The EEA and Norway Grants are funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway with the aim to contribute to an equal Europe, both socially and economically – and to strengthen the relations between Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and the 15 beneficiary countries in Europe. The support of EEA Grants is available to 15 beneficiary countries (13 new EU member states, as well as Greece and Portugal).
The main decision-making body of the EEA Grants is the Financial Mechanism Committee, which is composed of representatives of the Foreign Ministries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway; the support is administrated by the Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) which is established by the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and EEA Grants Financial Mechanism Committee.
Further information about EEA Grants you can find here.
According the agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) and Norway Grants for the period 2014-2021 signed on 3rd May, 2016, between Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the EU, a total € 117,6 million will be made available for Lithuania to reduce social and economic disparities and strengthen bilateral relations with the donor countries.
Further information about the programs available in Lithuania, financed by the EEE and Norway Grants, you can find here.
According to the agreements between the EU and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, at least 10 % of EEA Grants are allocated to the strengthening of civil society through the Active Citizens Fund. The Active Citizens Fund in Lithuania, financed by EEA Grants 2014 - 2021, was awarded a total budget of 9 million euros for strengthening civil society and active citizenship, empowering vulnerable groups.
Areas of support of the Active Citizens Fund (ACF) are the following:
- Democracy, active citizenship, good governance, and transparency;
- Human rights and equal treatment through combating discrimination based on race or ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or identity;
- Social justice and inclusion of vulnerable groups;
- Gender equality and fighting gender-based violence;
- Environment and climate change.
The main goal of the ACF program – strong and active civil society, empowered vulnerable groups. This goal will be achieved through the following measures:
Through the calls of proposals allocating funding to the CSOs projects aiming at the following outcomes:
- Increased citizen participation in civic activities (outcome 1)
- Strengthened civil society watchdog and advocacy role (outcome 2)
- Increased support for human rights (outcome 3)
- Vulnerable groups empowered (outcome 4)
- Enhanced capacity and sustainability of civil society (outcome 5)
- Bilateral partnerships – projects implemented in collaboration with partners from the donor countries within one of 5 outcomes‘ areas.
- Bilateral cooperation initiatives, e.g., partner search visits, matchmaking meetings, individual short-term traineeships, or experience exchange, implemented with partners from the donor countries.
Implementing NGO capacity building initiatives:
- expanding the constituency base of CSOs (e.g., through ensuring closer collaboration of national CSOs and local organizations);
- integrating capacity building activities into projects carried out by project promoters (obliging a project promoter to allocate 10 – 15 % of the project’s budget for capacity building activities);
- providing training activities for institutional capacity building of NGOs;
- initiating and implementing local NGOs, empowerment, and leadership programs.
Through Regional Civil Society Initiatives, various experience-sharing and capacity building activities aimed at strengthening civil society, supporting human rights, strengthening social inclusion or the role of CSOs enhancing innovations and societal changes, will be implemented in cooperation with Active Citizens funds operator from other countries
The Fund Operator of the ACF in Lithuania is a consortium of non-governmental organizations Open Lithuania Foundation, OSFL Projects, and Geri Norai LT that upholds the values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
It is expected that within the next five years, more than 250 civic society organizations (including 80 small-scale organizations operating at a local level) will take part in the activities initiated and funded by the Active Citizens Fund. At least 180 projects that are implemented by these organizations will be funded. Approximately 10 000 people will get involved in their activities.
Here you can find summarized information on the context and challenges adressed by the ACF in Lithuania (summary of the Concept note (2019).