The climate emergency has prompted policy-makers in North Macedonia to launch measures towards a fossil free society. As an official EU accession candidate, North Macedonia is to implement the energy, climate and related acquis for a strategic design, operationalization and implementation of common goals leading to a low-carbon society. In this process North Mace-donia faces various challenges:

  1. Air pollution in the country is among the highest in Europe and is the result of deep environmental, social, and political issues. The main emissions sources are private households that use firewood for heating in winter, traffic, and industry.
  2. The current energy crisis has been a real test for the country’s pledge to abandon coal by 2040 by intensifying electricity production of a thermal power plant to balance in-creasing energy prices. The advice of civil society and social groups to better balance the climate and social goals of the country has remained unheard.
  3. Many citizens in the country suffer from energy poverty which means that many households have difficulty paying their energy bills and may therefore be forced to not use heating or electricity. This lack of energy resources was estimated to have affected about 24% of the population in 2020. So far energy vulnerable citizens are not represented in the decision-making processes and there is a limited number of narrow measures to address their needs.

In order to address these challenges, ZIP and nexus are planning a Climate Assembly (CA) for the city of Skopje which will take place from February to April 2024. The main aims of the project are to give citizens a voice with a special focus on vulnerable groups that are often forgotten in policy making as well as developing recommendations for decision-makers that will expediate a socially just and democratic transition towards a low carbon society. The participatory process includes:

  • Two focus groups with firewood users and women from the rural municipality Saraj to identify their coping strategies related to energy poverty
  • A Group Delphi with experts to support the planning of the CA
  • A Climate Assembly with 65 citizens from Skopje
  • A roundtable with stakeholders and members of the CA to take stock of the results of the CA and facilitate the collaborative implementation process.

Click here to go to the project website.

Duration: 11/2023 – 10/2025 Funder: Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) Team: Prof. Dr. Hans-Liudger Dienel (Project lead), Uta Zetek (Operational project lead), Nele Buchholz Partner: ZIP Institute Logo: ZIP Institute