The mid-term evaluation report of the NGO programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants was relased yesterday in Brussels. The report's main findings show that the NGO programmes have increased the capacity of civil society in Central and South-Eastern Europe and helped to mobilise citizens to voice their concerns and actively engage with governments.
The report also shows that the Program represents one of the major donors in areas of democracy, human rights and watchdog and advocacy initiatives in the majority of the beneficiary countires and that is has had a significant contribution to raising the awareness of the public on the role of the civil society. In terms of management, efficiency and effectiveness, the report demonstrates "an innovative and effective approach to management of public funds, outsourced to organisations independent of governments".
The three donor countries, Iceand, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute with almost €160 million to strengthen civil society through the 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.
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.