The GIZ Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE) launched its new regional project Sustainable Urban Mobility in South-East European Countries – SEE Cities Together towards Sustainable and Energy Efficient Transport (SUMSEEC) on 12 December. The kick-off meeting was held in Skopje, Macedonia (FYR) and brought together representatives of South-East European cities and municipalities, including various other stakeholders.
The project kick-off event in Skopje sealed the agreement of SEE capital cities Sarajevo, Podgorica, Skopje, Tirana and Priština, which was signed in Berlin in April this year, when city representatives declared their dedication to join forces aimed at fostering sustainable urban mobility in South-East Europe. Moreover, the event created a platform for all cities in the region to join in on the initiative.
The objective of the new ORF-EE project is to bring together, through regional networks, political and civil sector representatives from SEE who are crucial for the implementation of energy efficient and sustainable urban mobility solutions in SEE countries.
In the long run, ORF-EE support provided to the region, would contribute to climate and urban congestion mitigation. More precisely, the project goal is to support SEE countries directly by strengthening the capacities of SEE cities and important actors for an effective implementation of relevant measures in line with EU energy and climate requirements.
Dubravka Bošnjak, SUMSEEC Project Manager, stated during the event that negative effects of the transportation system in capital and large cities in South-East Europe are certainly challenging and that the greening of the transportation systems in the region is thus crucial. She stressed that local actions to mitigate the negative effects of the transportation systems in SEE can have an immediate positive impact and add up to create positive effects of global proportions. Hence, “efforts should be immediate,”Bošnjak added.
Reminding of the importance of this regional initiative and using the opportunity to express the dedication of the City of Skopje to sustainable urban transportation solutions, the Mayor of Skopje, Petre Šilegov added on the occasion that Skopje gives high priority to alternative transportation modes such as bicycles. He added that through systemic, ecological and modern city solutions, the City aims to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. He added, “Skopje is working to become European Green Capital in 2021.“
Lazarela Kalezić-Trišić, from the Secretariat for Spatial Planning and Environment of the City of Podgorica stated that the SUMSEEC project is of crucial value for the SEE region. She highlighted that “the regional project is an answer to pertinent climate change, energy efficiency and air pollution issues in SEE, as its direct objective is the improvement of life quality in our cities.“
The project will be implemented over the course of the next two years.