Greening the Western Balkans

22 avril 2024

The event  “Local Self-governments Forum – Green Agenda for the Western Balkans”  focused on advancing sustainability initiatives and fostering regional collaboration underscoring the critical role of local authorities in implementing the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. It was organised by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and NALAS, in Bar, Montenegro, on 19 April 2024.

In his opening remarks, Peter Felten, German Ambassador to Montenegro, highlighted the significance of the Regional Climate Partnership between Germany and the Western Balkans, adopted at the Berlin Process Summit in Tirana last year. This major new initiative will support the region in accelerating the implementation of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and thus aligning with the European Green Deal.

2023 Green Champions of the Western Balkans Recognition Award

Organised within the project “EU4 Energy Transition: Covenant of Mayors in the Western Balkans and Türkiye”, co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the event “2023 Green Champions of the Western Balkans Recognition Award” represented a significant step towards regional collaboration and commitment to environmental sustainability.

NALAS published in March 2024 the initiation of the nomination process for the “2023 Green Champions of the Western Balkans”. This award, launched under the auspices of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans Action Plan 2021-2030 and the Tirana Conclusions of the Local Self-Governments Forum 2023, aims to honour cities and municipalities showcasing exceptional commitment and innovative approaches to environmental sustainability, urban greenery, green growth, and eco-conscious initiatives.

Invitations were extended to National Local Government Associations (LGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), individuals, representatives of public and private institutions, civil society organizations, and regional and international partner organizations from the Western Balkans to nominate 2023 Green Champions of the Western Balkans in various categories.:

  • Decarbonisation
  • Sustainable Transport
  • Fostering community engagement and awareness on circular economy/environment
  • Innovation and creativity in addressing environmental challenges – depollution
  • Sustainable Agriculture Practices
  • Commitment to environmental conservation and protection and Biodiversity

To honour the outstanding efforts of local self-government units (LSGs) across the Western Balkans that have been instrumental in driving environmental initiatives and paving the way for sustainable development in their communities, the winners, one from each of the 6 economies of the WB6 and their respective Mayors, were invited to attend the event in Bar, Montenegro on 19 April to present their winning projects.

The awarded municipalities in their respective topic categories were as following:



Topic award category

City of Sarajevo


Commitment to Environmental Conservation and Protection and Biodiversity

Korçë County


Fostering Community Engagement and Awareness on Circular Economy/Environment

Municipality of Kamenicë



Innovation and Creativity in Addressing Environmental Challenges – Depollution

Municipality of Nikšić



Municipality of Kavadarci

North Macedonia

Sustainable Agriculture Practices

Municipality of Kruševac


Sustainable Transport

[1] « this designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. »

COMO Western Balkans & Türkiye

The mayors attending NALAS’ General Assembly in Bar, Montenegro endorsed on 18 April the Covenant of Mayors for Energy and Climate SEE Commitment, reaffirming NALAS’s dedication to sustainable urban development and climate action, and fostering collaboration among local authorities.

Since 2011, NALAS has been registered as supporter of the Covenant of Mayors, mobilising and supporting SEE municipalities to attain the Covenant of Mayors’ objectives. NALAS has been leveraging its political power, advocacy, communication, and networking activities to promote the Covenant of Mayors initiative and support the commitments of its signatories.

The General Assembly in Bar opened a new chapter in NALAS support for the Covenant of Mayors in the region. It was the official launch of the establishment and promotion of the Help Desk for the Covenant of Mayors in the framework of the “EU4 Energy Transition: Covenant of Mayors in the Western Balkans and Turkey” project.

NALAS will focus its efforts to the set up and operation of a longstanding support system for the COMO members of the Western Balkans and Türkiye in delivering on their pledges under the energy and climate targets.  The COMO Help Desk for Local Authorities of Western Balkans and Türkiye will provide support services on demand, act as an established and promoted knowledge base for development, review, approval and implementation of Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs) as basic service offerings and, finally, connect with the Global Covenant Office (GCOM) and other regional Covenant Offices for effective exchange of knowledge.

On this special opening, GCOM Director Piero Remitti welcomed NALAS to the ‘Club’ as 14th member of GCOM. Some follow up was agreed on this occasion like for e.g. to extent the connection to GCOM communication officers, to link social media and other communication interfaces as well as participating at GCOM monthly coordination meetings.

Guidelines on LGAs’ Committees on Water and Sanitation Services

NALAS developed within the Regional Capacity Development Network for Water and Sanitation Services (RCDN) Guidelines on Local Government Associations’ (LGAs’) Committees on Water and Sanitation Services.

Based on the conviction that well-structured, effective, and efficient Committees for Water and Sanitation Services can play a pivotal role in addressing the challenges, shaping sector-related policies, and guiding Local Government Associations win Water and Sanitation services, guidelines for the establishment and functioning of an “ideal” Water & Sanitation Services Committee were developed. The Guidelines are based on LGAs’ staff and committee representatives’ contributions collected during a workshop organised within RCDN, in January 2024 in Budva, Montenegro. These Guidelines focus on WSS committees, but the principles are the same and they can be applied for any other LGA’s sectoral committee.

Ensuring the success of these committees requires clear procedures and standards related to the establishment and functioning of the Water & Sanitation Services committees, such as nomination and selections of members, optimal organisational and membership structure, key responsibilities and functions, active participation in the decision-making process of the LGA, contribution to advocacy and policymaking, communication, and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.


The overall impact of RCDN+ is increased effectiveness and efficiency of Association of Public Utilities Companies (APUCs) and LGAs in Western Balkans that contribute to better service provision towards and by their members, the public water utilities, and municipalities, ultimately allowing to reach a large population with equitable, safe drinking water and sanitation services in line with the EU Acquis Communautaire (chapter 27).

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