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Frontpage News 2010 Polish-Norwegian Civil Society Forum held in Warsaw

NGOforum hall.JPG

Polish-Norwegian Civil Society Forum held in Warsaw

The Polish-Norwegian Civil Society Forum was held on 16 June 2010 in Warsaw. Representatives from more than 150 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from all over Poland attended.

Non-governmental organisations and volunteerism play a vital role in building a strong civil society and strengthening democratic values. In recognition of this, 3 NGO funds amounting to altogether €37.3 million have been set up in Poland, which is the largest beneficiary state under the EEA and Norway Grants.

An important contribution
The Polish Minister for Regional Development, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, praised the NGO funds of the EEA and Norway Grants as a great success. Ambassador Ingrid Schulerud from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the EEA and Norway Grants’ contribution towards strengthening civil society in 12 beneficiary states. Under the 3 Polish NGO funds alone, more than 550 projects are supported within fields as diverse as democracy building, human rights initiatives, social inclusion and environmental protection. Preliminary results from a recent evaluation of the EEA and Norway Grants’ civil society support indicate that the 12 NGO funds address a funding gap in the beneficiary states, and that they constitute an important contribution.

Birgitte Brekke, Secretary General of the Association of NGOs in Norway (Frivillighet Norge), gave a presentation of the historical growth and role of NGOs in Norway. Norway has a vibrant and active civil society characterised by voluntary work and contributions -- the funding rate from public authorities of NGOs in Norway is as low as 20%.

16 projects supported by the 3 Polish NGO funds of the EEA and Norway Grants were featured and showcased through posters, videos and other interactive material, arousing great interest among participants and spurring exchange of know-how and best practices.

Photo: Julia Sheveloff.