Green Europe

Credit: Garo Marukyan - NFP Bulgaria

The EEA and Norway Grants represent Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway’s commitment to stimulate more sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe, promote bilateral cooperation and tackle shared challenges. This report highlights how the Donor States' contributions help to build a better future by making Europe greener, more competitive and more inclusive. This section takes a closer look at the Donors' contributions to making Europe greener.

The challenge

Climate change, environment, as well as sustainable energy and energy security are at the centre of every conversation concerning the future of Europe. Climate change is threatening the world as we know it, including the sustainability of our societies, economic growth, the state of ecosystems, our way of life, and needs to be addressed at a European level.

The Grants’ approach

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are helping to tackle climate change in close cooperation with the EU. To fight and mitigate the consequences of global warming, the three Donor States fund environmental protection, renewable and sustainable energy, adaptation to climate change and the transition towards a low carbon economy in Beneficiary States.

Credit: Maya Ruseva - Burgas Municipality

Reducing marine litter in the Burgas Bay

The goal of this Bulgarian project is to improve the ecological status of the sea waters in the Burgas Bay and to increase the public awareness, self-awareness and responsibility of the citizens for the reduction and prevention of marine litter.

Read more

Funding green Europe

Making Europe greener is one of the top priorities of the EEA and Norway Grants. This is clearly reflected in the Grants’ three programme areas under the priority sector Environment, Energy, Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy:

  1. Environment and Ecosystems
  2. Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Security
  3. Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Pollution and loss of biodiversity both have negative impacts on our health, environment and economy. Europe's competitiveness depends on our shared ability to combine economic development with environmentally sustainable and competitive solutions. The quality of life and economic security of everyone in Europe depend on it.

Partnerships are at the heart of the EEA and Norway Grants.

Learn more
Credit: Christophe Vander Eecken

Environment and ecosystems in the Czech Republic

Current environmental problems in the Czech Republic are related to the instability of ecosystems and the adverse impact of human activities on the air and aquatic environments. This programme, funded by the Norway Grants, helps to ensure biodiversity protection, implementing measures for the most endangered plant and animal species. It also tackles air pollution, challenges related to water quality and emerging pollutants.

To support Europe‘s competitiveness, employment and health security, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway fund programmes that protect and restore the natural capital of our ecosystems and tackle pollution at its source. For example, to help the Beneficiary States step up in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and move away from fossil fuels, the EEA and Norway Grants fund actions that increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency.

The three Donor States have committed to supporting Beneficiary States in reverting harm to the environment and climate, and reducing their vulnerability by funding mitigation and adaptation activities. Through the EEA and Norway Grants, the Donors support the development of strategies, action plans and contingency plans for climate change and fund uptake of carbon capture and storage technologies.

The Grants and the European Green Deal

The European Green Deal maps the road to a future where people prosper without harming the environment. The EEA and Norway Grants contribute to the race to zero net emissions with a multi-million euro investment, in line with our long-standing commitment to supporting sustainable and innovative projects in Europe.

Read more

Climate change mitigation and adaptation in Estonia

Bare coastal habitats, invasive species and tackling climate change are among the key priorities for the EEA and Norway Grants in Estonia. With €6 million funding from the EEA Grants, the climate programme aims to help the Estonian public sector, businesses and NGOs buffer the effects of global climate change, and raise public awareness of the profound impact it has on their communities.

Credit: Financial Mechanism Office

In the fight against climate change, every part of a society needs to take action, be it public institutions, private citizens or businesses. That is why the EEA and Norway Grants innovation programmes are highly focused on greening European industry and supporting the adoption of new, greener technologies, with 50% of funding directly linked to green industry innovation.

Read more about competitive Europe.

50% of the funding

for businesses and innovation programmes is directly linked to green industry
Credit: Tauras Gudmantas

Strengthening of atmospheric deposition assessment in Poland based on the Norwegian experience

This Polish project enables local communities to reduce emissions and adapt to a changing climate by increasing knowledge about pollutants. It will also help Polish authorities track trends and measure the emission of pollutants in the air.

