1 « A REGIONAL HUB FOR STRUCTURED DIALOGUE »
Civil Society builds bridges between citizens and authorities, plays a major role in democratisation and inclusive development processes. Civil society can foster reforms, peace and stability for a sustainable economic development. Regarding regional integration in the Mediterranean, the European Union considers civil society as a key actor for developing a strategic vision for the region, advocating for regional solutions to regional challenges working jointly with governments, authorities and regional institutions.
The EU values a dynamic, pluralistic and competent civil society and recognizes the importance of constructive relations between authorities and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)2.
Enhancing regular dialogue and consultations with Civil Society (CS) is one of the principles stated in the Lisbon Treaty, with a view to ensuring consistency and transparency of EU policies, and make Civil Society participate and contribute to policy making and its implementation. This view is reflected in the 2011 Commission communication on A New Response to a Changing Neighbourhood3, the 2012 EU Communication on The Roots of Democracy and Sustainable Development: Europe's Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations4 and the 2015 review of the European Neighbourhood Policy5, which reinforces the EU commitment to further expand outreach to civil society in its broadest sense and to further support to civil society fora with a view to more structured dialogue at both national and regional levels. The June 2016 EU Global Strategy6, reiterates the EU's commitment to civil society support.
In 2011, the EU has created the Civil Society Facility with the aim to empower CSOs in the Southern Neighbourhood region by:
Strengthening their involvement in policy-making processes and enabling them to become
reliable partners in the policy-making;
Creating strong links between CSOs and citizens through engagement in public policy and
dialogue in all areas;
Strengthening economic development through the promotion of employability and social
inclusion, innovation, and dialogue.
Since then, the EU has emphasised the will to engage more strategically with civil society, and has provided significant political and financial support to multi-stakeholders cooperation, notably by empowering CSOs and particularly their platforms and representative organisations active at
national, regional and global levels, to participate effectively in dialogues and in all phases of policy- making.
Civil Society Fora have taken place annually since 2014 with the objective of creating space for dialogue among all partners. Since then, events have taken place both in the Neighbourhood South and in Brussels.
In order to empower civil society from the Neighbourhood South region to engage genuinely in this dialogue and partnership, to prepare, co-ordinate and co-organise events and contribute to the agenda of the Civil Society Forum between the EU and civil society, this Action will support the creation of a regional dialogue secretariat/hub. It will mobilise structured regional dialogue in an inclusive, continuous, sustainable manner to be articulated around priority challenges and contributes to policy making while connecting civil society, EU institutions and other regional entities around issues of concern and interest in the regional agenda.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME AND PRIORITY ISSUES
The global objective of this call for proposals is to promote citizen engagement and political participation of young women and men, empowering them to assume a central and visible role in addressing common social challenges in partnership with peers to the South and North of the Mediterranean.
The specific objective of this call for proposals is to enable CSOs from the Neighbourhood South to engage in a more structured, inclusive, continuous and sustainable regional dialogue between civil society, EU institutions, regional entities and authorities.
1.3 FINANCIAL ALLOCATION PROVIDED BY THE CONTRACTING AUTHORITY
The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 3,000,000.00. The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.
Only one grant will be allocated.
Size of the grant:
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:
minimum amount: EUR 2,500,000
maximum amount: EUR 3,000,000
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and
maximum percentages of total eligible costs of the action:
Minimum percentage: 55 % of the total eligible costs of the action.
The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of the action and the amount requested from the Contracting Authority) must be financed from sources other than the European Union Budget or the European Development Fund7.
2 RULES FOR THIS CALL FOR PROPOSALS
These guidelines set out the rules for the submission, selection and implementation of the actions financed under this call, in conformity with the Practical Guide, which is applicable to the present call (available at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en)8.
2.1 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:
1. the actors:
The lead applicant, i.e. the entity submitting the application form (2.1.1),
if any, its co-applicant(s) (where it is not specified otherwise the lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) are hereinafter jointly referred as "applicant(s)") (2.1.1),
and, if any, affiliated entity(ies) to the lead applicant and/or to a co-applicant(s). (2.1.2);
2. the actions:
3. the costs:
2.1.1 Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicant(s))
(1) In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must: be a legal person and
be non-profit-making and
be a specific type of organisation such as: a representative, actor based, membership- based regional network or umbrella organisation of civil society organisations (CSO)9 and
be established in10 a Member State of the European Union or in the Neighbourhood South11.
