Climate change and public health are priority areas in the new round of EEA Grants to Portugal. Some NOK 440 million has been allocated for the period 2009–14.
“The new round of EEA Grants will boost cooperation between Norway and Portugal,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The MoU on the Implementation of the EEA Grants was signed in Lisbon on Wednesday. A number of Norwegian public institutions are engaged in developing the various programmes. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will cooperate with the Portugese Ministry of Health. Health inequalities related to income and living standards pose a challenge. The EEA Grants are intended to help reduce these disparities. The purpose of the grant is also to support Portugal in its efforts to improve its national health systems. About NOK 75 million is earmarked for various measures in the health sector.
Adaptation to climate change is another priority area for the EEA Grants in Portugal. It is important to take climate change into account in social planning. This requires cooperation between many different sectors and administrative levels. The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning will cooperate with the Portuguese authorities on projects in this area.
The EEA Grants are also intended to improve environmental monitoring in Portuguese marine waters and coastal areas. The Norwegian Mapping Authority will participate in one of the projects in this programme area. Some of the funds will also be used to increase renewable energy production. About NOK 200 million of the EEA funds has been allocated for environmental projects.
The EEA Grants are also intended to support measures to promote gender equality and conserve important European cultural heritage sites. The Arts Council Norway will participate in a project designed to promote cultural diversity and exchanges between Norwegian and Portuguese artists.
Support for civil society has been more than doubled since the previous period. A total of some NOK 40 million has been earmarked for NGOs in Portugal.
With today’s agreement, MoUs on the implementation of the EEA and Norway Grants for the period 2009–14 have been signed with all 15 beneficiary states. A total of some NOK 14 billion has been allocated for this purpose. Norway provides 97% of the funding provided through the EEA and Norway Grants. The rest is provided by Iceland and Liechtenstein. This is Norway’s contribution to reducing social and economic disparities in Europe. It is also intended to strengthen cooperation and contact between Norway and the beneficiary states.
Ambassador Ove Thorsheim signed the agreement on behalf of Norway. (EEA Grants)