Green Caucus established in Assembly of Kosovo
The informal Green Caucus has been recently established in the Assembly of Kosovo. The constitution of the Green Caucus is result of the previous devoted work of its parliamentarians on both regional and national level on the topics of energy efficiency and climate protection supported by the GIZ Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE) and its local political school partner the Prishtina Institute for Political Studies (PIPS).
The establishment of the Green Caucus follows the formation of green parliamentary groups in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, also supported by the ORF-EE and inspired by its regional and bilateral exchange formats such as SEE Parliamentary Forums on energy efficiency and climate, Berlin study trip and the visit of Kosovo parliamentarians to their Montenegrin peers last December.
Mimoza Kusari-Lila was elected chairwoman of the Caucus whilst Sala Berisha-Shala and Fatmire Kollçaku were elected as deputy chairs. They are the three guarantors of addressing and advocating for environmental- and climate protection.
Sustainable urban mobility brought to legislative agenda
After the official inaugural meeting, the first event of the recently established Green Caucus was an informative session on sustainable urban mobility for MPs and parliamentary staff from Kosovo and North Macedonia, organized jointly by the PIPS and the Center for Research and Policy Making (CRPM) from North Macedonia, with the support of the ORF-EE.
Opening remarks were delivered by Leonora Kryeziu, Executive Director of the PIPS, Samir Memedov, GIZ ORF-EE Country Coordinator in North Macedonia, and Mimoza Kusari-Lila, MP and a Chairwoman of the Green Caucus.
Kryeziu opened the event noting the importance of the establishment of the Green Caucus and saying that bringing the topic of sustainable urban mobility to the legislative agenda through the joint session came at the right time.
Call for Assembly to draft a national urban mobility strategy
The topic is not only important in terms of aligning to EU criteria and obligations, but is also critical to the improvement of Kosovo citizens’ daily lives, said Kusari, adding that “it is necessary to start thinking strategically and demonstrate political will and cross-party cooperation to work on sustainable urban mobility.”
Kusari noted that a large part of Kosovo’s budget goes to capital investments on highways, consequently focusing national policies on the use of cars instead of green initiatives. She added that most infrastructural projects do not even include social and economic development, and environmental impact assessments.
She concluded that the Assembly of Kosovo should draft a national urban mobility strategy to create a sound long-term solution which municipalities could work on.
Sustainable urban mobility important contributor to reducing GHG emissions
In his opening remarks, Memedov recalled that the GIZ Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency has been implementing activities since its establishment in 2008 to strengthen regional cooperation between ministries, municipalities, civil society, and parliaments in the area of energy and climate.
“Recently, a new area of intervention has been introduced in our program, focusing on sustainable urban mobility,” Memedov said, noting that sustainable urban mobility is very high on EU countries’ development agenda and is becoming increasingly significant in South-East Europe.
“Recognized as an important contributor towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, this topic needs maximized efforts to be in place in order to speed up the process of approximation of national laws with the EU standards”, said Memedov. “A broad stakeholder participation is needed in order to raise the awareness and come up with a pragmatic set of measures that will address the challenges of urban mobility”, he added.
As in previous informative sessions for parliamentarians held in Belgrade and Tirana, Aljaž Plevnik of Slovenia’s Urban Planning Institute, a GIZ ORF-EE-engaged expert, presented the concept of sustainable urban mobility planning, good practices in urban mobility planning, and the role of national support for the success of sustainable urban mobility.