The 1st South-East Europe Parliamentary Forum was organized within the GIZ ORF-EE project Regional Cooperation and Capacity Development of Parliamentarians of South-East Europe on Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection. It took place on 20 December in the Energy Community in Vienna, in the framework of the Public Dialogue Initiative on Sustainable Use of Energy in South-East Europe.
The event was held back to back with the Energy Community’s regular Parliamentary Plenum Meeting and brought together, for the first time, representatives of parliaments, relevant ministries and the civil society from six SEE countries to discuss energy efficiency and climate change. The Forum is the first event of its kind in the region and will be held on regular basis for the next two years.
ʺThe aim is to secure sustainable regional exchange and strengthen the capacities of SEE parliamentarians, empowering them to lobby and foster necessary reforms in the areas of climate protection and energy efficiency in the countries of the region,“ Jasna Sekulović, GIZ ORF-EE Project Manager stated on the occasion of the event.
Joachim Gaube, GIZ ORF-EE Sector Fund Manager stressed that the Forum is an important building block for reinforced SEE regional cooperation on energy efficiency and climate protection. He stated „Strong parliamentary institutions and regional cooperation are possibly the most important factors in assuring that energy and climate policies serve the interest of the people represented by parliaments.“
Janez Kopač, the Director of the Energy Community Secretariat added in his introductory speech that it was the right timing to organize the Forum, considering the recent recommendations of the Energy Community’s Ministerial Council, which highlight the future climate focused dimension of the Energy Community Secretariat.
The Forum also served the official launch of the new GIZ ORF-EE regional project, which will be implemented in the next two years. Its objective is to strengthen the capacities of parliamentarians of SEE countries, striving to support and increase their participation in decision-making processes on energy efficiency and climate protection, also through more dominant participation of the civil sector. The goal is to generate critical political will for reforms in the sector at stake and in line with the joint objective of SEE partner countries to join the EU.
Participants of the event expressed their satisfaction for the opportunity to take part in the Forum and they once more declared their interest in the topics at stake, reiterating their dedication to work together to find viable solutions.
The ORF-EE project is supported by the German Government and it is implemented by the German development organization GIZ.