Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein together with Estonian co-financing will invest a total of 21.2 million euros to physical activity of children, social security and regional development in Estonia. The activities of the European Economic Area and Norwegian Grants programme „Local Development and Poverty Reduction” also deal with educational support services to local governments, introducing restorative justice measures when dealing with children and youth at risk and preserving cultural heritage in historic town centres.
The Minister of Social Affairs Mr Tanel Kiik said the cooperation with the European Economic Area countries and Norway enables Estonia to advance in many important policy areas like social security, health care, education and judicial system. „The main focus of the Ministry of Social Affairs falls under public health issues, incl. increasing physical activity of children, awareness raising and preventative measures. With the active help of the University of Tartu, it is foreseen to encourage schoolchildren to be physically more active than now. The goal is that by the end of year 2023 at least 140 schools all over Estonia implement the principles of physically active school“, Minister Kiik explained.
Mr Martin Karro, the Head of the National Focal Point (State Shared Service Centre), added that he sees the signing of the Programme Agreement as the beginning of a large-scale cooperation. “The activities of the European Economic Area and Norwegian Grants programme „Local Development and Poverty Reduction” will be carried out in interaction of four different ministries and in their responsibility areas in order to support socio-economic cohesion and strengthen bi-lateral relations between Estonia and the donor countries”, said Mr Karro.
The Programme Operator of the programme is the Ministry of Social Affairs in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Culture. The Implementing Agency of the Programme is the Shared State Service Centre. The Donor Programme Partners are the Norwegian Public Health Institute, the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Cultural Heritage.
The programme budget is 21.2 million euros, of which 10.6 million euros is the contribution of European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, 7.4 million euros comes from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and 3.2 million euros is allocated from the Estonian state budget. Approx. one 1/3 of this falls under the policy areas of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the activities of the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Justice make both up to 26% of the programme budget while the Ministry of Culture policy activities receive 16% of the budget.
The programme activities start at full strength in the beginning of year 2020 and will be carried out until April 30, 2024. The opening seminar of the programme „Local Development and Poverty Reduction“ will take place on Nov 12, 2019. For more detailed information of the programme, please see the programme website https://www.sm.ee/en/norway-grants-2014- 2021