Programme agreement signed for the Climate programme in Estonia

The programme agreement for Estonia climate was signed on 19 November 2019.

Photo credit: Mariusz Golak

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: The Estonian Ministry of Environment (MoE)
  2. The Donor Programme Partner in this programme is: The Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA) 
  3. The programme’s objective is: Climate change mitigated and vulnerability to climate change reduced
  4. The programme funding amounts to € 6 million (excluding co-financing) and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

The Estonian climate programme will build and support both the national and international climate commitments made by Estonia to mitigate and reduce vulnerability to climate changes. To ensure that Estonia reaches its ambitions within reducing climate change, it is important to create synergies between both national and international strategies. Additionally, the programme will contribute towards improved environmental status and reduced adverse effects of pollution. This will be achieved by awareness rising and measures to support capacity building in both national and local administration. To mitigate the unwanted effects of climate change, the programme will among other things focus on hindering invasive alien species, which has been determined to be one of the most pervasive aspects of global environmental change due to its ecological and economic implications. Invasive alien species enter new areas through both intentional and unintentional releases, which can have a detrimental effect on the ecosystems health and functioning and thereby a cause for biodiversity loss. It is therefore crucial to prevent new invasions of alien species wherever feasible. Estonian residents could benefit from a more profound knowledge on the impacts of climate change, to make conscious climate friendly decisions.

Another important measure to mitigate the unwanted effects of climate change is to enhance the understanding of marine communities on how to buffer effects of global climate change, as the marine ecosystems absorb almost one-third of the carbon dioxide produced by humans. Vegetated costal habitats can act as carbon sinks by building large carbon deposits. This can reduce the undesirable effects of CO2 emissions and reduce the impacts of rising sea-levels. Rapid loss of vegetated costal ecosystems through land-use change and costal transformation has occurred for centuries and has accelerated in recent years, reducing their capacity to function as a sink. However, these can be recovered at a large scale and thereby restoring the CO2 sink capacity and associated benefits.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The programme will support activities that are related to implementing the Estonian National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and the General Principles for Climate Policy 2050. The result of the activities will improve readiness and capability in dealing with climate changes at local, regional and national level in Estonia. It supports the General Principles for Climate Policy 2050 trough putting in place leading measures and actions which helps for moving towards Estonia's long-term climate policy vision of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least by 80% by 2050, compared to the level in 1990. Furthermore, the programme will support both national and local development for climate changes mitigation through resources for implementation, such as support for solar panels in public buildings, conservation of forests and wetlands and so on. The programme will further support national strategies by supporting action plans, a more strategic approach to green public procurement, as well as awareness rising and training of civil servants on circular economy. The programme will ensure a holistic approach that create synergies with the EU framework and other strategies. Throughout the implementation phase of the programme, at least 10 green public procurement categories will be developed for public sector in Estonia and implemented by Ministry. Examples of possible goods include office paper, furniture, cleaning services and IT equipment, but also procurement in other sectors. In addition, circular economy is a prioritized area of this programme agreement, where civil servants will be trained to provide guidance for implementing practical measures. Additionally, two campaigns will be carried out to raise awareness of the impact of climate changes, where one will be directed at youth. The beneficiaries will be the general public, visitors and local communities.

The programme will further support the development of educational material on coping with climate change, which can be used of both schools and Nature centres. For the purpose of educating teachers and nature centre professionals an in-service training curriculum will be created with the subject of adaption to climate change as a topic being considered in the functioning of the school/nature centre. Risk assessment for six aquatic invasive alien species and the analysis of 10 invasive species with a development plan will also be supported through the programme. Additionally, support will be given to management measures for 20 locations of invasive alien species in Estonian freshwater ecosystems. Lastly, the programme will support one restoration project and one macroalgae aquaculture project piloting techniques best suited for local conditions to reduce CO2 emissions with a high replicability potential.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The EEA Grants’ Climate programme in Estonia will contribute to experience-sharing and promote dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest to Estonia and the Donor States. Partnership projects between Estonia and Donor entities is actively encouraged and facilitated. The Donor Programme Partner, the Norwegian Environment Agency, provides advice on the preparation and implementation of the programme.

Availability of funding through open calls

The funding in this programme will be made available through the following open calls - dates are tentative and subject to change:

  • Call 1 will be launched in the first quarter of 2020
  • Call 2 will be launched in the first quarter of 2021
  • Call 3 will be launched in the first quarter of 2020
  • Call 4 will be launched in the first quarter of 2021
  • Small grant Scheme 1 will be launched in the first quarter of 2020

Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information can also be found on the website of the EEA Grants in Estonia  and the website of the Norwegian Environment Agency.