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Renewing the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism - EuropeAid/161042/DH/ACT/Multi
Deadline: 22 Jan 2019   - 3 days

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 Disadvantaged People
 Humanitarian Aid
 Citizenship
 Gender Equality
 Victims of Torture
 Minority groups
 Justice
 Violence
 Human Rights

1.1. Background

Effective support for human rights and their defenders in situations where they are most at risk has been a European Union (EU) longstanding priority and a priority of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) since 2007. It is a key priority under the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, adopted in June 2012, and of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy "Keeping Human Rights at the heart of the EU agenda" (2015-2019).

The Regulation (EU) No 235/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a financing instrument for democracy and human rights worldwide for 2014-2020, reinforces the commitment to support human rights and their defenders at risk. It foresees a Human Rights Defenders Mechanism, including support for, protection of and long-term assistance and access to shelter for human rights defenders (Article 2.1(b) (iii).

The EIDHR Regulation makes of this commitment one of the strategic orientations in delivering on the purpose of the EIDHR. Indeed, its “Objective 1 –Support to human rights and human rights defenders in situations where they are most at risk” states that “actions will provide effective support to human rights defenders (HRDs) that are most at risk and to situations where fundamental freedoms are most endangered. The EIDHR will inter alia contribute to meeting HRDs’ urgent needs; it will also provide medium and long-term support that will enable HRDs and civil society to carry out their work. The actions will take into account the current worrying trend of the shrinking space for civil society”.

The EIDHR Multiannual Action Plan 2018-2020 foresees a call on “Renewing a comprehensive Human Rights Defenders Mechanism” (Annex 1). It aims at ensuring efficient and multifaceted assistance, including urgent support to human rights defenders (HRDs) in the field 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, medium and long-term support to HRDs. It intends, in particular, to ensure synergies between the different forms of support, continuity in the provision of protection, and optimal coordination with other stakeholders and activities.

The action financed under this call will be in line with the EU Guidelines on HRDs adopted by the Council of the European Union in 2004 and revised in 2008, and all other relevant human rights policy documents. This call for proposals is fully consistent with the European Consensus on Development and the EU's response to the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The Consensus reiterates the EU and its Members States commitment to the principles of EU external action, set out in Article 21(1) of the TEU: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. 

The proposals submitted under this call should respect the rights-based methodology. The European Consensus on Development commits the EU and its Member States to implementing a rights-based approach (RBA) to development cooperation, encompassing all human rights. It thereby reinforces the EU's commitment to an RBA as outlined in the 2012 EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy, the 2014 Tool-box "A Rights-Based Approach, Encompassing All Human Rights, for EU Development Cooperation"[1], and the respective Council Conclusions. In addition, the EIDHR Regulation[2] stipulates that in its implementation, the EU shall apply a Rights-Based Approach (RBA) encompassing all human rights, whether civil, political, economic, social or cultural. Therefore, all proposals under this call for proposals shall be designed according to a Rights-Based Approach. The five working principles, applying all rights, participation and access to decision making, non-discrimination and equal access, accountability and access to rule of law and transparency and access to information, should be implemented as appropriate in relation to any proposed project.

Furthermore, gender equality is an integral part of the RBA, encompassing the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights. Gender equality constitutes a fundamental human rights principle and a common value of the European Union (EU Treaties, EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020). Each selected proposal will have to report against relevant "SMART" sex-disaggregated indicators mentioned in the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 (especially priority D: "Political and civil rights", Indicators 17.1 and following; e.g. number of women Human Rights Defenders having received support). 

 

​​​​​​​1.2. Objectives of the programme and priority issues 

The global objective of this call for proposals is renewing the EU multifaceted human rights defenders mechanism led by a consortium of specialised organisations with worldwide coverage addressing the most difficult situations faced by human rights defenders.

The specific objectives of this call for proposals are:

(i) to enable HRDs at risk (individuals, groups and organisations) to carry out their work and enhance their protection through EU multifaceted support worldwide;

 (ii) to enhance temporary relocation and shelter capacities for HRDs in most difficult situations, including rest and respite, and support to their subsequent return or integration;

(iii) to strengthen the coordination and synergy with other actors and initiatives supporting HRDs, including those funded by the EIDHR.

Renewing the EU comprehensive human rights defenders mechanism is additional and complementary to other support to HRDs provided by the EIDHR. It is also to be seen in addition to the support provided by potential applicants with other sources of funding and their own funds. Coordination and complementarity should be ensured in order to avoid duplication.

