Macedonia

Switzerland’s transition assistance in Macedonia is based on mutual interests in attaining socio-economic development, stability, security and European integration. Significant progress has been made since Macedonia gained independence in 1991, but the country still lags in some areas of reform, such as decentralisation, rule of law, economic development and public services.

Map of Macedonia
© FDFA

According to the most recent census (2002), the population comprises several ethnic groups: Macedonians (65%), Albanians (25%) and other minorities such as Turks and Roma. Despite a solid democratic framework, the system has been undermined by the sluggish pace of reform, a non-inclusive approach to state-building and a decline in freedom of the press. This is manifested in a weakening of parliamentary and judicial control and in institutional corruption and political interference. Economic growth remains stymied by the recent downturn and high unemployment, particularly among women and young people. Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2005 but is slow to implement the reforms necessary for accession.

Democratic governance

The programme seeks to strengthen democratic governance through measures to increase social inclusion, public accountability and parliamentary control over the executive. Swiss cooperation also fosters citizen participation in local and regional decision-making as well as civil society involvement in representing the population’s needs and concerns.

State and Economic Reforms

Economic development

Switzerland’s support in the economic sector is aimed at improving employment prospects and achieving sustainable economic growth. It helps job seekers to access the labour market through vocational education and training programmes that are geared to the needs of the market. At the same time, it promotes private sector development, particularly start-ups, by encouraging employers to offer decent work opportunities. Switzerland is also actively involved in efforts to improve employment conditions, promote trade and institute better business practices.

Private Sector Development and Financial Services

Infrastructure and the environment

The country’s water resources and wealth of biodiversity are considered a major factor in its development. With Switzerland’s support, the institutions and organisations in selected municipalities can better protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change. By investing in infrastructure and capacity building in public services, Switzerland is helping to raise the quality of service in water supply and in waste and wastewater management.

Water – A Vital Resource Under Threat

Organisation and partners

The 2017-2020 cooperation strategy is implemented jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Switzerland’s work is grounded in formal agreements with the government in question and requires co-funding by the recipient country wherever possible and appropriate. Particular effort is placed on building partnerships with new actors of change, such as youth associations. Partnerships with the private sector are also sought as vectors for development, especially in regard to jobs and economic growth.

Switzerland’s main partners in Macedonia:

  • Ministries and local governments
  • National and local parliaments, parliamentary administration
  • Civil society organisations, e.g. the media
  • Private sector
  • Local and international NGOs

Bilateral and multilateral donors and organisations, e.g. UNDP and UN Women

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 26

Promoting equal opportunities for women and men in Macedonia

Three women look on as a young man writes something on a piece of paper.

01.01.2014 - 31.03.2018

In Macedonia, women are disadvantaged in the areas of employment, social protection and political participation. To promote equal opportunities, in 2006 the government passed a law on equal opportunities for men and women. To complement Macedonia's reform efforts jointly with national counterparts SDC is funding an equal opportunities project at the municipal level.

Country/region Period Budget
Macedonia

01.01.2014 - 31.03.2018


CHF 1'670'400



lncreasing Market Employability in Macedonia

Biljana, co-founder of The Good Earth organic cooperative, holding a basket of organic fruit and vegetables.

01.11.2013 - 31.03.2019

Unemployment in Macedonia is particularly high, especially among young people and women, and a large segment of the population lives in poverty. That is why Switzerland is involved in developing business growth and improving the quality of products and services by helping SMEs in certain sectors of the economy.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Economy and Employment
Labor market development
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
Employment policy and administrative management

01.11.2013 - 31.03.2019


CHF 7'500'000



Restoration of the Prespa Lake Ecosystem

The countryside around Lake Prespa.

