Grants 2009-2014 launched in Latvia
The EEA and Norway Grants 2009-2014 were launched on 3 October in Riga during this year’s ‘Norwegian Days’, organised from 24 September to 5 October by the Norwegian Embassy in Latvia
For the period 2009-2014, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will provide nearly €73 million to eight programmes in Latvia. Environmental protection and adaptation to climate change, cultural heritage, support for the justice sector and civil society feature as key priorities.
Before calls for project proposals under these programmes are launched, the proposals of the designated operators on how to manage the programmes need to be approved by the three donor states.
To date, four Latvian programmes have been approved:
• Green industry innovation: some €11.3 million in grants is designed to foster green industry innovation in partnership with Innovation Norway.
• NGO Fund: aiming to develop the capacity of the civil society in Latvia, some €10.4 million in Grants were set aside for the Latvian NGO Fund. The funds will enable the country’s non-governmental organisations to better contribute to social justice, democracy and sustainable development.
• Cultural and natural heritage: the programme to support Latvia’s cultural and natural heritage will be supported by €10 million, and the Directorate for Cultural Heritage in Norway will be its partner.
• Capacity-building and institutional cooperation: Latvia and Norway have a long-standing cooperation at local government level, and cooperation on public sector capacity building between Latvian and Norwegian public institutions is expected to be significant in the new funding round. Some €5 million will be used to facilitate the cooperation in these two areas in partnership with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities.
Four programmes are currently under appraisal:
• Adaptation to climate change: another €10.4 million will be used to support Latvia’s adaptation to climate change. Norway’s Climate and Pollution Agency is the programme’s donor programme partner.
• Research and scholarship: in this new funding round, grants are available for Latvian-Norwegian research, as well as scholarships in cooperation with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The programme will be supported by €5.5 million in funding, and the Norwegian Research Council and Centre for International Cooperation in Education will be its partners.
• Correctional services: a further €13.1 million were earmarked to reform Latvia’s prison system. The Norwegian Correctional Services are the programme’s partner, and the Council of Europe will provide its expertise to facilitate its implementation.
• Decent work and tripartite dialogue: some €400 000 in funding will be provided to promote decent work and foster tripartite cooperation between employers’ organisations, trade unions and public authorities. Innovation Norway is the programme’s operator.
Strengthening bilateral ties
At last week’s launch event, Latvia Minister of Finance, Andris Vilks, stressed the possibility of using the EEA and Norway Grants to strengthen bilateral cooperation:
“I think that Norway is a very important partner for Latvia in all means, because we are so close geographically and mentally.”
As well as contributing to reducing disparities in Europe, the grants are increasingly focused on strengthening cooperation between the donor and beneficiary states. At least eight Norwegian public institutions are involved in the development of programmes in partnership with their Latvian counterparts. Partnerships at project level continue to be encouraged.
During the launch event, two seminars on Green Industry Innovation and the Global Fund for Decent Work and Tripartite Cooperation were organised to promote the bilateral opportunities. A high number of bilateral partnerships is in particular expected within the areas of green industry innovation and cultural exchange.
The event, held at the Latvian Academy of Music in Riga, was jointly organised by Latvia’s Ministry of Finance, who is the coordinating authority for the Grants in Latvia, and the Norwegian Embassy in Riga.
Photo: The launch included a jazz concert by the Hank Mobley Tribute band, composed of six Norwegian and Latvian musicians
Credit: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs