Go Green is an association for sustainable development and environmental protection founded in 2010 in the city of Skopje, FYR of Macedonia. Our mission is to develop values and the principles for sustainable development and to enable education and practical solutions for environmental protection. Go Green focuses on three main strategic areas: youth engagement and non-formal education in environmental topics, (formal) education for climate change and sustainable development, green economy and green jobs. Main activities include trainings and seminars, raising awareness campaigns, policy making, advocacy and lobbying, international exchanges, in the areas of youth training, (green) employment and entrepreneurship, education, civic engagement, climate change, renewable energy, transport, circular economy and waste management.
We speak to Antonio Jovanovski, Executive Director of Go Green.
Tell us a bit more about the main activities, campaigns and/or projects you are working on at the moment?
At the moment, Go Green is working on several projects. In the youth area, Go Green is establishing a youth environmental network in high schools in municipalities vulnerable on climate change and air pollution (Skopje, Tetovo, Gostivar, Kichevo, Bitola, Kumanovo and Gostivar). Students create Go-Green-Clubs in their school work on local environmental problems, research, education, actions and events. The office is coordinating the efforts and create national campaign and advocacy activities, proposing policy change related to the local/national problems.
At EU level we are involved in two K2 strategic partnership projects, one is about recognition of youth work, and another about the trainers competence “Civic engagement”. Research and analyses of the Youth Work is done on European Level with partners from Germany and Croatia, and tools and resources are being developed for the Trainers Competence Model, with partners from Germany, Italy, Poland, Turkey and Lithuania.
We also work on strengthening the vocational education in primary and secondary schools. This is important for the energy transition and development of a green economy and green jobs. The project named “Do it yourself” offers a course to primary school students to build a a City with clean air. Through the process they are learning about the importance of energy efficiency, solar and wind energy, railway transport, bike infrastructure, waste selection and recycling, parks and forests.
On green jobs, we are focused on jobs in the waste sector and energy sector. On the waste side, the informal waste collectors are a large part of the system in our country. We have developed a new occupation “waste picker and handler” that was accepted by the Ministry of labor and social affairs, in order to integrate the waste pickers in the system. We encourage primary waste selection and connect waste pickers to households to realize a “door to door” service for the citizens.
On the energy side, most green jobs are going to be created in the building sector. There is also a need for just transition for workers in the thermo power plants that will soon be shut down. We are proposing prequalification programs for workers and also policy changes in order to secure a safe transition of thousands of workers in the “dirty” industries.
Moreover, Go Green is an initiator and a leading actor in the Governmental working group on Green jobs, that addressees the youth unemployment with the employment opportunities that arise from the transition to green economy.
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?
EEB membership is valuable to us because we can more vividly follow the EU policy area, especially in the areas of waste and energy (climate). We see EEB as a platform for knowledge sharing, partnership building, and basis for stronger policy and advocacy activities.
Do you have a recent success story that you would like to share with us?
In 2018, the Government created a working group on “green jobs”, an initiative that came from our NGO, and nominated relevant institutions to work on the topic. The Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Labor and Agency for youth, and Go Green are part of it. Because of this, a “green jobs definition is in process of adoption, qualifications for green jobs are being developed, that will be part of State Statistical Office measurement, and prospectively, Agency for employment should have a “tab” on their website dedicated to “green jobs”.
Last year (2018) also, we proposed and developed a new occupation “Waste picker and handler” that is targeted to address the informal economy in the waste sector. It is estimated that up to 90% of the waste in Macedonia is pickers by the waste pickers that operate in the informal economy. The new occupation represents an opportunity for creating 3000 to 5000 jobs, because this is the estimation of the number of informal waste pickers that operate in our country.
For more information:
Emma Ernsth, Membership and Development Manager, European Environmental Bureau