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Consolidating Regional Thematic Networks of Civil Society Organisations - EuropeAid/154870/DH/ACT/Multi
Deadline: 17 Jul 2017   CALL EXPIRED

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 Capacity Building
 Social Innovation
 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Sustainable Development
 Citizenship
 Policy Evaluation and Governance

1 Consolidating Regional Thematic Networks of Civil Society Organisations

1.1 Background

The enlargement countries face a range of challenges, especially in fields such as democratic governance, the rule of law and fundamental rights (including freedom of expression & association), corruption, organised crime, the economy and social cohesion. Civil society actors and organisations can make a substantial contribution to addressing many of these through their lobbying, advocacy and oversight activities at national, regional and local level. A stronger role for civil society and media, as effective and accountable independent actors, will thus benefit the public institutions in the IPA beneficiaries by creating demand for enhanced transparency, accountability and effectiveness and promoting a greater focus on the needs of citizens in policy-making. Beyond this, civil society and the media can help ensure that accession negotiations between the candidate country institutions and the EU are not merely a technical discussion but a process that is supported by citizens who are informed of and understand the necessary institutional, political and economic changes.

Support to civil society and media is considered in the Multi-country Indicative Strategy Paper 2014-2020 as one of the priorities to improve democracy and rule of law through horizontal support:

"An enabling legal and financial environment should be promoted while also ensuring that the necessary structures and mechanisms are in place for civil society to cooperate effectively with public authorities, including social dialogue. At the same time, to fulfil their role and become credible, civil society organisations (CSOs) need to improve their autonomy, representativeness and accountability. To participate effectively in the political process, they have to strengthen their capacity for analysis, monitoring and advocacy while also becoming better at networking, partnership and coalition building. […]The enlargement countries must guarantee an open and pluralistic media landscape which allows for a culture of critical and independent journalism. […]Capacity building of Civil Society should be reinforced, with a particular focus on further empowerment of Civil Society Organisations, as well as on enhancing their role in the Enlargement Strategy. There is a need for over-arching regional scale".

To achieve the priorities formulated in the strategic documents, in the period 2016-2017, the Commission will continue its efforts to consolidate regional networks and associations of CSOs and to increase their accountability. By promoting long-term partnership with CSOs cross-border thematic platforms, the Commission intends to empower local civil society and to demonstrate that CSOs are reliable partners to inform local policies and to be engaged in dialogue with public authorities.

This Call for Proposals is launched in the framework of the Civil Society Facility and Media Programme 2016-2017 (CSF Programme 2016-2017), adopted by the European Commission in July 2016, with the overall objective to strengthen participatory democracies and the EU integration process in the Western Balkans and Turkey by empowering civil society to actively take part in decision making and by stimulating an enabling legal and financial environment for civil society and pluralistic media. The Call for Proposals is also designed in alignment with the Guidelines for EU support to civil society in enlargement countries, 2014-20 (hereinafter referred to as EU Guidelines) that translate the political objectives of the European Commission as indicated in the Enlargement package into a concrete "results' framework" containing the outcomes to be achieved in the next financing period as well as the indicators to monitor them. 

Furthermore, this Call for Poposals aims at awarding long-term grants to create and/or support regional thematic networks of Civil Society Organisations active in a number of sectors identified as relevant for the region. The final aim is to strengthen their capacities to advocate and effectively dialogue with Governments in order to influence policy and decision making processes and to produce lasting change in the society. 

1.2 Objectives of the programme and priority issues 

The global objective of this Call for Proposals is to stimulate an enabling legal and financial environment for civil society and pluralistic media, as well as to empower civil society and media organisations to be effective and accountable independent actors, and to improve their capacity to dialogue with Governments influencing policy and decision making processes and holding them accountable for their performance towards citizens and society at large.

The specific objective of this Call for Proposals is to enhance the impact of civil society by promoting CSOs involvement in public decision-making and reform processes and fostering the development of a structured civic dialogue, as well as by strengthening CSOs capacities for actively engaging in evidence-based advocacy, watchdog and policy monitoring initiatives, improving their internal transparency and accountability and developing strategies for financial sustainability, including diversifying their funding base. The Call also aims at fostering coalition-building and regular networking of CSOs at regional and EU level, facilitating the exchange of expertise, skills and connections among CSOs, and widening the impact of their social campaigning and advocacy. Moreover, the call will seek to improve outreach to and capacity-building for grassroots and other types of non-governmental organisations working on bringing about positive change at the local level.

