Today (on 7th February 2020) the "Environment, Energy and Climate Change" Programme under the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021 in Poland was launched. The solemn ceremony of signing of the Programme Agreement (PA) and the Programme Implementation Agreement (PIA) took place in the premises of the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy in Warsaw, which acts as the National Focal Point of the Grants in Poland.
The signatory of the Environment PA from the donor’s side was the Norwegian Ambassador Olav Myklebust, from the beneficiary’s side – the Polish Minister of Development Funds and Regional Policy Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak, who signed also the Environment PIA – together with the representative of the Programme Operator, the Polish Minister of Climate Michał Kurtyka.
The Secretary of State in the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy Grzegorz Puda and the Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management Artur Szymon Michalski (representing the Co-Operator of the Environment Programme) participated in the signing event as well.
New programme, new possibilities
With EUR 164,7 million (EUR 140 million of which are funds of the EEA Financial Mechanism and EUR 24,7 million is national contribution) the Polish Environment Programme is the largest support instrument among all programmes of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021 in the beneficiary states. The aim of the Programme is to contribute to environmental protection, mitigation of climate change and improving energy efficiency.
The implementation of the Programme was entrusted to the Ministry of Climate, which will cooperate with the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and the partners from donor states: the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA), the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and the Icelandic National Energy Authority (OS).
"Today we are launching the largest support programme in Poland and Europe in the 3rd edition of the EEA and Norway Grants. Taking care for the environment is not only a big venture, such as striving for a zero-emission economy, it is also educating students about ecology and climate change. The "Environment, Energy and Climate Change" Programme has a comprehensive approach to environmental protection. Co-financing will be directed to both the public and private sectors as well as NGOs. All initiatives planned in the Programme are important and necessary" – emphasized the Polish Minister of Development Funds and Regional Policy Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak.
The Ministry of Climate plans three groups of calls for proposals for co-financing. In the first of these, planned for the second quarter of 2020, it will be possible to apply for support for the protection of species and habitats, protection against invasive alien species and prevention of their spread, improvement of energy efficiency of school buildings, development of high-efficiency industrial cogeneration and implementation of investments in green and blue infrastructure in cities.
The second recruitment group, which will start in the second quarter of 2020, will focus on awareness-raising activities among students in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation. As part of this round, there will also be the possibility to apply for funding for activities related to the construction or modernization of municipal heating systems, elimination of individual heat sources or construction of installations for the production of fuel from wood and agricultural biomass.
The third group of calls is planned for the third quarter of the year, in which applicants operating in the area of building heat sources using geothermal energy, increasing the efficiency of energy production in existing small hydropower plants and enhanced implementation of the circular economy will be able to apply for funding.
Among the eligible applicants there are: local government units and their associations, non-governmental organizations, universities, entrepreneurs (including industrial enterprises, municipal companies, including energy and heat producers, and owners of small hydropower plants).
The scale of co-financing will vary depending on the area of support. The applicants acting in the area of the development of high-efficiency industrial cogeneration and the construction or modernization of municipal heating systems and removal of individual heat sources will initially be able to apply for the biggest money – from EUR 1 to 7 million. The level of funding in the Programme will range from 45 to 100 percent and will depend on the nature of the area to be supported, as well as the maximum limits determined in the applicable state aid regulations.
The "Environment, Energy and Climate Change" Programme is the eighth programme launched in the 3rd edition of the EEA and Norway Grants in Poland (out of nine programmes managed by the Polish side) and is a continuation of the environmental programmes implemented with the support of the two previous editions of the Grants.
Strengthening bilateral cooperation with donor states in the field of environment
Strengthening of bilateral relations with donor states remains an important aspect of the implementation of the EEA and Norway Grants in their third edition. An additional EUR 900,000 from the budget of the Fund for Bilateral Relations will be allocated for the implementation of the “Environment, Energy and Climate Change” Programme. These funds can be used for actions implemented jointly by Polish institutions and institutions from donor states. From 10 January, the Programme Operator accepts applications for projects in the field of bilateral cooperation – they can be submitted by Polish entities in cooperation with entities from donor countries.
EEA and Norway Grants in Poland
Poland for the third time is a beneficiary of EEA and Norway Grants. In the recent (second) edition – in the period 2009-2014 - the total sum of resources for Poland amounted EUR 578,1 million. It allowed to support more than 1300 projects. In the III edition of the Grants with an allocation of EUR 809,3 million (from total amount EUR 2,8 billion) Poland is the greatest beneficiary in the EU, similarly as it was in the previous editions.
The Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy is responsible for coordinating the implementation of EEA and Norway Grants in Poland. It cooperates with the Financial Mechanism Office in Brussels in this area. Individual programmes of the third edition of the Grants are implemented by Polish public institutions. The exceptions are, as in previous editions, the areas 'Civil society' and 'Social dialogue – decent work', which are managed by the donors (respectively by the Financial Mechanism Office in Brussels and Innovation Norway). Programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants will be implemented until 2024. The exception is the Fund for Bilateral Relations, which will be implemented until 30th April 2025.
More information on the website of the National Focal Point: www.eog.gov.pl.