Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency

Project description

Title: Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia and Croatia as model country
Lead executing agency: Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)
Overall term: 2006 to 2020

ORF South-East Europe. Panel discussion with the former Mayor of Sarajevo, Dr Behmen, at the annual meeting of signatories to the Covenant of Mayors in Brussels. The rights to the image are owned by the Covenant of Mayors; authorised use. © GIZ


In Western Balkan countries energy continues to be wasted on large scale, which is harming the region’s economic competitiveness, its social stability, and the environment. Aiming to join the EU, the countries are responsible for incorporating the corresponding elements of the EU acquis into their legislation. Furthermore, as signatories of the Energy Community Treaty, South-Eastern European countries are responsible for the implementation of the energy chapter of the EU acquis and reduction of energy consumption in energy-related sectors. This process poses a lot of challenges for the region. These are further exacerbated by the responsibilities arising under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases emission, which almost all Western Balkan countries declared as part of the Paris Agreement implementation. Therefore, all Western Balkan countries face the same or similar challenges in meeting the climate and sustainable use of energy objectives. 


The goal of the ORF-EE is to support energy and climate relevant political and civil society actors, through networks in South-Eastern Europe, in implementing required EU regulations. Regional networks supported by the ORF-EE share their experiences on implementation of energy efficiency and climate protection measures independently, and are empowered to address issues of common interest. In doing so they contribute towards a more effective implementation of these topics in their respective countries. 



The Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE) promotes regional cooperation among stakeholders with the capacity to drive the process of reform in the energy and climate protection sector, thereby contributing to achieving the national energy efficiency and climate protection targets in Western Balkan countries. The project focuses on using the potentials arising from the similarities between South-East European countries, culturally, structurally, and development challenges wise, which offers great potential for building and sharing the relevant expertise in and through regional networks.

ORF South-East Europe. Input screen of the monitoring and verification platform for national and local energy efficiency action plans. © GIZ


The ORF-EE helped establishing the Network of Energy-Efficient Capital Cities in South-Eastern Europe. Members of the network are the capital cities of Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Skopje and Tirana. The German model city of Freiburg im Breisgau supports the network. It supports partner cities in joining the European Covenant of Mayors initiative, establishes energy management structures and supports the development of sustainable Energy Action plans. Furthermore, the Network of Schools of Political Studies in South-Eastern Europe, which is supported by the ORF-EE, helped strengthening the political will in the region with the Initiative for Public Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Use of Energy in SEE. It is pursuing reform processes in the energy sector in Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. As a result of these efforts, public hearings of parliamentary committees responsible for energy efficiency were held for the first time in the countries. The project also supported the development and monitoring of the implementation process of the partner countries’ National Energy Efficiency Action Plans, which are mandatory across the EU. This process was further strengthened through the introduction of a monitoring system that enables the effective creation of national energy efficiency policies and support programmes that allow a more precise assessment of the policy’s direct energy saving impacts and their effectiveness. The provided support is complemented by a software programme - Monitoring and Verification Platform (MVP) for calculations of energy savings and CO2 reductions that are achieved through energy efficiency measures. The system has been provided to Western Balkan partner countries. Croatia integrated it as a compulsory instrument in its national regulations. Moreover, the ORF-EE aims to strengthen the capacities of ministries and agencies in the region, responsible for energy efficiency and climate protection, including the municipal level and civil society organisations, in establishing regulatory and institutional conditions for the implementation of climate-relevant EU directives and regulations. At the same time SEE parliamentarians act in securing the necessary political will for sector reforms. Extending its reform and development efforts, the ORF-EE also focuses on sustainable urban mobility solutions in SEE, integrating a comprehensive climate change mitigation approach that is based on the EU Energy Strategy 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and Goal 13 (Climate Action). Efforts, among others, include support in developing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, Roadmaps, implementation of urban transportation Smart-Models (E.g. bike and car sharing), as well as P2P, mentoring, etc.


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