In line with the Guidelines for EU support to civil society in enlargement countries, 2014-2020 several Priorities are set under this Call for Proposals as follows:

- Enhancing CSOs’ role in promoting the development of an enabling legal and policy environment for CSO activities. Such enabling environment could refer to issues such as volunteering and employment in CSOs, strengthening grass-root organisations, stimulating donations and tax incentives, as well as guaranteeing a higher level of transparency, accountability and non-discrimination in public institutions' procedures and practices to support civil society.

- Strengthening CSOs' capacities for networking and building partnerships with other CSOs as well as for co-operating with public authorities (to be possibly involved as associates in the proposals) in order to broaden the scope of their impact and increase the level of inclusion in public decision-making processes.

- Strengthening CSOs' advocacy and monitoring capacities, for example to use research and other forms of evidence to underpin their activities, to pilote new approaches to effectively and broadly communicate results to the public, and to monitor and evaluate the results and impact of their activities.

In addition this call will seek to strengthen CSO capacities to engage in innovative approaches related to sustainable development. Ensuring maximum outreach is another key objective, therefore allocating funds for Financial Support to third parties with the purpose of reaching/building capacities for grass-roots and other types of non-governmental local organisations and enabling them to participate in regional networks is expected across the call (up to 20% of the action total eligible costs).

 

1.3 Financial allocation provided by the contracting authority

The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 16.500.000 The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.

 

Indicative allocation of funds by lot:

 

1. Preventing and countering radicalisation leading to violent extremism (1M€)

2. Reconciliation and intercultural dialogue (2M€)

3. Media freedom (with a focus on media and information literacy, including social media) (1M€)

4. Good governance and anti-corruption (3M€)

5. Protection-sensitive migration management (1M€)

6. Climate actions and environmental protection (3M€)

7. Anti-discrimination (2M€)

8. Youth employment (2,5M€)

9. Financial sustainability and independence of CSOs (1M€)

 

Total Budget

16.5M€

 

If the allocation indicated for a specific lot cannot be used due to insufficient quality or number of proposals received, the Contracting Authority reserves the right to reallocate the remaining funds to (an)other lot(s).

The Applicants should clearly identify on the application form the lot under which they are submitting their proposal, even if the proposed activities cover themes that can also fall into the scope of other lots.  

Applicants are requested to indicate before the title of the action (in PROSPECT and in the Application Form) the number of the lot under which the proposal is submitted (ex. Title of the action: "Lot x – Xyz xyz xyz xyz xyz".

Size of grants

Any grant requested under this Call for Proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:

  • • minimum amount: EUR 600.000,00, except for Lot 1, where the minimum is EUR 500, 000.
  • • maximum amount: EUR 1.000.000,00

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: 50 % of the total eligible costs of the action.
    • • Maximum percentage: 90 % of the total eligible costs of the action (see also Section 2.1.5).  

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 Fund.

 

 

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) .

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:

  • • Actions for which a grant may be awarded (2.1.4);

(3) the costs:

  • • types of cost that may be taken into account in setting the amount of the grant (2.1.5).

 

2.1.1 Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicant(s))

Lead applicant

(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 civil society organisation (CSOs) or representative network of CSOs working on one or more thematic areas of relevance to this Call for Proposals (see Section 2.1.4 of these Guidelines) and

be established in an IPA Beneficiary under the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance 

be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with their co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary.

 (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 Annex A.2, section 5 (‘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.

The lead applicant must act with co-applicant(s) as specified hereafter.

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 coordinates the design and implementation of the action.

Co-applicant(s)

Mandatory co-applicants:

CSOs or CSOs Network from a minimum of 4 different IPA Beneficiaries. Applicants and Co-applicants must thus as a minimum represent CSOs or CSOs networks from at least five (5) different IPA Beneficiaries in the Western Balkans and Turkey. 

Optional co-applicants:

CSOs or CSOs networks established in an EU Member State if relevant.

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 eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant. In addition to the categories referred to in section 2.1.1, the following are however also eligible: CSOs or CSOs networks established in an EU Member State.

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 beneficiaries in the Action (together with the Coordinator) 

Organisations benefitting from Civil Society Facility Multi-country programmes (i.e. beneficiaries of operating grants (Commission Implementing Decision C(2012)5705, Call reference: EuropeAid/136034/C/ACT/Multi) and beneficiaries of long-term grants (Commission Implementing Decision C(2014)9571, Call reference: EuropeAid/150147/ DH/ACT/PRAREG) are not eligible as lead applicants under this Call for Proposals. They may participate as co-applicants.

2.1.2 Affiliated entities

Affiliated entity(ies)

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 applicant may hence be:

  • - Entities directly or indirectly controlled by an applicant (daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by an applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;
  • - Entities under the same direct or indirect control as the applicant (sister companies).
  • - Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant;

(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 an applicant,
  • - Entities that cooperate on a regular basis with an applicant on the basis of a memorandum of understanding or share some assets,
  • - Entities that have signed a consortium agreement under the grant contract (unless this 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 Annex A.2., section 5.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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":

• Associates

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 Annex A.2., section 6 — ‘Associates participating in the action’.

CSOs/CSOs Networks from countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Instrument Policy can be associates in the proposed actions. Moreover, participation of national and local public authorities and bodies as associates is strongly recommended.

• Contractors

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

Definition

An action is composed of a set of activities.

Duration

The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 36 months nor exceed 48 months. The duration of the actions could in no case be extended beyond 31/12/2021.

Sectors or themes

This Call for Proposals seeks to establish partnerships with CSOs and networks of CSOs working in one or more of the following thematic areas which for the purpose of this Call for Proposals have been identified as lots:

  • ¬ Lot1: Preventing and countering radicalisation leading to violent extremism
  • ¬ Lot 4: Good governance and anti-corruption:
  • ¬ Lot 3: Media freedom with a focus on Media and information literacy and Social media
  • ¬ Lot 2: Reconciliation and intercultural dialogue 

• Institution building for European integration and accession negotiations; youth participation in policy-making

• Fight against corruption

• Fight against organised crime and human trafficking

¬ Lot 5: Protection-sensitive migration management such as: 

• Service delivery (for instance social and legal services, accreditation for CSOs)

• Community resilience and social cohesion 

¬ Lot 6: Climate actions and environmental protection:

• Climate actions, energy efficiency and sustainable energies

• Environmental standard and nature protection

• Circular economy/green economy/green entrepreneurship

¬ Lot 7: Anti-discrimination, such as:

• Fighting discrimination against women (with a focus on access and participation to the labour market)

• Promoting LGBTI rights (including preventing hate speech)

¬ Lot 8: Youth employment: 

• Promoting innovative approaches youth employment and entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for youth in the rural areas

¬ Lot 9: Financial sustainability and independence of CSOs:

• Promoting a favourable and/or enabling financial environment for Civil Society (eg.: on tax incentives, philanthropy, social economy etc.) 

Location

Actions must take place in the Western Balkans and Turkey. A limited number of activities could take place in EU Member States.

Types of action

Types of action which may be financed under this call comply with the objectives and priorities described in point 1.2 of these Guidelines and relate to one or more of the thematic areas listed above in this same Section 2.1.4. 

The following types of actions and/or a combination of them may qualify for financing (non-exhaustive list):

  • • Establishment of working groups and other means of direct cooperation, advocacy and dialogue with the government structures to provide recommendations and credible advice, thus influencing policy making and producing concrete change
  • • Capacity building actions for civil society organisations on internal governance, financial and project management, funding diversification, advocacy and lobbying, research and analysis;
  • • Raising public and governments awareness on the importance of civil society organisations involvement in and contribution to policy-making and decision-making processes;
  • • Establishment of formal and/or informal fora, networking structures and platforms to promote knowledge and skills sharing among CSOs at national and regional level;
  • • Establishment and/or improvement of monitoring systems related to the creation of a legal and financial conducive environment for the approval and enforcement of the specific laws and regulations mentioned in the Priorities of this Call;
  • • Capacity building actions for civil society organisations on advocacy and lobbying, research and analysis, in particular on the thematic areas concerned by this Call;
  • • Establishment of formal and/or informal dialogue and consultation platforms, and animation of the public debate on specific topic related to the thematic areas concerned by this Call, to promote the interaction between CSOs and public authorities at local, national and regional level;
  • • Actions aimed at ensuring adequate outreach towards grassroots and other types of local non- governmental organisations.


The following types of action are ineligible:

  • • actions concerned only or mainly with individual sponsorships for participation in workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses;
  • • actions in relation to: the tobacco industry (CAEN code 16), production of alcoholic distilled beverages (CAEN code 1591), arms and munitions (CAEN code 296).
  • • actions that fall within the general activities of competent state institutions or state administration services, including local government;
  • • actions dealing with emergency relief or charitable donations;
  • • actions linked to political parties or of political/partisan nature;
  • • actions concerned only or mainly with infrastructure investments and/or the procurement of equipment; 
  • • actions concerned only or mainly with academic research and/or feasibility studies;
  • • actions concerned only or mainly with “one-off” conferences, and similar events;
  • • actions concerned only or mainly with individual scholarships for studies or training courses;

Types of activity

Types of activity which may be financed under this call (the list is not exhaustive):

  • • Desk research (research cannot be the main purpose of the action), baseline studies
  • • Testing and implementation of business plans and sustainability strategies
  • • Development of entrepreneurship 
  • • Actions aimed at ensuring adequate outreach towards grassroots and other types of local non- governmental organisations.
  • • Pilot income generating activities aimed at ensuring continuity of the action beyond the end of the contract;
  • • Testing of innovative approaches 
  • • Publication of leaflets, manuals on best practice
  • • Public awareness raising campaigns
  • • Drafting policy or legislation recommendations
  • • Publication of monitoring reports 
  • • Monitoring activities, for example in the context of the accession process, as well as monitoring international commitments
  • • Establishment of dialogue with political parties, groups of parliamentarians or legislative bodies
  • • Advocacy for the revision of existing legislation and adoption of new legislation in accordance with EU standards and requirements
  • • Promotion of the implementation of adopted laws and regulations
  • • Organisation of conferences, roundtables, workshops and seminars (a limited number in terms of days and events per proposed action)
  • • Communication and information activities aimed at supporting consultation with stakeholders  
  • • Facilitation of contacts, consultations and discussions between different stakeholders
  • • Training actions, study visits, field trips and internships 

 

Special attention will have to be paid to communication, visibility and relations with the media by dedicating funds for media visibility actions (events, press events and articles). 

Financial support to third parties 

Applicants are encouraged to propose financial support to third parties in order to help achieving the objectives of the action. In order to reach grass-root and other types of non-governmental local organisations, up to 20% of the action total eligible costs should be dedicated to providing financial support to third parties. 

The maximum amount of financial support per third party is up to EUR 60 000

This support should in particular strengthen the participation of grassroots CSOs in regional networks and carry out demonstration activities linked to the overall objective of the action.

The third parties shall be selected for receiving financial support   through public Calls for Proposals in the local language AND in English.  Third parties shall apply for financial support in the local language. The application procedure should be easily accessible by organisations with limited managerial and administrative capacities. The entire procedure should comply with the principles of transparency, equal treatment and fair competition, and adequate measures should be foreseen to prevent any situation which could give rise to conflict of interests. 

The lead applicant should present internal project monitoring arrangements to follow up the implementation of the activities of third parties financed with EU funds.

The lead applicant should coordinate to the best possible extent the activities implemented by third parties in order to ensure synergies with other actions/events managed by the EU and with any other relevant projects in the region. 

In compliance with the present guidelines and notably of any conditions or restrictions in this section, the lead applicant should define mandatorily in section 2.1.1 of the grant application form: 

  1. (i) the objectives and results to be obtained with the financial support 
  2. (ii) the different types of activities eligible for financial support, on the basis of a fixed list 
  3. (iii) the types of legal entities that may receive financial support 
  4. (iv) the maximum duration of the activities implemented by third parties
  5. (v) the criteria for selecting these entities and giving the financial support the evaluation and award procedure (frequency of Calls, duration of the evaluation  procedure etc. )
  6. (vi) the criteria for determining the exact amount of financial support for each third entity, 
  7. (vii) the maximum amount which may be given to third parties. The applicant can decide to specify the minimum and the maximum amount available for each of the foreseen Calls for Applications, the effective support should be consistent with the actual financial and management capacities of the recipient organization and should not exceed 60,000 EUR per third entity per call
  8. (viii) the communication modalities by which the applicant will ensure outreach to other organisations

In addition to the criteria related to the Financial Support, the Applicants are required to provide the following:

  1. (ix) the rules that will be applied to avoid mismanagement in the selection of proposals
  2. (x) a full explanation of the mentoring, monitoring and evaluation of the third parties receiving the Financial Support
  3. (xi) all requirements from (i) to (vii) should be included in the Call Guidelines and shall be approved by the EU 

Applicants must provide information in the concept note concerning at least points (i), (ii), (iii) and (ix).

 In the context of the Financial Support, the Beneficiary(ies) of the grant contracts may be asked by the European Commission to provide a summary of the application in English). All contracts between the Coordinator and third parties shall be in the local language with an English copy provided by the Coordinator.

In all events, the mandatory conditions set above for giving financial support (points (i) to (vii)) have to be strictly defined in the grant contract as to avoid any exercise of discretion.

