A major priority of the REC in 1997 continued to be the financial support of projects managed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in all of its constituent countries.
One major goal is the development of strong NGO projects which have high impact in solving priority environmental problems. Another is the creation of a strong NGO network within the framework of a civil society in order to promote public participation in environmental decisionmaking and to support NGO partnerships with governments and businesses.
Grant giving under the Local Grants Program (LGP) is coordinated by the REC's Local Office network, with offices in each of the REC's 15 beneficiary countries. Calls for NGO projects are usually made quarterly, with applications accepted in local languages. Each Local Office is assisted in proposal evaluation by an independent Local Advisory Board composed of local environmental experts.
The maximum amount of grant available varies from country to country, but does not exceed ECU 5,000 per NGO per year. In 1997, the REC awarded 279 grants worth a total of ECU 261,402.
NGOs are supported for their operating and equipment expenses, training and education activities and for local environmental projects and events. Examples of grant-winning projects included a campaign for the protection of Macedonian caves, recultivation of destroyed land in Bosnia and Herzegovina, coastal monitoring activities in Estonia, an initiative for the development of the "European Stork Village" eco-tourism initiative in Croatia, and radio broadcasting in Bulgaria to increase public awareness of environmental problems. The LGP is also seen as an educational tool for NGOs which are assisted by Local Offices to strengthen their organisations and project skills.
Financial support for local grants came from the EU Phare Multi-Country Programme for the Environment, the Finnish Ministry of Environment, USAID, the Croatian State Directorate for the Environment and the Royal Dutch Embassy.
SPECIAL LOCAL GRANT PROGRAMS
The REC's Czech and Polish Local Offices administered the Black Triangle Grants Program, sponsored by the EU's Phare Multi-Country Programme for the Environment. Czech and Polish NGOs were awarded some ECU 50,000 for 31 projects in support of rehabilitating the highly polluted Black Triangle region, which stretches across areas of the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland.
Czech winners included a project aimed at mapping cycle paths throughout the Triangle while Polish winners included a project to produce a monthly, trilingual publication devoted to environmental problems in the Black Triangle.
Another program was coordinated by the REC's Local Office in Slovenia - a special Small Project Fund to protect the beautiful caves and surroundings of the Kras region. Part of a Slovenian national program with support from Phare's Cross-Border Cooperation Programme, the small grants fund had ECU 121,000 available.
REGION-WIDE ENVIRONMENTAL GRANTS
These grants foster cooperation between stakeholders by requiring NGOs to reach beyond country borders to cooperate with partners from other countries, while seeking dialogue with local businesses, governments and schools.
The 1997 Call for Tender for Cooperative Environmental Projects offered a maximum of ECU 25,000 for NGO projects. From 61 brief concept proposals received, eight projects were selected by an expert panel with the result being that 31 NGOs from 15 different countries will work together to address a wide range of environmental issues. The total amount awarded for all cooperative projects in 1997 was ECU 122,273.
One award, a REC first, was granted for a cooperative project between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia and Yugoslavia, with Scout groups from each country working together to forge a new curriculum on environmental education. Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian NGOs will develop a system to solve land-use conflicts through mediation and negotiation. And Czech and Slovakian NGOs will help municipalities reduce their solid waste.
The special Road to Aarhus grant program enabled CEE NGOs to prepare for and actively participate in the Environment for Europe process and the Fourth Environmental Ministerial Conference to be held in Aarhus, Denmark in June of 1998. The call was made possible through generous donations from the Danish Ministry of Environment and the European Commission's DG XI. Nine proposals - four from the NIS and five from CEE - were selected involving a network of NGOs in many countries focusing on topics from government-NGO cooperation to environmental management systems.
REC GRANTS HELP NGOS TO
PREVIOUS PAGE * NEXT PAGE