Improving Resilience to Floods in Macedonia

Floods are a recurring scourge in Macedonia, resulting in loss of life, reduced economic growth, and costly recoveries. This intervention is an integrated approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR). lt works on three piliars: strengthening institutions, behavioural change, and transfer of technologies; and at three scales: local, regional and national. Investments in the Polog region will help protect people and property, and provide a case for replication in other areas, as well as for strengthening of framework conditions at national level.

Country/region Period Budget
01.10.2017 - 31.12.2021
CHF 3'300'000

Macedonia, and in particular the Polog region, is prone to frequent flooding. Polog, with a majority ethnic Albanian population, has historically been marginalized on several political and socio-economic dimensions, resulting in deeply insufficient flood protection for its citizens.


The resilience of Polog Region‘s communities to future floods is improved.

Target groups

The final beneficiaries of this project are the citizens in the Polog region, estimated at 320'000. Not all of these people live in a flood-prone area, but the majority would nonetheless be affected when floods strike (damaged infrastructure, disrupted local economy, family and friends affected, etc.), and will also benefit from the early-warning system and other outreach activities.

In particular those living in or close to flood-prone areas, as well as those particularly vulnerable to floods (low-income, living in “illegal“ housing, elderly, disabled, etc.) will be targeted through a social assessment as part of the regional Flood Risk Management Plan (SECO project), as well as through the resulting activities.

Outreach will in particular target women and others — such as teachers, first responders, caregivers — who are important agents when natural hazards strike.

Medium-term outcomes
  • Outcome 1 (Institutions) — Legal, regulatory and financing frameworks on integrated flood risk management are strengthened at national level. (SECO to work at local and regional levels)
  • Outcome 2 (People) — Citizens in the Polog region are informed of imminent natural hazares and are able to protect themselves and each other
  • Outcome 3 (Technology) — Low-cost, innovative technologies demonstrate potential for scaling-up (SECO to work on hard infrastructure)

Expected results:  

  • Improved national frameworks, working toward EU flood directive and Sendai frameworks
  • Long-term financing mechanisms explored and conceptionalized in view of future upscaling
  • Public awareness campaign on flood readiness, response and early warning System
  • Early warning system: provides real-time updates on immenent floods and serves as a model for replication
  • Nature-based measures in rural communities increase their resilience and provide examples of Eco-DRR and Ecosystem based Adaptation

Results from previous phases:  

So far, UNDP has implemented a high-level regional flood risk study, which maps potential damages — and associated costs — according to different flood strengths. This, along with ongoing DRR work in other regions in Macedonia, provides a sound basis for UNDP to implement DAR in Polog.

The current baselines are: no recent and systematic revision of Macedonian flood-related legislation, no systematic awareness-raising on flood preparedness and response in Polog‘s communities, and no functioning hydro meteorological stations and associated early warning Systems.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • United Nations Development Programme

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • Primary project partners include the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Hydrometeorological Service, 9 Polog Municipalities, and the Center tor Development of the Polog Planning Region.
  • SECO project contributing to the same programme, as well as the Norwegian and Macedonian Governments, who are also providing funding.
  • SDC-funded Strumica River Basin Restauration
  • SECO-funded Solid waste project in Gostivar
  • EU-funded "Flood Recovery Programme" implemented by UNDP
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   3'300'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   300'000