Open Regional Funds – Energy Efficiency

Project description

Title: Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia
Lead executing agency: Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)
Overall term: 2008 to 2017

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


A considerable amount of energy is wasted in the countries of South-East Europe (SEE). This impairs the ability of these countries to compete economically and also has a negative impact on social stability and the environment. However, they are increasingly recognising the importance of energy efficiency to their national sustainability. With the aim of acceding to the European Union, the countries of South-East Europe have also embraced the goals of European energy and climate change mitigation policies. They are gradually adopting the acquis communautaire in this field.


The regional networks supported by the Open Regional Fund – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE) independently share their experiences of implementing energy efficiency measures and address issues of common interest. In so doing, they contribute towards the more effective implementation of energy efficiency policies in their respective countries.

ORF South-East Europe. Energy information centre in Skopje. © GIZ


ORF-EE supports regional cooperation among stakeholders who are capable of driving forward processes of reform in the area of sustainable energy. To this end, ORF-EE helps these institutions to build networks, stage dialogue events and conduct training measures, and also offers specialist advisory services and financial grants.

In order to mainstream the concept of energy efficiency in these countries – from policy-making and implementation through to assessing the effectiveness of policies – ORF-EE carries out projects in a range of different topic areas.

In conjunction with the Open Regional Fund – Modernization of Municipal Services, ORF-EE works with local associations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to improve energy efficiency at municipal level. It also supports the Network of Energy Efficient Capital Cities in South-East Europe, which comprises the cities of Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tirana and Zagreb.

To promote both policy-making and the monitoring of national energy efficiency policies, the project collaborates with national energy ministries from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, which have joined forces to create the Energy Community.

The project also focuses on civil society. The cooperation partner here is the Network of Schools for Political Studies in South-East Europe, which operates under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

The consulting firm GFA supports the implementation of the project.


The Network of Energy Efficient Capital Cities in South-East Europe, comprising Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Skopje and Tirana, was established with support from ORF-EE. Further support comes from the German city of Freiburg im Breisgau, which serves as a role model. All of the partner cities have signed up to the European Covenant of Mayors initiative and are committed to cutting their CO2 emissions by a minimum of 20 per cent by 2020. They have put in place energy management structures and drawn up sustainable energy action plans which are currently being implemented.

With a public political dialogue on the sustainable use of energy, the Network of Schools for Political Studies in South-East Europe is helping to strengthen the political will for reform processes in the energy sector. For example, the first public consultations of the parliamentary committees responsible for energy efficiency have been held with the support of ORF-EE in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Both political and public debates are gaining strength.

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

ORF-EE also advises the national ministries in the SEE region that are represented in the Energy Community’s Energy Efficiency Coordination Group. The regional project is supporting this body in developing an IT system for monitoring energy efficiency action plans. A structure was devised for this purpose which the countries can use to better record and assess the effectiveness of individual policy measures. Croatia has enshrined the mandatory use of this monitoring platform in its national regulations.