Applications through a lead applicant from the Neighbourhood South will be an asset and
be comprised of CSOs (members of their network) whose thematic focus areas reflect at least 3 priorities of the following as defined in the European Neighbourhood Policy (2015): governance, security and counter violence, migration, economic and social development, and
be comprised of CSOs (members of their network) active in at least 3 countries of the Neighbourhood South and
All together the lead applicant and the co-applicants should demonstrate in their application how the proposed activities will cover all the countries12 of the Southern Neighbourhood in so far as possible.
(2) Potential applicants may not participate in calls for proposals or be awarded grants if they are in any of the situations listed in section 2.3.3 of the Practical Guide;
In part A.2, section 5 of the grant application form (‘declaration by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant must declare that the lead applicant himself, the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies) are not in any of these situations.
If the lead applicant is established in a Member State of the European Union, it must act with at least one co-applicant established in a country of the Neighbourhood South.
If awarded the grant contract, the lead applicant will become the beneficiary identified as the Coordinator in Annex E3h1 (Special Conditions). The Coordinator is the main interlocutor of the Contracting Authority. It represents and acts on behalf of any other co-beneficiary (if any) and coordinate the design and implementation of the action.
Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant.
Co-applicants must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the lead applicant.
In addition to the categories referred to in section 2.1.1, the following are however also eligible:
be comprised of CSOs (members of their network) active in at least 2 countries of the Neighbourhood South.
The number of co-applicants is limited to a maximum of 6 co-applicants in addition to the lead applicant.
Co-applicants must sign the mandate in Annex A.2., section 4.
If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicant(s) (if any) will become beneficiary(ies) in the action (together with the Co-ordinator).
2.1.2 Affiliated entities
The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies).
Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):
Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.
This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:
(i) Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated
financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings: Entities affiliated to an applicant may hence be:
- Entities directly or indirectly controlled by the applicant (daughter companies or first- tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by the applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;
- Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant; Entities under the same direct or indirect control as the applicant (sister companies).
(ii) Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.
The structural link shall as a general rule be neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation. This means that the link would exist independently of the award of
the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the action.
By way of exception, an entity may be considered as affiliated to an applicant even if it has a structural link specifically established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action in the case of so-called “sole applicants” or “sole beneficiaries”. A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which together comply with the criteria for being awarded the grant. For example, an association is formed by its members.
What is not an affiliated entity?
The following are not considered entities affiliated to an applicant:
- Entities that have entered into a (procurement) contract or subcontract with an applicant, act as concessionaires or delegates for public services for an applicant,
- Entities that receive financial support from the applicant,
- Entities that cooperate on a regular basis with an applicant on the basis of a memorandum of
understanding or share some assets,
consortium agreement leads to the creation of a "sole applicant" as described above).
How to verify the existence of the required link with an applicant?
The affiliation resulting from control may in particular be proved on the basis of the consolidated accounts of the group of entities the applicant and its proposed affiliates belong to.
The affiliation resulting from membership may in particular be proved on the basis of the statutes or equivalent act establishing the entity (network, federation, association) which the applicant constitutes or in which the applicant participates.
If the applicants are awarded a grant contract, their affiliated entity(ies) will not become beneficiary(ies) of the action and signatory(ies) of the grant contract. However, they will participate in the design and in the implementation of the action and the costs they incur (including those incurred for implementation contracts and financial support to third parties) may be accepted as eligible costs, provided they comply with all the relevant rules already applicable to the beneficiary(ies) under the grant contract.
Affiliated entity(ies) must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the lead applicant and the co- applicant(s). They must sign the affiliated entity(ies) statement in in Annex A.2., section 5.
In addition to the categories referred to in section 2.1.1, the following are however also eligible:
- specific types of organisations such as: public sector operator, local authority, higher education and research institutions, think tanks, trade unions, business associations, international organisations.