Specific conditions or restrictions apply for financial support to third parties, as follows:

  • • In order to be eligible the third party has to have legal personality and  be based and  active in one of the seven IPA Beneficiaries in the Western Balkans and Turkey and be working on one or more of the thematic areas of relevance to this Call for Proposals (see Section 2.1.4 above)
  • • All the types of activity which may be financed under this call are also eligible for financial support to third parties (see above). Special consideration shall be given to capacity building measures to support the third parties grantees in the implementing their activities as well as their professional development in accordance with their needs.

The following types of actions are not eligible for financial support:

  • • actions linked to political parties or of political/partisan nature;
  • • actions in relation to the tobacco industry (CAEN code 16); production of alcoholic distilled beverages (CAEN code 1591) and arms and munitions (CAEN code 296).
  • • actions that fall within the general activities of competent state institutions or state administration services, including local government; 

Visibility

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 https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu-external-actions_en).

Applicants (applicant + co-applicants) are requested to pay a special attention to communication, visibility and relations with the media by dedicating funds to contract media visibility actions online and offline to a communication expert or to a specialised press and media agency/service provider. 

The above provisions apply also to third parties receiving financial support in the framework of the grants awarded under this Call for proposals.
Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities

The lead applicant may not submit more than 1 application under this Call for Proposals 

The lead applicant may be co-applicant or affiliated entity in another application provided that it concerns another lot.

A co-applicant/affiliated entity may be involved in more than 1 application under this Call for Proposals regardless of the lot.

 

2.1.5 Eligibility of costs: costs that can be included 

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 is based on actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies)

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.

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).

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.

Contingency reserve

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.

Ineligible costs

The following costs are not eligible:

  • − debts and debt service charges (interest);
  • − provisions for losses or potential future liabilities;
  • − costs declared by the beneficiary(ies) and financed by another action or work programme receiving a European Union (including through EDF) grant;
  • − purchases of land or buildings, except where necessary for the direct implementation of the action, in which case ownership must be transferred, in accordance with Article 7.5 of the General Conditions of the standard grant contract, at the latest at the end of the action;
  • − currency exchange losses;
  • − credit to third parties.
  • − salary costs of the personnel of national administration

2.2 How to apply and the procedures to follow

To apply for this call for proposals the lead applicants need to:

  1. I. Provide information about the organisations involved in the action. Please note that the registration of this data in PADOR is obligatory 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. 

  1. II. Provide information about the action in the documents listed under sections 2.2.2 (concept note) and 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 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-IT-support@ec.europa.eu 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 form annexed to these guidelines (Annex A.1).  Applicants must apply in English.

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 2.1.1 of the grant application form.

Own contributions by the applicants can be replaced by other donors' contributions at any time.

3. 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  (e.g: CD-Rom) 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:

Postal address

European Commission 

Directorate-General Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations – DG NEAR

Contracts & Finance IPA, Office L15-06/047

Central Mail Department (DAVI)-Avenue du Bourget 1 B-1049 Brussels, Belgium

Address for hand delivery or by private courier service

European Commission 

Directorate-General Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations – DG NEAR

Contracts & Finance IPA, Office L15-06/047

Central Mail Department (DAVI)-Avenue du Bourget 1 B-1049 Brussels, Belgium

 

Concept notes sent by any other means (e.g. by fax or by e-mail) or delivered to other addresses will be rejected. Hand-written concept notes will not be accepted.

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 17/07/2017 at 20:00 (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 timezones and winter/summer time changes (example available here) 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 17/07/2017 at 16:00 (Brussels date and 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-CSF-applications@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 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 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 questions related to registration in PADOR or the online submission via PROSPECT should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-IT-support@ec.europa.eu 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.

2.2.5 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:

1. 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.

2. 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)).

3.  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. 

Exceptions:

(a) If the 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 / hand delivery). 

(b) If the 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 applicant must send by post the application, i.e the Full Application, the Budget and the Logical framework. In particular, the 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 Checklist (Section 7 of Part B of the grant application form) and the Declaration by the applicant (Section 8 of Part B of the grant application form) must be printed and stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope

b. 3 additional copies in A4 size, each bound.

c. An electronic version  (e.g CD-Rom) 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 applicants send several applications (if allowed to do so by the Guidelines of the Call), each one must be sent separately:

Postal address

European Commission 

Directorate-General Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations – DG NEAR

Contracts & Finance IPA, Office L15-06/047

Central Mail Department (DAVI)-Avenue du Bourget 1 B-1049 Brussels, Belgium

Address for hand delivery or by private courier service

European Commission 

Directorate-General Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations – DG NEAR

Contracts & Finance IPA, Office L15-06/047

Central Mail Department (DAVI)-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 will be indicated in the letter sent to the applicants whose application has been pre-selected 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 applications to the addresses listed below, indicating clearly the reference of the Call for Proposals:

E-mail address: NEAR-CSF-applications@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 website https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.

