Grants 2009-2014 launched in the Czech Republic
A launch event for the EEA and Norway Grants 2009-2014 was held on 1 October in Prague. Following the conference, a cello concert by Norwegian and Czech musicians was held at the Church of the Saviour which has been restored with support from the EEA and Norway Grants 2004-2009.
For the period 2009-2014, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have allocated €131.8 million to 15 programmes in the Czech Republic. The majority of the programmes are in the process of being appraised by the donor states.
Of these, €18.5 million in grants will support environmental protection and climate change mitigation, performed in partnership with the Norwegian Directorate of Nature Management. A further €21.5 million in funding have been earmarked for two programmes aiming to revitalise the Czech cultural and natural heritage, and promote diversity in culture and arts. The Arts Council Norway is the latter programme’s donor programme partner. The Grants will support cultural exchange and cultural expression of minority groups such as the Roma.
A further €19.2 million will be used to support public health initiatives in partnership with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Some €8 million in funding is to be provided to judicial capacity-building and reforming the Czech correctional services. The Council of Europe will provide its expertise to facilitate the implementation of these programmes.
Research cooperation and scholarships will be funded through an aggregate €16.3 million provided under two programmes. The Icelandic Centre for Research, Liechtenstein’s National Agency for Educational Affairs, the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, and the Research Council of Norway are partners in these programmes.
Considerable interest in Grants
The interest in the launch conference was considerable, with close to 140 participants from the Czech and Norwegian ministries, programme operators, programme partners, municipalities and regions, as well as NGOs, private companies and other stakeholders. The conference was hosted by the Czech Ministry of Finance and the Norwegian Embassy in Prague.
Bolstering bilateral ties
In the current financing round, about €660 000 have been set aside to strengthen bilateral ties at national level between the Czech Republic and the three donor countries.
After the official closing of the conference, the Czech Ministry of Finance, which acts as the National Focal Point for the Grants, organised the first Working Group meeting for the Bilateral Fund at the national level, during which the working plan for strengthening bilateral cooperation was presented, and specific areas for support were discussed. It was announced that the priorities for the Bilateral Fund will be further discussed at the next meeting of the Working Group at the end of the year.
In the evening, a cello concert by the Norwegian ensemble Absolutt Cello and Young Cellists of Prague was held in the Church of the Saviour in the centre of Prague. The church organ and parts of the interior of the church were restored with support from the EEA and Norway Grants 2004-2009.
A film produced by the Norwegian Embassy was also shown at the conference, presenting five projects that received EEA and Norway Grants in the 2004-2009 period.
Credit: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs