Introducing a programme approach: clearer priorities, greater impact
A new feature of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants 2009-14 is the introduction of a ‘programme approach’. Representing a move away from funding project-by-project to funding through multi-annual programmes, the aim is to ensure a greater and more sustainable impact through a more targeted support.
This puts into practice one of the key recommendations highlighted in the mid-term evaluation of the last round of the EEA and Norway Grants (2004-2009. Multi-annual programming is a key principle underpinning many other large-scale investment programmes such as the European Union’s structural funds. By facilitating greater strategic planning, the aim is that the funding through the EEA and Norway Grants will have a higher impact.
More decentralised delivery
This new approach means that more responsibility will be delegated to the beneficiaries. The national Focal Points will continue to have the overall responsibility for the implementation of the grant schemes, with the programme operators responsible for making the funding available to applicants through calls for proposals, appraising applications, selecting and monitoring projects. Entities from the donor states will take on the role as partners in some of the programmes, contributing in the preparation and implementation of the programme, and in facilitating partnerships at project level.
32 different programme areas have been decided on by the donor states – 19 under the EEA Grants and 13 under the Norway Grants. The donor states and the beneficiary states are now in the process of deciding which of the 32 programme areas to be implemented in each country. These agreed priorities will be set out in country-specific Memoranda of Understanding. Following MoU-agreements, the programmes will be established, and the first programmes are expected to be established late 2011.
Strengthened dialogue with stakeholders
The involvement of all stakeholders and beneficiaries has been important in the planning process of the new round of the EEA and Norway Grants. Consultations on the regulatory framework and the proposed programme areas were held with the beneficiary states during autumn 2010 and a specific NGO consultation ensured valuable input to the new NGO programmes.