A circular approach to the economy is “no longer a secondary aspect, but a central theme that ought to guide everything we do,” said North Macedonia’s Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Fatmir Bitici during a recent conference on the circular economy in the Western Balkans (23 May).
“The investment we are making in energy efficiency by producing energy from renewable resources and the accelerated abandonment of fossil fuels is the key and most vital aspect of the green transition,” the Deputy PM said. Solar wind and hydro energy as well as investment in energy-efficient technologies and infrastructure are vital in the accelerated fossil fuels phase-out, he added.
“The first, perhaps the most important perspective in the transformation of economies is for them to invest in creating products that have greater durability and at the same time can be recycled so that the whole cycle is sustainable. A key moment in this process is our investment in energy efficiency and energy production from renewable resources,” Deputy PM Bitici highlighted.
The Deputy Prime Minister underlined that a national economy that is transitioning towards a circular economy cannot bypass the development of green infrastructure. “This includes investing in sustainable transport systems, such as electric vehicles, public transport and cycling infrastructure, including promoting energy-efficient buildings, green spaces and sustainable urban planning,” he said.
“The International Labor Organisation estimates that global employment could grow by six million jobs through a green transition. This includes promoting the development of green skills, retraining workers for green industries, but also ensuring a fair transition to new jobs. The transition to a green economy requires international cooperation and partnerships,” Deputy PM Bitici said. “Cooperation with other countries, sharing best practices and exchanging knowledge and technologies can accelerate the green transformation and respond to global environmental challenges.”
Looking at future policies, the Deputy PM said that North Macedonia can only move towards a circular economy through join regional competitiveness, as opposed to regional competition. “Achieving sustainable and green development knows no physical boundaries, because the globe is one and only, and the consequences of global warming and the “greenhouse” effect are felt on every inch.”
Mr Bitici said that his government’s circular economy plans will be outlined in a National Development Strategy 2022-2042 document, which is expected to be adopted by the North Macedonian parliament by the end of this year.