2.1.3 Associates and Contractors
The following entities are not applicants nor affiliated entities and do not have to sign the "mandate for co-applicant(s)" or "affiliated entities' statement":
Other organisations or individuals may be involved in the action. Such associates play a real role in the action but may not receive funding from the grant, with the exception of per diem or travel costs. Associates do not have to meet the eligibility criteria referred to in section 2.1.1. Associates must be mentioned in Part A.2 section 6 — ‘Associates participating in the action’
The beneficiaries and their affiliated entities are permitted to award contracts. Associates or affiliated entity(ies) cannot be also contractors in the project. Contractors are subject to the procurement rules set out in Annex IV to the standard grant contract.
2.1.4 Eligible actions: actions for which an application may be made
An action is composed of a set of activities.
The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 30 months nor exceed 42 months.
Sectors or themes
Dialogue, debate and consultations among CSOs from the Neighbourhood South and between CSOs from the Neighbourhood South and the EU in addition to other relevant regional stakeholders (regional entities, networks of local authorities, media associations, private sector, universities, etc.), should focus on, but is not limited to, the following themes:
EU policy frameworks (such as the EU Global Strategy and the European Neighbourhood Policy, notably related to governance, security and counter violence, migration, economic development and social dialogue);
Regional financial assistance programmes (such as the European Neighbourhood Instrument);
Actions must cover at least 5 of the following Neighbourhood South countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia) and in Brussels.15
Events (seminars) can take place in the same geographical area covered by the Union for the Mediterranean.
Applicants must ensure inclusiveness of participation (regarding the diversity of actors in the region) of CSOs from all countries within the Neighbourhood South region.
For the Meetings and Fora, presence can be encouraged of a limited number of representatives from countries from the Western Balkans, Turkey and Mauritania, or from other countries of the Middle East or Africa, as well as from organisations based in the EU and working on issues related to the Neighbourhood South.
Types of action
While ensuring youth and gender mainstreaming, establishing mid-term and long-term objectives in consultation with its CSO stakeholders, and acknowledging the high volatility of the political context in the region, this hub will be provided with resources to16:
1 Coordinate policy dialogue within Civil society in the Neighbourhood South (including online coordination platform)
2 Organise the logistics and facilitate events in the region and with the EU 3 Enhance dialogue and advocacy capacities
The following types of action are ineligible:
actions concerned only or mainly with individual sponsorships for participation in workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses;
actions concerned only or mainly with individual scholarships for studies or training courses;
actions supporting individual political parties;
actions including proselytism; Types of activity
This list of activities proposed is not exhaustive and other relevant and innovative proposals will be considered:
Organise dialogue, debate and consultations among CSOs from the Neighbourhood South and, between CSOs from the Neighbourhood South and the EU around regional agendas, programmes and roadmaps. In order to maximise the potential of this dialogue, the beneficiary will be encouraged to articulate synergies and complementarity with other existing dialogues between the EU and CSO from the region, such as the International Policy Forum for Development.17
Link civil society from the Neighbourhood South with EU institutions and other regional entities.
Enhance advocacy networks and capacities at regional level and with relevant stakeholders (including with national authorities, networks of local authorities, media, etc.)18
Identify and address dialogue and advocacy capacity needs among CSOs from the Neighbourhood South, for engaging in a structured, inclusive, continuous and sustainable regional dialogue;
Specific attention will be given to equal representation of women, to balanced representation of nationalities, types of organisations/themes covered, presence of young men and women and to the mainstreaming of gender and youth issues in topics of debate and discussion.
While the hub should focus on supporting space and opportunities for dialogue primarily between the South Mediterranean region and the EU, synergies may arise with regard to dialogue processes with other regional and international institutions.
The establishment of a Steering Committee is to be foreseen, to give strategic guidance to the establishment of the dialogue hub and its activities. It should comprise key civil society stakeholders from the Neighbourhood South region, which fulfil the criteria of independence (in relation to international institutions or national authorities), inclusiveness (regarding the diversity of actors in the region), transparency and freedom of expression.
This Steering Committee will constitute an important interlocutor for the EU for the organisation of the Civil Society Forum South.
Applicant organisations are highly encouraged to ensure maximum impact and sustainability by establishing strategic dialogue mechanisms and channels, networks and partnerships, and by strengthening their own and their partners' capacities in order to achieve their immediate needs as well as longer-term, strategic objectives.
Financial support to third parties19
Applicants may propose financial support to third parties in order to help achieving the objectives of the action.
For instance, 20% of the grant allocated under this call could be re-distributed as sub-grants for actions or activities.
The maximum amount of financial support per third party is EUR 60 000.
Under this call, financial support to third parties may not be the main purpose of the action.
In compliance with the present guidelines and notably of any conditions or restrictions in this section, the lead applicant should define mandatorily in section 1.1 of the grant application form:
(i) the objectives and results to be obtained with the financial support
(ii) the different types of activities eligible for financial support, on the basis of a fixed list
(iii) the types of persons or categories of persons which may receive financial support
(iv) the criteria for selecting these entities and giving the financial support
(v) the criteria for determining the exact amount of financial support for each third entity, and
(vi) the maximum amount which may be given.
In all events, the mandatory conditions set above for giving financial support (points (i) to (vi)) have to be strictly defined in the grant contract as to avoid any exercise of discretion.
The applicants must take all necessary steps to publicise the fact that the European Union has financed or co-financed the action. As far as possible, actions that are wholly or partially funded by the European Union must incorporate information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences of the reasons for the action and the EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support. Applicants must comply with the objectives and priorities and guarantee the visibility of the EU financing (see the Communication and Visibility Manual for EU external actions specified and published by the European Commission at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/funding/communication- and-visibility-manual-eu-external-actions_en).
Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities
The lead applicant may not submit more than one application under this call for proposals.
The lead applicant may not be awarded more than one grant under this call for proposals.
The lead applicant may be a co-applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time for maximum two application(s).
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be the co-applicant or affiliated entity in more than two application(s) under this call for proposals.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be awarded more than one grant under this call for proposals.
Only ‘eligible costs’ can be covered by a grant. The categories of costs that are eligible and non- eligible are indicated below. The budget is both a cost estimate and an overall ceiling for ‘eligible costs’.
The reimbursement of eligible costs may be based on any or a combination of the following forms:
- actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies)
- one or more simplified cost options.
Simplified cost options may take the form of:
- unit costs: covering all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by reference to an amount per unit.
- lump sums: covering in global terms all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance.
The amounts or rates have to be based on estimates using objective data such as statistical data or any other objective means or with reference to certified or auditable historical data of the applicants or the affiliated entity(ies). The methods used to determine the amounts or rates of unit costs, lump sums or flatrates must comply with the criteria established in Annex K, and especially ensure that the costs correspond fairly to the actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies), are in line with their accounting practices, no profit is made and the costs are not already covered by other sources of funding (no double funding). Refer to Annex K for directions and a checklist of controls to assess the minimum necessary conditions that provide reasonable assurance for the acceptance of the proposed amounts.
Applicants proposing this form of reimbursement, must clearly indicate in worksheet no.1 of Annex B, each heading/item of eligible costs concerned by this type of financing, i.e. add the reference in capital letters to "UNIT COST" (per month/flight etc), "LUMPSUM" or "FLAT RATE" in the Unit column. (see example in Annex K)
Additionally in Annex B, in the second column of worksheet no.2, "Justification of the estimated costs" per each of the corresponding budget item or heading applicants must:
- describe the information and methods used to establish the amounts of unit costs, lump sums and/or flat-rates, to which costs they refer, etc.
- clearly explain the formulas for calculation of the final eligible amount
At contracting phase, the Contracting Authority decides whether to accept the proposed amounts or rates on the basis of the provisional budget submitted by the applicants, by analysing factual data of grants carried out by the applicants or of similar actions and by performing checks established by Annex K.
The total amount of financing on the basis of simplified cost options that can be authorised by the Contracting Authority for any of the applicants individually (including simplified cost options proposed by their own affiliated entities) cannot exceed EUR 60 000 (the indirect costs are not taken into account).
Recommendations to award a grant are always subject to the condition that the checks preceding the signing of the grant contract do not reveal problems requiring changes to the budget (such as arithmetical errors, inaccuracies, unrealistic costs and ineligible costs). The checks may give rise to requests for clarification and may lead the Contracting Authority to impose modifications or reductions to address such mistakes or inaccuracies. It is not possible to increase the grant or the percentage of EU co-financing as a result of these corrections.
It is therefore in the applicants' interest to provide a realistic and cost-effective budget
The simplified cost option may also take the form of an apportionment of Field Office's costs.
Field Office means a local infrastructure set up in one of the countries where the action is implemented or a nearby country. (Where the action is implemented in several third countries there can be more than one Field Office). That may consist of costs for local office as well as human resources.
A Field Office may be exclusively dedicated to the action financed (or co-financed) by the EU or may be used for other projects implemented in the partner country. When the Field Office is used for other projects, only the portion of capitalised and operating costs which corresponds to the duration of the action and the rate of actual use of the field office for the purpose of the action may be declared as eligible direct costs.
The portion of costs attributable to the action can be declared as actual costs or determined by the beneficiary(ies) on the basis of a simplified allocation method (apportionment).
The method of allocation has to be:
1. Compliant with the beneficiary's usual accounting and management practices and applied in a consistent manner regardless of the source of funding and
2. Based on an objective, fair and reliable allocation keys. (Please refer to Annex K to have examples of acceptable allocation keys).
A description prepared by the entity of the allocation method used to determine Field Office's costs in accordance with the entity's usual cost accounting and management practices and explaining how the method satisfy condition 1 and 2 indicated above, has to be presented in a separate sheet and annexed to the Budget.
The method will be assessed and accepted by the evaluation committee and the Contracting Authority at contracting phase. The applicant is invited to submit (where relevant) the list of contracts to which the methodology proposed had been already applied and for which proper application was confirmed by an expenditure verification.
At the time of carrying out the expenditure verifications, the auditors will check if the costs reported are compliant with the method described by the beneficiary(ies) and accepted by the Contracting Authority.
Adequate record and documentation must be kept by the beneficiary(ies) to prove the compliance of the simplified allocation method used with the conditions set out above. Upon request of the beneficiary(ies), this compliance can be assessed and approved ex-ante by an independent external auditor. In such a case, the simplified allocation method will be automatically accepted by the evaluation committee and it will not be challenged ex post.
When costs are declared on the basis of such allocation method the amount charged to the action is to be indicated in the column "TOTAL COSTS" and the mention "APPORTIONMENT" is to be indicated in the column "units" (under budget heading 1 (Human resources) and 4 (Local Office) of the Budget).
It has to be noted that the EUR 60.000 limit, otherwise applicable to costs declared on the basis of simplified cost options, is not relevant for costs declared following apportionment of Field Offices.
Eligible direct costs
To be eligible under this call for proposals, costs must comply with the provisions of Article 14 of the General Conditions to the standard grant contract (see Annex G of the guidelines).
The budget may include a contingency reserve not exceeding 5 % of the estimated direct eligible
costs. It can only be used with the prior written authorisation of the Contracting Authority.
Eligible indirect costs
The indirect costs incurred in carrying out the action may be eligible for flat-rate funding, but the total must not exceed 7 % of the estimated total eligible direct costs. Indirect costs are eligible provided that they do not include costs assigned to another budget heading in the standard grant contract. The lead applicant may be asked to justify the percentage requested before the grant contract is signed. However, once the flat rate has been fixed in the Special Conditions of the grant contract, no supporting documents need to be provided.
If any of the applicants or affiliated entity(ies) is in receipt of an operating grant financed by the EU, it may not claim indirect costs on its incurred costs within the proposed budget for the action.
Contributions in kind
Contributions in kind mean the provision of goods or services to a beneficiaries or affiliated entities free of charge by a third party. As contributions in kind do not involve any expenditure for beneficiaries or affiliated entities, they are not eligible costs.
Contributions in kind may not be treated as co-financing
However, if the description of the action as proposed includes contributions in kind, the contributions have to be made.
The following costs are not eligible:
2.2 HOW TO APPLY AND THE PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW
To apply for this call for proposals the lead applicants need to:
I. Provide information about the organisations involved in the action. Please note that the
registration of this data in PADOR is obligatory20 for this call for proposals:
Concept note step: Registration is obligatory for lead applicants applying for EU contributions
of more than EUR 60 000.
