The GIZ ORF-EE project titled “Sustainable Urban Mobility in South-East European Countries II” (SUMSEEC II) was officially launched in December 2018. Prior to the launch, the GIZ Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency held a Planning Meeting with project partners in Vienna, Austria.
During a two-day gathering, representatives from cities, ministries, municipalities and municipal associations from Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia came together to exchange best practices, identify pending challenges and find innovative solutions for sustainable urban mobility (SUM) in the region of South-East Europe (SEE).
Joachim Gaube, ORF-EE Sector Fund Manager welcomed all participants to the meeting, thanking all partners for their efforts in helping develop and launch this new ORF-EE project.
“We need a holistic and innovative approach to satisfy a wide range of requirements concerning sustainable urban mobility planning and in creating more sustainable environments in our cities and countries,” Gaube highlighted.
Julia Nagel, ORF-EE Project Manager, responsible for SUMSEEC II presented the project at the meeting, using the opportunity to address the topic of SUM with a specific emphasis on SEE.
Nagel, in highlighting the importance of sustainable urban planning referred to the proverb “If you plan for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic and if you plan for people and places, you get people and places”.
Roadmap on SUM in SEE
The meeting also served the presentation of the latest GIZ ORF-EE publication – Roadmap on Sustainable Urban Mobility in SEE Countries, which was presented by Vesna Kolega, Expert for the transport sector from Croatia. The document was prepared in cooperation with ORF-EE partner cities and municipal associations from SEE, as part of the initial SUMSEEC project led by ORF-EE Project Manager Dubravka Bošnjak, which started in December 2017.
The document, among others, addresses relevant policy frameworks, presents best practice examples, financing options and opportunities for the region’s countries, integrates gender mainstreaming in SUM, while providing a clear understanding of the local and regional context of energy efficiency and environmental protection in the transport sector, including of the importance of a holistic approach in the field of urban mobility planning. It also outlines common activities the region’s cities should implement in proactively supporting the development of sustainable urban mobility in SEE.
“The Roadmap presents a technical tool, providing a platform to partners to move faster towards a sustainable urban mobility future, dedicated to health, welfare and the quality of life,” Bošnjak stated.
Partner feedback on sectoral achievements and challenges
The meeting featured an exchange session on SUM best practice examples from ORF-EE partner cities, where participants had the opportunity to give an insight into the work conducted in their cities and municipalities with the support of the GIZ ORF-EE, but also as a result of general efforts on sustainable urban mobility, although considered a rather new topic in the region.
Jelena Pavlović, representative of the City of Banja Luka, held a short presentation on activities conducted in the city in the past two years, explaining that thanks to the vision and support of the Mayor of Banja Luka and the city administration, including the support of the GIZ ORF-EE for the implementation of the European Mobility Week in September 2018, the city has become a Golden Participant of the European Mobility Week – the only one in Bosnia and Hercegovina with this status. This means that towns and cities that organized the mobility week in their jurisdiction needed to conduct continues activities for the duration of 7 days, from 16-22 September, implement at least one permanent measure, which contributes to a shift from private car to sustainable means of transport and mark a Car-Free Day by setting aside one or several areas reserved for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport for at least one whole day. Successfully fulfilling all the criteria, Banja Luka became eligible for the application for the EuropeanMobilityWeekAward, providing a solid reference for future project proposals and financial opportunities, at the same time receiving the opportunity to promote the city through various outreach channels, as guaranteed to golden participants by the European Mobility Week organizers. All their efforts on SUM also led to an additional award by CIVITAS.
Further discussions were held on steps to be taken within the SUMSEEC II project to best address sustainable urban mobility in SEE, analyzed through various aspects, including the important role of the media in public awareness raising on SUM.
Aljaž Plevnik, Transport Expert from Slovenia reiterated in this regard that the role of the media is crucial for an effective and successful implementation of SUM measures.
The meeting was concluded with group work focusing on the development of operational plans, referring to possible activities and actions to be taken on the level of municipal associations and cities in best tackling the implementation of sustainable urban mobility on national, but also in parallel on the regional level in South-East Europe. The focus, therefore, was also placed on regional experience exchange among the various project stakeholders and their mutual learning, which is highly supported by the GIZ ORF-EE.