People powered climate action

Collective action for climate action - UNDP discussion with President Pendarovski and CSOs and youth ahead of COP 28

December 11, 2023


„If we leave it only to the leadership of the states, we won’t make a big step forward in dealing with Climate Change“ – cautioned the Macedonian president, Stevo Pendarovski , during his speech about the expectations from COP 28, which is under way in Dubai, at the debate „Collective action for Climate action“.

The discussion between civil society organizations and youth climate activists, organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the office of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, was held ahead of his trip to United Arab Emirates. 


The aim of the event was three -fold.

Primarily, this event was a platform for sharing essential information on climate challenges, proposed ideas, solutions, and collective climate action relevant for North Macedonia. 

Secondly, this event was an important moment for the office of the President to share some of their thinking and goals for the COP28 and a chance to provide information to the participants that work in the intersection of youth and climate action. 

Finally, the debate highlighted the work done by different actors in the country, using some collective intelligence and civic participation to address the impact of climate change in the country.


In his address, president Pendarovski voiced strong support for youth and CSOs activism as a mobilizing force for increasing the public pressure for stronger Climate action and most importantly for transforming promises into reality. 

„The problem that we have on every COP and Climate conferences so far is that, at least on paper, sometimes we achieve satisfactory level of consensus with regards to what needs to be done in the next year or next five years, but with regards to implementing these pledges, little progress is being made“ .  – said President Pendarovski.


During the discussion, the President underlined the fact that globally, and in the Western Balkans, the war in Ukraine has caused increased demand for energy sources like coal, which is one of the worst pollutants and releases high levels of GHGs. 

Pendarovski, who led the delegation from the Republic of North Macedonia which attended COP 28 and was accompanied by the Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Kaja Shukova, the Minister of Energy, Kreshnik Bekteshi and the Minister of health, Fatmir Mexhiti, also spoke about the failure of the developed nations to provide the 100 billion USD per year to developing countries , needed to cut their emissions and adapt to climate impacts. 

„So far, this fund is not even half-full“ – said Pendarovski. 


United Nations Development Programme has been assisting the Government in Skopje, with its Climate related polices for over 20 years. The Resident Representative of UNDP, Armen Grigoryan, expressed the determination of the country office to continue with this support, as well as the support for the initiatives of the CSOs and the youth activists with regards to Climate Change.

„For UNDP, young people are critically important stakeholders in climate action. As we have seen over the past years, the knowledge, energy and perseverance of young people have spurred a global movement demanding bold climate measures from their leaders, while also leading initiatives in their countries and communities “– remarked Grigoryan. 


Grigoryan also noted that the young climate activists and CSOs participated in the process of development of the enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions of the country, adding that UNDP remains committed to including the youth in its initiatives, especially through the project „Climate Promise -from pledge to impact “, which will establish youth Climate hubs, starting with one in Ohrid and one in Skopje. 

The RR of UNDP also underlined the importance of the work UNDP does for implementation of the Small Grants Programme (SGP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which provide support exclusively for the local civil society organizations which work on projects related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

„So far, more than 150 projects have been awarded over 2,900 000 US$, while also generating over 3,200 000 US$ in co-financing“ – said Grigoryan.


Representatives of seven CSOs, who are focused on the protection of the environment and the challenge of Climate Change, also presented their work during the discussion „Collective action for Climate action“.

„Na tochak (On a bike)“ ; „Scouts Association of Macedonia“; „Macedonian ecological association“; „ Go Green“; „ Eko-Svest“; „National youth council“ and „Milieukontakt Macedonia“ talked about their own projects and activities whose goal is to raise awareness about the Climate crisis among the people of the Republic of North Macedonia, particularly the young people. 

As Mila Jovanovska from „Go Green “pointed out, this is not always an easy job.

„What we have registered with regards to the education and raising awareness about the Climate crises, is that even though this is a term that the young people know about, or have heard about, they still have very low level of knowledge about the real causes of Climate change, or what are the best methods to reduce the consequences from the Climate change“ -said Jovanovska.


The CSOs and youth activists also presented several eco and climate friendly ideas and suggestions in the open talk with the Macedonian president and the RR of UNDP, such as the proposal for placing photovoltaic capacities on degraded sites, like the former mines or industrial zones or the possibility to convert the nonfunctional railway lines into bike paths or greenways, practice already used in a number of European countries.