EEA Grants 6th Annual Meeting highlights program progress and promotes visits to projects in the Azores

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Representatives of donor countries and programme operators provide an update on the implementation of the Mechanism.

The EEA Grants Portugal 6th Annual Meeting, held on October 10th in Ponta Delgada, on the island of S. Miguel, Azores, brought together representatives from donor countries - Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway - the Embassy of Norway and the Embassy of Iceland in Portugal, the Embassy of Portugal in Norway and Iceland, the Secretary of State for Planning Eduardo Pinheiro, and the Program Operators.

Organized by the National Focal Point, the annual meeting's main objective was to provide an update on the implementation of the Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, discuss the next steps, and approve the annual Strategic Report.

The Program Operators for Blue Growth, Environment, Culture, Work-life Balance and Active Citizens Fund presented implementation data, offering a comprehensive view of the funded projects and highlighting inspiring examples of success that are generating a positive impact on local communities. The National Focal Point reported on the Fund for Bilateral Relations.

In addition to the meeting, participants had the unique opportunity to get to know some of the funded projects on the islands of S. Miguel and Terceira that are focusing on energy transition, circular economy, innovation and technology, marine protection, and cultural promotion.

Between October 9th and 12th, the following projects were visited:

Temporadas | Culture Program | S. Miguel
The TEMPORADAS project proposes innovative programming for the VAGA cultural space in Ponta Delgada. It aims to organize and present new artistic proposals, expanding references in the field of arts and promoting collaborations between artists, agents, and organizations in the Azores and in relation to other geographies, specifically Iceland and Norway.

Terra Incognita | Culture Program | S. Miguel
The Terra Incognita project challenges artists from various disciplines to think musically and performatively about a specific territory. This initiative results in site-specific musical creations, multimedia installations, and performative acts activated through a trail proposal.

Rebuild 17 | Environment Program | S. Miguel
The Rebuild 17 project aims to promote the circularity of value chains in the construction sector, creating a platform for the valorization of waste associated with this industry. This action involves various stakeholders related to the sector.

Packaging deposit system in the Azores | Environment Program | S. Miguel
As a way to increase the quantity of selective collection of packaging waste, we intend to implement a deposit and incentive system for the consumer to return the non-reusable beverage packaging, made of plastic, metal and glass, in the entire archipelago. This system makes it possible to improve the quality of the packaging collected, making it more valuable when it is recycled and instilling good habits regarding the consumption of solid waste.

Pico Alto Geothermal Power Plant | Renewable Energy Program (Mechanism 2009-2014) | Terceira
The Pico Alto Geothermal Power Plant, with 3.5 MWe, plays a strategic role in reinforcing the energy self-sufficiency of Terceira Island. Furthermore, it provides significant economic, social, and environmental benefits to the Azores by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and minimizing environmental impacts associated with CO2 emissions.

Custodian | Blue Growth Program | Terceira
The Custodian project aims to develop an accessible system, consisting of three low-cost devices and a web platform, to track the location of small boats and buoys. This innovation aims to support fishermen, local authorities, and companies, optimizing operations and equipment management in the fishing industry.

During the Annual Meeting, experiences were shared, and partnerships were strengthened. The projects visited in the Azores are a true testament to the positive and transformative impact that the funding from EEA Grants is having in Portugal, towards sustainable and innovative development.