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Mapping and Assessing the state of Ecosystems and their Services in the Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories: establishing links and pooling resources - ENV/2017/CFP/MAES-OR-OCT

  - 16 days Deadline: 07 Nov 2017

 Biodiversity
 Forest Resources
 Maritime Affaires and Fisheries
 Eco-Innovation
 Environment
 Environmental protection



INTRODUCTION – Background

Legal basis: Pilot project within the meaning of Article 54.2(a) of the Financial Regulation

This open Call for Proposals implements the pilot project on mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems and their services in the outermost regions and overseas countries and territories: establishing links and pooling resources.

Action 5 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 'Map and assess the state and economic value of ecosystems and their services in the entire EU territory; promote the recognition of their economic worth into accounting and reporting systems across Europe' is implemented through the MAES initiative which is supported – inter alia – by the Joint research Centre (JRC), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the co-ordination support action ESMERALDA (Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking) funded under the Horizon2020. ESMERALDA aims to deliver a flexible methodology to provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments. In the frame of the BEST initiative regional ecosystem profiles for the EU's Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories have been developed. NETBIOME a partnership for research and sustainable management of (sub)tropical biodiversity in the European Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) has established, among other, a database of stakeholders involved in biodiversity management and research as well as case studies for biodiversity valuation in, or relevant to, the EU OR/OCTs, with links to the original studies. 

Objective

The selected project shall:

Explore and test the feasibility for mapping and assessing ecosystems and the services they provide in the EU's Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas  Countries and Territories (OCTs), i.e. producing a tangible contribution for the EU ‘Mapping and Assessing of Ecosystem Services’ (MAES) initiative, and demonstrate the feasibility and added value of a bottom-up approach, involving and empowering local actors. If successful, this project will allow testing and implementation of the MAES methodology in different regions of the world, providing methodologies and good practice guidelines and contributing to worldwide EU leadership in this area. As ORs and OCTs have important oceans areas, it is expected that the project will advance the mapping and assessing of marine ecosystems and their services. This includes open ocean, shelf, coastal waters and marine inlets and transitional waters.

Involve policymakers, researchers and civil society in the development of methodologies for mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems and their services in ORs and OCTs. A coordinated and synergistic approach is advocated so as to turn the geographical, political and knowledge base fragmentation of these entities into assets, pooling resources and building robust participatory tools. 

Tasks: 

The project will assess the state of the art of the ‘Mapping and Assessing of Ecosystem Services’ (MAES) within the participating overseas entities, and inventory and substantiate the human and material capacities present in each of the participating entities. Considering the specificities of ORs and OCTs it is expected that the work will capitalise as much as possible on existing methodologies including for example the IUCN RED List of Ecosystems methodology. 

It will build on the work carried out in the frame of NETBIOME and ESMERALDA networks and the BEST initiative and it may consider the initial OR OCT MAES experience carried out under the project BEST RUP.

It will then choose as case studies at least 4 specific regions and a particular contribution on which to focus the work of dedicated teams of local experts, policymakers and civil society members pooled from across the OR and OCTs. The teams will map the ecosystems and the services they provide and assess the ecosystem condition in the selected areas capitalising on the different methodologies.   

Timetable

The final deadline for the submission of proposals is the 7th November 2017 (date of post stamp).

Publication of the call 

July 2017

 

Deadline for submitting proposals

7 November 2017

(07/11/2017 – 17:00 hour Brussel's time)

 

Evaluation period

November 2017

 

Information to applicants

December 2017

 

Signature of grant agreement

First trimester 2018

 

Starting date of the action

First/second trimester 2018

 

 

Budget available

The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of one (1) project is estimated at EUR 1.000.000.

The maximum EU funding rate under this Call for Proposals is 95% of eligible costs per proposal based on the project budget. The balance must be financed from the applicant's or partners' own resources, or from sources other than the European Union budget.

The Commission expects to fund up to one (1) proposal.

The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

Admissibility Requirements

The following formal requirements must be complied with in order for the proposal to proceed to the evaluation stage: 

Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3 (date of post stamp).

Applications must be submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application forms available at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/funding/grants_en.htm .

Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official languages. 

Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.

In order to facilitate assessment by the evaluators, applicants are encouraged to provide a summary of their proposal in English or French, for any proposal written in another EU official language.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria are used to determine whether an applicant is allowed to participate in the call for proposals and to submit a proposal for an action. They apply to both applicants and co-applicants, including entities where applicable, and to the activities for which a grant is applied for. 

Eligible applicants

The following types of entities are eligible, in accordance with the relevant basic act and the objectives to be achieved: 

Applicants and their partners (in case of a consortium), could be public and private bodies, NGOs, universities, and research institutes. Examples:

non-profit organisation (private or public);

public authorities (national, regional, local);

universities or educational institutions;

research centres;

profit making entities;

international organisations.

Only applications from legal entities established in the following countries are eligible:

EU Member States;

EU's Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories;

Third Countries.

In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested:

private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required);

public entity: copy of the resolution, decision or other official document attesting the establishing the public-law entity. A copy of the articles of association/founding act/statutes or equivalent;

entities without legal personality: documents providing evidence that their representative(s) have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf; 

 

consortium: in the event of an application grouping several applicants (multi-beneficiary agreement), the above supporting documents shall apply to each applicant. The consortium members will have to sign a mandate between the main applicant (coordinator) and each consortium member (partner/co-beneficiary) that will participate in the project.

Eligible activities

The following types of activities are eligible under this call for proposals. Examples:

cooperation projects;

conferences, seminars; 

training activities;

awareness and dissemination actions;

actions aiming at the creation and improvement of networks, exchanges of good practices;

studies, analyses, mapping projects;

research activities.

Implementation period 

The envisaged implementation period of activities may indicatively be between 24 and 36 calendar months. 

The period of eligibility of costs will start as specified in the grant. If a beneficiary can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed, expenditure may be authorised before the grant is awarded. Under no circumstances can the eligibility period start before the date of submission of the grant application (see section 11.7).

Exclusion Criteria

Exclusion from participation

The authorising officer shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:

(a) the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;

(b) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the authorising officer is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract; 

(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;

entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;

violating intellectual property rights;

attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;

attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

(d) it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:

fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;

participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;

terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

(e) the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors; 

(f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95.

(g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to: 

facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body; 

non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics; 

decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations; 

decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law.

decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.4), it should indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 7.1.

Rejection from the call for proposals

The authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who: 

is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1;

 

has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information;

 

was previously involved in the preparation of calls for proposal documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

 

Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, who are guilty of misrepresentation.  

Supporting documents

Applicants must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in articles 106(1) and 107 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals and available at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/funding/grants_en.htm 

 

This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

for mono beneficiary grants, the applicant signs a declaration in its name;

 

for multi beneficiaries grants, the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants. The consortium members will have to sign a mandate between the main applicant (coordinator) and each consortium member (partner/co-beneficiary) that will participate in the project.

Selection criteria

Financial capacity

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:

Grants ≥ EUR 60 000:

a declaration on their honour and

EITHER

the profit and loss account as well as the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the accounts were closed;

for newly created entities: the business plan might replace the above documents;

OR

the Financial Capacity Form in excel format, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures, in order to calculate the ratios as detailed in the form.

Grants for an action ≥ EUR 750 000:

the information and supporting documents mentioned in point a) above

AND  

an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available. 

In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above thresholds apply to each applicant.

On the basis of the documents submitted, if the Representative Authorising Officer (RAO) considers that financial capacity is weak, s/he may:

request further information;

decide not to give  pre-financing;

decide to give  pre-financing paid in instalments;

decide to give  pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see section 11.4 below);

where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co-beneficiaries.

If the RAO considered that the financial capacity is insufficient s/he will reject the application. 

Operational capacity

Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed action. In this respect, applicants have to submit a declaration on their honour, and the following supporting documents:

curriculum vitae or description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation (accompanied where appropriate, like in the field of research and education, by a list of relevant publications);

the organisation's activity reports; 

an exhaustive lists of previous projects and activities performed and connected to the policy field of a given call or to the actions to be carried out;

an inventory of natural or economic resources involved in the project.

