Enhancing regional cooperation on water, environment and blue economy: UfM official visit to North Macedonia
- UfM holds an official visit to new Member State, North Macedonia, to discuss regional environmental challenges and potential cooperation initiatives.
31 January 2023, Skopje. Following the entrance of the Republic of North Macedonia into the Union for the Mediterranean last November, UfM Deputy Secretary General in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy, Almotaz Abadi, paid an official visit to the new Member State to meet with the Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Naser Nuredini and the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water, Abdylshyqr Abedini, in Skopje.
The accession of the Balkan country comes at a moment of great need to intensify regional cooperation and integration to face high unemployment rates, the climate emergency and low levels of regional integration. Nuredini and Abadi discussed strengthening regional cooperation through dialogue and implementation of regional projects and initiatives. At the meeting, Minister Nuredini stressed the active role of the Republic of North Macedonia in developing regional cooperation by nurturing good neighboring relations and environmental protection.
North Macedonia contributes to regional projects for integrated water resources management in the Black Drim basin and flood protection projects in the lower Vardar River, such as transmittal basins that directly or indirectly cross the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, which affect the quality of the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, Minister Nuredini noted that he was committed to the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans to improve the wastewater network, establishment of regional waste management centres and circular economy, and commitments to decarbonise the economy through climate change mitigation policies.
The Deputy Secretary General Abadi highlighted how the blue economy can enhance the sustainable use of water and water bodies and lake resources for economic growth and job creation, encompassing renewable energy, urban development, waste management, sustainable tourism and agriculture, aquaculture, bio-economy, innovation and blue-tech. For the UfM, regional dialogue to boost the economy associated to the seas is key to boost economic growth. Abadi also expressed contentment about North Macedonia being part of the UfM’s regional dialogue platforms on water, environment and green and blue economy, which have developed roadmaps to guide the UfM member states progress towards shared sustainable goals. In this sense, UfM regional dialogue platforms are an outstanding opportunity to access potential financial institutions and transfer of knowledge and experiences in the direction of environmental protection, blue growth, and integrated water resources management.