1 HARNESSING INDEPENDENT EARLY Warning EXPERTISE TO bridgE the warning-response gap AND ENHANCE CONFLICT PREVENTION
Building on the Treaty of Lisbon that explicitly enshrined as one of the objectives of EU’s external action “to preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security”, the 2011 Council Conclusions on Conflict Prevention recommended that “early warning be further strengthened within the EU” including by “drawing more extensively upon field based information from EU Delegations and civil society actors, in order to provide a more solid foundation for conflict risk analysis” and that “more emphasis be put on taking early action".
In response to this shift in emphasis away from reacting to crisis towards preventive action, the European External Action Service, together with the European Commission, developed tools and a methodology to promote an EU-wide and timely understanding of conflict risk, and of ways in which these risks could be addressed. Using a mix of both internal and open sources the Conflict Early Warning System (EWS) focuses on assessing factors driving conflict risk and identifying early action to address the risks of violent conflict breaking out in the short or long term.
The EU approach to early warning seeks to address the warning-response gap that is often observed, placing the emphasis on operationalizing analysis for more effective preventive responses. "Promoting early warning and conflict-sensitive risk-analysis in policy-making and implementation" is one of the five priority areas identified in the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace Strategy Paper 2014-2020 for measures to be supported under the conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis preparedness component (Article 4). The Strategy Paper defines a “well-functioning early warning system - underpinning the discussion of risk mitigation efforts and putting forward options for action” as one that “enables a culture of responsible risk management and provides greater situational awareness in terms of latent/emerging conflicts and/or crises”. It also provides for examples of specific measures to be funded including actions aimed at “ensuring that relevant early warning information from relevant sources is available for early warning tools, including from field based civil society actors and social media”.
The present Call for Proposals is implemented under the 2015 Annual Action Programme for the IcSP (Article 4) which includes one specific action (Action Document 2) aimed to address the warning-response gap by enabling policy-makers across the EU to identify and act upon conflict risks before they lead to violence.
1.2 Objectives of the programme and priority issues
The global objective of this call for proposals is to enhance the EU policy-makers capacity to prevent the emergence, re-emergence or escalation of violent conflict by strengthening the translation of conflict analysis into early action and response.
The specific objectives of this call for proposals are to:
• Increase local and global awareness of conflict risks and mainstream conflict sensitive approaches into policy-making, resulting in strengthened links between early warning, conflict analysis and early response;
• Provide EU policy-makers with access to targeted, and up-to-date independent field-based political analysis and early warning information on a country’s/region's proneness to civil war and large-scale violence;
• Support the development and channelling of targeted and timely actionable policy recommendations for conflict prevention and early response into relevant EU policy-making and facilitate exchanges among EU institutional actors and with the civil society actors on early warning and early action.
1.3 Financial allocation provided by the contracting authority
The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 2,500,000. The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.
Size of grants
Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:
• minimum amount: EUR 2,200,000
• maximum amount: EUR 2,500,000
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: 60% of the total eligible costs of the action.
• Maximum percentage: 80% 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 concept note and the full 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 the "applicants") (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))
(1) In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:
• be a legal person and
• be non-profit-making and
• be Civil Society actors constituted in accordance with the legislation in force in the applicant's country of registration and
• be established in a Member State of the European Union or in any other eligible country as per the relevant provisions of the EU Common Implementation Regulation (CIR) 236/2014 and
• be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary and
• demonstrate geographic reach in at least 20 fragile states and/or conflict-prone countries – be it through an extended field presence or networks of local partners in country.
(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 may act individually or with co-applicant(s).
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 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:
• co-applicants who can demonstrate geographic reach in at least 10 fragile states and/or conflict-prone countries – be it through a field presence or networks of local partners in country.
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 Coordinator).
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 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 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 delegatees 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 neither 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 Annex A.2., section 4 — ‘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 24 months nor exceed 36 months.
