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SEA profile

Updated to: 09 October 2013

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SEA background

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Country contact on SEA

Contact details for the country contact on SEA.

Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of the Republic of Macedonia
Department for Spatial Planning, Unit for SEA
Contact person: Mileva Tagasovska

Country's planning system

Brief description of planning practice, specifically whether it take place more often at centralised or decentralised level, what kind of national level planning and sectoral planning takes place, etc.

Macedonia is a relatively small country. Planning is either undertaken at national level by central agencies, or at local level, by local governance units, also called municipalities. There is no regional governance level. Spatial planning has been largely devolved to the local level.

History of SEA

Brief description of the history of SEA in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.

Such as for EIA, the Law of the Environment (2005) provides the enabling framework for SEA and introduced SEA into legislation. In its progression towards EU membership, Macedonia transposed the EU directive on SEA into its legislation. The transposition was completed in 2008.

Legal framework for SEA

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Framework/Enabling law

Name of first enabling legislation that sets the framework for SEA.

Law on the Environment (No. 53/05)

Approving authority of enabling law

The authority that approved the enabling law for SEA.

The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia for the Law on Environment.

First national detailed SEA regulation

First national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) for SEA, through which SEA was operationalized.

Law on Environment, articles 65-75 and relevant decrees:

  • Decree on public participation during the preparation of legal acts, as well as environmental plans and programs (Official Gazette No.147/2007)
  • Decree on strategies, plans and programmes, including their changes (planning documents), for which there is an obligatory procedure (SEA procedure ) for assessing their impact on the environment and on human life and health ( Official Gazette No. 153/2007)
  • Decree on the content of Strategic Environment impact Assessment Report (Official Gazette No. 153/2007)
  • Ordinance on establishment the List with SEA experts , the procedure for carrying out the SEA expert exam, establishment of the Commission for evaluation of the SEA expert knowledge (Official Gazette No. 129/2007)
  • Decree on the criteria for making a decision on performing strategic assessment of other strategies, plans and programs which could significantly impact the environment and human life and health (Official Gazette No. 144/2007)
  • Ordinance on the manner of carrying out transboundary consultations (110/10)
  • Ordinance on the form, content and the pre-printed form of the decision to perform a strategic environmental assessment and the pre-printed forms on the need to perform or not to perform a strategic environmental assessment(Official Gazette No.122/11)

Contact person MoEPP

Approving authority of first detailed SEA regulation

The authority that approved the first detailed SEA regulation (procedural requirements)

Decrees are adopted by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.

Recent updates and additions to the SEA legislation

Revisions of the SEA provisions in the enabling law or the national detailed SEA regulation (procedural requirements) are named. The year is listed, and the main changes since the first regulation are mentioned, if available. Also, additional relevant SEA-related legislation that has been published since the first legislation is listed.

The Law on the Environment (Official Gazette No. 53/05) was amended several times: Official Gazette No. 81/05, 24/07, 159/08, 83/09, 48/10, 124/10, 51/11 and 123/12. The amendments in 2011 and 2012 amde some minor changes to SEA.

The Decree on public participation and the Decree on strategies, plans and programs have been amened in 2011 (Official Gazette No. 45/11).

Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning

Sector specific procedures/regulations

Any existing sectoral procedure/regulations are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each.

Sectoral SEA regulation has not been prepared for the Macedonian context.


Any government issued guidelines on SEA (general or sectoral) are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each. Describes the legal status of the guidelines.

The following guidelines have been established for SEA:

• SEA and water management - Guidance document on SEA for Watershed Management Planning in Macedonia
• Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA): scoping for urban planning
• Guidance for Public Participation in planning and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
• Practical advice on Strategic Environmental Assessment for local plans

Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning

Objective SEA

The objective of SEA as stated in the above described legal basis.

As Macedonia is implementing the EU-SEA Directive, the objective of SEA is as defined in this Directive, namely bringing environmental concerns into the policy-making process. It aims to provide a high level of protection for the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes promoting sustainable development.

Scope of SEA application

Describes for which planning processes (at policy, programme and plan level) SEA is required.