​​​​​​​1.2.1. Priorities

This call addresses three specific objectives as mentioned above. The future HRDs mechanism shall provide support to human rights defenders in most difficult situations, enabling them to continue operating in countries where they work. When the situation becomes too dangerous or difficult, the EU HRDs mechanism will support temporary relocation of human rights defenders away from danger and thereby enhance shelter capacities. The mechanism should also deploy efforts to reach out to, coordinate and create synergies with other actors and initiatives supporting HRDs. 

The EU HRDs mechanism will focus on the most difficult situations and on HRDs who are most at risk:

  • ♣ HRDs in those countries and regions where they are most subject to repression.
  • ♣ Forgotten and disenfranchised HRDs (e.g. members of marginalised communities, HRDs deprived of their rights, imprisoned HRDs).
  • ♣ Women HRDs.
  • ♣ HRDs working in remote areas.
  • ♣ Groups of HRDs which are most targeted and vulnerable, amongst others land rights and environmental rights defenders, HRDs who defend the rights of indigenous peoples and persons belonging to ethnic, religious or belief, sexual or other minorities, HRDs combatting impunity for serious human rights violations and working on transitional justice, HRDs whose work goes against mainstream views. In some contexts, trade unionists promoting labour rights, lawyers and journalists are particularly targeted. This list does not exclude the possibility to focus on other categories of HRDs.

Priority 1: Providing multiform support to HRDs most at risk on short, medium and long-term

The EU HRDs mechanism will be composed of urgent, medium and long-term support to HRDs at risk enabling them to continue operating and to protect their existence in their country of work. The elements expected to be part of the mechanism are the following: urgent assistance and measures aimed to counter immediate danger and/or addressing emergency needs of human rights defenders and their families while they are risk; assistance to HRD groups and organisations facing severe restrictions and obstacles to operate; strategies, actions and follow-up relevant to human rights defenders facing continuous risks and threats, such as lengthy trial and detention, as well as shrinking working environment (see detailed activities in 1.2.3.). 

Further to the obstacles that they face as human rights defenders, women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are confronted with gender-based attacks and prejudice, such as sexual violence, hate speech, threats on family members and hostility from their families or communities. WHRDs therefore have specific protection needs. However, WHRDs experience unequal access to resources, networks and protection mechanisms. The EU HRDs mechanism will design and implement tailored strategy and actions to answer to the needs of women human rights defenders and empower them to benefit from it. Particular vulnerability and needs of Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) activists will also be considered.

Priority 2: Providing for enhanced temporary relocation and shelter capacities for HRDs 

The EU HRDs mechanism will be able to answer to the growing relocation needs of human rights defenders, as their situation and conditions of work become increasingly difficult and dangerous, although relocation is envisaged as a last resort measure. HRDs need assistance when benefiting from temporary relocation at the national, regional and international level. In other cases, there is also the need to accompany the HRD for longer-term relocation, i.e. HRDs facing risks of being subjected to human rights violations in case they return. Special attention should be given to families of HRDs in this regard.

In the framework of the relocation process, the EU HRDs mechanism will cooperate and establish strong partnerships within and outside the consortium with a view to direct HRDs to existing shelters, to make sure that they benefit from medical treatment, rehabilitation, psycho-social assistance and rest and respite as needed, to ensure that HRDs can be active in their field of expertise while being relocated and receive relevant training and education to improve their skills, to help them enhancing contacts and networks, to assist HRDs relocating on a long-term basis to find ways for sustainable living, to accompany HRDs in returning to their country of origin when possible and support social-economic reintegration in this respect. 

The EU HRDs mechanism will play an important role in supporting shelter initiatives, in particular those answering to relocation needs at the regional level.

Priority 3: Ensuring coordination and outreach

The project will ensure added value with existing initiatives, avoiding duplication with on-going programmes/projects and enhancing synergies, including with relevant human rights protection mechanisms and HRDs in the diaspora. The application should include a description on how complementarity will be achieved, in particular with other EIDHR funded activities, other EU projects and projects targeting HRDs from other donors. 

The applicants must prove their collective capacity and track-record to ensure a comprehensive worldwide coverage encompassing the five continents, including in remote areas. The action will take place outside of the European Union, except for part of the temporary relocation component, some coordination and advocacy activities, and any other activity in the EU will be eligible only if duly justified.

