Statement on the inclusion of LGBTI issues in the new cycle of EEA and Norway Grants
During Oslo Pride 2016, activists from various European countries came together to talk about EEA and Norway Grants. At a meeting with State Secretary Elsbeth Tronstad we strongly recommended a more explicit inclusion of LGBTI issues in the priorities of the grant mechanism. We also encouraged Norwegian authorities to pay close attention to the challenges faced by LGBTI persons in Ukraine, the Western Balkans, Moldova and Turkey.
We had a very constructive meeting with State Secretary Elsbeth Tronstad and her team. During the meeting it became clear that there is interest on the side of the Norwegian government to continue to support LGBTI projects in the funding framework. However, actual support will partially depend on the outcomes of a current consultation on priorities for the funding framework covering the period 2014-2021. Eventually bilateral negotiations with recipient countries may also impact the availability of funding on the ground.
Signatories to this statement recognise that human rights and civil society are important priority areas in the new framework. LGBTI is currently not explicitly mentioned in the document, which creates the potential for LGBTI projects not being supported. In a context where LGBTI rights are often under pressure and LGBTI NGOs are heavily affected by shrinking space, this is reason for concern. We therefore strongly encourage for a more explicit inclusion of LGBTI issues in the priorities document, as well to ensure the inclusion at the national level.
Health programming needs to target marginalised groups specifically. In places where there is discrimination, inclusion of LGBTI NGOs in programming needs to be guaranteed. In this context it is important to recognie the role that (LGBTI) NGOs can play in service delivery to marginalised groups, for instance by addressing (mental) health issues of LGBTI people.
We strongly encourage for the new programme to include a regional dimension through which civil society groups in the Western-Balkans, Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova could become potential beneficiaries. Regional and sub-regional cooperation have been proven models of success in advancing LGBTI human rights.
We believe that by incorporating these recommendations EEA / Norway grants can continue to change the lives of LGBTI people in Europe for better.
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Sogn Ingvild Endestad
Association for gender and sexuality diversity - FRI