Skopje – first city in North Macedonia in the Green Cities network

Skopje has become the first city in North Macedonia to join the EBRD’s successful urban greening programme, and develop an action plan for dealing with environmental challenges.

The Skopje Green City Action Plan was launched at a kick-off workshop on Wednesday for local stakeholders in the city by the mayor of Skopje, Petre Silegov, and the EBRD’s Susan Goeransson, Head of Infrastructure for Europe, Sustainable Infrastructure Group.

Mayor Silegov said that the action plan should help the City of Skopje to identify and address environmental challenges – solid waste and recycling, district heating, wastewater treatment and urban transport in order to reduce local pollution, improve energy efficiency and resource efficiency, as well as adaptation to climate change.

Skopje’s Mayor announced that the action plan will be developed over the coming year before it is brought to municipal council for adopted. Key sectors to be covered by the action plan are traffic, buildings, industry, energy, water, solid waste and land use, he said.

Kick-off workshop was attended by representatives of municipalities, business sector, NGOs and other institutions.
Goeransson said EBRD’s goal is to finance up to 100 green cities and to address the challenges of climate change.

The EBRD will work with Skopje authorities and local stakeholders to identify priorities using indicators benchmarked by the OECD and ICLEI to create a list of actions and targets for the next decade. The plan will be developed over the coming year before it is brought to the municipal council for adoption.

Skopje is the first city in North Macedonia, and the fifth city in the Western Balkans, to develop an action plan through EBRD Green Cities. This will help Skopje to identify, prioritize and address its most pressing environmental challenges.

In January, the EBRD signed a loan agreement with JSP Skopje to improve and modernize bus operations and improve air quality in the city. This acted as a “trigger investment” for the development of the action plan. This is the 16th investment project to be signed under the auspices of EBRD Green Cities.

EBRD Green Cities is a €950 million facility that offers a comprehensive business model for green urban development, combining strategic planning with
investment and associated technical assistance. The EBRD seeks to increase the volume of green financing to 40 per cent of the EBRD annual investment by 2020, in line with its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

To date, the EBRD has invested over €1.85 billion in North Macedonia through 115 projects much of it in the infrastructure sector, EBRD said in a press release.