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Gender equality
Photographer: Christophe Vander Eecken'

Cross-cutting issues

All measures funded by the EEA and Norway Grants are required to be based on the principles of good governance, sustainable development and gender equality.

Good governance

Good governance is fundamental to the economic and social development process of all countries, and hence is inherently linked to the objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants.

Good governance has 6 main principles; it is participatory and inclusive, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, and follows the rule of law. Implicit in this is a zero tolerance towards corruption, that the views of minorities are taken into account, and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision‐making. The principles of good governance apply equally to the programme and the project level.

Of the elements that threaten good governance, corruption – the abuse of entrusted authority for private gain – is among the most destructive. Zero-tolerance to corruption and mismanagement has always been a guiding principle underlying the implementation of the Grants. Mechanisms are in place to ensure that the funding is used in line with rules and regulations.

Irregularity report: read more about the control mechanisms in place and action that is taken by the donor countries when irregularities happen.

Additionally, among the proactive measures are in place to ensure that the Grants are implemented with transparency and openness is the availability of key documents for download. For a full overview of available documents, see our public access policy.

Sustainable development

Sustainable development is a framework for a long‐term vision of sustainability in which economic growth, social cohesion and environmental protection go hand in hand and are mutually supporting. The term “sustainable development” is defined as “…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” The many elements of sustainable development are often organised into three dimensions or pillars: environmental, economic and social.

All programmes must reflect environmental considerations, not only those programmes that are specifically aimed at environmental improvements. Examples may include infrastructure projects, building activities or economic activities in different sectors. The key issue is to assess systematically the environmental impact of programmes, to quantify them and to integrate measures to limit any negative environmental impacts.

All programmes must also address economic and social sustainable development considerations. Programmes should be assessed systematically at planning phase against the positive sustainable social and economic impact they will have and integrate measures to limit any negative impacts resulting from the programme in implementation.

Gender equality

Men and women must have equal rights and opportunities in all areas of society and the economy if sustainable development is to be achieved. A gender impact assessment should be undertaken for all programmes. A gender impact assessment involves looking for gender relevance at every step of policy and activities, with the aim of avoiding reproducing discrimination on the grounds of gender and to promote equality between women and men.

While some programmes can appear gender neutral in their content, in practice they may have a very differential impact on women and men, and thereby result in reinforcing existing inequalities. In a bid to overcome such challenges, Programmes under all priority areas should report on gender relevance.

More information about each cross-cutting issue and guidance to programme operators in integrating these into the programme design can be found in the Programme Operator’s Manual (Section 2.7)