Full application step: Registration is obligatory for co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies). Lead applicants must make sure that their PADOR profile is up to date.
II. Provide information about the action in the documents listed under sections 2.2.2 (concept note)
2.2.5 (full application). Please note that online submission via PROSPECT is obligatory for this call,
PADOR is an on-line database in which organisations register and update information concerning their entity. Organisations registered in PADOR get a unique ID (EuropeAid ID) which they must mention in their application. PADOR is accessible via the website: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/pador en
It is strongly recommended to register in PADOR well in advance and not to wait until the last minute before the deadline to submit your application in PROSPECT.
If it is impossible to register online in PADOR for technical reasons, the applicants and/or affiliated entity(ies) must complete the ‘PADOR off-line form 21 attached to these guidelines. This form must be sent together with the application, by the submission deadline (see sections 2.2.2 and 2.2.5).
Before starting using PADOR and PROSPECT, please read the user guides available on the website. All technical questions related the use of these systems should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid- ITemail@example.com via the online support form in PROSPECT.
2.2.1 Concept note content
Applications must be submitted in accordance with the concept note instructions in the grant application form22 annexed to these guidelines (Annex A.1). Applicants must apply in English or French.
Please note that:
1. In the concept note lead applicants must provide only an estimate of the requested EU contribution, as well as an indicative percentage of this contribution in relation to the total eligible costs of the action. A detailed budget is to be submitted only by lead applicants invited to submit a full application in the second phase
2. The elements outlined in the concept note may not be modified in the full application form. The EU contribution may not vary from the initial estimate by more than 20 %. Lead applicants are free to adapt the requested EU contribution as a percentage of the total eligible costs within the minimum and maximum amounts and percentages provided in section 1.3. The lead applicant may replace a co-applicant or an affiliated entity only in duly justified cases (e.g. bankruptcy of initial co-applicant or affiliated entity). In this case the new co- applicant/affiliated entity must be of a similar nature as the initial one. The lead applicant may adjust the duration of the action if unforeseen circumstances outside the scope of the applicants have taken place following the submission of the concept note and require such adaptation (risk of action not being carried out). In such cases the duration must remain within the limits imposed by the guidelines for applicants. An explanation/justification of the relevant replacement/adjustment shall be included in section 1.1 of the grant application form.
3. Own contributions by the applicants can be replaced by other donors' contributions at any time. Only the concept note form will be evaluated. It is therefore of utmost importance that
this document contains all relevant information concerning the action. No additional annexes should be sent.
Any error or major discrepancy related to the concept note instructions may lead to the rejection of the concept note.
Clarifications will only be requested when information provided is not sufficient to conduct an objective assessment.
2.2.2 Where and how to send concept notes
The concept note together with the declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.1 section 2) must be submitted online via PROSPECT https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prospect following the instructions given in the PROSPECT user manual.
Upon submission of a concept note online, the lead applicant will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt in its PROSPECT profile.
If it is impossible for lead applicants to submit their concept note online via PROSPECT for technical reasons, they must send their proposal in a sealed envelope and attach the concept note together with the declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.1 section 2). In particular, the lead applicant must send, in a sealed envelope as described below the following items:
a. One original of the concept note. The signed declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.1 section 2) must be printed and stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope
b. 3 additional copies in A4 size, each bound.
c. An electronic version (CD-Rom or USB) of the items under point (a). The electronic file must contain exactly the same application as the paper version enclosed.
The envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with the lot number and title, the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’.
To reduce expense and waste, we strongly recommend that you do not use plastic folders or dividers. Please also use double-sided printing if possible.
Concept notes must be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail, private courier service or by hand-delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) to the address below. Where lead applicants send several concept notes (if allowed to do so by the guidelines of the call), each one must be sent separately:
European Commission DG NEAR - Unit R4 Office J-54 03/231 Avenue du Bourget, 1 B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
Address for hand delivery or by private courier service (within working hours)
For the Attention of the Head of Unit European Commission
DG NEAR - Unit R4
Office J-54 03/231
Avenue du Bourget, 1 B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
Please note that incomplete concept notes may be rejected. Lead applicants are advised to verify that their concept note is complete by using the checklist for concept note (Annex A.1, Instructions).
2.2.3 Deadline for submission of concept notes
The deadline for the submission of concept notes is 7 June 2017 at 12:00 (Brussels date and time). In order to convert this deadline to local time you can use any online time converter tool that takes into account time zones and winter/summer time changes (example available here)23.
The lead applicant is strongly advised not to wait until the last day to submit its concept note, since heavy Internet traffic or a fault with the Internet connection (including electricity failure, etc.) could lead to difficulties in submission. The Contacting Authority cannot be held responsible for any delay due to such afore-mentioned difficulties.
In the exceptional case of submission by post or by hand delivery (see section 2.2.2), the date of submission is evidenced by the date of dispatch, the postmark or the date of the deposit slip. In the case of hand-deliveries, the deadline for receipt is at 12:00 Brussels time as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt.
Any concept note submitted after the deadline will be rejected.
However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may also reject any concept note sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the concept note evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2).
2.2.4 Further information about concept notes
Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of concept notes to the address(es) below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:
E-mail address: NEAR-ENI-SOUTH-TENDERS@ec.europa.eu
The Contracting Authority has no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this
Replies will be given no later than 11 days before the deadline for submission of concept notes.
To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the contracting authority cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entity(ies), an action or specific activities.
No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the call procedure will be published on the EuropeAid website https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome as appropriate. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published, as well as relevant information.
All technical questions related to registration in PADOR or the online submission via PROSPECT should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-ITfirstname.lastname@example.org via the online support form in PROSPECT: Please note that the working languages of the IT support are: English
French and Spanish. Therefore users are invited to send their questions in English, French or Spanish should they wish to benefit from an optimum response time. 24
2.2.5 Full applications
Lead applicants invited to submit a full application following pre-selection of their concept note must do so using the full application form annexed to these guidelines (Annex A.2).
Applications must be submitted in accordance with the full application instructions at the end of Annex A.2. Lead applicants must submit their full applications in the same language as their concept notes.
Please note that:
The elements outlined in the concept note cannot be modified by the lead applicant in the full application form. The EU contribution may not vary from the initial estimate by more than 20 %, although lead applicants are free to adapt the percentage of co-financing required within the minimum and maximum amount and percentages of co-financing, as laid down in these guidelines under section 1.3. The lead applicant may replace a co-applicant or an affiliated entity only in duly justified cases (e.g. bankruptcy of initial co-applicant or affiliated entity). In this case the new co applicant/affiliated entity must be of a similar nature as the initial one. The lead applicant may adjust the duration of the action if unforeseen circumstances outside the scope of the applicants have taken place following the submission of the concept note and require such adaptation (risk of action not being carried out). An explanation/justification of the relevant replacement/adjustment shall be included in section 2.1.1 of the grant application form
A copy of the lead applicant’s accounts of the latest financial year (the profit and loss account and the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the accounts have been closed) must be uploaded in PADOR by the full application deadline. A copy of the latest account is neither required from (if any) the co-applicant(s) nor from (if any) affiliated entity(ies)).
Only the full application form and the published annexes which have to be filled in (budget, logical framework) will be transmitted to the evaluators (and assessors, if used). It is therefore of utmost importance that these documents contain ALL the relevant information concerning the action. No additional annexes should be sent.
Any error or any major inconsistency related to the full application instructions (e.g. if the amounts in the budget worksheets are inconsistent) may lead to the rejection of the application.
Clarifications will only be requested when information provided is unclear and thus prevents the Contracting Authority from conducting an objective assessment.
2.2.6 Where and how to send full applications
Full application forms together with the budget, the logical framework and the declaration by the lead applicant must be submitted online via PROSPECT https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/ europeaid/prospect following the instructions given in the users’ manual.
Upon submission of the full application online, the lead applicants will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt in their PROSPECT profile.
(a) If the lead applicant submitted the concept note by post / hand delivery (see section 2.2.3) it must send the full application by the same means (by post or hand delivery).
