North Macedonia is a so-called non-Annex I party of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and a party to the Paris Agreement for which various rules and procedures, e.g., for the accounting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, have been defined by the international community. Further, North Macedonia is a member of the Energy Community (EnC) and thus part of the aspirations to create an integrated pan-European energy market. The Energy Community Treaty as well as the country’s status as a candidate for accession to the European Union (EU) require the implementation of the EU acquis in energy and climate. Becoming an EU member state would further change the country’s obligations under the UNFCCC from a non-Annex I to an Annex I party.
These international treaties’ lead to a number of tasks in a variety of areas for which the country needs to set up processes, define methods and tools – and agree on responsibilities among public institutions. A Climate Change Administrative Capacity Assessment serves the purpose of analysing the differing climate obligations and applying them to the national context in two dimensions:
- Which obligations are relevant for North Macedonia and which exact tasks will need to be carried out by public institutions?
- Which institutional capacity (and related resources) is needed to fulfil these tasks?
A team of experts from the German consultancy HEAT GmbH carried out the assessment for the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (MoEPP), commissioned by UNDP Macedonia. UNDP is supporting the climate work of the MoEPP since many years, among others, by providing external staff. One of the tasks for our experts was to suggest the full integration of these external staff members into the ministry structures in line with the findings of the overall capacity assessment.
For the first of the above questions, the expert team analysed the relevant EU / EnC legislation as well as the requirements of the UNFCCC, including the Paris Agreement and defined a detailed list of tasks based on the national context. These tasks are for example related to the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), GHG emissions monitoring and reporting, road transport, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and adaptation to climate change. One central finding was that there are strong correlations between the UNFCCC and EU reporting which makes the institutional set-up easier as the same capacities can support both processes.
The expert team then investigated the existing structures and capacities within MoEPP and other ministries working on climate change to define if additional capacity is needed to comply with all defined tasks. For this exercise, it is always useful to take into consideration the experience from other countries. It was concluded that additional capacity is certainly required in North Macedonia. The experts propose a gradual increase of capacity in the key public institutions, first and foremost at MoEPP bearing the main responsibility for policies, legislation preparation, planning, regulatory action, and reporting on climate situation and climate action. Nevertheless, as climate action is cross-sectoral, coordination and cooperation with other ministries is crucial. Key institutions are the Ministry of Economy, the Energy Agency, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Transport and Connections, Ministry of Economy, Customs Authority, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.
Another result of the Climate Change Administrative Capacity Assessment was the design of two options for a new institutional structure at MoEPP, defining the number of positions, their specific tasks and assignments as well as a financial planning of the annual total budget required for both options. Also, the final report lays out where external entities might need to be engaged, either on an annual basis or through an institutionalized cooperation, such as exists with UNDP.
Figure 1: Organogram – Option 1 for Unit for Climate Change Policy in MoEPP
Figure 2: Organogram – option 2 for Unit for Climate Change Policy and Unit for GHG Inventory in MoEPP
The Climate Change Administrative Capacity Assessment conducted at the end of 2020 provides a good basis for setting up the public institutions in North Macedonia for delivering its climate targets. It can help ministries to find best qualified staff and to make sure that all administrative obligations are kept which foster and strengthen climate action in the years to come.