Advancing SUMPs in Western Balkan Capitals

Increasing individual traffic, bad conditions of transport infrastructure, safety issues, noise and air pollution are only some of the concerns that the capitals of the Western Balkan have been facing for decades. However, in recent years, cities all over the region have started to rethink their urban mobility approach.

The SUMSEEC II project of the Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency (ORF-EE) has supported capitals of the region in developing or implementing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).

The development of SUMPs is actively promoted by the European Union. The plans foresee an interdisciplinary approach to mobility: SUMPs require good cooperation between different policy areas and sectors, as well as the transparent involvement of civil society – prerequisites that have not been a given in the region’s capitals.

In spring 2019, Tirana, Sarajevo and Podgorica have started the process of their SUMP development.

Having completed the first phase of preparation, Tirana has now defined their priorities and targets and is ready to identify specific measures. The Albanian capital is dealing with uncontrolled urbanization, but their leadership has demonstrated commitment to developing a smart, green and open city. (

Sarajevo just reached the milestone of the second phase in February 2020. Integrating different governance levels and political affiliations, they identified their measures directed at improving their main concern – air pollution. Also, with regard to the experiences shared by professional transport drivers in the Bosnian capital, issues of traffic safety found recognition in the measures. (

Podgorica saw its first SUMP adopted in February 2020 by the city parliament. The Montenegrin capital – for long concerned with insufficient public transport and increasing numbers of cars – now promotes walking and cycling but also improves planning regulations. The city is now ready for the fourth phase of the SUMP implementation, building on the experience of the participatory process and a big network of stakeholders and supporters. (

Although still ongoing, the development of SUMPs has already been a valuable experience for all. Connecting stakeholders of different sectors, organizations and governance levels – but also sharing experiences between the capitals – has opened opportunities of professional and constructive cooperation across former communication barriers. And it has promoted quality of life and public space.

The capitals’ engagement is also carried by their commitment to European standards: “We want to profile Podgorica in line with the trends in cities in the world and the EU: a city with efficient and safe public transport,” says Lazarela Kalezić, Secretary of Podgorica’s Ministry of Transport.

Contact: Julia Nagel

The project on Sustainable Urban Mobility in South-East European Countries (SUMSEEC II) is implemented by the GIZ Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Energy Efficiency and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Title: Podgorica, Montenegro. Photo by sunniako on flickr

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) for Podgorica. Photo by City of Podgorica