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Rapid assessment of EEA and Norway Grants' support to gender programmes

October 1, 2016

The objectives of this rapid assessment were twofold. First, it was a summative assignment in that it sought to document the EEA and Norway Grants' efforts to promote gender equality (GE), reduce domestic violence (DV), and reduce gender-based violence (GBV) in the seven focus countries. Second, it was formative and forward-looking. It was formative in that it aimed to generate lessons learned based on an assessment of relevant achievements; it aimed to help improve the design, planning, organisation, and implementation of future interventions. It was also forward-looking in that it provided a context-based set of ideas on how things might be done in the future; it aimed to consider current contextual changes that may not have been reflected in the earlier programme experience.The assessment addressed two aspects of gender – first, mainstreaming GE and promoting work-life balance (WLB), and second, addressing DV and GBV – in seven countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain. Not all countries reviewed have programmes addressing both aspects supported by the EEA and Norway Grants. The assessment focused on the following three lines of inquiry: 1. Relevance of the programme and projects therein. 2. Effectiveness of the programme and projects therein. 3. The bilateral dimension, focusing specifically on the execution of programme and project partnerships involving the Council of Europe (CoE) and other expert organisations (primarily based in Norway).

Mid-term Evaluation of the Cultural Heritage Sector Under the EEA Grants 2009-2014

September 1, 2015

The EEA Grants in the current period have been allocated to programmes defined at national level, instead of to individual projects. These programmes have been implemented according to the Regulation and after a process of negotiation between the donors and the European Commission and then between the donors and the beneficiary countries. This negotiation has concerned, first, the Memorandum of Understanding and, second, the specific Programme Agreements. The process of negotiation and of preparing open calls for proposals has taken significantly longer than expected. This has led to severe delays in the allocation of funds and significantly reduced the time available to implement projects. However, there is broad support for the programme-based approach, as it could further improve the strategic focus and simplify the management arrangements. Given the time and effort that has been expended in setting up the programme-based approach, consideration should be given as to whether this approach should be retained for the next period. Stakeholders from the donor and beneficiary countries should consider whether negotiations can be concluded much more easily the second time round and whether programme management capacity can be retained. Where this is the case, the programme-based approach should be continued. There would be potential benefits from extending the end-date for completing expenditure and/or extending the programme period from 5 to 7 years. Monitoring indicators are appropriate, although many outcomes do not easily lend themselves to measurement and quantification. Qualitative reporting therefore remains important alongside monitoring of quantitative outputs.

EUFORI Study: European Foundations for Research and Innovation (Synthesis Report)

July 1, 2015

This report provides a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the contributions that foundations make to support research and innovation in EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. Over the last 25 years, the role of foundations as supporters of research and innovation in Europe has grown significantly in scope and scale. However, the landscape is fragmented and, till now, largely uncharted. Little is known about the vast majority of such foundations, their activities or even their number, and information about their real impact on research and innovation in Europe was very limited. A team of national experts in the EU 27 (and Norway and Switzerland), led by VU University Amsterdam, has therefore been commissioned by the European Commission to study foundations' contribution to research and innovation in the EU under the name EUFORI. This study helps fill this knowledge gap by analysing foundations' financial contributions, and provides useful insights into the different ways they operate. It also identifies emerging trends and the potential for exploring synergies and collaboration between foundations, research-funding agencies, businesses and research institutes.

Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe 2015 (Chinese Translation)

January 1, 2015

This publication aims to provide the reader with a comparative overview of the diverse legal and fiscal environments of foundations in 40 countries across wider Europe: the 28 EU Member States, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. It includes charts, draw on the basis of the updated online EFC (European Foundation Centre) Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles, which are available to download at The EFC online profiles include more detailed country information and further explanation of the information presented in those charts. (Edition translated from English to Chinese)

Mid-term Evaluation of NGO Programmes Under EEA Grants 2009-2014

December 1, 2014

The EEA Financial Mechanism (2009-2014) have committed € 160,4 million to support seventeen NGO Programmes in sixteen countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain. The overall objective of the EEA Grants NGO Programmes is strengthened civil society development and enhanced contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development in each of the beneficiary countries. As of 30 of June 2014, 957 projects in total of € 53,793,561 have been supported mainly in the fields of democracy, citizen participation, human rights, social justice and empowerment, sustainable development and provision of basic welfare services. The mid-term evaluation of the NGO Programmes funded by the EEA Financial Mechanism (2009- 2014) is an independent formative evaluation. Its objective was two-fold: 1) to assess the progress and needs for improvement of the current Programmes, and 2) to inform policies for the next financial period. The main purpose of this evaluation was to provide an expert independent mid-term assessment of the contribution of the EEA Grants 2009-2014 to the NGO sectors in the beneficiary states operating NGO Programmes. The evaluation was of dual nature: (1) of a formative evaluation to identify progress and needs for improvement of the current Programmes and (2) of a forward oriented strategic review to inform policies for the next financial period.