(b) If the lead applicant submitted the concept note online via PROSPECT but it is technically impossible for the organisation to submit the full application online:
In the above two cases the lead applicant must send by post the application, i.e the full application form, the budget, the logical framework and the declaration by the lead applicant. The lead applicant must send, in a sealed envelope as described below, the following items:
a) One original signed copy of the full application form, the budget and the logical framework. The declaration by the lead applicant (Annex A.2, section 5) must be printed and stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope.
b) 3 additional copies in A4 size, each bound.
c) An electronic version (CD-Rom or USB stick) of the items under point (a). The electronic
file must contain exactly the same application as the paper version enclosed.
To reduce expense and waste, we strongly recommend that you use only paper for your file (no plastic folders or dividers). Please also use double-sided printing if possible.
Applications must be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail, private courier service or by hand-delivery (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) to the address below. Where lead applicants send several applications (if allowed to do so by the guidelines of the call), each one must be sent separately:
European Commission DG NEAR - Unit R4 Office J-54 03/231 Avenue du Bourget, 1 B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
Address for hand delivery or by private courier service (within working hours)
For the Attention of the Head of Unit European Commission
DG NEAR - Unit R4
Office J-54 03/231
Avenue du Bourget, 1 B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
The envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with the number and title of the lot, the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’
Applications sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected. Hand-written applications will not be accepted.
Please note that incomplete applications may be rejected. Lead applicants are advised to verify that their application is complete using the checklist (Annex A.2, Instructions).
2.2.7 Deadline for submission of full applications
The deadline for the submission of full applications will be indicated in the letter sent to the lead applicants whose application has been pre-selected. This letter will appear online automatically in the PROSPECT profile of the lead applicant. Lead applicants who, in exceptional cases (see section
2.2.6) had to submit their application by post or hand-delivery, will receive the letter by email or by post if no e-mail address was provided.
Lead applicants are strongly advised not to wait until the last day to submit their full applications, since heavy Internet traffic or a fault with the Internet connection (including electricity failure, etc.) could lead to difficulties in submission. The Contacting Authority cannot be held responsible for any delay due to such afore-mentioned difficulties.
In the case of submission by post, (see section 2.2.6), the date of submission is evidenced by the date of dispatch, the postmark or the date of the deposit slip. In the case of hand-deliveries, the deadline for receipt is at 12:00 Brussels time as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt.
Any application submitted after the deadline will be rejected.
However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may also reject any full application sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the full application evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2).
2.2.8 Further information about full applications
Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of full applications to the addresses listed below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:
E-mail address: NEAR-ENI-SOUTH-TENDERS@ec.europa.eu
The Contracting Authority has no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this date.
Replies will be given no later than 11 days before the deadline for the submission of applications.
To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the Contracting Authority cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entity(ies), or an action.
No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the evaluation procedure, will be published on the EuropeAid website:
https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome,as appropriate. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.
All technical questions related to registration in PADOR or the online submission via PROSPECT should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-ITemail@example.com via the online support form in PROSPECT. Please note that the working languages of the IT support are: English French and Spanish. Therefore users are invited to send their questions in English, French or Spanish should they wish to benefit from an optimum response time.
2.3 EVALUATION AND SELECTION OF APPLICATIONS
Applications will be examined and evaluated by the Contracting Authority with the possible assistance of external assessors. All applications will be assessed according to the following steps and criteria.
If the examination of the application reveals that the proposed action does not meet the eligibility criteria stated in section 2.1, the application will be rejected on this sole basis.
STEP 1: OPENING & ADMINISTRATIVE CHECKS AND CONCEPT NOTE EVALUATION
During the opening26 and administrative check (including the eligibility check of the action) the following will be assessed:
If the deadline has been met. Otherwise, the application will be automatically rejected.
The concept notes that pass this check will be evaluated on the relevance and design of the proposed action.
The concept notes will receive an overall score out of 50 in line with the evaluation grid below. The evaluation will also check the compliance with the instructions on how to complete the concept note (Annex A.1).
The evaluation criteria are divided into headings and subheadings. Each subheading will be given a score between 1 and 5 as follows: 1 = very poor; 2 = poor; 3 = adequate; 4 = good; 5 = very good.
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