A standard model for the curriculum vitae (CV) can be easily downloaded from the following webpage: http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/en/documents/curriculum-vitae. 

If, during the lifetime of the project, the proposed team should be adapted, the CVs of new team members shall be submitted to the Commission before they start working for the project.

 

Award criteria

Award criteria

In order to evaluate the proposals received, a set of award criteria has been defined in the present call for proposals in order to make it possible to select an action that can guarantee compliance with the policy objectives and can guarantee the visibility of the European Union financing.

The total number of points that can be attributed to a proposal is 100. Proposals have to reach the minimum quality threshold (50 % of the maximum possible mark) for each criterion, as indicated below. Moreover, proposals that, following the evaluation process, do not reach a global score of at least 65 points will not be retained for co-funding. 

Eligible applications/projects will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Understanding of the call for proposals and scope of the project (max. 50 points).

Involvement of Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories;

Contribution to the MAES initiative;

Involvement of the different stakeholders and/or target groups.

Organisation and management of the project (max. 40 points): 

Consistency of the expenditures with the foreseen activities and relevance and quality of the means of implementation and the resources deployed in relation to the objectives envisaged;

Cost effectiveness of the proposed action;

Feasibility of the project in terms of coherence of the actions with the expected results, resources and timetable, including measures for quality.

Control and risk management (max. 10 points).

 Award decision

The Commission will select, within the limits of the available budget, the application which gets the highest ranking based on the total score.

Applications which pass the minimum sufficiency level but do not achieve enough points to be selected will constitute a reserve list for consideration in case additional funds become available for the project or in case applicants withdraw their (selected) proposals. 

The selection of an application by the Commission does not constitute an undertaking to award a financial contribution equal to the amount requested by the beneficiary. The Commission reserves the right to reduce the grant requested, if the proposal includes elements considered too expensive or not eligible. In addition, since there is a limited overall budget for the funding programme, the Commission reserves the right to propose a level of support lower than that requested. Furthermore, under no circumstances can the amount awarded be more than the amount requested. 

The Commission may invite applicants to provide a revised budget or application form to ensure compliance with the rules on eligible costs or where the granted amount is different from the amount requested in the application. 

Notification of the decision to award a grant or reject the application 

According to the Financial Regulation, the RAO shall inform applicants of the individual decision on every proposal received, whether it is accepted or rejected. This could be done before or after the award decision is taken. The information must be given in writing.

The notification should be sent to the single applicant in case of mono-beneficiary arrangements or to the entity representing the consortium for the purposes of the application and responsible for the exchanges of information with the Commission during the grant award procedure on behalf of the consortium in case of multi-beneficiaries arrangements. This representative shall be responsible to transmit further to all other members of the consortium the notified information.

Legal commitments

In the event of a grant awarded by the Commission, a grant agreement drawn up in euro and detailing the conditions and level of funding, will be sent to the applicant, as well as the information on the procedure to formalise the agreement of the parties. 

The grant agreement is composed of special and general conditions. Applicants are required to carefully read the model grant agreement annexed to this call for proposals. Submission of a grant application implies acceptance of the general conditions.

The 2 copies of the original agreement must be signed, normally first, by the beneficiary (in case of mon-beneficiary) or by the beneficiary on behalf of the consortium (in case of multi-beneficiary) and returned to the Commission immediately. 

Financial provisions

Eligible costs 

The grant will take the form of 'reimbursement of eligible costs actually incurred' for the following categories of costs: personnel, travel, equipment, subcontracting and other direct costs. 

Eligible costs shall meet all the following criteria:

they are incurred by the beneficiary.  

they are incurred during the duration of the action, with the exception of costs relating to final reports and audit certificates;

The period of eligibility of costs will start as specified in the grant agreement. 

If a beneficiary can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed, the costs eligibility period may start before that signature. Under no circumstances can the eligibility period start before the date of submission of the grant application.

they are indicated in the estimated budget;

they are necessary for the implementation of the action which is the subject of the grant;

they are identifiable and verifiable, in particular being recorded in the accounting records of the beneficiary and determined according to the applicable accounting standards of the country where the beneficiary is established and according to the usual cost accounting practices of the beneficiary;

they comply with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation;

they are reasonable, justified, and comply with the requirements of sound financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency.