For all priorities, the project will be open and ensure wide outreach to grass-roots organisations, local civil society organisations and activists, inter-alia via financial support to third parties and a communication and outreach strategy. The application should entail a description of the outreach strategy and provide a clear committing methodology on opening access to activities to non-affiliates of the applicant and co-applicants.

The applicants will be evaluated on (i) their aggregated experience and proven capacity to achieve the various objectives and priorities 1, 2 and 3 and (ii) their proposed methodology to deliver on each component, sub-component and activity expected to be part of the HRD Mechanism. All these elements will be evaluated both in the Concept Note and Full Application evaluation grids.

Please note that if all three above mentioned priorities are not part of the project proposal, the proposal will be rejected.

 

​​​​​​​1.2.2. Expected results

Taking into account the difficult context in which the action will take place, expected results under this call are:

  • • Fast, continuous and multiform 24/7 EU response to support HRDs at risk
  • • Improved resilience and skills of HRDs at risk.
  • • Improved awareness about the need to open the space to independent civil society actors, including HRDs
  • • Increased recognition of the need for protection and rehabilitation for HRDs at risk at national, regional and international level
  • • Enhanced coordination between HRD initiatives and actors, as well as more effective networks at local, country, regional and international levels
  • • Strengthened temporary relocation systems and shelter initiatives
  • • Increased security and safety of HRDs and improved working environment enabling them to operate, including through the production of positive narratives on HRDs and their work

 

1.2.3 Components, sub-components and activities

The HRDs Mechanism and its budget must be organised around three key components:

(i) Multi-faceted support to HRDs at risk and their families, enabling them to work safely, including emergency assistance;

(ii) Relocation of HRDs away from danger and support to shelter capacities;

(iii) Training/outreach, advocacy, and coordination/synergies.

Please note that if all three above mentioned components are not part of the project proposal, the proposal will be rejected.

Applicants are requested to ensure that the action foresees the necessary human, financial and material resources for the implementation of the components, sub-components and activities in the budget. 

For components (i) and (ii), applicants need to differentiate between (a) financial support to third parties and (b) direct material support to HRDs. Both financial support to third parties and direct material support to HRDs are an essential part of the Human Rights Defenders Mechanism and must figure prominently in the project proposal. It will enable the implementation of the protection activities, support to local organisations and temporary relocation. For more details, see below section 2.1.4.

The proposal should contain short, medium and long-term activities further described in the components and sub-components.

Short term support to HRDs will include, in complementarity with the EIDHR emergency fund: permanent helpline for HRDs (24h/7), physical and digital protection, urgent relocation, medical support and rehabilitation, legal support, support to families, basic subsistence, urgent monitoring and reporting, urgent demarches, lifeline support to human rights organisations.

Medium-term support to HRDs will include: follow-up of individual cases, trial and prison monitoring, training on risk prevention and security, temporary relocation and support to shelter initiatives.

Long-term support to HRDs will include: supporting coordination and synergies, legal support during lengthy judicial procedures, improving accountability and access to both judicial and non-judicial remedies against impunity, monitoring of HRDs situation and early warning, access to networks, strategies to counter restrictions and sanctions, in particular on defamation, funding and criminalisation issues, advocacy for pro-HRDs legislative frameworks.

This list is not exhaustive. However, the types of activities listed above are compulsory part of the action. For more information on the respective weight expected for each type of support, see below.

(i) Component 1 - Multi-faceted support to HRDs at risk and their families, enabling them to work safely, including emergency assistance

Support to HRDs in the field must have two distinctive sub-components:

Sub-component 1: Emergency support to HRDs up to 10,000 euros per case

This sub-component will cover inter alia physical/digital protection, medical support and rehabilitation including psychosocial support, legal support, including during lengthy judicial procedures, basic subsistence and support to families of HRDs at risk. As a last resort, emergency assistance will also cover urgent relocation of HRDs away from danger.

Tailored protection strategies and actions to address women human rights defenders and Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons’ rights activists specific needs should be a compulsory part of this sub-component, notably medical assistance and rehabilitation following gender-based violence, support to family members and to self-protection and solidarity networks focusing on women or other gender identities.

This sub-component, including as appropriate financial support to third parties and/or direct material support to HRDs, shall represent at least 25% of the total budget. At least 60% of the support under this sub-component should be allocated to HRDs and third parties without existing links to the applicants such as membership, affiliation or partnership. Exceptions to this rule may be considered and must be duly motivated.