The last amendment on the Law on environment in article 65 par.1 defines the scope of application of SEA as wide. It includes policies as well as programmes and plans. As defined in the regulation, SEA is required for:  strategies, plans and programmes (planning documents), including their amendments, which are prepared in the following sectors: agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, industry, mining industry, transport, regional development, telecommunications, waste management, water management, tourism, spatial and urban planning and land use. SEA is also conducted for planning documents which are the base for conducting of projects that are subject to EIA or on for all planning documents that regulate the management of protected areas as declared by law or which can influence those areas.
For planning documents that determine the use of small areas of local importance and which predict small changes to it, the SEA will be performed only when the body preparing the plan determines that there are significant influences on the environment.

Article 65, Environment Law

Exemptions from SEA application

Are any specific types of plans explicitly excluded from SEA application?

The following planning documents are exempted:

  • documents that serve the needs of the defense of the Republic of Macedonia;
  • documents adopted in war or state of emergency; and
  • documents in the area of finance and the budget of the Republic of Macedonia and budgets of the municipalities and of the City of Skopje and of the municipalities of the City of Skopje.

Art. 66 Law on Environment

SEA approach

Describes the current overall SEA approach. Specifically: Has the country's SEA procedure been modeled on the existing EIA approach? Or has a separate SEA approach been developed?

The SEA approach is in line with the EU SEA directive, implying a set of activities that should be integrated into the planning process, and is separate from the EIA system of the country.

Articles 65-75 in the Law on Environment

Institutional setting for SEA

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Central SEA authority

Is there a central authority in charge of the SEA system as a whole, responsible for issuing guidelines etc? If so, is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g. ministry)?

The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning is responsible for sound implementation and performance of the SEA system.

Additional information: Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the SEA procedure are clearly identified (see below):

The institution which prepares the strategic document that is subject to SEA is responsible for:

  • scope definition for the SEA Report
  • the assessment and preparation of the SEA Report
  • publication the draft strategic document and SEA Report
  • publication of information on the public consultation process
  • preparation of a report on the received comments and opinions
  • incorporating the received comments and opinions in the SEA
  • monitoring the effects from the strategic document implementation and in case negative impacts from the implementation occur, informing the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning

The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning is responsible for:

  • giving opinions on the strategic document and the SEA Report
  • preparation of a report of the adequacy of the SEA
  • establishing a list of certified SEA experts

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for:

  • the transboundary SEA process during the Official Notification on the intention for project implementation submitted by the Republic of Macedonia to the affected country or by the affected country to the Republic of Macedonia

Experts from the list of experts for SEA are engaged in:

  • preparation of the SEA report
  • preparation of the report on the adequacy of the SEA report

NGOs and the general public:

  • take part in the public consultation process
  • informing the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning in case negative impacts from the implementation of a strategic document occur

Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning

Mandate for exemption of SEA obligation

Is there a legal mandate for a competent authority to make exemptions of SEA obligation? If yes, under which conditions (e.g. national security, disasters or no conditions/when deemed necessary)?

The text in the legislation seems to suggest that the only formal screening decision that is made, and requires publication, is the decision not to undertake SEA because there no significant environmental effects likely. The planning authority responsible for the plan undertakes such case-by-case screening, and when it concludes that no SEA is needed, this decision will need to be approved by MoEPP (for local level planning document), or the Government (for national level planning documents).

Article 65, Law on Environment.

(De)centralisation of SEA mandates

Are SEA mandates (de)centralised? Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for SEA processes is delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decentralization refers to the reassignment of decision-making authority on SEA to government units on a sectoral basis.

Institutions preparing SEAs are both Ministries at national level as well as self governance units at local level. However, responsibility for approval of the screening decision, and review of the SEA report, lies at the central level in all cases.

Articles 65 and 73, Law on Environment.

Initiator of the SEA

Who initiates the SEA? Should the plan owner initiate and undertake the SEA or is an environmental authority responsible for undertaking the SEA. If an authority is responsible, which authority and at which level?

The administrative body preparing the planning document is responsible for preparing the SEA report.

SEA procedure

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Establishing context

Overview SEA procedure

Short text characterizing the overall SEA procedure. If relevant, interesting aspects of the SEA procedure are mentioned such as: which procedural steps are part of the SEA procedure and are they based on procedures defined for EIA (screening, scoping ect)? How are they related to each other? Does the legal text provide specifications regarding the timing of the start of the SEA procedure within t

The SEA process in Macedonia is separate from the EIA approach. It includes a mandatory screening and scoping phase. The assessment process results in a SEA report which is reviewed. It has to be considered in further planning decisions. Provisions for monitoring are given.

If the planning process is required to be done in two phases (considering a draft planning phase), the strategic assessment report shall be integral part of the draft planning document.

