Cities, especially small and medium-sized ones that are worse off than larger centres, face various environmental, economic, social or institutional problems. Comprehensive and coordinated action is needed to, among other things, improve air quality, adapt to climate change, stop negative depopulation trends, respond to the needs of an ageing population, create good conditions for business development, or strengthen the efficiency of local administration. The residents expect cities to be liveable places, and the Local Development Program, funded under the 3rd edition of the Norwegian and EEA Funds 2014 - 2021, supports local governments in their efforts to achieve this goal.
Program Objective: Strengthen social and economic cohesion by improving the quality of life for all residents (including disadvantaged groups) and users of medium-sized and small towns.
Program Operator:: Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy (The Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy was established on 15 November 2019 by transforming the existing Ministry of Investment and Development).
The total budget of the Programme: EUR 117,6 million
Grant: EUR 100 million
National contribution: EUR 17,6 million
The value of co-financing: selected projects will receive grants ranging from EUR 3 to 10 million.
Level of co-financing: up to 100% of eligible costs.
Beneficiaries: small and medium-sized cities classified by the Strategy for Responsible Development among 255 cities with the most difficult socio-economic situation.
List of eligible cities
Partnerships: due to the complex nature of the projects, it is possible and recommended to implement the projects both in the intersectoral and intergovernmental partnerships (domestic and foreign – with entities from the Donor States, i.e., Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
Nature of projects: Comprehensive development projects (infrastructure and soft), including actions to strengthen/increase the local administration's capacity to achieve the city's long-term, integrated development objectives.
Thematic scope of projects: projects should include multi-faceted and complementary activities. It is therefore recommended to include activitiesfrom many interrelated areas so as to obtain synergies with an increased impact on the local development of a given city. As a minimum, projects must address environmental, social, economic and institutional dimensions. In the project, it is also possible (optional) to refer to the dimensions: spatial, financing of urban development, cultural, and smart city management.
The environmental dimension, e.g.:
- reducing emissions of harmful gases and particulate matter,
- adaptation to climate change,
- reduction of low emissions in the city,
- the transition from traditional to renewable energy sources,
- energy efficiency,
- innovative green solutions and technologies,
- investment in green and blue infrastructure,
- urban green areas,
- low-/ zero-emission public transport,
- other environmentally friendly transport solutions, etc.
The social dimension, e.g.:
- the implementation of accessibility standards in accordance with the Plus Accessibility Program 2018-2025 (mandatory aspect)
- social policy, in particular considering marginalised areas of the city and groups of people at risk of social exclusion,
- implementation of housing policy in social and investment terms (including universal design, sustainable housing estates, housing innovations, municipal housing management system, TBS, mechanisms to support housing accessibility, development of rental housing),
- promoting investment and social innovation in the development of local communities in impoverished areas,
- innovative solutions to support social participation,
- comprehensive revitalisation measures (in all aspects),
- reducing unemployment and poverty,
- increasing the level of education at various levels,
- creation of a network of efficient local/ regional public transport,
- improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists,
- counteracting suburbanisation processes,
- limiting labour migration from small and medium-sized cities to large centres,
- implementation of senior citizen policy – facing the challenges of an ageing population,
- adapting the city's offer to the human life cycle and demographic changes in it,
- animation and activation projects for children and youth,
- development of services in the field of education and health care, etc.
The economic dimension, e.g.:
- fostering entrepreneurship and the local economy,
- supporting the innovation of local entrepreneurs,
- strengthening the local labour market, especially for those entering/ adapting to the labour market,
- linking the education system with the needs of the local labour market, etc.
NOTE: Except for supporting the establishment or maintenance of incubators/innovation/entrepreneurship centres, which are excluded from support in the Program.
Eligible project activities: All eligible project activities are to be used for the preparation, development and implementation of activities for the integrated and sustainable development of the city. To this end, the projects will prepare Local Development Plans and Institutional Development Plans.
- Examples of non-investment activities: Documentation: detailed sectoral strategies/ operational plans/ standards for management and development of the city/ analyses, studies, expert opinions, evaluations/ plans for social consultations, social dialogue strategies/ detailed plans for cooperation/ assumptions for changes in studies of conditions and directions of spatial development and for changes in (local) development plans/ feasibility studies, bidding documentation, regarding the assessment of the impact of an undertaking on the environment, construction projects, Programs, implementation activities, e.g.: assuming social activation of groups at risk of exclusion/ programs to support the elderly/ programs to support people with disabilities/ programs assuming vocational activation of the unemployed/ implementation of developed housing solutions/ educational for children and youth/ smart city development program, Institutional capacity building and competence development of local public administration/ streamlining and raising the standards of local government operations/ building citizens' trust in public institutions at the local government level.
- Investment activities: resulting from the diagnosis and analysis performed at the first and second stages of the call/ relating to the thematic scope referred to in the Regulations on Call for Proposals and Project Selection/ defined as a priority for the implementation of the project's objectives and solving key development problems in the city, mandatory, assuming the implementation of accessibility standards in accordance with the assumptions of the Accessibility Plus Program 2018-2025.
All planned investment expenditures may not exceed 60 % of the total eligible expenditure of the project.
Scheme of project preparation, selection and implementation:
The call was addressed to 255 cities from Strategy for Responsible Development.
Cities submit project outlines in response to the call for proposals.
Selection of approx. 50 cities
Phase 1 – approx. 50 selected cities prepare Local Development Plans, and Institutional Development Plans as components of Complete Project Proposals..
Extensive advisory and expert support within the framework of the project predefined by the Association of Polish Cities and the National Institute of Spatial Policy and Housing incooperation with the KS (The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities) and the OECD.
Phase 2 – selection of approx. 15* projects (Complete Project Proposals) for financing.
Implementation of approx. 15* projects.
Extensive advisory and expert support within the framework of a project predefined for the effective implementation of the prepared Plans through permanent city advisors and sectoral advisors, recruited as necessary. The supervision of maintaining the main direction of the project and ensuring its substantive correctness.
The projects must be completed by 30 April 2024.
Details of the recruitment and selection of projects can be found in the Regulations, which are available in the "Call for Proposals Information" dated 06 May 2019.