The beneficiary's internal accounting and auditing procedures must permit direct reconciliation of the costs and revenue declared in respect of the action/project with the corresponding accounting statements and supporting documents.

11.1.1.  Eligible direct costs 

The eligible direct costs for the action are those costs which:

with due regard for the conditions of eligibility set out above, are identifiable as specific costs directly linked to the performance of the action and which can therefore be booked to it directly, such as : 

(a) the costs of personnel working under an employment contract with the beneficiary or an equivalent appointing act and assigned to the action, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary’s usual policy on remuneration.

Those costs include actual salaries plus social security contributions and other statutory costs included in the remuneration. They may also comprise additional remunerations, including payments on the basis of supplementary contracts regardless of the nature of those contracts, provided that they are paid in a consistent manner whenever the same kind of work or expertise is required, independently from the source of funding used;

The costs of natural persons working under a contract with the beneficiary other than an employment contract or who are seconded to the beneficiary by a third party against payment may also be included under such personnel costs, provided that the following conditions are fulfilled:

(i) the person works under conditions similar to those of an employee (in particular regarding the way the work is organised, the tasks that are performed and the premises where they are performed);

(ii) the result of the work belongs to the beneficiary (unless exceptionally agreed otherwise); and

 (iii) the costs are not significantly different from the costs of staff performing similar tasks under an employment contract with the beneficiary;

The recommended methods for calculation of direct personnel costs are provided in Appendix.

(b) costs of travel and related subsistence allowances, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary’s usual practices on travel;

(c) the depreciation costs of equipment or other assets (new or second-hand) as recorded in the beneficiary’s accounting statements, provided that the asset:

(i) is written off in accordance with the international accounting standards and the beneficiary’s usual accounting practices; and

(ii) has been purchased in accordance with the rules on implementation contracts laid down in the grant agreement, if the purchase occurred within the implementation period;

The costs of renting or leasing equipment or other assets are also eligible, provided that these costs do not exceed the depreciation costs of similar equipment or assets and are exclusive of any finance fee;

Only the portion of the equipment’s depreciation, rental or lease costs corresponding to the implementation period and the rate of actual use for the purposes of the action may be taken into account when determining the eligible costs. By way of exception, the full cost of purchase of equipment may be eligible under the Special Conditions, if this is justified by the nature of the action and the context of the use of the equipment or assets;

(d) costs of consumables and supplies, provided that they:

(i) are purchased in accordance with the rules on implementation contracts laid down in the grant agreement; and

(ii) are directly assigned to the action;

(e) costs arising directly from requirements imposed by the Agreement (dissemination of information, specific evaluation of the action, audits, translations, reproduction), including the costs of requested financial guarantees, provided that the corresponding services are purchased in accordance with the rules on implementation contracts laid down in the grant agreement;

(f) costs entailed by subcontracts, provided that specific conditions on subcontracting as laid down in the grant agreement are met;

(g) costs of financial support to third parties, provided that the conditions laid down in the grant agreement are met;

(h)   duties, taxes and charges paid by the beneficiary, notably value added tax (VAT), provided that they are included in eligible direct costs, and unless specified otherwise in the grant agreement.

11.1.2. Eligible indirect costs (overheads)

Indirect costs are costs that are not directly linked to the action implementation and therefore cannot be attributed directly to it. 

A flat-rate amount of 7% of the total eligible direct costs of the action is eligible as indirect costs, representing the beneficiary's general administrative costs which can be regarded as chargeable to the action/project.

Indirect costs may not include costs entered under another budget heading.

Applicants’ attention is drawn to the fact that if they are receiving an operating grant financed by the EU or Euratom budget, they may not declare indirect costs for the period(s) covered by the operating grant, unless they can demonstrate that the operating grant does not cover any costs of the action.

