North Macedonia

Switzerland’s transition assistance in North Macedonia is based on mutual interests in attaining socio-economic development, stability, security and European integration. Significant progress has been made since the Republic of North Macedonia gained independence in 1991, but the country still lags in some areas of reform, such as decentralisation, rule of law, economic development and public services.

Map of Macedonia
Map of North Macedonia © FDFA

According to the most recent census (2002), the population comprises several ethnic groups: Macedonians (65%), Albanians (25%) and other minorities such as Turks and Roma. Despite a solid democratic framework, the system has been undermined by the sluggish pace of reform, a non-inclusive approach to state-building and a decline in freedom of the press. This is manifested in a weakening of parliamentary and judicial control and in institutional corruption and political interference. Economic growth remains stymied by the recent downturn and high unemployment, particularly among women and young people. The Republic of North Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2005 but is slow to implement the reforms necessary for accession.

Democratic governance

The programme seeks to strengthen democratic governance through measures to increase social inclusion, public accountability and parliamentary control over the executive. Swiss cooperation also fosters citizen participation in local and regional decision-making as well as civil society involvement in representing the population’s needs and concerns.

State and Economic Reforms

Economic development

Switzerland’s support in the economic sector is aimed at improving employment prospects and achieving sustainable economic growth. It helps job seekers to access the labour market through vocational education and training programmes that are geared to the needs of the market. At the same time, it promotes private sector development, particularly start-ups, by encouraging employers to offer decent work opportunities. Switzerland is also actively involved in efforts to improve employment conditions, promote trade and institute better business practices.

Private Sector Development and Financial Services

Infrastructure and the environment

The country’s water resources and wealth of biodiversity are considered a major factor in its development. With Switzerland’s support, the institutions and organisations in selected municipalities can better protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change. By investing in infrastructure and capacity building in public services, Switzerland is helping to raise the quality of service in water supply and in waste and wastewater management.

Water – A Vital Resource Under Threat

Organisation and partners

The 2017-2020 cooperation strategy is implemented jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Switzerland’s work is grounded in formal agreements with the government in question and requires co-funding by the recipient country wherever possible and appropriate. Particular effort is placed on building partnerships with new actors of change, such as youth associations. Partnerships with the private sector are also sought as vectors for development, especially in regard to jobs and economic growth.

Switzerland’s main partners in North Macedonia:

 

  • Ministries and local governments
  • National and local parliaments, parliamentary administration
  • Civil society organisations, e.g. the media
  • Private sector
  • Local and international NGOs

 

Bilateral and multilateral donors and organisations, e.g. UNDP and UN Women

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 89

The members of municipal councils working for democracy

Women and men assembled in a community hall.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020

With the ‘Empowering Municipal Councils’ project, Switzerland’s international cooperation is helping municipal councils in North Macedonia to become effective local authorities whose community policies take into account the interests of ordinary citizens.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Governance
Decentralisation

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020


CHF 4'000'000



Education Fund for Roma

01.10.2012 - 31.12.2014

Roma minorities, numbering approximately 10 million people, still suffer from widespread poverty and marginalisation in Eastern European countries. A low educational level is both the cause and consequence of poverty, as well as an obstacle to social integration.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Western Balkans
Education
Other
Education policy

01.10.2012 - 31.12.2014


CHF 2'273'000



Restoration of the Prespa Lake Ecosystem

The countryside around Lake Prespa.

