For more than two decades, the Republic of North Macedonia has made notable achievements towards the sound management of chemicals. Its first law on chemicals was introduced in 2007 and updated in 2010 to harmonize it with European Union recommendations. The Government incorporated provisions on the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals legislation and the classification, labeling and packaging regulation. Furthermore, various by-laws were introduced to facilitate the implementation of the new provisions, for example, the establishment of a system for reducing persistent organic pollutants.
North Macedonia is also active in ensuring that it manages waste in an environmentally sound manner. In 2017, a new law on waste management was prepared in line with European Union measure 2008/98. This law is currently under public consultation and is expected to be adopted by the end of 2019. Several other laws, on packaging waste and e-waste, are also being drafted to improve packaging regulations, in line with European Union directives. In addition, a new National Waste Management Plan for North Macedonia has been prepared, as has the country’s first National Waste Prevention Plan. These will be adopted in the first quarter of 2020.
Several institutions share the responsibilities for the sound management of chemicals through a special synergy scheme to encourage the successful implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. These include the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy. However, one of the main obstacles is the lack of institutional capacity, resulting in a lack of synergistic activities.
A project entitled “Strengthening institutional capacities for mainstreaming quadruple synergy schemes in implementation of the national action plans for implementation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management and inclusion of Minamata convention”, is being funded by the Chemicals and waste Management Programme, also known as the Special Programme. It seeks to fill in these gaps in part by mainstreaming the new synergy schemes, including mercury issues, and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management’s national action plans into existing activities and implementation strategies.
Furthermore, the project also aims to update the national action plan for strategic chemicals and waste management for the period 2017–2021. A division responsible for joint implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm Conventions and the Minamata Convention under the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning and its integration in the updated national action plan will be established under the Chemicals and Waste Management project.
Through these activities, North Macedonia will strengthen the institutions involved in chemicals and waste management and build their capacity to support enhanced coordination, synergy and cooperation at the national level to implement the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the Minamata Convention and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management.