01.12.2011 - 30.06.2018

Lake Prespa is situated in the three-country border area of Albania, Macedonia, and Greece. Thanks to its biodiversity, the local ecosystem is of global significance. The widespread, improper disposal of waste is polluting both surface and ground water. The SDC is helping to decontaminate these waterways and to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Water
Environment
Environment protection
Integrated water resource management (watershed)
Water resources policy and advocacy
Integrated water resource management (watershed)
Water resources policy and advocacy
WATER AND SANITATION
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
WATER AND SANITATION
Water sector policy and administrative management
Water resources conservation (including data collection)
Environmental policy and administrative management
Water sector policy and administrative management
Water resources conservation (including data collection)

01.12.2011 - 30.06.2018


CHF 6'682'000



Planned project

Parliament Support Programme (PSP) in Macedonia

01.05.2019 - 31.12.2029

The Assembly (national parliament) will be supported in order to more effectively safeguard citizen interest and engage in consensus-oriented and inclusive debate. Over the past years the executive has built a dominant role vis-a-vis parliament resulting in ineffective oversight, limited debate on legislation, and little interaction with civil society. With the change of government in April 2017, a new momentum to address these topics has formed. Switzerland can offer its 10+ years record in supporting the Assembly.


Planned project

Creating Job Opportunities for All in Macedonia

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2027

This project will facilitate employment for vulnerable groups, by introducing appropriate active labour market measures, improving the capacities of responsible stakeholders to coordinate employment measures, and sensitizing and incentivising the private sector. lt contributes to ease the risk of vulnerable groups to fall into poverty, and enhances their social inclusion. Roma and people with disabilities are the main target group as they are disproportionally affected by high unemployment in Macedonia.


Improving Resilience to Floods in Macedonia

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2021

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.


Creating Job Opportunities for All in Macedonia

01.07.2017 - 31.12.2017

This project will facilitate employment for vulnerable groups, by introducing appropriate active labour market measures, improving the capacities of responsible stakeholders to coordinate employment measures, and sensitizing and incentivising the private sector. lt contributes to ease the risk of vulnerable groups to fall into poverty, and enhances their social inclusion. Roma and people with disabilities are the main target group as they are disproportionally affected by high unemployment in Macedonia.


Macedonia: Nature Conservation Programme

01.01.2017 - 31.01.2021

Switzerland will assist Macedonia in sustainable management of natural resources through practical application of conservation measures such as regional protected areas and integrated forest management in the Bregalnica region. Further framework conditions will be improved and support is provided in implementing national legislation and the Strategy on Nature. By promoting ecologically and sustainably produced products and services, economic benefit for the local population will be generated.


Vocational Skills Development in Macedonia

01.09.2016 - 28.02.2018

Macedonia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (25%), especially among youth (48%). One of the key factors for youth unemployment is that the education and training system does not provide skills needed by the economy. The Vocational Skills Development project aims to address youth unemployment through supporting market relevant skills development by strengthening the engagement of the private sector (e.g. through systematised internships), thus increasing the employability of vocational training graduates.


Sustainable and Inclusive Regional Economic Development in Macedonia

01.11.2015 - 31.03.2021

The level of development of Macedonia‘s eight regions is highly unequal. A national structure for balanced regional development has been built up since 2007. SDC will contribute to the establishment of a national system for coordination and monitoring for balanced regional development. In the regions, good governance will be enhanced; project development and implementation capacities will be improved with focus on the less developed regions. These measures will ensure greater allocation of funds to the underdeveloped regions.


Support to establishment and development of Macedonian Parliamentary Institute

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2017

SDC will continue to support the development of the Macedonian Parliamentary Institute (PI). The PI is department of the Parliamentary Services of the Assembly that shall provide research, archive, library, inhouse training and visltor services. Through the PI services, Members of Parliament (MPs) will have access to information for fact-based debates on laws, contributing to greater quality of laws for citizens.


Civil Society Support Facility – Constituency Building

15.09.2014 - 31.12.2018

The overall objective of the Civil Society Support Facility – Constituency Building project is to contribute to enhanced engagement of CSOs with their constituents and to joint agenda setting to promote  positive social change in Macedonia. Through enhanced levels of organisation and legitimacy CSOs will be enabled to promote good governance at national level and improve accountability of the state towards citizens – elements which are crucial to building a more transparent and democratic society.

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