This is the key finding in the independent mid-term evaluation of the NGO programmes presented in Brussels today.
The report also confirms that the programmes are generally well-managed and effectively and efficiently run, demonstrating ‘an innovative and effective approach to management of public funds, outsourced to organisations independent of governments’.
The three donor countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, contribute close to €160 million to strengthen civil society development. The funding is channelled through the EEA Grants to NGO programmes established in 16 beneficiary countries - Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. This makes the Grants one of the prime funding schemes to the sector in Europe.
Nearly 1 700 projects have received funding to date. In terms of bilateral relations, over 200 projects involve a partner from one of the donor countries.
The report contains many more findings, lessons learned and recommendations that will be followed up and inform the development of future programmes.