Sub-component 2: Support to local HRD groups and organisations up to 60.000 euros

This sub-component will support local HRD groups and organisations facing severe restrictions to continue operating, for local activities linked to the priorities of this call (i.e. provision of short, medium and long term support to HRDs), including advocacy and capacity building, in particular in most difficult situations and remote areas. 

This sub-component, including as appropriate financial support to third parties and/or direct material support to HRDs, shall represent at least 20 % of the total budget. At least 60% of the support under this sub-component should be allocated to third parties without existing links to the applicants such as membership, affiliation or partnership. Exceptions to this rule may be considered and must be duly motivated.

(ii) Component 2 - Relocation of HRDs away from danger and support to shelter capacities up to 60,000 euros

This component will support relocation and shelter initiatives – notably those initiated by local actors in order to ensure sustainability – including in regions where there are none, through individual grants and capacity-building efforts. It will cover each phase of the "relocation cycle": pre-entry/identification; relocation and placement outside their country, stay and support in host country; and return and follow-up, including sustainable reintegration. 

All the stakeholders involved in relocation activities/programmes should be eligible for funding, including organisations developing yearlong programmes, cities and universities, rehabilitation centres. Members of the HRDs EU Temporary Relocation Platform should have privileged access to funding under this component 2. In order to avoid a competition for funds among NGOs, financial support should be attached to individual cases, not to cover administrative or operational costs of an organisation. Through this activity, the HRDs Mechanism will contribute to enhance shelter and receiving capacities in various ways, including financial support, provision of expertise, networking, etc. This activity will notably aim to reinforcing regional shelters, i.e. those established in the vicinity of the HRDs' country, as in many cases HRDs having to relocate outside of their country prefer to stay close to it. 

The EU HRDs Mechanism will continue its active involvement in the EU Temporary Relocation Platform – modalities of the financial support to third parties to support relocation and shelter capacities, contributing to the on-line platform and organisation of annual meetings of Platform members. 

This component including as appropriate financial support to third parties and/or direct material support to HRDs shall represent at least 30 % of the total budget. At least 60% of the support under this component should be allocated to third parties without existing links to the applicants such as membership, affiliation or partnership. Exceptions to this rule may be considered and must be duly motivated.

(iii) Component 3 - Training/outreach, advocacy, and coordination/synergies

Sub-component 1: Training, communication and outreach to HRDs at risk

Under this sub-component, applicants must provide a methodology for the following activities: 

  • • Training and capacity building strategy enabling HRDs to work safely in their country will notably focus on risk prevention and security, including proactive prevention and communication skills to counter defamatory and smear campaigns. There will be a particular effort to reach out to HRDs in remote places. The trainings and appropriate follow up should take place at local level, ensuring as much as possible a worldwide coverage.
  • • Ensuring confidentiality of sensitive activities performed under the project.
  • • The communication strategy of the HRDs Mechanism, its promotion and ensuring EU visibility, including communication on financial support to third parties and on direct material support to HRDs.
  • • An outreach strategy to ensure the project will benefit to the largest possible number of HRDs and grassroots organisations worldwide, in particular the most vulnerable HRDs and those working in remote areas. Outreach activities should also aim at empowering WHRDs to benefit from protection mechanisms available.
  • • Permanent helpline for HRDs (24h/7). The helpline should be operational in at least five languages (Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish), provide information on the different types of HRDs support that can be offered by the Mechanism and translate into the mobilisation of immediate support and action. 
      • Sub-component 2: Monitoring, advocacy and coordination/synergies

Under this sub-component, applicants must provide a methodology for at least all the following activities: 

  • • Urgent monitoring and reporting, urgent demarches
  • • Strategies to counter restrictions, sanctions and negative narratives, in particular on defamation, funding and criminalisation issues
  • • Monitoring of HRDs situation and early warning
  • • Trial and prison monitoring
  • • Follow-up of individual cases
  • • Advocacy for pro-HRDs legislative and policy frameworks• Coordination with other actors active on Human Rights Defenders, including yearly coordination meetings of EIDHR beneficiaries and other relevant actors supporting HRDs (multilateral human rights protection mechanisms, National Human Rights Institutes (NHRIs), regional mechanisms, rehabilitation centres, etc.) in close consultation with the European Commission
  • • Coordination with the European Commission services, including regular meetings and exchanges on financial support to third parties and direct material support to HRDs.

