ACP-EU programme towards a viable cultural industry (ACP-EU Culture Programme). ‘Support for ACP audiovisual co-production’
The Partnership Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, of the one part, and the European Union (EU), of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 and revised in 2005 (the Cotonou Agreement), identifies culture as an integral part of the cooperation strategy in the partnership between the ACP countries and the EU. The ‘2014-2020 Strategy Paper and Indicative Programme’ for intraACP cooperation, 11th EDF, provides for the implementation of a programme designed to increase the revenue of creative industries in ACP countries by fostering recognition of their work, encouraging it to be valued and improving its accessibility both locally and internationally.
In 2005, the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions established for the first time a cultural pillar in global governance.
The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development adopts 17 goals to transform our world. Culture is explicitly mentioned in the objectives relating to education, reducing inequalities and sustainable growth.
Centred on Agenda 2030, the new European Consensus on Development (2017) specifies in Article 35 that ‘Culture is both an enabler and an important component of development and may facilitate social inclusion, freedom of expression, identity building, civil empowerment and conflict prevention while strengthening economic growth’.
Moreover, according to the Final Report of the Joint Assessment of Intra-ACP Programmes in Support of Culture (2016), the intra-ACP programmes were particularly relevant with regard to EU-ACP cooperation strategies and the development of the ACP countries’ cultural sectors.
At the 4th meeting of Ministers held in Brussels in November 2017, the ACP States adopted a new Declaration on Culture. The Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries recognised the key role of culture as a driver for economic growth and sustainable human development and reaffirmed their commitment to making culture a priority sector in their countries by implementing concrete actions and programmes. Among the conclusions of the meeting of Ministers, the ACP States stressed the need to support audiovisual production, while continuing to promote and market such works by using, inter alia, digital technologies and legal measures.
Objectives of the programme and priority issues
The general objective of this call for proposals is to promote the economic and social development of the ACP countries through the emergence of the audiovisual sector, which is a driver of democratisation and human development.
The specific objectives of this call for proposals are:
Support will provide funding for audiovisual co-productions in addition to co-financing from existing European funds or funds from other partner countries, designed to support the audiovisual sector.
Financial support to third parties will be awarded through existing mechanisms designed to support the audiovisual sector.
Financial allocation provided by the Contracting Authority
The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 6 000 000. The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds. In the same manner, it will be possible to increase the amount if other funds should be available.
Any grant requested under this call for proposals shall fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must be less than or equal to 80% of the total eligible costs of the action (see also point 2.1.5).
The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of the action and the amount requested from the Contracting Authority) shall be financed from sources other than the European Union Budget or the European Development Fund.
Rules for this call for proposals
These guidelines set out the rules for the submission, selection and implementation of actions financed under this call for proposals, in accordance with the Practical Guide (PRAG) on contract procedures applicable to EU external action:http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en). http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en).
2.1. Eligibility criteria
There are 3 sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:
2.1.1. Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicant(s)
The specific experience of the lead applicant will be evaluated under section 1 of the full application evaluation grid.
For UK applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be fulfilled for the entire duration of the grant. Unless sector-specific eligibility rules provide otherwise, if the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that UK applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or will be required to leave the project on the basis of Article 12.2. of the grant contract. and
Lead applicants, co-applicants and legal persons with powers of representation, decision-making or control over the lead applicant, are informed that, should they be in one of the situations of early detection or exclusion according to Section 188.8.131.52 of the PRAG, their personal details (company name or full name if natural person; address, legal form and full names of the persons with powers of representation, decision-making or control if a legal person) may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System (EDES), and communicated to the persons concerned in relation to the award or the execution of a grant contract.
In Section 8 of Part B of the grant application form (‘declaration by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant shall declare that neither itself nor the co-applicant(s) are in any of these situations.
The lead applicant may act individually or with one or more co-applicants.
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. The Coordinator represents any other beneficiaries and acts on their behalf. The Coordinator coordinates the development and implementation of the action.
Co-applicants are involved 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 need to satisfy the eligibility criteria that are applicable to the lead applicant, in exeption of the specific experience below :
The co-applicants shall sign the mandate in Section 4 of Part B of the grant application form.