Data Matters: Data-Driven Policy Research Projects from Central and Eastern Europe

July 15, 2014

Since 2010, the Open Society Think Tank Fund has supported projects that propose new uses of data for advocacy and target non-traditional stakeholders, to develop challenging and complementary information sets for broader application in the policy sphere, and to use data sets to challenge commonly accepted facts in a given policy field. The Fund assisted think tanks with bringing these data sources to light; enhancing their usefulness by expansion, maintenance, and use of this information; integrating such enhancements into their daily routines; and promoting a new culture of presenting policy research findings and thus reaching untapped audiences.The Data Matters presents highlights and successes of projects supported between 2010 and 2013, illustrating how data matters in the everyday lives of citizens of many countries. This portfolio is offered as inspiration for members of NGOs, think tanks, and advocacy organizations who are focusing on using data for informing discussion on policy cha

Nations in Transit 2014

June 12, 2014

This is the the 18th edition of Freedom House's comprehensive report on post-communist democratic governance -- highlights recent setbacks to democracy across Eurasia and the Balkans, as well as in Central Europe. Russia served as the model and inspiration for policies that have led to an uninterrupted retreat from free institutions throughout Eurasia and in 2013 brought a new and alarming level of repression. In Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and several other countries, civil society responded with remarkable resistance to repressive governance. The year also featured improved elections and peaceful transfers of power in Kosovo, Albania, and Georgia.

Mapping Digital Media: Estonia

April 1, 2013

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.Estonia blazed a trail, in terms of digitization, by completing digital switch-over of television in 2010, five years ahead of the originally envisaged target of 2015.Estonians have demonstrated a keen appetite for digital media uptake. More than three-quarters of the population accesses the internet regularly, and more than half of those are active on social networking platforms. Recent surveys suggest that nearly a quarter of internet users now connect via smartphones. As for traditional media, newspaper circulations have experienced a steady rather than dramatic decline over recent years, while television and radio audiences remain relatively stable.The press and news organizations remain in general relatively free of political influence, and although there is significant cross-media ownership and little opportunity for new entrants, digitization does not appear to have exacerbated this situation, and there remains a degree of competition and pluralism within all sectors.This report calls for the development of media policy that will incentivize television service providers to introduce the additional digital television services that were promoted during switch-over. They also call for long-term predictable funding mechanisms to ensure that public service media, Estonian Public Broadcasting (Eesti Rahvusringhääling, ERR) above all, provide quality output.

Education Policy and Equal Education Opportunities

January 1, 2012

Education Policy and Equal Education Opportunities, published by the Open Society Education Support Program, examines the role of public education in addressing a wide variety of unequal educational opportunities found across the world. The publication brings together analyses from countries in Europe and Asia (Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Turkey, and United Kingdom) that examine the fundamental question of how public education policies are either mediating or reinforcing unequal education opportunities.Education Policy and Equal Education Opportunities focuses on key areas that are shaping the debates and issues of contemporary inclusive education policy:  educational equity; education politics, policy, and governance; financing educational services; and creating educational opportunities for marginalized groups such as the Roma. By presenting this set of papers, the publication aims to provide fresh insights about educational inclusion and how it can enhance equal education opportunity.

The Baltic-American Partnership Fund: Ten Years of Grantmaking to Strengthen Civil Society in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

November 11, 2008

Reviews the outcomes and lessons learned from the fund's efforts since its creation by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Open Society Institute. Includes grant summary, grantee profiles, and essays by the fund's officers and partners.

Foundations in the European Union : Facts and Figures : Report on Work by EFC Research Task Force

May 1, 2008

In 2002, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) launched a Research Task Force (RTF), which acted as a clearing house for research on foundations in Europe, collecting data where appropriate. The RTF comprised representatives of European Union-based EFC member foundations and national associations of foundations who often coordinated data-gathering with universities or researchers. The RTF ran two surveys in 2003-5 and 2006-8 to assess public-benefit foundations and provide key data on the scale of the sector across the EU. It also explored some key topics on foundations' regulatory and operating frameworks. This brochure summarises the RTF's findings, reviews the sector's size and economic weight in the EU, and gives general background on where foundation income comes from, who sets up and runs foundations, whether foundations cooperate, who their partners are, whether they develop links with public bodies, and whether they evaluate their actions.

NGO Sustainability in Central Europe: Helping Civil Society Survive

January 1, 2005

This anthology of studies includes chapters with information on NGOs resource centres in Romania, rural NGOs in Ukraine, and cultural associations in Estonia. It also provided examples of sustainability mechanisms, such as the one percent philanthropic tax system and endowments in Poland, and the one percent tax system in Hungary.