Reducing the risk of natural disaster in the Polog region

Local news, 23.01.2018

Switzerland launches projects to prevent floods and improve solid waste management in the municipalities of the Polog Region.

Launch of the new projects to prevent floods and improve solid waste management in the Polog Region © FDFA

In the last couple of years, the Polog Region in Macedonia has repeatedly suffered from severe floods, leading to human losses, destruction of houses and infrastructure and consequently, high economic damages.

Combined with the additional danger from poor solid waste management and improper waste depositing in river beds and on hills, these two problems jeopardize the lives of people living in the region and their economic existence. In order to help the citizens and the responsible institutions mitigate such risks in the future, Switzerland decided to support the development and establishment of better flood and solid waste management systems in the Polog Region.

A new four-year project will support the implementation of a wide range of measures to minimize the risk of flooding and increase the preparedness of citizens and institutions to respond to floods. Measures will also include the building of flood control infrastructure and natural prevention measures such as reforestation. The ultimate goal of the project is that it is beneficial to both the communities and the environment. The project has a total budget of CHF 3’500’000 and will be implemented by UNDP, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, all nine municipalities in the Polog Region, the Hydro-Meteorological Service, the emergency response agencies, the Water Management Organization and the affected communities.

To address improper waste depositing in river beds and on hills, another project will support the improvement of the solid waste management in the Polog region. With Swiss support, the municipalities from the region will undertake short-term measures to resolve urgent problems related to waste in the region and develop a regional waste management plan. The first phase of the project will last for two years, with a budget of CHF 1’900’000. It will create the basis for further actions planned for the second phase, which will include the improvement of the regional landfill in Rusino and the establishment of an efficient waste management system in the region.  

The ceremony marking the launch of both projects took place on 27th of November 2017, in the presence of representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, the Swiss Embassy in the Republic of Macedonia, and UNDP. Since then, the project has already started to work on the development of the flood management plan, with the involvement of the relevant public institutions, private sector representatives and civil society organizations. Special attention is placed on involving members of vulnerable groups in the design of the plan. These projects will assist the Republic of Macedonia in its efforts to implement EU directives and national legislation in the fields of flood and solid waste management.