Фото: Мета.мк

The Matka Canyon, near Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, still awaits its re-declaration as a natural monument and the genuine protection of its rarities. The Ministry of Environment is currently working on appending the text of the draft law for declaring the Matka Canyon a natural monument, after receiving the written remarks from Skopje City Hall, Saraj Municipality and other relevant institutions. The procedure for the final adoption of the law is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, and this is also the deadline for proclaiming the managing entity and forming its governing structure.

Last year, the Ministry of Environment prepared the initial version of the draft law for proclaiming Matka Canyon a natural monument, which is in accordance with the Law on Nature Protection from 2004. Previously, in June 2020, Skopje City Hall, UNDP and national experts reviewed the study on the valorization of the natural treasures of the protected area. The changes were aimed at amending the existing boundaries and determining the proposed zones in GIS with narrative descriptions and defining the protection regime.

“The study together with the proposal for declaring the protected site Matka Canyon a natural monument adopted by the City Council of Skopje, was submitted to the Ministry, on the basis of which the draft law was prepared. The re-declaring of Matka will be finalized with the adoption of the law that should be voted in by the end of the year,“ the Ministry informed.

Skopje City Hall says that the procedure for the re-declaration of Matka a natural monument is ongoing and that the goal is to adopt a quality law that will take into account all the aspects that are important for this nature site.

“The procedure for amending the draft law is ongoing, as the competent Ministry is still considering the submitted remarks. The goal is their implementation in order to obtain a quality and functional law for the citizens of Skopje and beyond, taking into account that Matka Canyon is also an attractive tourist location,“ the Skopje City Hall says.

Matka Canyon is one of the most important sites in the national system of protected areas, because it has several natural and cultural characteristics and features and has scientific, educational, educational, spiritual and tourist importance.

Its protection against the usurpation of the lakeshore should be taken care of by the Saraj Municipality, i.e. its Construction Inspectorate. In 2020, the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office opened two proceedings against two people for the usurpation of the lake shore, with wooden platforms and huts erected. These are just two of the many examples of the destruction of the nature at Matka with platforms, facilities and other infrastructure that have taken place in the past 18 years. Now, awaiting the enactment of the law and the re-declaration of Matka, the public is expecting the resolution of these and other cases of usurpation, which must end with re-mediation of the damage and restoring the locations to the original state.