The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia aligns its national action plan on health and environment with the Sustainable Development Goals

WHO

In cooperation with the Ministry of Health of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, WHO organized a workshop on 19–20 April 2016 to finalize the country's monitoring and evaluation framework for a draft action plan on health and the environment until 2020, and to initiate the process of creating linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets and indicators. This is the first national document in the health sector that is linked to the SDGs.

About 30 participants attended the workshop, including hygiene, environmental health, epidemiology and other health professionals from the national institute of public health and regional public health centres, and representatives of the city of Skopje, the Crisis Management Center, the Directorate for Protection and Rescue, the Food and Veterinary Agency, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, and the State Sanitary and Health Inspectorate.

The workshop had 4 objectives.

  • Finalize the monitoring and evaluation framework for the draft action plan.
  • Determine the set of principles for monitoring and evaluation.
  • Raise awareness of the need to include SDGs, indicators and targets in the monitoring and evaluation process.
  • Integrate and connect specific national indicators on health and the environment, and the monitoring and evaluation framework with the SDGs.

During the meeting, participants were introduced to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through group work, they started the process of linking the activities and indicators in the draft action plan with the SDGs, targets and indicators.

Dr Vladimir Kendrovski, of the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health in Bonn, Germany, also participated in the workshop and provided technical information on the SDGs. He said, "The results framework of the 2030 Agenda includes 17 SDGs with 169 targets. The SDGs seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and complete what these did not achieve. The SDGs are integrated and indivisible, and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental."

Based on the results of the workshop, the monitoring and evaluation framework for the national action plan on health and the environment will be finalized.

Background

Recognizing the need for integrated action by all sectors and entities in the field of the environment, where health threats persist, in 2013 the Government appointed the Committee of Ministers on Environment and Health. The Committee has a mandate to manage environmental risk factors and their consequences, create policies, improve legislation and apply current world experience and standards in the field of environment and health, with the goal of achieving better health and well-being of the population.

In 2014, taking a whole-of-government approach, the Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, enacted a resolution for preparing and adopting a strategic framework and action plan for improving the environment and health by 2020. A team was appointed to develop the framework and action plan with national and local ownership.

During 2014 and 2015, with political commitment and WHO technical support, the team used a collaborative process with wide stakeholder participation and a consultation process involving over 150 experts, policy- and decision-makers, practitioners and civil society. Air pollution, massive fires and floods have further strengthened the plan's vision , and the professional and political commitment to the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches. These events have also underlined the necessity of coordinated intersectoral action, situation analyses and assessments, from which data were gathered to define the strategic priorities and activities.

The resulting national action plan, based on technical evidence, political commitment and national ownership, is the first document that describes a joint governance model for the health and environment sectors. It exemplifies the modalities for future intersectoral collaboration, at both central and local levels, for creating and supporting healthy environments, and developing rural and sustainable urban areas and resilient communities. The national action plan was submitted for endorsement at the end of 2015.

The process of developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the action plan was initiated in October 2015, with a multistakeholder workshop organized with WHO support in Ohrid, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Based on workshop discussions and further consultations, in December 2015, a draft framework for monitoring and evaluation of the action plan for health and the environment has been developed.