Sectors or themes
Conflict analysis, early warning, conflict prevention, advocacy for peace
Actions must take place in at least 20 of the following countries: countries at risk of emergence, re-emergence or escalation of violent conflict and/or conflict-affected and fragile countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
Types of action
Actions should be designed to produce specific, measurable results in response to identified problems and be based on specifically tailored strategies and intervention methodologies.
Actions shall be self-contained operations indicating a coherent set of activities with clearly defined operational objectives, target groups, and planned, tangible outcomes with relevant indicators, and within a limited timeframe.
Actions must contribute to the achievement of one or more of the objectives listed under section 1.2 of the present Guidelines. Proposals outside the identified specific objective(s) will not be considered for funding.
In particular actions shall contribute to:
• Increasing local and global awareness of conflict risks and mainstreaming conflict sensitive approaches into policy-making;
• Providing timely, independent and high quality conflict analysis and early warning information on countries in conflict-prone, conflict-affected and/or unstable contexts to national, regional and international policy-makers, with a specific focus on EU policy-makers;
• Channelling effective and targeted policy options for possible mitigating responses and early action to EU policy-makers;
• Increasing the systematic exchanges of information and analysis between EU policy-makers and civil society organisations, and among EU staff, on early warning and early actions;
• Better informing and equipping the EU for managing risks of violent conflicts, leading to timely prioritisation of resources and preventive responses;
• Promoting a more coherent, rational, structured and systematic use of early warning information by the EU in developing options for concrete early action/response.
Actions shall pay attention to incorporating gender analysis and perspectives in conflict analysis and early warning in order to ensure that responses at the field and high political levels: i) address the vulnerabilities specific to women and men and ii) ensure equal opportunities for women and men to fully participate and benefit from early warning system efforts (including information collection and analysis and planning for conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction).
Actions shall maintain a balance between: i) providing independently determined early warning information, drawing attention to areas of risk that may be overlooked by media or EU actors, and ii) responding punctually to on-going crisis related analysis, offering tailor-made and evidence-based analysis focussing particularly on areas where the EU is involved or could usefully play a role in conflict prevention or response.
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 concerned only with one-off conferences. Conferences can only be funded if they form part of a wider range of activities to be implemented in the life-time of the project. For these purposes, preparatory activities for a conference and the publication of the proceedings of the conference do not, in themselves, constitute such “wider activities”;
• actions including proselytization;
• actions that discriminate against specific individuals or groups of people on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or political considerations.
Types of activity
The following is a non-exhaustive list of eligible activities:
• Conduct of independent, high-quality, gender responsive and inclusive field-based analysis of long-term/structural conflict risks, short term risks/potential triggers, and resilience factors. Such analysis shall make the maximum use of local sources of information and of existing local or regional early warning systems and include the collection of sex-disaggregated data and development of gender indicators;
• Production and dissemination of regularly updated policy analysis and early warning information, paying particular attention to EU un-met needs, in particular, those which are not adequately or sufficiently covered by publicly available sources of conflict risk;
• Identification of options for early response and formulation of actionable (and creative) policy recommendations and/or advice on practical response options, possibly timed to decision-making opportunities and tailored specifically to EU policy makers;
• Facilitation of dialogue among EU policy makers and between the EU and civil society organisations to facilitate understanding of local field-based assessments of risks and resilience factors in countries or regions and to foster discussions on potential early action and policy strategies;
• Capacity-building and awareness-raising activities;
• Advocacy and policy dialogue;
• Networking activities;
• Creation of knowledge management and outreach tools and information dissemination;
Financial support to third parties
Applicants may not propose financial support to third parties.
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).
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 not be awarded more than 1 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.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not submit more than 2 applications under this call for proposals.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be awarded more than 1 grant under this call for proposals.
A co-applicant/affiliated entity may be the lead applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.
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 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.
− flat-rate financing: covering specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by applying a percentage fixed ex ante.
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 flat-rates 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
− identify the beneficiary who will use the simplified cost option (in case of affiliated entity, specify first the beneficiary), in order to verify the maximum amount per each beneficiary (which includes if applicable simplified cost options of its affiliated entity(ies))
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).
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:
− 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 administrations