In order to demonstrate this, in principle, the beneficiary should:

a. use analytical cost accounting that allows to separate all costs (including overheads) attributable to the operating grant and the action grant. For that purpose the beneficiary should use reliable accounting codes and allocation keys ensuring that the allocation of the costs is done in a fair, objective and realistic way

b. record separately: 

all costs incurred for the operating grants (i.e. personnel, general running costs and other operating costs linked to the part of its usual annual activities), and 

all costs incurred for the action grants (including the actual indirect costs linked to the action)

If the operating grant covers the entire usual annual activity and budget of the beneficiary, the latter is not entitled to receive any indirect costs under the action grant.

Ineligible costs

return on capital and dividends paid by a beneficiary;

debt and debt service charges;

provisions for losses or debts;

interest owed;

doubtful debts;

exchange losses;

costs of transfers from the Commission charged by the bank of a beneficiary;

costs declared by the beneficiary under another action receiving a grant financed from the Union budget. Such grants include grants awarded by a Member State and financed from the Union budget and grants awarded by bodies other than the Commission for the purpose of implementing the Union budget. In particular, beneficiaries receiving an operating grant financed by the EU or Euratom budget cannot declare indirect costs for the period(s) covered by the operating grant, unless they can demonstrate that the operating grant does not cover any costs of the action. 

contributions in kind from third parties;

excessive or reckless expenditure;

deductible VAT.

Form of the grant

Reimbursement of costs actually incurred

The grant will be defined by applying a maximum co-financing rate of 95% to the eligible costs actually incurred and declared by the beneficiary.

Conditions for compliance of the beneficiary's usual cost accounting practices: 

The beneficiary must ensure that the cost accounting practices used for the purpose of declaring eligible costs are in compliance with the following conditions:

the cost accounting practices that are used must constitute the  usual cost accounting practices of the beneficiary. The beneficiary must  apply those practices in a consistent manner, based on objective criteria irrespective of the source of funding (EU financing or other);

the costs declared can be directly reconciled with the amounts recorded in its general accounts; and the categories of costs used for the purpose of determining the costs declared do not include any ineligible costs or costs already covered by other forms of grant.

Balanced budget

The estimated budget of the action must be attached to the application form. It must have revenue and expenditure in balance. 

The budget must be drawn up in euros.

Applicants for whom costs will not be incurred in euros should use the exchange rate published on the Infor-euro website available at:  http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/inforeuro/inforeuro_en.cfm

The applicant must ensure that the resources which are necessary to carry out the action are not be entirely provided by the EU grant. 

Co-financing of the action may take the form of:

the beneficiary's own resources, 

income generated by the action or work programme, 

financial contributions from third parties.

Calculation of the final grant amount

The final amount of the grant is calculated by the Commission at the time of the payment of the balance. The calculation involves the following steps:

Step 1 — Application of the reimbursement rate to the eligible costs

The amount under step 1 is obtained by application of the reimbursement rate specified in section 11.3.1 to the eligible costs accepted by the Commission.

Step 2 — Limit to the maximum amount of the grant

The total amount paid to the beneficiaries by the Commission may in no circumstances exceed the maximum amount of the grant as indicated in the grant agreement. If the amount obtained following Step 1 is higher than this maximum amount, the final amount of the grant is limited to the latter.

Step 3 — Reduction due to the no-profit rule

‘Profit’ means the surplus of the amount obtained following Steps 1 and 2 plus the total receipts of the action, over the total eligible costs of the action.

The total eligible costs of the action are the consolidated total eligible costs approved by the Commission. The total receipts of the action are the consolidated total receipts established, generated or confirmed on the date on which the request for payment of the balance is drawn up by the beneficiary.

The following are considered receipts:

income generated by the action;

financial contributions given by third parties to a beneficiary or to an affiliated entity, if they are specifically assigned by the third parties to the financing of the eligible costs of the action reimbursed by the Commission.

The following are not considered receipts:

financial contributions by third parties, if they may be used to cover costs other than the eligible costs under the grant agreement;

financial contributions by third parties with no obligation to repay any amount unused at the end of the implementation period.