If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicant(s) (if any) will become beneficiary(ies) in the action (together with the coordinator)
2.1.2. Affiliated entities
The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may not act with affiliated entity (ies)
2.1.3. Associates and contractors
The following entities are not applicants and need not sign the ‘mandate for coapplicant(s)’ 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 need not meet the eligibility criteria listed in Section 2.1.1. Associates shall be mentioned in Section 6 of Part B –‘Associates participating in the action’ – of the grant application form.
The beneficiaries may award contracts. Associates cannot also be 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 can be made
An action is composed of a set of activities.
The initial planned duration of an action may not exceed 48 months.
Sectors or themes
The activities shall cover the co-production of audiovisual works and support for professionals, authors and producers in ACP countries. Audiovisual works include cinema, broadcasting, video games, cross-media and new media.
Actions shall be implemented in one or more of the ACP countries listed in Annex L, Part II. A limited number of activities may be implemented in the EU Member States as long as this is clearly justified and the activity benefits ACP countries. The justifications will be examined during the evaluation process.
The geographical balance can be taken into consideration of the Evaluation Committee at each step of the technical evaluation
Types of action
The actions shall meet the specific objectives of the call as specified under point 1.2.
The applicants whose main activity is support for co-productions in the audiovisual and cinema sectors are the direct beneficiaries of this call for proposals.
These entities will be responsible for the subsidiary award of funding supports to production companies in ACP an EU countries (referred to as "third parties" in the text). At least 80 % of the grant from the EU-ACP programme shall be used for financial support to third parties; the remaining 20 % shall be awarded for accompanying, networking activities. The budget shall contain a specific sheet to be completed by the applicant for the distribution of these percentages. For details of the financial support to third parties, see Annex M.
The applicants will receive additional points to point 1.4. "relevance of action" of the concept note evaluation criteria grid, if they include monitoring and accompanying mechanisms for producers and authors (within the 20 % provided for under point 2.1.3. – Types of eligible action). These activities could be likened to coaching and include activities such as:
In preparing the plan of activities and related budget, applicants must include the costs of external expenditure verification. Requests for payment submitted by the beneficiary (lead applicant) must be accompanied by an expenditure verification report
The following types of action are ineligible:
Types of activities: Financial support to third parties
Applicants shall propose financial support to third parties in order to help achieve the objectives of the action.
In case of the present call, support to third parties shall be the main objective of the action and be carried out at least once a year
In accordance with these guidelines, in particular the conditions or restrictions established in Annex M, the lead applicant should define in Section 2.1.1 of the grant application form:
(i) the overall objective, the specific goals and the outputs (i.e. the results) to be achieved 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 eligible for financial support;
(iv) the criteria for selecting these entities and awarding them 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 awarded;
(vii) with each payment request supported by the establishment of a control system to verify the eligibility of costs and an auditor tasked with verifying expenditure (audit report).
In any event, the mandatory conditions established above for the award of financial support shall be strictly defined in the grant contract so as to avoid any exercise of discretion.
Please note that, pursuant to Article 1.6 of the ‘General conditions’ – Annex II to the Standard Grant Contract (Annex G to the present Guidelines), the Coordinator has full financial responsibility for ensuring that the Action is implemented in accordance with this Contract.
In other words, if ineligible costs are identified at any point during the project implementation period, the Contracting Authority will only turn to the Coordinator to reclaim any sum unduly paid, including the costs incurred in awarding financial support to third parties.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that the Coordinator take all necessary measures to guarantee the eligibility of funds allocated as financial support by itself or its co-applicants.
Please note that, according to point 7 of Annex VII “Terms of Reference for expenditure verification” of the standard grant contract: ‘Financial support to third parties is provided for in the terms of the contract and may not exceed the contractual limits.
Expenditure incurred by third parties shall meet the relevant eligibility requirements. In particular, they shall have been incurred by the third party during the contractual eligibility period and shall be necessary for performance of the contract. They shall be identifiable and verifiable
Applicants must take all necessary measures to communicate that the European Union has financed or co-financed the action and that the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States is carrying out the program. The words "with the financial contribution of the European Union and the support of the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States" as well as the logos of the European Union and the ACP Group of States must appear in all communication media.
