozon – Centre for Environmental Democracy
- Front 21/42
- Centre for Economic Analyses (CEA)
- Center for Legal Research and Analysis (CPIA)
- Eco Logic
- Global Shaper Skopje Hub
- Resource Environmental Center (REC) – North Macedonia
- Institute of Biology / Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Skopje
- Institute of Geography / Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Skopje
- “Hans Em” Faculty of Forest Sciences, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Engineering
- MTV 1
- MTV 2
- Nova Makedonija
- Radio Kanal 77
- Radio MOF
- TV 21
- TV 24
- TV Alsat-M
- TV Sitel
- TV Telma