The Sustainable Development Goals in North Macedonia
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in North Macedonia:
26 November 2023
Speaking up for every woman and girl to feel encouraged and protected
How to switch from things we don’t talk about to things we must talk about, was the focus of the launch event for the joint 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence, that took place in Skopje today. . The Delegation of the European Union in Skopje, the OSCE Mission to Skopje and the United Nations family have once again teamed up to raise awareness about the long-lasting havoc that gender-based violence causes in our society. Starting with the central event in Skopje with the theatre play “Things that we don’t talk about”, other events will be also organized throughout the country in the next 16 days, including theatre plays, community discussions, concerts, exhibitions, and panel discussions. This year, the theme of the UNITE Campaign is “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”, because every effort invested in preventing violence against women is a step forward to a safer, more equal, and prosperous world. “We are here to encourage victims and those who witness gender-based violence to report it – and tell them: the law is on your side”, says Ben Nupnau, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Skopje. A key approach in the campaign is to create a uniting platform so that everyone who can identify with the cause can join and help spread the word about the need to end violence against women and girls. “We as the Mission, work hard on supporting legislative solutions that will provide more protection for victims of gender-based violence. Moreover, we engage in strategic efforts to strengthen the entire justice system, from first responders to prosecution and courts, with a goal to promptly and adequately respond to the needs of the victims,” says Selma Mehovic, Special Adviser to OSCE Head of Mission to Skopje The ultimate goals of the campaign are two-fold: firstly, to create a critical mass that will act as a stimulating agent for the creation of zero tolerance policies towards any forms of violence; and secondly to raise awareness about the damage that the violence against women and girls causes on our families, on our society, and on our overall development. “North Macedonia has largely created the legal mechanisms needed to eliminate violence against women and girls and I am extremely happy to be able to recognize that. What we need now is to speak up more. To act more. Laws are not enough, when they are only ink on paper,” said Rossana Dudziak, UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia. “It is our joint duty to make sure that they are being fully implemented, to make them a social norm, and part of our behaviour.” The 16 Days of Activism is an international campaign which takes place each year, commencing on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. This campaign is the best example how people and organization can and should join forces to deal with societal issue that don't belong in these times and in the future. The UN family has been traditionally partnering with EU and OSCE on this campaign, but every year the number of interested international and domestic partners is growing, coming almost from all sectors of the society. More information about the campaign can be found on the dedicated Facebook page.
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16 October 2023
Celebrating World Food Day in North Macedonia: A call for urgent action on water. Leave No One Behind
World Food Day is one of the most celebrated UN days of the UN calendar, with observances held in over 150 countries worldwide. World Food Day takes place annually on 16 October and promotes awareness of hunger and action for the future of food, people, and the planet. This year’s World Food Day has the theme “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind.” It celebrates one of the planet’s most precious resources: water, and its central role in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Water is essential to life on Earth, and it provides the foundation of our food. It covers the majority of the Earth's surface, makes up over 50 percent of our bodies, supports livelihoods, and produces our food. Indeed, agriculture accounts for 72 percent of global freshwater withdrawals. But like all natural resources, fresh water is not infinite. We all need to stop taking water for granted and start improving the way we use it in our daily lives: the food we eat, and how that food is produced. FAO encourages all international and national partners and development actors to come together for joint water action to improve the way we use water resources in our daily lives. What can governments do to manage water sustainably for the future of food? • Prioritize water in policies and planning; • Understand water challenges; • Build national water roadmaps and strategies; • Invest in capacity development and innovative solutions; • Manage water resources in an integrated way that takes into account all uses from fisheries to forestry, agriculture and other sectors; • Engage in the Global Dialogue on Water Tenure to shape principles for responsible governance of water resources. What can researchers, civil society and private sector actors do to manage water sustainably for the future of food? • Foster innovation and support initiatives to produce goods with less water; • Inform water and agriculture policies and advise decision-making processes, advocating for change, accountability and inclusion; • Share knowledge, data and skills; • Understand where water comes from and where it goes; • Cut down pollution in businesses. What can farmers do to manage water sustainably for the future of food? • Use and dispose of pesticides and fertilizers correctly; • Manage water more efficiently, starting with regularly checking and repairing leaks or overflows and insulate the pipes for energy savings; • Adopt sustainable and climate-smart agricultural practices to improve efficiency; • Share water-gathering duties equally between men and women, boys and girls, so all have time for other activities, including school. What can all of us do to manage water sustainably for the future of food? • Choose fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables – they usually take less water to produce; • Reduce your food waste. It means less water goes to waste; • Save water. This includes using less energy, since much of it is generated using water; • Shop sustainably; • Don’t pollute water, and take part in clean ups if you can. Nabil Gangi, Officer-in-Charge for the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, remarked on World Food Day that “integrated and sustainable water resources management can become the direct accelerator of at least three out of five pillars of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, namely Pillar 2 on Circular Economy, Pillar 3 on Depollution: Air, Water and Soil, and Pillar 4 and Sustainable Food Systems and Rural Areas, with the links to the remaining two pillars on Decarbonisation and Climate Resilience, and Biodiversity: Protection and Restoration of Ecosystems. This year’s World Food Day campaign looks at practical and actionable solutions to produce more food and other essential agricultural commodities with less inputs, especially less water.” On World Food Day, reflect on the importance of water to our lives and what can be done to improve access to and management of water resources. Links World Food Day World Food Day video challenge for Europe and Central Asia: ‘Embody the change – Join the wave’
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10 October 2023
Sustainable forest restoration unites regional leaders in Skopje
Skopje, 6 October 2023 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Economy of the Republic of North Macedonia, in partnership with the 'Hans Em' Faculty of Forest Sciences, Landscape Architecture, and Environmental Engineering, convened an event in Skopje, focusing on best practices and experiences in forest restoration. This gathering falls under the FAO Technical Cooperation Project titled "Technical assistance for strengthening the national capacity of the forest service." Its primary objective is to bolster the Macedonian forest sector's role in the national economy and rural development by enhancing forest monitoring and restoration planning. During the event, leaders and experts from the Western Balkan region exchanged best practices and experiences in forest restoration while emphasizing the significance of regional cooperation in forest management. Speaking at the opening of the event, Fatmir Bytyqi, Deputy of the Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs, coordination of economic sectors and investments highlighted North Macedonia's commitment to aligning with EU forestry policies and international agreements on environmental protection. He emphasized the country’s commitment to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG target 15.2 focusing on sustainable forest management and restoration. He mentioned the country’s participation in the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration and the Bonn Challenge, with North Macedonia pledging to restore and afforest 15 000 hectares of land as part of the revised National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Forestry. "The primary objective of this event is precisely in that direction – to collectively strengthen the role of the forestry sector, advancing its contribution to the national economy through enhanced monitoring and planned forest renewal. Simultaneously, our aim is to bolster rural development and promote the natural beauty of our forests to every individual," said Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of North Macedonia Ljupco Nikolovski at the event's opening. "Forests are key to sustaining life on our planet, providing us with clean air, water, and biodiversity, while also enhancing our resilience to climate change. I am particularly encouraged by the collective commitment that I see today for the preservation of our forests and the well-being of our communities," he underlined. Nabil Gangi, Officer-in-Charge for the FAO Regional Office, Deputy Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia and De facto Head of FAO North Macedonia, affirmed FAO's dedication to assisting countries in the sustainable management of their natural resources to improve livelihoods. ‘’We are delighted to support the Government of North Macedonia in enhancing forest monitoring capabilities and scaling up forest restoration efforts in the years ahead. Our collective aim is to advance the economic value of Macedonian forests while preserving these precious resources as an integral part of the nation's natural landscape’’ – he pointed out. The event featured a Ministerial round table, bringing together ministers responsible for agriculture, forestry, food, and water management from North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Montenegro. They exchanged insights on forest restoration and afforestation as strategies for addressing the regional challenges posed by climate change. Minister Nikolovski underscored that the green transition represents a paramount priority among the five strategic imperatives of both the Ministry and the Government of North Macedonia. He stressed that afforestation stands as a pivotal objective for the successful implementation of green principles within the government's agenda. "We're actively partnering with the European Union to reform North Macedonia's forestry sector in line with European standards," said Nikolovski. He highlighted the Ministry's Program for Extended Reproduction of Forests, which directs the afforestation of barren areas, erosion-prone lands, and the recovery of fire-damaged forests. This initiative saw the successful planting of 400 000 seedlings throughout the country last year, with ambitious plans to plant an additional 1.2 million in 2023. Vladimir Jokovich, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic System and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management of the Republic of Montenegro, emphasized Montenegro's rich forest heritage and preservation efforts. He discussed ongoing reforms for sustainable state forest management, highlighting priorities such as resilience, rural development, wood industry competitiveness, forestry profession development, burnt area restoration, and climate change adaptation. Anila Denaj, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Republic of Albania, highlighted the undeniable impact of climate change on the nation's forests. In collaboration with the World Bank, Albania is pioneering the introduction of a Digital Platform for Climate-Smart Agriculture to help farmers towards adopting more sustainable agricultural practices. Additionally, Albania is channeling its efforts into the modernization of irrigation and drainage systems while incorporating renewable energy sources to conserve and protect the environment – she explained. Faton Peci, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Rural Development of Kosovo, underscored the importance of regional cooperation, stressing that Kosovo's government is actively working with international partners such as the European Commission, USA, FAO, Japan, Sweden, and Germany to protect and restore its forests. These collaborative efforts focus on improving forest management, preventing floods, and managing the risk of forest fires and other natural disasters. Deputy Minister Miroslav Marinov highlighted Bulgaria's commitment to afforestation, particularly in combating soil degradation and erosion while preserving land quality and water balance. He revealed that 30 percent of Bulgaria's afforestation efforts focus on anti-erosion measures and mentioned EU-funded automated container sapling production in Bulgaria's forest nurseries. Marinov discussed Bulgaria's response to forest fire challenges through experimental afforestation and irrigation practices, as well as innovative biodiversity conservation in forestry using demonstration sites. At the collaborative event, academia representatives from North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered insightful presentations, covering a wide range of topics, including best practices in forest restoration, silviculture, and reforestation challenges. Their discussions encompassed plant material production, afforestation strategies for barren terrains, hydroseeding for land restoration, eroded area recovery, and biomass production. Kenichi Shono, FAO forestry officer, shared a global perspective on best practices in ecosystem restoration, shedding light on management options for degraded coppice forests, as a valuable source of renewable biomass, drought-resistant roots, ecological flexibility, diverse habitats, various products and ecosystem services. The exchange of best practices and experiences in forest restoration and management sets a promising course toward a greener and more resilient future for the Western Balkans and beyond.  All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)
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25 September 2023
UN organizes Drawing Contest to celebrate Human Rights
SKOPJE |24 September 2023| Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and ahead of the upcoming UN Day (24 October 2023), the UN family in North Macedonia is organizing a Drawing Contest for children and youth, from the age of six and up to the age of 30 years. Children and youth, from any part of the country, can be part of the 2023 Human Rights Drawing Contest. The goal of this contest is to engage the younger generation in the advocacy for Human Rights, raise their awareness about the importance of Human Rights protection and the benefits that these mechanisms bring to everyone. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it is recognized as having inspired, and paved the way for, the adoption of more than seventy human rights treaties, applied today on a permanent basis at global and regional levels. When talking about Human Rights, it is our joint duty to make sure that no one’s rights are being violated and that everyone has a chance to survive, thrive and contribute to the development of our society. With this Drawing Contest, we invite children and youth to join us and to #StandUp4HumanRights. Applying Date: from 25th of September to 10th of October 2023 Rules: Original drawing celebrating the benefits that Human Rights bring or can bring to everyone, as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Description: The drawing should depict some of the benefits that the adoption of the Human Rights, as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can have in everyone’s life and development, while the focus is on how to further enhance those rights for the sake of us all. Ages: The competition is open to anyone from 6 to 30 years of age. Selection: Every artwork submitted will be displayed during the UN Day 2023 marking activities online, while the drawings of the three winners in six age groups (6-8; 9-11; 12-14; 15-17; 18-21; 22-30) and the main winner’s drawing will be printed out as posters. A “popularity” winner will also be selected, based on the drawing that will get most likes on our Facebook page in the posting period 11 – 18 October 2023. UN Day Exhibition: An exhibition of the 20 drawings will be organized in the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Skopje, starting from 24 October 2023, where the winners of the Contest will be announced. How to apply? - This is the easiest part. All you need to do is, follow UN North Macedonia Facebook page, draw your masterpiece, take a picture of it (preferably high quality in .jpg format), send it to us through Facebook messaging. You will need to include the name, surname and age of the author, a short description of the drawing and the contact information (if above 18) or the contact information of a parent/guardian (if below 18 years of age).
