Energy Efficiency

Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE)



November 25, 2015


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November 25, 2015


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  • Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Macedonia (FYR), Serbia, Croatia (as Model country) 
  • Duration: 2008-2019


The Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE) has been established on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is implemented through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The core objective of the ORF-EE is to support energy and climate relevant political, and civil society actors through networks in South-East Europe in implementing required EU regulations. The aim is that regional networks, supported by the project, share their experience on implementation of energy efficiency and climate protection measures independently, and are empowered to address issues of common interest.

It is active in the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYR) and Kosovo*. Croatia has been part of the project as a partner country until its accession to the European Union (EU). Since then, it is part of it in form of a model country through different networks and transfer of valuable experiences, and know-how to other South-East Europe (SEE) countries.

One of the ORF-EE project components is co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the EU (Horizon 2020), and implemented through the GIZ ORF-EE by a consortium of ten specialist partners, including the GIZ, from eight EU and non-EU countries.

Another component under this GIZ project deals with municipal associations in South-East Europe in the field of energy efficiency, with the aim of capacity building of the associations to adequately represent the interests of their clients, the municipalities, and eventually those of the broader public. This component is co-financed by BMZ and the Government of Switzerland, and implemented jointly by the GIZ ORF-EE and GIZ ORF – Modernization of Municipal Services (ORF-MMS) projects.

Third Energy Efficiency Coordination Group Meeting, Vienna, Austria, 2013

Picture 1: Third Energy Efficiency Coordination Group Meeting, Vienna, Austria, 2013

The German Government has been supporting the EU approximation process of the SEE countries in the energy sector through the ORF-EE since 2008. The SEE national governments, by way of national ministries responsible for energy, are also represented through the Energy Community (EnC) who is also an important partner in this project. The EnC brings together the EU and the South-East European countries  in their joint efforts to make positive changes in the energy sector of the SEE region.


The nations of South-East Europe have much in common, both culturally and structurally, which offers huge potential for building and sharing expertise in regional networks. Therefore, the GIZ ORF-EE promotes sustainable regional cooperation among stakeholders, with the capacity to drive the processes of reform in the energy sector, thereby contributing to the achievement of sustainable national energy efficiency targets in SEE.

Network of Energy Efficient Capital Cities Signing Ceremony, Skopje, Macedonia, 2014

Picture 2:  Network of Energy Efficient Capital Cities Signing Ceremony, Skopje, Macedonia, 2014 


GIZ ORF-EE is a regional project on energy efficiency, which provides advice to its partners in project development and management. It provides technical advice, capacity building, funding, and relevant instruments and supports various stakeholders in forming networks, development of training programs and organization of events. It also supports its partners in policy development processes.

The project works with four main partner networks:

  1. Civil society
  2. Local level – capital cities
  3. Local level – municipal associations
  4. National ministries

The ORF-EE coordinates its activities with other GIZ projects and with bilateral, and multilateral donors to prevent duplications and to enable synergistic efforts. The project’s crucial aim are sustainable results.

Energy Efficiency Days Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2015
Picture 3: Energy Days Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2015


The efforts invested into the SEE region´s energy sector are shared with various partners.


Picture 4: GIZ ORF-EE project’s partners across the SEE region


  • The Network of Energy-Efficient Capital Cities in South-East Europe has been established through support of ORF-EE. It is comprised of the cities of Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Skopje and Tirana. Support to this network is also given by the German model city of Freiburg im Breisgau, in close coordination with GIZ ORF-EE.
  • Also as a result of the support provided by ORF-EE, all partner cities have joined the European Covenant of Mayors Initiative and undertaken to reduce their CO2 emissions by at least 20%, by 2020. They have established energy management structures, including info centers for energy efficiency and developed Sustainable Energy Action Plans, which are currently in implementation SEE wide.
  • The Council of Europe’s Network of Schools of Political Studies in SEE, through the Public Dialogue Initiative on Sustainable Use of Energy, is contributing to strengthening the political will in the region to pursue reform processes through inclusion of various stakeholders such as members of parliament, civil society, business/private sector, media and different levels of government. In 2012 as an example of the fruitful efforts, for the first time in Serbia and Montenegro, public hearings of parliamentary committees responsible for energy efficiency, were held. Since then, another five parliamentary hearing in different SEE countries have taken place. Through these hearings, the processes of development and implementation of legal frameworks in the energy efficiency sector have been accelerated.
  • GIZ ORF-EE advises national ministries of SEE countries on developing and monitoring National Energy Efficiency Action Plans which are mandatory across the EU. For this purpose and to enable the designing of governmental energy efficiency instruments, which allow for a more precise assessment of national direct energy-saving impacts and effectiveness, a monitoring system has been developed. This is complemented by a software program – the Monitoring and Verification Platform (MVP) for calculating the energy savings and CO2 reductions achieved through energy efficiency measures, which has been made available to relevant national institutions.
  • Support is also provided in transfer of successful work experiences, based on a cross-border peer-to-peer approach, from individual municipal associations to other associations in the region. The ability of municipal associations to provide efficient services in the field of energy efficiency to their members – the municipalities, is thus improved and they are able to offer timely energy services to their citizens. 18 pilot projects have been developed and implemented in 18 municipalities across SEE.
  • As a result of joint efforts of the ORF-EE and the Public Dialogue Initiative, first contact and collaboration between the SEE members of parliament and the Energy Community has been established. This led to the creation of the Parliamentary Panel within the Energy Community, represented by members of parliaments of contracting parties, which include the SEE countries.
  • Through implementation of various activities and events, including the international Energy.Development.Democracy Conferences and Energy Days, a platform for exchange of know-how  and experiences, and further collaboration, between SEE countries and relevant regional, and international actors in the energy sector, is secured.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

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