Nature Conservation Programme

Project completed

Switzerland supports North Macedonia in sustainable management of natural resources through practical application of conservation measures in the Bregalnica region. In the exit phase, institutions and organizations will be further strengthened for an effective management of protected areas, introduction of payments for ecosystem services and implementation of measures set out in the national strategies. By promoting sustainably produced products and services, economic benefit for the local population will be generated.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
North Macedonia
Climate change and environment
01.02.2021 - 30.06.2024
CHF  2’155’000
Background North Macedonia is widely recognized as the European “Biodiversity Hotspot”. The country's outstanding natural capital is however under pressure due to human impact. While the legal and regulatory framework are largely harmonized with the EU Environmental acquis and progress has been made in the enlargement and management of protected areas, institutions at central and local level still struggle with the practical implementation of innovative approaches for integrated management and sustainable use of natural resources The extraordinary biodiversity richness of the Bregalnica region shall be conserved and protected, ensuring at the same time economic benefits for the local population. With the newly proclamated protected area in that region, the protected territory at national level increased from 9% to 11%.
Objectives Bregalnica region safeguards its natural values and promotes sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development.
Target groups
  • Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning;
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy;
  • Public Enterprise National Forests;
  • Faculty of Forestry in Skopje;
  • 16 municipalities in the Bregalnica Region;
  • Population (approx. 200'000) in the Bregalnica Region
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1 : Relevant institutionsa nd organisations at all levels implement innovative approached for integrated management of natural resources.

Outcome 2: Key stakeholders of the Bregalnica region jointly apply a regional approach to promote nature conservation and sustainable socio-economic development.

Outcome 3: The consolidated and documented knowledge, achievements and results of the Nature Conservation Programme are used for further application of sustainable management of natural resources in the region and country.


Expected results:  

  • A scheme for payment of ecosystem services for one protected area is developed and implemented.
  • Management plans for the protected areas are implemented.
  • The core groups for rice and honey and the local stakeholders seII their sustainably produced goods/services.
  • The results, achievements, main approaches and lessons learnt are capitalized, documented and publicly available.

Results from previous phases:  

  • Framework conditions for nature consewation have been improved and protected area Osogovo Mountain has been proclamated. For the first time in the country, a Regional Forestry Development Plan was developed.
  • Citizens and small and medium enterprises in the Bregalnica region improved their environmentally friendly tourism offers and seII sustainably produced goods (rice and honey).
  • public awareness at local and national level on natural values of the Bregalnica region, its sustainable use and associated benefits for socio-economic development has been significantly increased through active use of social media and production of audio-visual materials (incl. documentary movie Honeyland)

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
Foreign state institution
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • Central State of South East
  • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • Swiss Private Sector

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • UNEP/GEF Star 5 project
  • GiZ ORG Biodiversity
  • SDC Increasing Market Employability (IME) project
  • SECO WWTP Kocani project
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’155’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’895’526
Project phases

Phase 3 01.02.2021 - 30.06.2024   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.01.2017 - 30.06.2021   (Completed) Phase 1 01.11.2010 - 31.12.2016   (Completed)