All questions related to registration in PADOR or the online submission via PROSPECT should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-IT-support@ec.europa.eu 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 opening 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.
  • ♣ If the concept note satisfies all the criteria specified in the checklist in the instructions included in Annex A.1. This includes also an assessment of the eligibility of the action.  If any of the requested information is missing or is incorrect, the application may be rejected on that sole basis and the application will not be evaluated further.

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.

 

Section

Maximum Score

1. Relevance of the action

30

1.1. How relevant is the proposal to the objectives and priorities of the Call for Proposals?

5x2**

1.2. How relevant to the particular needs and constraints of the target country(ies) or region(s) is the proposal (including synergy with other EU initiatives and avoidance of duplication)?*

5x2**

1.3. How clearly defined and strategically chosen are those involved (final beneficiaries, target groups)? Have their needs been clearly defined and does the proposal address them appropriately?*

5

1.4. Does the proposal contain specific added-value elements, such as environmental issues, promotion of gender equality and equal opportunities, needs of disabled people, rights of minorities and rights of indigenous peoples, or innovation and best practices [and the other additional elements indicated under 1.2. of these guidelines]?*

5

2. Design of the action

20

2.1. How coherent is the overall design of the action? In particular, does it reflect the analysis of the problems involved, take into account external factors and relevant stakeholders?

5x2**

2.2. Is the action feasible and consistent in relation to the objectives and expected results?

5x2**

Maximum total score

50

 

**these scores are multiplied by 2 because of their importance

Concept notes with a score lower than 30 will be rejected.

Concept notes that reach the above threshold will be ranked by score. The highest scoring applications will be pre-selected until the limit of at least 250% of the available budget for this call for proposals is reached.

The amount of requested contributions of each concept note will be based on the indicative financial envelopes for each lot, where relevant.

Lead applicants will receive a letter indicating the reference number of their application and the respective results. This letter will automatically appear online in the PROSPECT profile of the lead applicant. Lead applicants who, in exceptional cases (see section 2.2), 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.

The pre-selected lead applicants will subsequently be invited to submit full applications.

 STEP 2: OPENING & ADMINISTRATIVE CHECK AND EVALUATION OF THE FULL APPLICATION 

During the opening and administrative check (including the eligibility check of the action) for full applications the following will be assessed 

  • ♣ If the submission deadline has been met. Otherwise, the application will automatically be rejected.
  • ♣ If the full application satisfies all the criteria specified in the checklist in Annex A.2. This includes also an assessment of the eligibility of the action.  If any of the requested information is missing or is incorrect, the application may be rejected on that sole basis and the application will not be evaluated further.

The full applications that pass this check will be further evaluated on their quality, including the proposed budget and the capacity of the applicants and affiliated entity(ies). The evaluation criteria used are presented in the evaluation grid below. There are two types of evaluation criteria: selection and award criteria.

The selection criteria help to evaluate the applicant(s)'s and affiliated entity(ies)'s operational capacity and the lead applicant's financial capacity and are used to verify that they:

  • • have stable and sufficient sources of finance to maintain their activity throughout the proposed action and, where appropriate, to participate in its funding (this only applies to lead applicants);
  • • have the management capacity, professional competencies and qualifications required to successfully complete the proposed action. This applies to applicants and to any affiliated entity(ies).

For the purpose of the evaluation of the financial capacity, lead applicants must ensure that the relevant information and documents (i.e. accounts of the latest financial year and external audit report, where applicable) in their PADOR profile are up to date. If the information and documents in PADOR are outdated and do not allow for a proper evaluation of the financial capacity, the application may be rejected.

The award criteria help to evaluate the quality of the applications in relation to the objectives and priorities set forth in the guidelines, and to award grants to projects which maximise the overall effectiveness of the call for proposals. They help to select applications which the Contracting Authority can be confident will comply with its objectives and priorities. They cover the relevance of the action, its consistency with the objectives of the call for proposals, quality, expected impact, sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

The evaluation grid is divided into sections and subsections. Each subsection 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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