Screening requirement and authority

Is a formal screening decision required? And if so, which authority is responsible for this decision? Is the decision published?

Screening is a required step of the SEA procedure in Macedonia. The last amendment of the Law on Environment made the planning authority responsible for deciding whether or not an SEA is needed. Forms provided by the Ordinance No.122/11 have to be completed by the authority. They aim to support the screening decision. The planning authority is obliged to send their decision on wheter or not an SEA is performed to the MoEPP. If the Ministry does not agree with the decision, it will communicate its new decision to the authority.

Law on Environment, and decree 19-7132/1 on screening.

Screening process

Describes the screening process for SEA (if any), who is involved and who is responsible. What kind documentation on the SEA needs to be submitted for screening?

Macedonia has chosen a combined approach of a positive list and case-by-case screening:

  • A separate decree lists the plans, programmes and strategies that should be subject to SEA, and
  • Strategies, plans and programmes that are not on the list, should be subject to SEA in case of significant impacts on the environment and human life and health. To assist with this decision, use is made of another decree with specifies screening criteria (similar to EU Annex II).

Article 65 of the Law on Environment, and decree 19-7132/1 on screening.

Timeline Screening

Maximum number of (working) days between submission of the screening request and the screening decision.

Timeline for screening is defined in the Law on Environment. After adoption of  decision for  perform SEA or not to perform SEA , the body who prepares the plan is obliged to publish the decision on the website on the Ministry within 5 days. The planning authority has also obligation to send decision and form within 5 days of adoption of decision to the Ministry. After receiving of decision and forms, the Ministry has then 15 days to decide whether it agrees with the decision or not.

Identification of stakeholders

Are stakeholders identified early on in the SEA? Who is responsible for identifying the stakeholders? Is a communication plan developed (addressing public and government engagement, disclosure, etc?).

Identification of stakeholders is the responsibility of the body in charge of the plan that is subject to SEA. A separate decree on participation sets out a series of economic, social and environmental criteria that can be used to identify the public and government bodies that are concerned.  Note that the application of this decree is not restricted to the SEA process, but covers participation in environmental regulation and plans and programmes more generally.

Decree no. 19-5992/1 on Public Participation

Setting SEA objectives

Is there an early discussion on the objectives for the SEA (i.e. How it will support planning, how it will be integrated into the planning process)? Which stakeholders are involved? Are the outcomes of this discussion documented?

Not a separate specified step in the Macedonian SEA procedure.

Implementing the SEA

Scoping process

Is there a distinct scoping process? Who is responsible? Who is involved? What methods (if any) are prescribed (overlays, matrices, etc)?

The last amendments on the Law on the Environment (No. 51/11) made scoping a mandatory step of the SEA process. Its Article 65 (par.7) promulgates that when an SEA is founds necessesary, it is obligatory to determine the scope of SEA.

Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning.

Participation in scoping

If here is distinct scoping, is participation part of this process? Who is involved and how?

Bodies affected by the implementation of the planning document have to be consulted during scoping, but these bodies have not been further specified.

Outcome of scoping

What are the expected outcomes of the scoping? e.g. decision criteria and suitable indicators of desired outcomes identified? If a ToR/scoping document is produced, what are the content requirements if any? Is the ToR reviewed? Is the outcome widely available?

Expected outcomes not clearly defined.

Baseline data

Are there any specific requirements for data collection (for example, on protected areas)?

There are no specific requirements for data collection, although it is required that the SEA report contain a description of the relevant aspects of the environment, and the environmental characteristics of the area affected.

Article 2, Decree no. 19-7133/1 on the content of SEA report.


Are there any requirements for the alternatives to be considered in the SEA? How should alternatives be selected, ranked, compared?

According to the decree on the content of the SEA report, the report shall contain an outline of the reasons for selecting the alternatives dealt with, and a description of how the assessment was undertaken. How the alternatives are identified and developed is not prescribed.

Article 2, Decree no. 19-7133/1 on the content of SEA report.

Assessment/mitigation of effects

What are the specific requirements for assessment and mitigation of impacts as part of SEA? Any specific methods prescribed?

There are no specific requirements on how the assessment and mitigation of impacts are to be undertaken as part of the SEA. The SEA regulations do require that the SEA be undertaken by a certified SEA expert. The expert need not undertake the entire assessment, but should direct the SEA work, and vouch for the quality of the report. An appointed certification committee can certify experts.

