For the 2009-2014 period, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway decided to go from a project-based to a programme-based funding model for the Grants. This has made the funding more targeted and strategic.
More focused efforts
In the past funding round, funding was spread across approximately 1200 individual projects. Larger programmes with clear objectives have now been established. The new programme model is designed to better focus efforts and to ensure more targeted support.
Programme operators, mostly public institutions in the beneficiary states, have been tasked with awarding funding to projects under each programme area according to agreed criteria, and to follow-up on implementation. The donor countries through their secretariat for the Grants, the Financial Mechanism Office, will monitor the implementation process.
Programmes are aligned with national needs and strategies as well as wider-EU goals and donor state priorities. This means that both the number of programmes and what programme areas they cover vary from country to country. This change is in line with the mid-term evaluation of the EEA and Norway Grants 2004-09, which found programmes and funds to be most efficient.
More strategic partnerships
An important tool for strengthening relations with the beneficiary countries has been to define key programmes as donor partnership programmes.
Of the 150 programmes being implemented in the current period, more than half of involve cooperation with public entities from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The intention of the donor partnership programmes is that Liechtenstein, Icelandic and Norwegian expertise should be involved in the strategic development of the programmes, the exchange of knowledge and best practice during implementation, and provide advice on selection of projects. The donor programme partners also play an important role in facilitating project partnerships.