A Project Funded by The European Union

  • macedonia, water management, water framework directive, wfd, matka canyon, martin wolff
  • macedonia, water management, water framework directive, wfd, skopje, vardar river, martin wolff
  • macedonia, water management, water framework directive, wfd, church of Sveti Jovan Bogoslov Kaneo, lake ohrid, martin wolff
  • macedonia, water management, water framework directive, wfd, macedonian lake, martin wolff
  • martin wolff, ohrid, wfd, macedonia

Overall Objective

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to sustainable development of the country by strengthening the administrative capacities for environmental management in the field of water management.

Project Purpose

To assist national authorities to harmonise the legislation in the area of water management and to strengthen their administrative capacities for implementation of water management legislation with specific focus on Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC.
  • Background
  • Legal Component
  • Institutional Component
  • Management Component
Tab 1
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is an important piece of EU environmental legislation which aims at improving our water environment. It requires governments to take a new holistic approach to managing their waters. It applies to rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries and coastal waters. Previous European water legislation set objectives aimed at protecting particular uses of the water environment from the effects of pollution and guarding the water environment from dangerous chemical substances. The WFD takes many of these objectives forward. More importantly, it also introduces additional, broader ecological objectives that are designed to defend, and where necessary restore the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems.

The Directive establishes an original, integrated approach to the protection, improvement and sustainable use of rivers, lakes, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater within Europe. It impacts on the management of water quality and water resources and affects conservation, fisheries, flood defence, planning and environmental monitoring. It requires control of all impacts: physical, polluting or otherwise – on water resources. The primary focus of the Directive is to achieve 'good' ecological status for all waters.
Tab 2
Project Activity 1
Macedonia as an EU Candidate Country is required, as part of the accession process, to harmonise Macedonian law with the Acquis Communautaire. This project focuses on harmonization with the Environmental Acquis, specifically the transposition of the Water Framework Directive. With the implementation of the Law on Waters (2008) the following legal framework and principles have been set out:
  • Water management
  • Responsibilities of Competent Authorities
  • Regulation of water quality objectives
  • Emission control issues
  • Monitoring and reporting obligations
The full transposition of the WFD is a comprehensive task that requires the implementation of much secondary legislation related to water management and environmental management in general.

Significant steps toward WFD harmonization have already been taken, but to achieve the full transposition the Consultant will perform a gap analysis of the Water Law and recommend revisions. Following the successful completion of Activity 1 the Republic of Macedonia should be capable of fully transposing the WFD. The Consultant fully realises that without the legal framework in place the relevant administrative structural deficiencies that need to be rectified to ensure suitable water and river basin management cannot be addressed. Furthermore, the development of the Vardar River Basin Management Plan as well as the functionality of the Vardar River Basin Council itself is reliant upon legislation being in place. The Consultant, from the outset, will place significant emphasis upon this overall activity to ensure that the legal framework is put in place as quickly as possible to ensure that all further activities can be sufficiently developed during the lifetime of the project.
Tab 3
Project Activity 2
Regardless of the large number of adopted laws and bylaws harmonised with the European Union legislation, the need still remains for completion of the existing legal framework with the necessary secondary legislation aimed at providing the mechanisms for monitoring and law enforcement. At the same time, capacities at central and local level have been identified as one of the major weaknesses in the process of Macedonia's approximation with EU in the sector of environment. In this context, the insufficient institutional and human resource capacities at the central level, as well as of the other relevant stakeholders (such as in the industrial sector), should be emphasised in terms of the implementation of the EU Directives transposed into the Macedonian legislation.

Even if the WFD is transposed into Macedonian law there is still insufficient administrative capacity to ensure compliance. The current administrative capacity is lacking in two major areas:
  • The overall administrative structure lacks synergy and a clear division of responsibilities.
  • The individuals doing the daily work lack relevant experience and tools.
The purpose of Activity 2 is to build the administrative capacity necessary to achieve WFD compliance. The Consultant must develop the organisational structure, limit the duplication of work and promote cooperation and synergy between organisational units on all levels and across borders. Every authority needs to know exactly what to monitor, how to react, and what and where to report to. The relevant institutions also need to learn how to raise public awareness about important water related issues and how to involve stakeholders in upcoming projects.

Once the organisational structure is in place and each authority and organisation is aware of its responsibilities the Consultant can conduct a Training Needs Assessment and determine which skills and tools the individual employees lack. In particular the Consultant expects a lack of IT use and sufficiently developed databases. The Consultant is responsible for providing the necessary training to the right people as well as developing an integrated water management information system.

Following the successful completion of Activity 2 every relevant organisation will know its responsibilities and have qualified people to carry out the daily work as well as “driving through” the WFD compliance.
Tab 4
Project Activity 3
Activities 1 & 2 aim at transposing WFD legislation and building sufficient administrative capacity to actually implement it. Activity 3 is the practical implementation and compliance with the WFD in most of the beneficiary country (as the Vardar River Basin encompasses 80% of the Country). The Consultant will prepare the initial elements of the River Basin Management Plan of Vardar River in cooperation with the relevant authorities and regulative bodies. When this contract ends, Macedonia should have a working example of a River Basin Management Plan and sufficient experience to copy the process to the remaining River Basins of the Republic of Macedonia.

All elements of the project previous activities with regards stakeholder coordination, database development, cross border cooperation, public consultation etc. will be put into practice as well as the actual institutional strengthening of the Vardar River Basin Council. So as well as actually carrying out the characterisation, identification of pressures, mapping protected areas, monitoring etc., this overall activity will provide the medium through which all components of the project and all aspects of the WFD can be put into real practice, thus also contributing to the general objective of capacity building and improvement of institutional capacities.

Planned Results

Legal Issues

  • Preparation of recommendation report for gap analyses of the Water Law with recommendations for revision of the Water Law and all relevant national documents;
  • Preparation of draft text of the Amendments to the Water Law accompanied with Table of Concordance;
  • Preparation of implementing secondary legislation related to water management with Table of Concordance;
  • Development of Manuals for implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).
  • Preparation of Treska River Basin Management Plan as a pilot on-the-job training exercise that should be done in parallel with the Activity 3 related with development of the initial elements of the River Basin Management Plan of Vardar River.
  • Initiation of cross border cooperation for international river basins.

Institutional Strengthening
  • Development of Plan for strengthening the administrative capacity for water management;
  • Preparation of long term training plan;
  • Preparation and realisation of short term training plan;
  • Preparation of Stakeholders’ involvement guide;
  • Preparation of Stakeholders’ involvement plan;
  • Development of a plan for establishment of a sustainable mechanism for improvement the coordination;
  • Development of Public information and consultation programme;
  • Preparation of brochures, leaflets, CDs or web presentations.

River Basin Management Planning Activities
  • Performing characterization the Vardar river basin;
  • Performing identification of significant pressures and impact of human activity on the status of surface water and groundwater for Vardar river basin;
  • Performing identification and mapping of protected areas for Vardar river basin;
  • Development of monitoring programme for Vardar river basin.

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PROJECT TITLE: Technical Assistance for Strengthening the Institutional Capacities for Approximation and Implementation of Environmental Legislation in the Area of Water Management
Contracting Authority
Central Financing and Contracting Department (CFCD) within the Ministry of Finance
Reference Number:
Project Duration:
January 2014 - December 2015
Ramboll, Denmark in collaboration with the International Office for Water, France
Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning; Vardar River Basin Council
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This Project is Funded by the European Union

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Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning

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