If there is a profit, it will be deducted in proportion to the final rate of reimbursement of the actual eligible costs of the action approved by the Commission.

Step 4 — Reduction due to improper implementation or breach of other obligations.

The Commission may reduce the maximum amount of the grant if the action has not been implemented properly (i.e. if it has not been implemented or has been implemented poorly, partially or late), or if another obligation under the Agreement has been breached. 

The amount of the reduction will be proportionate to the degree to which the action has been implemented improperly or to the seriousness of the breach.

Reporting and payment arrangements

Payments and supporting documents

The beneficiary may request the following payments provided that the conditions of the grant agreement are fulfilled (e.g. payment deadlines, ceilings, etc.). The payment requests shall be accompanied by the documents provided below and detailed in the grant agreement: 

 

A pre-financing payment corresponding to 40% of the grant amount 

  1. signed agreement
  2. if applicable, bank guarantee (see section 11.6.2)

 

A second pre-financing payment corresponding to 40% of the grant amount.

  1. technical report on progress
  2. statement on the use of the previous pre-financing instalment
  3. if applicable, bank guarantee (see section 11.6.2)

 

Payment of the balance

The Commission will establish the amount of this payment on the basis of the calculation of the final grant amount (see section 11.5 above). If the total of earlier payments is higher than the final grant amount, the beneficiary will be required to reimburse the amount paid in excess by the Commission through a recovery order.

  1. final technical report; 
  2. final financial statement;
  3. summary financial statement aggregating the financial statements already submitted previously and indicating the receipts 
  4. if applicable, a certificate on the financial statements and underlying accounts

 

Pre-financing guarantee

A pre-financing guarantee for up to the same amount as the pre-financing may be requested in order to limit the financial risks linked to the pre-financing payment.

The financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the EU Member States. When the beneficiary is established in a third country, the Commission may agree that a bank or financial institution established in that third country may provide the guarantee if it considers that the bank or financial institution offers equivalent security and characteristics as those offered by a bank or financial institution established in a Member State. Amounts blocked in bank accounts shall not be accepted as financial guarantees.

The guarantee may be replaced by:

a joint and several guarantee by a third party or, 

a joint guarantee of the beneficiaries of an action who are parties to the same grant agreement.

The guarantee shall be released as the pre-financing is gradually cleared against interim payments or the payment of the balance, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the grant agreement.

In case of a weak financial capacity section 11.6.2 above applies.

Other financial conditions

Non-cumulative award

An action may only receive one grant from the EU budget.

In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget. To ensure this, applicants shall indicate in the grant application the sources and amounts of Union funding received or applied for the same action or part of the action or for its (the applicant's) functioning during the same financial year as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.

Non-retroactivity 

No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed.

A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun only where the applicant can demonstrate in the grant application the need to start the action before the grant agreement is signed.

In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

Implementation contracts/subcontracting 

Where the implementation of the action requires the award of procurement contracts (implementation contracts), the beneficiary must award the contract to the bid offering best value for money or the lowest price (as appropriate), avoiding conflicts of interests.

The beneficiary is expected to clearly document the tendering procedure and retain the documentation for the event of an audit. 

Entities acting in their capacity of contracting authorities in the meaning of Directive 2014/24/EU or contracting entities in the meaning of Directive 2014/25/EU must comply with the applicable national public procurement rules.

Beneficiaries may subcontract tasks forming part of the action. If they do so, they must ensure that, in addition to the above-mentioned conditions of best value for money and absence of conflicts of interests, the following conditions are also complied with:

subcontracting does not cover core tasks of the action;

recourse to subcontracting is justified because of the nature of the action and what is necessary for its implementation;

the estimated costs of the subcontracting are clearly identifiable in the estimated budget;

any recourse to subcontracting, if not provided for in description of the action, is communicated by the beneficiary and approved by the Commission. The Commission may grant approval:

before any recourse to subcontracting, if the beneficiaries requests an amendment 

after recourse to subcontracting if the subcontracting:

is specifically justified in the interim or final technical report and

does not entail changes to the grant agreement which would call into question the decision awarding the grant or be contrary to the equal treatment of applicants;

the beneficiaries ensure that certain conditions applicable to beneficiaries, enumerated in the grant agreement (e.g. visibility, confidentiality, etc.), are also applicable to the subcontractors.