Ordinance no. 17-5737/1 on the certification of SEA experts, and article 67 of the Law on Environment.

Institutional analysis

Is the institutional setting for implementation of the plan analysed? Is there explicit attention for the identification of opportunities to strengthen environmental constituencies?

Not specifically required in the regulation.

Content of SEA report

If documentation is required, what should be contained in the SEA report?

A separate decree on the content of the SEA report specified that the SEA should contain:

(a) résumé / an outline of the contents, main objectives of the plan or programme and relationship with other relevant plans and programmes;
(b) the relevant aspects of the current state of the environment and the likely evolution thereof without implementation of the plan or programme;
(c) the environmental characteristics of areas likely to be significantly affected;
(d) any existing environmental problems which are relevant to the plan or programme including, in particular, those relating to any areas of a particular environmental importance, especially from the aspects of protection of wild birds and habitats;
(e)  the environmental protection objectives, established at international, Community or Member State level, which are relevant to the plan or programme and the way those objectives and any environmental considerations have been taken into account during its preparation;
(f)  the likely significant effects on the environment in general , including on issues such as biodiversity, population, human health, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climatic factors, material assets, cultural heritage including architectural and archaeological heritage, landscape and the interrelationship between the above factors. These effects include secondary, cumulative, synergetic, short- term, medium and long- term, permanent and temporary positive and negative effects;
(g) the measures envisaged to prevent, reduce and as fully as possible offset any significant adverse effects on the environment of implementing the plan or programme
(h) résumé/ an outline of the reasons for selecting the alternatives dealt with, and a description of how the assessment was undertaken including any difficulties (such as technical deficiencies or lack of know-how) encountered in compiling the required information;
(i) a description of the measures envisaged concerning monitoring in accordance to the law provisions;
(j) a non-technical summary of the information provided points (a) to (i) of paragraph (1) of this article.

In cases when SEA has already been applied to a higher level planning document, the regulation states that report on the strategic SEA shall include the information really needed for the adoption of the lower level planning document, and which according to the current knowledge and methods of assessment, the content and the details of the higher level planning document, the phase and the level of adoption, contribute to the proper assessment of the impact of the lower level planning document on the environment to help avoid duplication of the assessment.

Decree No. 19- 7133/1 on the content of the SEA report and article 67 of the Law on Environment.

SEA review

Describes the requirements for SEA review. Specifically: Who reviews the SEA? An independent body? Environmental Authority? Is the review approach similar to EIA review in the country?

According to the law, the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning  shall evaluate the adequacy of the SEA report. During the participation step (art. 69), the MoEPP receives the draft SEA at the same time as it is made available to the public. The MoEPP provides an opinion on the SEA (also called the first opinion). This assessment shall be published by the state administration responsible for affairs of the environment on their website (within 5 days from the date when the asessment was done).

Then, after the planning authority has revised the SEA in reaction to the MoEPPs opinion and opinions received through participation, this revised draft is provided to MoEPP for evaluation (art. 72).  Formally, the MoEPP now checks the adequacy of the SEA. For this second step, the MoEPP can hire a certified expert, but there is limited budget available for this. 

No review criteria have been developed for the review, in practice the MoEPP :  checks 1) if the SEA contains the elements required, and 2) if comments from the MoEPP and others been incorporated.

The review advice is not made public, only in cases where the MoEPP is reviewing its own planning documents.

Article 69 and 72 of the Law on Environment, and comments from the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning.

Participation in review

Are there any arrangements for participation in review? Who is involved? How is their involvement arranged?

The Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning, and the bodies affected by the implementation of the planning document, legal and natural persons and the public, may submit their opinion on the draft planning document and the Environmental Report to the body that prepares the planning document.  In addition, a public hearing should be organised on the SEA and the planning document.

Art. 69 (3) Law on the Environment, and the Decree on participation, no. 19-5992/1

Timeline review

What is the timeline given for the review of the SEA, in (working) days?

All those who can comment, have to provide their submissions within 30 days of publication of the SEA report.

Article 69, Law on Environment

Informing and influencing decision-making

SEA and planning decision-making

What is the formal role of SEA in decision-making on the plan? Is SEA approval needed before a planning decision can be made?

The environmental law states that the administrative body responsible for the plan shall take into account the SEA report and the public consultation results when adopting the plan. Before decision-making takes place, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning evaluates the adequacy of the SEA report.  Strictly speaking, the Ministry's formal approval of the SEA report is not required for planning to proceed, but the law states that the administrative body responsible for the plan also take into account the Ministry's evaluation of the SEA report, in its decision-making .

