EEA and Norway Grants for Environment Protection and Health
Three new programmes for Romania to attract EEA and Norway grants were signed on January 16 by the minister of European Funds, Eugen Teodorovici. The three programmes are "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services", "Reduction of Hazardous Substances" and "Public Health Initiatives", amounting to a total 33 million euro.
Through the programme "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services", Romania is granted non-reimbursable funds amounting to 15 million euro. The grants will be used to implement projects dedicated to the general objective to halt loss of biodiversity in Romania. At the same time, the programme "Reduction of Hazardous Substances" benefits from grants amounting to ten million euro, dedicated to financing projects aiming at preventing the adverse impact of the hazardous chemical substances and wastes on the environment. These two programmes shall be implemented by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, which will launch in the next period the calls for proposals dedicated to the non-governmental organizations and to the relevant public institutions.
The programme "Public Health Initiatives", managed by the Ministry of Health, has an initial allocation of eight million euro, with another 13 million euro to be added soon. This programme, dedicated to the general objective to improve public health and reduce health inequalities, aims at supporting projects in fields such as: prevention and control of transmissible diseases, improved control of the tuberculosis, mediators in the field of public health, prevention of non-transmissible diseases related to the lifestyle, etc. The programme will also approach the specific needs of minority groups, with a special focus on the Roma.
Thus, 20 of the 21 programmes by which Romania benefits from EEA and Norway grants have been signed so far. The amount of the non-reimbursable funds allocated to Romania between 2009-2014 is about 306 million euro. These grants shall support the implementation of projects in sectors such as justice and home affairs, environment protection, research, health, culture, civil society and improvement of social conditions for the Roma population.
Through the Agreement for the European Economic Area (EEA), three of the EFTA Member States – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – belong to the European internal market and contribute to the social and economic development by means of the EEA and Norway grants, from which 15 member states in the east, centre and south of the European Union benefit. Norway is the main donor state, contributing with 97% of the total funds. The major objectives of the EEA and Norway grants are the reduction of social and economic disparities in the European Economic Area, as well as strengthening the bilateral relations between the donor states and the beneficiary states.
During the financing period 2004-2009, Romania benefited from grants amounting to 100 million euro for projects in key sectors such as environment protection, sustainable production, health and children care, conservation of cultural heritage and development of the civil society. 65 specific projects and over 100 projects developed by the NGOs have been implemented, the absorption rated reaching about 85%.