Applicants shall take all necessary steps to publicise the fact that the European Union has financed or cofinanced the action. As far as possible, actions that are wholly or partially funded by the European Union shall include information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences concerning the reasons for the action and EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support.
Applicants shall comply with the objectives and priorities and shall guarantee the visibility of EU financing (cf. Communication and Visibility Manual for EU-financed external actions, produced and published by the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu-external-actions_en).
Number of applications and grants per applicant
Should it be the case, the Contracting Authority will only consider the first proposal submitted (based on the date and time of submission) and any other proposal will be rejected.
It is the responsibility of each lead applicant to verify that its co-applicants are not involved as lead applicant or co-applicants in other proposals.
2.1.5. Eligibility of costs: costs that can be included
Only "eligible costs" may 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 take the following form:
Recommendations to award a grant remain subject to the condition that the checks preceding the signing of the grant contract do not reveal problems requiring changes to the budget (e.g. arithmetical errors, inaccuracies, unrealistic costs or ineligible costs). The checks may give rise to requests for clarification and may lead the Contracting Authority to require changes or reductions in order to correct such mistakes or inaccuracies. It is not possible to increase the grant or the percentage of EU co-financing as a result of such corrections.
It is therefore in applicants' interest to provide a realistic and cost-effective budget.
Eligible direct costs
To be eligible under this call for proposals, costs shall comply with the provisions of Article 14 of the general conditions to the standard grant contract (see Annex G of the guidelines). The allocation of 80 % of financial support to third parties, and 20 % for support, networking activities shall be clearly presented in the calculation sheet specific to the budget. (Annex B).
Salary costs of the personnel of national administrations may be eligible to the extent that they relate to the cost of activities which the relevant public authority would not carry out if the action were not undertaken
The budget may include a contingency reserve not exceeding 5 % of estimated eligible direct costs. It may only be used with the prior written consent of the Contracting Authority.
Eligible indirect costs:
The indirect costs incurred when implementing the action may be eligible for flat-rate funding of no more than 7 % of 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 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
The contribution in kind cannot be considered as a confinancing. However, if the description of the action as proposed includes contribution in kind, the contributions have to be made.
The following costs are ineligible:
Ethics clauses and Code of Conduct
a) Absence of conflict of interest
The applicant shall not be affected by any conflict of interest and shall have no equivalent relation with other applicants or parties involved in the project. Any attempt by an applicant to obtain confidential information, enter into unlawful agreements with competitors or influence the evaluation committee or the Contracting Authority during the process of examining, clarifying, evaluating and comparing applications will lead to the rejection of its application and may result in administrative penalties under the Financial Regulation in force.
b) Respect for human rights as well as environmental legislation and core labour standards
The applicant and its staff shall uphold human rights. In particular, in accordance with applicable law, applicants who have been awarded contracts shall comply with environmental legislation including multilateral environmental agreements, and with core labour standards as applicable and as defined in the relevant International Labour Organisation conventions (such as the conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining, on elimination of forced and compulsory labour and on abolition of child labour).
Zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and sexual abuse:
The European Commission applies a policy of 'zero tolerance' in relation to all wrongful conduct which has an impact on the professional credibility of the applicant.
Physical abuse or punishment, or threats of physical abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, harassment and verbal abuse, as well as other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited.
c) Anti-bribery and anti-corruption
The applicant shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations and codes relating to anti-bribery and anti-corruption. The European Commission reserves the right to suspend or cancel project financing if corrupt practices of any kind are discovered at any stage of the award process or during the execution of a contract or if the Contracting Authority fails to take all appropriate measures to remedy the situation. For the purposes of this provision, ‘corrupt practices’ denotes any offer of a bribe, gift, gratuity or commission to any person as an inducement or reward for performing or refraining from any act relating to the award of a contract or execution of a contract already concluded with the Contracting Authority.
d) Unusual commercial expenses
Applications will be rejected or contracts terminated if it emerges that the award or execution of a contract has given rise to unusual commercial expenses. Such unusual commercial expenses are commissions not mentioned in the main contract or not stemming from a properly concluded contract referring to the main contract, commissions not paid in return for any actual and legitimate service, commissions remitted to a tax haven, commissions paid to a payee who is not clearly identified or commissions paid to a company which has every appearance of being a shell company.