01.12.2011 - 31.12.2018

Lake Prespa is situated in the three-country border area of Albania, Macedonia, and Greece. Thanks to its biodiversity, the local ecosystem is of global significance. The widespread, improper disposal of waste is polluting both surface and ground water. The SDC is helping to decontaminate these waterways and to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Climate change and environment
Water
Environmental policy
Water resources conservation
Water sector policy

01.12.2011 - 31.12.2018


CHF 6'682'000



A platform for the diaspora

The albinfo.ch homepage

01.05.2010 - 31.05.2013

Albinfo.ch connects members of the Albanian-speaking diaspora in Switzerland and with their countries of origin. Networking and exchange allow them to take part in social, economic and cultural developments in their countries of origin. Switzerland helps to fund this platform.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Western Balkans
Migration
Governance
Diaspora for development
Information and communication technology (ICT)

01.05.2010 - 31.05.2013


CHF 470'000



"We don't have a spare planet" – environmental protection through education

Boys and girls watching a fellow pupil doing an experiment with water.

01.01.2010 - 31.08.2016

Environmental protection was for a long time not a political priority in North Macedonia and the implementation of environmental protection laws was slow. Now that environmental education is a compulsory subject in school curricula, school students are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues. This is leading to an improvement in the environment and the living conditions of people in North Macedonia.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Water
Climate change and environment
Education
Water sector policy
Environmental policy
Education policy

01.01.2010 - 31.08.2016


CHF 3'267'400



Strengthening regional cooperation on migration in the Western Balkans

01.11.2023 - 31.12.2027

In light of diversifying migration patterns and challenges with increasing regional dimensions, the migration policy priorities of Western Balkan governments are changing and the relevance of regional dialogue, coordination and cooperation is growing. This proposal seeks to promote coherent and effective regional governance of migration in all its multifaceted dimensions contributing to greater social cohesion and regional integration in the Western Balkans.


Planned project

Parliament Support Programme (PSP) in Macedonia

01.09.2023 - 31.12.2029

The Assembly (national parliament) will be supported in order to more effectively safeguard citizen interest and engage in consensus-oriented and inclusive debate. Over the past years the executive has built a dominant role vis-a-vis parliament resulting in ineffective oversight, limited debate on legislation, and little interaction with civil society. With the change of government in April 2017, a new momentum to address these topics has formed. Switzerland can offer its 10+ years record in supporting the Assembly.


Planned project

Support to Electoral Reforms in Macedonia

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2029

Election related institutions are strengthened to conduct election processes free of violence and intimidation. In addition, political parties are supported to apply a more citizen centred approach in developing their election programmes. Ultimately, better informed citizens are empowered to demand accountability from elected officials which increases legitimacy of the state institutions, thus they become more open and citizen oriented in the creation of policies.


Planned project

Creating Job Opportunities for All in Macedonia

01.11.2022 - 31.12.2028

This project will facilitate employment for vulnerable groups, by introducing appropriate active labour market measures, improving the capacities of responsible stakeholders to coordinate employment measures, and sensitizing and incentivising the private sector. lt contributes to ease the risk of vulnerable groups to fall into poverty, and enhances their social inclusion. Roma and people with disabilities are the main target group as they are disproportionally affected by high unemployment in Macedonia.


Increasing Market Employability

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2023

North Macedonia’s economy is characterised by one of the highest unemployment rate in Europe (21%, for youth 46%) and a high share of people in relative poverty (22%). The Increasing Market Employability programme aims to address these issues by creating jobs and increasing income. It contributes to improvement of the quality of products and services, expansion of markets, and creation of an enabling environment in the Sustainable Agribusiness, Adventure Tourism, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors.


Regional Housing Program (RHP)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022

Switzerland participates in the Regional Housing Programme which is a joint initiative by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia. The aim is to contribute to the resolution of the protracted displacement situation of the most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons following the 1991-1995 conflicts on the territory of former Yugoslavia. RHP is expected to provide 11’300 housing units to 34’000 people.


Civil Society Support Facility – up scaling

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

The Civil Society Support Facility supports civil society organisations (CSOs) to become drivers of social change in Macedonia. CSOs will receive mentoring support to strengthen relations with their constituencies and build up alliances. Mechanisms for better cooperation between state institutions and CSOs will be established and will enable civil society’s active participation in public policy and decision-making. A competitive grant scheme supports CSOs institutional development as well as specific projects.

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