WORLD WATER DAY, MARCH 22ND, 2015: Joint action of Macedonian and Kosovo citizens to clean the River Lepenec

On March 22 (Sunday), 2015, on the occasion of World Water Day, the association of citizens 4x4x4 Balkan Bridges, in cooperation with various civic organizations, members of the Platform Green Macedonia organized an action to clean the river Lepenec. The purpose of the action, which took place at the same time (03.22.2015 at 12 o’clock) in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey (countries of the project partners) was to raise public awareness through active involvement of citizens and institutions on topics related to the environment, with special emphasis on the protection and preservation of water as a resource that is not renewable, and which is needed more than anything in the daily lives of us all.

Only air, water and wildlife do not use passports to cross political boundaries. Given that responsibility for the river Lepenec is on both the citizens of Macedonia and Kosovo, the campaign to mark World Water Day, was realized at the same time on both sides of the border between Macedonia and Kosovo. Our action was joined by the Minister of Environment and Physical Planning Mr. Nurhan Izairi and representatives of the water sector and other members of the Ministry. In the action in Kosovo, organized by ATRC Pristina, a partner in the project from Kosovo, were involved representatives from their Ministry of Environment (the Minister and his deputy), as well as representatives from local government (mayors of the municipalities: General Jankovic , Kacanik and Ferizaj).

The action resulted in a symbolic union of the participants from Macedonia with those of Kosovo at the bridge on the river Lepenec and presentation of letter of request for mutual concern of both countries on the status of the river Lepenec.

As we could see on the ground, the situation with the river and its immediate environment is in a very poor condition, which in turn is a reflection of our consciousness (or its absence). However, our responsibility does not decrease because of the irresponsibility of the authorities, nor does it reduce the responsibility of the competent authorities due to our negligence.

The meeting highlighted the common views about the next steps for the NGOs to encourage institutions, especially the Ministries of Environment, for future actions that slowly but surely “step by step” will encourage implementation of concrete actions for protection and promotion of the natural resources shared by our two neighbouring countries, and by that contribute towards achieving the objectives and guidelines set out by the EU in the process of our accession to the European family!

The event on both sides of the border was featured by media representatives from Macedonia and Kosovo.