Both countries, Norway and the Czech Republic, face a number of challenges in the area of environmental protection. These challenges can be addressed in mutual cooperation. Whether it is climate change, air pollution, water pollution, micropolutants or biodiversity loss, the exchange and sharing of experiences in these areas is beneficial to both parties and bilateral cooperation has been highly appreciated in all previous periods.
“We want to build on these successes as a new Program Operator of Norway grants. And we want to develop the partnership of Norwegian and Czech institutions in the environmental protection with the help of grants from the Bilateral Fund,” says Petr Valdman, Director of the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic.
About 2,6 million CZK (100 000 EUR) is earmarked for bilateral initiatives under the first call of the Environment Program. These funds come from the so-called Bilateral Fund, which aims to promote international cooperation between the Czech Republic and Norway. The aim of this support, which was developed under the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021, is to support the development of new working contacts, deepening existing cooperation or creating a network for sharing experiences and examples of good practice in environmental protection.
Bilateral fund will help, for example, to pay for internships, active collaboration in the preparation of international conferences, or the organization of preparatory meeting between future Czech and Norwegian partners which will implement joint projects financed by Norway grants. The funds can also be used to collect data and process reports, studies and publications, including their presentation, as well as promotional campaigns, exhibitions and materials with common themes of both countries.
“The amount of support varies from 26 to 390 thousand crowns according to the focus and scope of the activity. The advantage is that the subsidy will help the applicant cover all the initiative costs, ie. 100 percent of the eligible costs. The condition for obtaining support from the Bilateral Fund is the existence of a Norwegian partner and the link of initiative to the environment protection,” says Petr Valdman with reference to the specification of conditions in the text of the subsidy call. Another specific feature of the Bilateral Fund is a simpler system for submitting and evaluating aid applications.
Applications for support are accepted by the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic from 3 July until the allocation is exhausted through the online form in the section “Calls for Proposals.” The condition for submitting the application is the registration of both partner entities, Czech and Norwegian, in the web Partnership database. All entities and organizations established in the Czech Republic or in Norway as legal entities may apply for a contribution. An applicant cannot be a natural person.
In the current programming period of the EEA and Norway grants, the environment is one of the priority areas. The total amount of funds from EEA and Norway grants 2014-2021 is 5 billion CZK for the Czech Republic. About 800 million crowns will help finance innovative solutions in the protection of ecosystems, monitoring of air pollution, new pilot measures to combat watercourse contamination by remnants of medicines or to mitigate the negative effects of climate change in settlements.