Member in Focus: Eko-svest

EKO-SVEST (FYR of MACEDONIA) – Eko-svest is a non-profit citizen’s association established in 2002 in Skopje, Macedonia. Eko-svest supports and encourages civic awareness and active participation and promotes practical solutions in cooperation with organisations and institutions.

Our vision is a just, responsible and conscientious society where healthy citizens live sustainably in well-being and harmony with the environment.

Our strategic objectives for 2016-2020 are:

  • Becoming a relevant actor included in consultative processes on national level regarding environment and EU approximation.
  • Acting towards improvement of environment and human health through participation in creation of sustainable energy strategy and prevention of harmful effects of infrastructure projects by promoting alternatives.
  • Raising of internal capacities through practicing our vision and mission.
  • Educating others on environmental issues and promoting sustainable development solutions and technologies.

Tell us a bit more about the main activities, campaigns and/or projects you are working on at the moment?

Eko-svest’s main activities are clustered under three topics:

  • Energy: We work on the policy level trying to change the national energy strategy by providing analysis and research in order to argument the need for decarbonisation of the energy sector. We also work with businesses to promote the use of renewables and implementation of energy efficiency measures.
  • Nature protection: Our main goal is to preserve national parks and future Natura 2000 sites from large infrastructure projects. The campaign on saving Mavrovo NP from hydropower projects lasted for five years and resulted in suspension of the hydro projects after the recommendation from the Bern Convention. At the moment, another large protected area, the Galicica NP, a UNESCO biosphere reserve is under threat from a set of large-scale, damaging projects. We work to develop alternatives to those developments, such as the Smart Ohrid (sustainable transport solutions) and Eco-adventures (sustainable tourism).
  • Public participation: we work within large networks such as the IPA 2 mechanism to organize wide consultations of civil society organisations and contribute to the meaningful use of EU funds in Macedonia. We also organize the environmental sector into topical clusters and represent environmental CSOs before the institutions of the state.

What does EEB membership mean to your organisation? How does it help you in your daily work and to bring about the changes you would like to see in Europe and beyond?

We are still a new member to the EEB and at this moment for us, getting to know the members is of great importance. We see a potential in joint collaboration on various projects. As a pre-accession country, our legislation is not yet in line with the EU directives and being in the EEB always brings in the latest developments in the area of environmental protection, which is very useful in our everyday work with the institutions.

Do you have a recent success story that you would like to share with us?

The long campaign to save Mavrovo NP from damaging hydropower projects resulted in a success this year (2017). In this campaign we engaged more than 100 scientists who demanded abandoning of these large hydropower projects in the park’s territory. We have directed our efforts towards the interested International Financial Institutions (World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – EBRD) into arguing that such projects are not allowed in national parks category II areas. A Bern Complaint was filed for this case in 2013 and numerous cases on national level have been initiated. After the Bern Convention recommendation, the World Bank stepped away from the Lukovo Pole project, and after the environmental permit for the Boskov Most HPP project was annulled by the national court, the EBRD cancelled this project in early 2017.

For more information:

Emma Ernsth, Membership and Development Manager, European Environmental Bureau

+32 2 790 88 10