‘Norwegian Financial Mechanism’ programme
Roughly € 9.5 million were available through the ‘Norwegian Financial Mechanism’ programme. The call was met with high interest – with a total of 182 submitted project proposals. After the selection process, twenty projects were approved for funding covering four sub-areas, one focusing on gender equality and three devoted to health through the reduction of inequalities in health, the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, and improved mental health services.
Among the projects selected under gender equality is the OPENN project organised by the Peace Institute focusing on women’s political participation. The project aims to identify obstacles hindering women’s entrance into politics and address them through several measures, including new legislation proposals and awareness raising campaigns among both experts and the public. The Norwegian Association for Local and Regional Authorities will participate in the project and assist the creation of a support platform for local female politicians.
The selected gender equality projects do not only target women. Taking another route is the ‘Fathers and Employers in Action’ project, which will direct work-life balance measures towards men seeking to engage in active fatherhood. Also organised by the Peace Institute, the project will seek to communicate the benefits of work-life balance among employers, media and the public, as well as develop proposals for implementing work-life balance measures in practice.
Projects selected under public health initiatives focus on improving mental health and reducing inequalities in health between different groups. Activities target particularly vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, elderly, victims of domestic violence, minority groups such as Roma, children and youth with mental problems, to mention a few. By investing in preventive programmes and piloting new approaches, the projects are expected to make a difference on the ground as well as paving the way for future improvements in health system and service level in Slovenia. Most of the projects have partners in Norway for bilateral cooperation, transfer of knowledge, experience and good practices from both sides.
'EEA Financial Mechanism' programme
Over € 7 million were made available under the ‘EEA Financial Mechanism’ programme which supports projects in the field of biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as natural and cultural heritage. The call was well received, with 43 submitted applications and six projects selected for funding.
As in the call under the ‘Norwegian Financial Mechanism’ programme, the majority of the approved projects have bilateral partners. One of those projects is the reconstruction of the Idrija Mercury Mine. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the mine’s rich cultural heritage is in a dire need of restoration. The project will cover the first phase of the restoration process with the specific aim of facilitating visitors’ access to the mine. Done in cooperation with experienced Norwegian partners, the renovations are expected to result in strengthened educational tourism in the area, as well as increased awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage.