AmCham Macedonia Summer 2016 (issue 50) - Page 13

COVER STORY Summer 2016 / Issue 50 EU Supports Environmental Inspection Improvement Efforts S ince January 2015, an EU-funded project has been working with the Macedonian State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI), as well as with authorised environmental inspectors from municipalities, to improve their effectiveness and align with EU best practices1. The request to the EU for support by the SEI through the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (MoEPP) began in 2011 in response to the persistent gap between new EU environmental requirements transposed into national legislation, and the actual level of implementation by industry and other relevant stakeholders. This gap had been – and remains – cause for concern both for the Macedonian environmental authorities as well as for the European Commission, which emphasized in the country’s last annual progress reports the need to close such gap between theory and practice. To meet the need, 3 EU co-financed actions were designed to: support environmental inspection at central and local levels; provide technical assistance to 9 pilot municipalities and MoEPP in other duties related to implementation of environmental legislation at the local level; and provide various kinds of equipment and software to improve the working conditions of environmental inspectors in the country, including a set of vehicles, measuring equipment, office IT equipment, and a document and process management software. Implementation took place from 2015-16. The “Twinning” project mainly benefitted SEI and the EU counterparts were the Spanish Galician Regional Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning and The International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. This project