Financial support to third parties

The applications may not envisage provision of financial support to third parties.

Publicity 

By the beneficiaries

Beneficiaries must clearly acknowledge the European Union’s contribution in all publications or in conjunction with activities for which the grant is used.

In this respect, beneficiaries are required to give prominence to the name and emblem of the European Commission on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the co-financed project. 

To do this they must use the text, the emblem and the disclaimer available at http://europa.eu/about-eu/basic-information/symbols/flag/index_en.htm

If this requirement is not fully complied with, the beneficiary’s grant may be reduced in accordance with the provisions of the grant agreement.

By the Commission

With the exception of scholarships paid to natural persons and other direct support paid to natural persons in most need, all information relating to grants awarded in the course of a financial year shall be published on an internet site of the European Union institutions no later than the 30 June of the year following the financial year in which the grants were awarded. 

The Commission will publish the following information:

name of the beneficiary;

address of the beneficiary when the latter is a legal person, region when the beneficiary is a natural person, as defined on NUTS 2 level if he/she is domiciled within EU or equivalent if domiciled outside EU;

subject of the grant;

amount awarded.

Upon a reasoned and duly substantiated request by the beneficiary, the publication shall be waived if such disclosure risks threatening the rights and freedoms of individuals concerned as protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union or harm the commercial interests of the beneficiaries.

PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA

The reply to any call for proposals involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name, address and CV). Such data will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data. Unless indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested that are required to evaluate the application in accordance with the call for proposal will be processed solely for that purpose by DG Environment (entity acting as data controller). 

Personal data may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System by the Commission, should the beneficiary be in one of the situations mentioned in Article 106(1) and 107 of the Financial Regulation 966/2012 (for more information see the Privacy Statement on: 

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/library/explained/management/protecting/privacy_statement_edes_en.pdf).

PROCEDURE FOR THE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS 

Proposals must be submitted by the deadline set out under section 3:

7th November 2017 at 17:00 hour (Brussels time).

No modification to the application is allowed once the deadline for submission has elapsed. However, if there is a need to clarify certain aspects or to correct clerical mistakes, the Commission may contact the applicant during the evaluation process.

Applicants will be informed in writing about the results of the selection process.

 

Submission on paper and electronic version

Application forms are available at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/funding/grants_en.htm .

Applicants must submit an electronic version of the full application forms (in format MS Word (.doc) / EXCEL (.xls) and/or PDF (.pdf)). The electronic version must contain exactly the same proposal as the paper version submitted.

Applications must be submitted in the correct form, duly completed and dated. They must be submitted in 4 copies (one original clearly identified as such, plus 3 copies) and signed by the person authorised to enter into legally binding commitments on behalf of the applicant organisation. 

For economic and ecological reasons, we strongly recommend that you submit your files on paper-based materials (no plastic folder or divider). We also suggest you use double-sided print-outs as much as possible. To help us copy, scan and file your offer, avoid binding or stapling documents.

The application must clearly indicate on the envelope the following call reference:

 

Applications must be sent to the following address:

- by post (date as postmark);

European Commission

DG Environment, Unit D.2 - Biodiversity 

BU 5 5/142

200 Rue de la Loi

1049 Brussels

Belgium

Title: Call for Proposals DG ENV: ENV/2017/CFP/MAES-OR-OCT 

In case of delivery by registered mail or by courier, the evidence of the date of dispatch shall be constituted by the postmark/the date of the deposit slip or by the receipt of dispatch issued by the courier service.

- in person (date as receipt) and by courier service (date of receipt by the courier service).

European Commission - DG Environment (Unit D.2)

Central Mail Service – OIB.4

Avenue de Bourget, 1

B-1140 Brussels

Title: Call for Proposals DG ENV: ENV/2017/CFP/MAES-OR-OCT

Applications sent by fax or e-mail will not be accepted.

Contacts

For any questions please contact: ENV-MAES-OROCT@ec.europa.eu 

 



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