SEA regulation, Article 73 in Environmental Law.

Recommendations for decision-making

How are the results of the SEA and participation translated into recommendations for decision-making on the plan?

The body that prepares the planning document or the amendment of the planning document shall, in accordance with Article 73 of the Law, on the Environment, take into consideration the findings of the Environmental Report, the opinions and the comments obtained from the bodies concerned with the implementation of the planning document, as well as the results from the transboundary consultations.  It also needs to take into consideration the opinion of the body of the state administration responsible for the affairs of the environment on the adequacy of the environmental report.

Article 73 and 74 of the Law on Environment

Justification of decision

Does policy/programme/plan adoption decision-making have to be justified on the basis of the SEA?

Article 74 (2) of the law stipulates that the body responsible for the plan needs to justify how SEA recommendations and the results of public consultation have been taken on board in the strategic document, in a formal notification of the decision.

Article 74, Law on Environment


Monitoring requirement

Is there a requirement for implementation of decisions to be monitored? What is the role of SEA outcomes in this monitoring? What provisions exits for action to be undertaken if environmental problems occur?

The SEA regulation (article 75) states that the body that prepares the planning document shall also monitor the impact on the environment and on human health caused by the implementation of the planning documents.

The regulation further requires that any other legal and natural person and associations of citizens in the area of environment shall notify the body of the state administration responsible for the affairs of the environment on possible negative impact of plan implementation.

Article 75, Law on Environment

Evaluation requirement

Is there a formal requirement to evaluate the SEA? Similarly, to evaluate plan implementation before the next round of plan development? Are the two connected in this SEA system?

Not required.

SEA practice

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Year of first SEA

Mentions if SEA practice is carried out in a country. Information is provided regarding the beginn of SEA practice, even if there is/has been no legislation available (yet). If possible, the year when the first SEA was conducted is given (to be precise the year in which the SEA report was finalized).


Contact person MoEPP

Annual no. of SEAs

Gives an estimation for the number of SEAs that are produced annually in this country.

At present there is no accurate count of the number of SEA undertaken annually, although the number is expected to be upwards of 25. At national level an SEAs have been done for the strategy for energy development for 2020 and vision for 2030. Many SEA have been initiated for local level planning.

Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning

Central SEA database

Is there a central database or library where information on SEAs is kept (i.e. where all SEAs are registered and/or copies are archived). If so, what is kept there and is this information publicly accessible?

A central database does not yet exist. It is planned all SEA cases will be published on the following website:

Contact person MoEPP

Practice reviews

Any SEA practice review studies that have been done (by governmental agencies or others) are listed here. Where relevant, links to studies are included, and the main conclusions of the studies are summarised.

The NGO Macedonian Green Centre published a study on the "Effectiveness of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment procedures in the Republic of Macedonia" in 2009.  

Case studies

SEA case studies on which information is available are listed here, including a link to case documentation, if available.

No SEA case studies have been published.

Professional bodies

Professional bodies relevant to SEA practice, such as SEA Associations, Planning Associations, etc are listed here.

The Macedonian regulation requires that SEAs are undertaken by certified SEA experts. A  committee has been appointed under the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning to certify experts and a public register of certified experts is kept.

Ordinance no. 17-5737/1 on certification of SEA experts.

Capacity development

Sets out any ongoing training programmes (including professional and academic training) and major training events held in the past (with focus on recent events).

In January 2010, a 2-year co-operation project started between the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of Macedonia MoEPP, and the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment (NCEA). Aim of the co-operation is to strengthen the regulatory framework and practice of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in Macedonia. Capacity development is part of the project

The project is funded by the Dutch Ministry for Environment (VROM), through the Environmental Facility of the Government to Government (G2G.NL) programme, which is implemented by the EVD (Agency for International Business and Co-operation).


Non-governmental SEA guidance

Lists any SEA manuals and good practice publications (including checklists, case studies) that have been published by parties other than government.


SEA links

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Links to laws/regulation

Links to relevant SEA laws or regulations.

Environmental regulations are available on the website of the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning. An English translation of the Law on Environment is also available there.

Other relevant links on SEA

Other relevant links on SEA in the country are given here.

As part of the Macedonian-Dutch SEA co-operation project, an SEA portal will be established that will provide information on SEA for practitioners.