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South East European Countries

Geography, Economy and Population Issues

 

The South East Europe (SEE) countries vary in population from around 3 million in Albania (AL) to around 22 million in Romania (RO). Urban population ranges from 50% to 70%. Regarding topography, Albania, Montenegro (ME), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) are mostly mountainous, while other countries have a varied landscape including fertile plains suitable for agriculture. All countries except Serbia (RS) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have a coastline either on the Black Sea or the Adriatic Sea. Regarding economic sectors in most countries services take half of the GDP, while the other half is split between agriculture and industry. GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) ranges from 6,600 $ in BH to 17,400 in Croatia (HR), while unemployment varies between 10 and 25% (higher figures for BH and FYROM are the official rates that do not take into account employment in the grey economy) (see table 1).

Table 1. Economical and population datai

AL BH BGii
HR FYROM ME RO RS

GDP $ billion

11.77

16.83

47.7

60.59

9.108

4.017

161,6

38.71

Growth rate %

3.5

0.8

0.2

-1.4

0.7

1.1

-1.3

1.8

GDP per
capita $ (PPP)

8,000

6,600

13,500

17,400

9,700

10,100

11,600

10,900

Total surface 
sq km

28,748

51,197

110,879

56,594

25,713

13,812

238,391

77,474

Total population

2,994,667

4,622,163

7,093,635

4,483,804

2,077,328

661,807

21,904,551

7,310,555

Population growth rate %

0.267

0.008

-0.781

-0.076

0.248

-0.705

-0.252

-0.467

Population in
 the capital

433,000

392,000

1,192,000

685,000

480,000

144,000

1,933,000

1,115,000

Urban population %

52

49

71

58

59

61

57

56

Rate of urbanization %

2.3

1.1

-0.3

0.4

0.3

0.1

0.6

0.6

Unemployment %

13.7

43.1

9.5

17.6

32

14.7

6.9

17,2

i Source: CIA the World Factbook

ii BG- Bulgaria

 

Climate Issues

 

Mediterranean climate is characteristic in countries having coastal zones at Adriatic sea (AL, BiH, HR), in other countries typical continental climate is experienced with modification by mountains in hilly regions (see table 2).

Table 2. Mean annual temperature and precipitation
AL BH BGiii
HR FYROM ME RO RS

Mean annual temperature °C

7°C Mountain areas /
15 °C coastal area

10.3

10.5

11.7

12

10.3

11 °C inland /
2 °C in mountains

12

Mean annual rainfall mm/yr

1485

932

621

864

500-750

700

600-700

700

Observations at meteorological stations in SEE countries show slight rise of the temperature, (maximum temperatures have been increasing). Precipitation shows a slight downward trend, however there are some areas where slight increase was observed. Climate projections prepared by IPCCiii AR4 (4th Assessment Report) state that temperature increase can be expected in SEE by the end of 21st century ranging from 2.2 °C to 5.1 °C. Precipitation (although with higher uncertainty) will most likely decrease as regards the total amount of rainfall (A1B scenario). What makes special concern is the unequal distribution of precipitation meaning that extremely heavy rainfalls can be followed by long dry periods, which will increase the risk of summer droughts. According to AR4 of IPCC, climate change will lead to exacerbation of natural hazards associated with hydro-meteorological conditions such as floods, droughts, heat waves and forest fires. It is also projected that run-off will decrease by 0-23% up to the 2020s and by 6-36 % up to 2070s (A2 and B2 scenarios).

iii IPPC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

 

Water

 

The most important river for the SEE countries is the Danube River, empting its waters into the Black Sea in RO. All countries contribute to the Danube river flow, while BG, BH, HR, ME, RO and RS control parts of the Danube catchment areas bigger than 2000.0 km2. The Adriatic Sea catchment is of further importance for these countries, where AL, BH, HR and ME have direct access to the Sea while some tributaries are originating from FYROM and RS. The Sava River is the second among the most important rivers with 88% of its basin belonging to AL(< 0.2%), BH (39%), HR (26%), ME (7%) and RS (16%). The Ohrid lake, the deepest natural lake in the Balkans (285 m), is located in FYRM. AL and HR can be considered water abundant countries. Also BiH has a considerable water resource with an important economic potential. Freshwater river basins are the key water resources in BiH. On the other hand water resources are unevenly distributed over time and space in most of these countries, leading to temporary shortages in water supply from time to time. RS and ME are very poor in terms of internally renewable water resources, since most of the countries resources are generated from outside their territory. Consequently the main water resources are formed by the rivers Sava, Drina and Morava. The big part of the renewable water resources in RO and HR are originating outside of the country (see table 3). Also, in many areas of the SEE countries groundwater cannot be used for drinking water without prior treatment. Environmental pressures stem mostly from untreated waste waters, as well from untreated industrial waste waters and uncontrolled agricultural runoff.

Table 3. Water related statistical data, 2009iv
AL BH BG
HR FYROM ME RO RS

Dependency ratio (%)

35.49*

5.333*

1.408*

64.27*

6.4

:

80.04*

:

Water resources: total renewable (natural)
(109 m3/year)

41.7*

37.5

21.3*

105.5*

15.62*

:

211.9

:

Total water withdrawal
(109 m3/year)

:

0.339

6.119

0.631

1.0281

:

6.876

4.121

Total water withdrawal per capita (m3/inhab/year)

:

89.97

811.2

143.1

5021

:

319.3

418.3

Fresh surface water withdrawal (primary and secondary)
(109 m3/year)

:

0.19

5.536

:

1.0892

:

6.248

3.593

Fresh groundwater withdrawal
(primary and secondary) (109 m3/year)

:

0.15

0.584

:

0.0682

:

0.628

0.528

Agricultural water withdrawal as % of total water withdrawal (%)

:

:

16.28

1.743

12.261

:

17.03

1.868

Industrial water withdrawal as % of total water withdrawal (%)

:

:

67.74

13.63

66.631

:

61.08

81.56

Municipal water withdrawal as % of total withdrawal (%)

:

:

15.98

84.63

21.111

:

21.89

16.57

 

*FAO estimate. : No data. 1 No data for 2009, 2007 data instead. 2 No data for 2009, 2005 data instead

 

iv Source:
http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/data/query/index.html?lang=en

 

 

References:

 

www.fao.org

www.icpdr.org

www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml
www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

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