Read more
Credit: Tomáš Tesař

‘This bilateral cooperation is a fundamental benefit of the whole Czech Republic Environment Programme and the EEA and Norway Grants play a significant role as a mediator of the establishment of wider cooperation. Through the support for the bilateral cooperation, the Norway Grants are helping to deepen and strengthen friendly relations between the Czech Republic and the Kingdom of Norway'.

Tomáš Tesař
Head of Norway Grants Unit at the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic

The EEA and Norway Grants in numbers

By the end of 2021, the EEA and Norway Grants have supported over 4 000 projects. Of those, 428 target challenges the countries face from the threat of climate change, rising energy costs and unsustainable energy production.

4 000+ projects

supported by the EEA and Norway Grants
Environment, energy, climate change and low carbon economy
€418 million1
3 programme areas
15 programmes
12 countries
428 projects2
40% of projects have a donor project partner
  1. 1. Out of €418 million, €317 million is funded by the EEA Grants and €101 million by the Norway Grants.
  2. 2. Among the 428 projects, 253 are supported by the EEA Grants and 175 by the Norway Grants.

The EEA and Norway Grants are designed with results in mind. With projects just starting, and implementation running until 2024, the results towards our targets are only now starting to show. By the end of 2021, the following results were identified:

Indicator Target Achievement
Energy produced from renewable energy sources (in MWh/year) 118 205 521
Estimated annual CO2 emissions reductions (in tonnes) 1 077 281 2063
Installed capacity for production of renewable energy (in MWh) 40 1
  1. 3. The estimated annual CO2 emissions reductions (in tonnes) achieved by the EEA Grants was 31 tonnes and 175 tonnes by the Norway Grants.

Green Europe and the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reflect a shared global vision for a peaceful and prosperous world through sustainable and fair development.

Through the Grants, the Donor States empower public authorities, civil society, the private sector and academia in the Beneficiary States to take concrete actions to deliver on the shared commitment to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals. Here are some of the SDGs that the EEA and Norway Grants contribute to under the umbrella of a Green Europe.

SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

To ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is a goal shared by all the Beneficiary States. And while significant progress has been made in the innovation of clean and efficient energy, the uptake of modern technologies can be slow.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, through the EEA and Norway Grants help the Beneficiary States modernise their energy supply chain, increase the use of renewable fuels and improve access to clean energy.

For example, in the Polish town of Czechnica, to secure the supply of heat and electricity to individual consumers, a local district heat plant is building a new high-efficiency cogeneration unit that will replace coal. In Greece, a municipal stadium will retrofit its energy systems to become a zero-energy consumer. And in Romania, the operator of a small hydropower plant received funding to reach its maximum production capacity, currently hindered by water impurities and a flaw in the initial design.

7: Affordable and clean energy
7: Affordable and clean energy

SDG 13 Climate action

Urgent action is needed to combat climate change and its impacts. Helping local authorities build adaptation and mitigation strategies is one of the central areas funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Municipalities in the Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria and other Beneficiary States are working on local plans for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change. Measures are implemented to reduce air pollution and prevent urban flooding.

At the same time, the Time Travelers project in Bulgaria is inspiring children to become heroes protecting our planet Earth through a series of comic books.

These are just a few examples of the efforts done across Europe on local, regional and national levels.

Other contributions to the SDGs through funding for green Europe:

SDG: 07 SDG: 11 SDG: 12 SDG: 13 SDG: 14 SDG: 15 SDG: 16

Better waste recycling

The Greek company Eldia, in cooperation with the Norwegian partner Norsk Gjenvinning Norge As, is building a state-of-the-art waste sorting facility to increase performance and recycling.

Want to learn more?
Credit: Maciek Jaźwiecki - POLIN Museum
Credit: Garo Marukyan - NFP Bulgaria