On 15 March 2018, in Skopje, a SHAPE ENERGY workshop dedicated to the role of energy efficiency in air pollution reduction in the Macedonian capital city of Skopje was held. The workshop was organized by the Black Sea Energy Research Centre (BSERC)), in co-operation with experts from the Macedonian Center for Energy Efficiency (MACEF) and the Association for sustainable development SFERA MACEDONIA.

Skopje is one of the most polluted cities worldwide and the workshop topic was of high interest for both public authorities, NGOs, experts, media, and the public as a whole. Their representatives discussed about the general and in-depth problems strongly related to the air pollution in the capital and the possibility to solve this problem through increased implementation of the energy efficiency measures.

The main points of discussion were:
– Possibilities to reduce the extensive use of firewood for heating of households;
– Public transport measures, such as electric busses, CNG busses, and tramway;
– Gasification of Skopje suburban areas (households);
– Institutional problems regarding measures for air pollution reduction;
– Coordination between relevant bodies about air pollution measures.

The workshop advanced the local discussions by exchanging new valuable information between the local authorities and citizen organizations. The participants identified next steps as follows: more stringent legislation on the fuel combustion in the local area, measures to decarbonize the public transport, better coordination between the Ministry of Environment, City of Skopje, and local municipalities, and immediate gasification of the city’s rural and suburban areas. Follow-up meetings have been agreed to continue the discussion.

By Zarko Ilievski from the Macedonian Center for Energy Efficiency (MACEF)