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14 September 2023
DISCUSSION AHEAD OF THE GLOBAL SDG SUMMIT 2023 - Youth should not only participate, but take one of the leading roles on the sustainable development path
Skopje, 14 September 2023 - Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in a rapidly changing world is an impossible challenge without increased engagement of all people on the planet, especially of the youth, whose distinct perspectives and ideas can truly boost the progress towards the Agenda 2030. How to get greater youth engagement was at the focus of the discussion organised by the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia and the National Youth Council (NYCM) that was held at Youth Hub today. In light of the Global SDG summit (18-19 September 2023, New York, USA) the main goal of this discussion was to encourage initiatives and activities among young people, that would be useful for accelerating the implementation and achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Seeking innovative ways to benefit from full integration in the decision-making processes is an important step. The discussion on accelerating sustainable development in the context of the SDG Summit 2023 showcased how youth can make important contributions. “The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development is a shared promise by every country to secure the rights and well-being of everyone, on a healthy, thriving planet. However, this pledge is not being realized globally,” says Rossana Dudziak, UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia. "We now have a vital opportunity to move from rhetoric to action and break through to a better world. Achieving the SDGs also requires broader societal engagement. Civil-society and think tanks, and in particular youth must be able to strengthen their role as advocates for change and promoters of accountability. This requires not only participation, but a role in the actual decision making, especially for young people." Dudziak highlighted the fact that we all have a responsibility to act towards a greater, greener, better future of humanity and of our planet. “Our future lies in our hands. It also lies in the hands of today's younger generation, which will pass the torch to future generations," according to the 2030 Agenda. The role of young people in joint action to achieve the SDGs is indisputable and necessary for inputting their energy, passion, knowledge and skills “ said Filip Ivkovski, NYCM president. “One of the steps in accelerating the achievement of Agenda 2030 is the repositioning of young people and their transfer from the field of the consulted party to a new field as active participants in the overall process.” Some 50 young people and representatives of the UN family also discussed North Macedonia's commitments and achievements related to the SDGs since 2015, highlighting areas such as health, education, gender equality, and economic growth. The attendees raised important questions such as to what the key transitions necessary to accelerate SDGs are, how can youth support these transitions and how can UN and NYCM work together to advance sustainable development in the country. Today’s discussion provided an opportunity to ensure shared understanding on the expectations from the upcoming Summit, as well as review the venues and ways to jointly contribute to ensuring and facilitating key transitions necessary to accelerate SDGs. The National Youth Council is a representative body for youth organizations in North Macedonia, uniting 51 organizations, 17 youth organizations, 20 organizations for youth, one union, seven youth wings of other organizations and six associate members, promoting and advocating for the rights of the youth in the country. Through the Joint Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2021-25, the UN Family in the country is working closely with the Government and all other stakeholders to advance sustainable development, including with youth.
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