Writing the welcoming words for the annual report of the Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation is a task I do with great pleasure. Not only because the NGO Fund (NCTA) is being the largest program for the HEPF, but also because it is the largest fund established under the EEA Grants and Norway Grants in Hungary. These grants established in 2004 for a five year period by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are contributing to creating a Europe of solidarity and responsibility supporting a wide range of activities.
From the beginning, one of the objectives for the EEA Grants and Norway Grants has been to strengthen civil society in our partner countries as civil society and NGOs play a crucial role by ensuring broad public participation in democratic processes.
NGO funds have been established in almost all of our 15 partner countries. Total support for projects and programmes designed to strengthen civil society and the role of NGOs amounts to more than 80 million Euros for the programming period 2004-2009. On average, around 10 per cent of the funds allocated to the various beneficiary countries will go to civil society activities. This means that the EEA Grants and Norway Grants will be some of the largest sources of funding for civil society development in Central Europe.
We are pleased to see that the Grant has been welcomed warmly by the Hungarian NGOs. The publication you are holding right now contains details about all the NGO projects that have been approved and are examples of what has been accomplished in Hungary as a result of the support by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants and other financial support. The effort made by the HEPF and it’s consortium members in implementing the NGO Fund has made this grant scheme as flexible and transparent as possible. This is important to ensure that new and innovative projects are realised in Hungary.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation and its partner organisations, the Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights, the Autonomia Foundation, and the Carpathian Foundation - Hungary, for their work with the NCTA. It has resulted in the successful implementation of important projects for Hungarian NGOs.
Siri Ellen Sletner Ambassador
Royal Norwegian Embassy