Grant beneficiaries found to have paid unusual commercial expenses on projects funded by the European Union are liable, depending on the seriousness of the facts observed, to have their contracts terminated or to be permanently excluded from receiving EU/EDF funds.
e) Breaches of obligations, irregularities or fraud
The Contracting Authority reserves the right to suspend or cancel the procedure, where the award procedure proves to have been subject to breaches of obligations, irregularities or fraud. If breaches of obligations, irregularities or fraud are discovered after the award of the contract, the Contracting Authority may refrain from concluding the contract.
How to apply and the procedures to follow
Information in PADOR will not be drawn upon in the present call for proposals.
2.2.1. Application forms
Applications shall be submitted in accordance with the instructions in the concept note and the full application in the grant application form annexed to these guidelines (Annex A).
Applicants shall apply in English or in French. Applicants shall apply in the language most commonly used by the target population in the country in which the action takes place.
Any error or major discrepancy related to the points listed in the instructions in the concept note or any major inconsistency in the application (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.
Hand-written applications will not be accepted.
Please note that only the grant application form and the published annexes which need to be filled in (budget and logical framework) will be evaluated. It is therefore of utmost importance that these documents contain ALL the relevant information concerning the action. No additional annexes shall be sent.
The lead applicant shall also submit with its application completed organisation data forms (Annex F) for itself, each (if any) co-applicants.
No additional annexes shall be sent.
2.2.2. Where and how to apply ?
Applications shall be submitted in 1 original and 2 copies in A4 size, each bound separately. The full application form (Part A: concept note; Part B: completed application form), the budget and the logical framework shall also be supplied in electronic format (CD-ROM or USB key) in a separate and single file (i.e. the full application shall not be split into several different files). The electronic file shall contain exactly the same application as the paper version enclosed.
The checklist (Section 7 of Part B of the grant application form) and the declaration by the lead applicant (Section 8 of Part B of the grant application form) shall be stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope.
Where lead applicants send several different applications (if allowed to do so by the guidelines of the call), each one shall be sent separately.
The envelope shall bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’.
Applications shall be sent in a sealed envelope by registered mail or private courier service or delivered by hand (a signed and dated certificate of receipt will be given to the deliverer) to the address below.
Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
Mr Léonard Emile OGNIMBA
Deputy Secretary General, Department for Policy Affairs and Human Development
Avenue Georges Henri 451
Address for delivery by hand
Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
Mr Léonard Emile OGNIMBA
Deputy Secretary General, Department for Policy Affairs and Human Development
Avenue Georges Henri 451
Applications sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected.
Lead applicants shall verify that their application is complete using the checklist (Section 7 of Part B of the grant application form). Incomplete applications may be rejected.
2.2.3. Deadline for applications
Applicants' attention is drawn to the fact that there are 2 different systems for sending applications/full proposals: one is by post or private courier service, the other is by hand delivery.
In the first case, the application/full proposal shall be sent before the date for submission, as evidenced by the postmark or deposit slip; in the second case, the acknowledgment of receipt given at the time of delivery of the application/full proposal will serve as proof.
The deadline for the submission of applications is on the 3rd June 2019 at 4pm, as evidenced by the date of dispatch, the postmark or the date of the deposit slip. In the case of deliveries by hand, the deadline for receipt is the 3rd June 2019 at 4pm, as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt. Any application submitted after the deadline will be rejected.
The Contracting Authority may, for reasons of administrative efficiency, reject any application submitted in time to the postal service but received, for any reason beyond the Contracting Authority's control, after the effective date of approval of the first evaluation (i.e. concept note), if accepting applications that were submitted in time but arrived late might unduly delay the award procedure or jeopardise decisions already taken and notified (see indicative timetable in Section 2.5.2).
2.2.4. Further information about applications
Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of applications to the address(es) shown below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:
E-mail address: email@example.com
The Contracting Authority has no obligation to provide clarifications in response to questions received after this date.
Replies will be communicated 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, an action or specific activities.
Questions that may be relevant to other applicants, together with their answers, will be published on the website of the DG for International Cooperation and Development: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome, as the need arises. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of questions and answers published.