Thirty-eight national and five regional grants worth more than EUR 525,000 were awarded to support civil society organisations working on urban sustainability. The national projects will be implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo (territory under interim UN administration). The regional projects will involve organisations from the above countries, plus Croatia. Projects will likely run from June 2007 to December 2008.
Forty-two percent of the selected projects involve typical civil society activities such as demonstrations, awareness campaigns and education projects, albeit with a focus on greening South-East European cities. Another 37 percent of the selected projects address waste-related problems by promoting recycling, composting, and other waste prevention measures in urban areas.
The remaining projects address energy consumption and sustainable transport. This grants initiative is coordinated by the Regional Environmental Center (REC) with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and was first announced at the end of September 2006.
The granting programme allocated regional grants worth EUR 400,000, which will be distributed from 2007 to 2009 in two rounds. During the same period, national grants of EUR 1.04 million will be distributed in three rounds.
The programme aims to fund projects that not only make cities more sustainable, but strengthen the civil society sector and increase community awareness regarding the state of urban environments. Funded projects should suggest possible solutions to problems, particularly those that threaten human health. The programme also promotes democratic principles related to gender, ethnic and regional equality by ensuring the participation of diverse groups.
The selection process of the first round took place from September 2006 to May 2007. An independent evaluation committee coordinated by the REC reviewed proposals and selected the best based on criteria given in the grants announcement. The results of the selection were submitted to Sida for a final decision.