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Eko-svest i Bankwatch

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Eko-svest is an organization that was established in 2002 in Skopje.  Their mission is to inform the public about environmental protection and to promote alternatives to activities that have a negative influence on the environment in Macedonia. The organization monitors new rules being implemented in order to be able to spread information about problems related to protecting the environment.

Eko-svest works in the areas of energy, transport, and the influence of pollution on human health. In these areas, the organization creates projects, campaigns and other undertakings which aim to inform society and to increase social awareness.

Eko-svest is a member of the CEE Bankwatch Network, South East Europe Development Watch, GENET, Inforse Europe, Kite, WECF (Women in Europe for a Common Future) and HEAL.  They also work with lawyers from the Front organization and other experts who help them prepare reports. However, they have a weak contact with the media, which they believe is controlled by the government. They try to publish various information online as well as in social media.

Eko-svest has campaigns dealing with the problem of lignite use. In Macedonia, open-pit mines are directly related to the country’s energy security (the source of 78% of electrical energy), which is why the organization does not have any projects to close existing strip mines, but is more interested in finding alternatives for the future, such as RES, energy efficiency, and gas as a way to make the transition of energy sources during the energy transformation.

The organization also has campaigns against large energy projects, including the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.  They also work with partner NGO organizations in the Balkan region and in Central-Eastern Europe.

The organization lobbies international financial institutions to support renewable energy  and energy efficiency projects.  They also conduct research into the potential of tapping these sources in Macedonia, working with groups like the Energy Agency.

Bankwatch has a representative in Macedonia, who works with Eko-svest on a permanent basis and helps them with their campaigns.

Through protests and happenings, the organization is trying to catch the public eye (for example, the “coughing” press conference in Bitola that dealt with air pollution) and the media. The issue dealing with the report on the influence of air contamination on health received media coverage.

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