Building on the multiannual successful cooperation with parliamentarians from South-East Europe in areas of climate change and energy efficiency, the GIZ Open Regional Fund for SEE – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE) has recently started a sub-project “Competence development of parliamentarians from South-East Europe on sustainable urban mobility topics,” which aims to extend competence development for members of parliament to issues of sustainable planning of urban mobility.
Region committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, yet progress is slow
Despite rather ambitious NDCs and commitments of the Western Balkan countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared with the 1990 levels, their progress in this endeavour is rather slow. Increased emissions are evident across the region, particularly in the transport sector.
Transport planning in the region has traditionally focused on the transport of goods and the development of infrastructure. However, a rethinking process within technical bodies in individual towns and cities of the region is becoming evident, which indicates an increasing strategic focus on the mobility needs of citizens. By contrast, little attention is given in public debate to the issues of urban mobility and sustainable urban planning. The same applies to the parliamentary committees in the countries concerned. Sector-specific knowledge is insufficient, and most members of parliament lack the specialist expertise required to shape the policy agenda for sustainable urban mobility, launch targeted initiatives and conduct a regional debate on the issues.
Regional exchange platform to help MPs set urban mobility policy agenda
The GIZ ORF-EE has been for many years successfully cooperating with members of parliament of the SEE region to help them in developing capacities to set the policy agenda for sustainable energy development, and, in particular, the topic of energy efficiency, as one of the pillars for achieving safe, sustainable and affordable energy. In this important activity, the GIZ ORF-EE has been supported by the Network of Schools for Political Studies, which acted as a facilitator of numerous activities and initiatives with MPs and other stakeholders.
At the end of last year, in parallel to the expansion of its project scope, the GIZ ORF-EE and the Network of Political Schools entered into Partnership with the Parliamentary Plenum of the Energy Community to join forces in a process of establishing a regional exchange format for MPs to further facilitate collaboration in the areas of energy efficiency, climate change and energy-efficient transport. Since recently the same platform will be used for introducing the topic of sustainable urban mobility.
Jasna Sekulović, ORF-EE Regional Project Manager, said: “We in the GIZ ORF-EE are aware of the increasing importance of the topic of sustainable urban mobility and through this project we introduce this topic into our already existing cooperation with the parliaments on the topics of energy efficiency and climate protection. All our project activities with our partners and WB6 Parliaments will be designed with the aim to set these topics higher on the political agenda of the WB6 countries.”
So far, the GIZ ORF-EE has organized two study trips for parliamentarians, one to Vienna and one to Berlin, where they had an opportunity to find out about the way the European Union and Germany deal with transport and mobility issues, among other topics. The direct exchange of MPs from the region with their EU peers on the topics of sustainable mobility, energy efficiency and climate action will be a valuable tool for setting their countries’ policy agendas in addressing these pressing issues.