This component including as appropriate financial support to third parties and/or direct material support to HRDs shall represent at least 25 % of the total budget.

The table below summarises the mandatory elements of the EU Human Rights Defenders Mechanism. 

 

In order to allow an easy verification of the distribution of the budget as per the requirements summed up in the diagram above, in addition to the standard global budget of the Action (Annex B), applicants must provide a detailed budget for each of the five mandatory elements (sub-components 1 and 2 of component 1; component 2; sub-components 1 and 2 of component 3). See section 2.1.6. of the Grant Full Application Form.

 

1.3. Financial allocation provided by the contracting authority

The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 15,000,000 from the general budget of the European Union for 2019, subject to the availability of appropriations following the adoption of the relevant budget.

The contracting authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.

Only one contract will be awarded under this call. 

Size of grants:

Any requested UE contribution under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum maximum amounts:

    • • Minimum amount: EUR 14,000,000
    • • Maximum amount: EUR 15,000,000

Any grant requested under this call for proposals cannot exceed the following maximum percentage of total eligible costs of the action:

    • • Minimum percentage: 50 % of the total eligible costs of the action.
    • • Maximum percentage: 95 % 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 general budget of the Union 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 on the internet at this address http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en).

2.1. Eligibility criteria

There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:

  1. (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);
  1. (2) the actions:

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

  1. (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 a specific type of organisation such as: 
  • • be non-profit-making and

(a) civil society organisations, including private-sector non-profit agencies, institutions and organisations and networks thereof at local, national, regional and international level;

(b) National Human Rights Institutions, Ombudspersons; 

(c) Universities 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.

NB : please note that international organisation as defined by Article 43 of the rules of application of the EU Financial Regulation are not eligible under this call for proposals.

No nationality restriction applies to applicants and to co-applicants and affiliated entities.

 

(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 2.6.10.1 of the Practical Guide;

Lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entities and, in case of legal entities, persons who have powers of representation, decision-making or control over the lead applicant, the co-applicants and the affiliated entities are informed that, should they be in one of the situations of early detection or exclusion according to Section 2.6.10.1 of the practical guide, personal details (name, given name if natural person, address, legal form and name and given name of the persons with powers of representation, decision-making or control, if legal person) may be registered in the early detection and exclusion system, and communicated to the persons and entities concerned in relation to the award or the execution of a grant contract. 

 

In Annex A.2, section 5 (‘declaration(s) 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 coordinate the design and implementation of the action.

Please note that as per Article 1.6 of the "General conditions" – Annex II to the Standard Grant Contract (Annex G to the present Guidelines), the Coordinator has full financial responsibility for ensuring that the Action is implemented in accordance with this Contract.

In other words, if ineligible costs are identified at any time of the implementation period of the project, the Contracting Authority will only turn to the Coordinator to reclaim any sum unduly paid including the costs incurred in awarding financial support to third parties and direct material support to HRDs.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to the Coordinator to take all necessary measures to guarantee the eligibility of funds allocated as financial support and direct material support to HRDs by itself, its co-applicants or affiliated entities.

Please note that according to section 2.9 of Annex VII to the Standard Grant Contract:

“Financial support to third parties is provided for by the contractual conditions and its amount does not exceed the contractual limits.

The expenditure incurred by the third parties meets the relevant eligibility requirements. In particular, it was incurred by and pertains to the third party, during the contractual eligibility period, is necessary for the implementation of the contractual activities and is identifiable and verifiable.”

Co-applicant(s)

The lead applicant must act with at least five co-applicants, with a view to ensure adequate and specialised geographic (i.e. of each region) and thematic (i.e. groups of HRDs) coverage. The applicants will be evaluated on their aggregated proven capacity to deliver on the three priorities of this call for proposals.

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 himself.

Co-applicants must sign the mandate in Annex A.2., section 5.

(3) Applicants included in the lists of EU restrictive measures (see Section 2.4. of the PRAG) at the moment of the award decision cannot be awarded the contract.

If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicant(s) will become beneficiary(ies) in the action (together with the coordinator) 

Please note that all information encoded in PROSPECT must be exhaustive and in line with the content of the concept note. The administrative check will be performed taking into consideration only the information available in PROSPECT in sections 1 - contact, 2 - project and 3 – co-applicants. Please make sure that there are no inconsistencies between the information in PROSPECT and those in the concept note text.

 

2.1.2. Affiliated entities

The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies).

Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):

Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.

This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:

(i) Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:

Entities affiliated to an applicant may hence be:

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

(ii) Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.

The structural link shall as a general rule be neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation. This means that the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the action.

By way of exception, an entity may be considered as affiliated to an applicant even if it has a structural link specifically established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action in the case of so-called ‘sole applicants’ or ‘sole beneficiaries’. A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which together comply with the criteria for being awarded the grant. For example, an association is formed by its members.

    1. What is not an affiliated entity? 

The following are not considered entities affiliated to an applicant:

  • - Entities that have entered into a (procurement) contract or subcontract with an applicant, act as concessionaires or delegates for public services for an applicant,
  • - Entities that receive financial support from the applicant,
  • - Entities that cooperate on a regular basis with an applicant on the basis of a memorandum of understanding or share some assets,
  • - 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.

Note that the fact of having a structural link with the lead applicant does not prevent an organisation from being co-applicant in the partnership. It is the lead applicant's decision to define the role of the actors composing its partnership and implementing the action: co-applicants or affiliated entities.

 

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’. 

• 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 shall be 36 months.

Sectors or themes

Specific sectors or themes to which the actions must relate are described in section 1.2.

Location

The action must cover all countries of the world. The applicants must prove their collective capacity and experience to ensure a comprehensive worldwide coverage encompassing the five continents, including in remote areas. The action will take place outside of the European Union, except for part of the temporary relocation component, some coordination and advocacy activities, and any other activity if duly justified.

Types of action

The types of action which may be financed under this call are described in section 1.2. 

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 supporting individual political parties;
  • • actions including proselytism.

Types of activity

The types of activities which may be financed under this call are described in section 1.2.3. 

Financial support to third parties and direct material support to HRDs

Applicants must propose financial support to third parties and direct material support to HRDs, which are at the core of the action, in order to help achieving the objectives of the action.

Third parties are to be understood as entities that are neither applicants, nor co-applicants, nor affiliates, nor associates nor contractors in the project.

The maximum amount of financial support per third party is EUR 60 000. Minimum reporting criteria will include a narrative report for financial support up to 10 000 euros, and both a narrative and financial report for financial support up to 60 000 euros.

The maximum amount of direct material/emergency support to HRDs per third party is EUR 10 000. Direct material support to HRDs will be backed by receipts, bills, proofs of transfer and any other document justifying the expenses.

 

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

  1. (i) the objectives and results to be obtained with the financial support and direct material support
  2. (ii) the different types of activities eligible for financial support and direct material support, on the basis of a fixed list
  3. (iii) the types of entity, persons or categories of persons which may receive financial support and direct material support

(iv) the criteria for selecting these entities and giving the financial support and direct material support

  1. (v) the criteria for determining the exact amount of financial support and direct material support for each third entity
  2. (vi) the maximum amount which may be given, and
  3. (vii) the system of control set up to verify the eligibility of costs.

To ensure equality of treatment among third parties, at least 60% of the financial support and direct material support should be allocated to third parties without existing links to the applicants such as membership, affiliation or partnership.

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.

Indicative and non-exhaustive examples of award of financial support include: organisation by the applicants of "calls for proposals" for which third parties may present applications for a project which can be awarded financial support; assistance for human rights organisations in need of temporary financial support to ensure its operational functioning; urgent support to human rights defenders or civil society organisations in the form of cash with receipts when the ordinary transfer of funds is not feasible, etc.

Applicants will provide any kind of assistance to human rights defenders (financial, medical, legal, material, technical, etc.) which will be considered as ordinary eligible expenses. Examples of the use of this tool include: purchasing of equipment, IT and other types of technological or office material for local organisations or individuals; acquisition of window bars, alarms and other infrastructure necessary to secure organization's premises or human rights defenders' homes; coverage of medical or legal fees of individual defenders, financial support to relatives of imprisoned defenders, financial coverage of logistic expenses for defenders to travel around their countries to monitor human rights violations or to attend conferences or workshops, evacuation of HRDs from their countries, etc.

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).

When judged necessary, the visibility requirements of projects financed under this call may be removed or limited due to the total or partial confidentiality of the action and/or safety of beneficiaries. In this case, the applicant is required to duly justify this requirement in their application.

Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities

An organisation may not be participating more than once in the present call for proposals as lead applicant, co-applicant or affiliated entity. Should this be the case, the EC will only consider the first proposal arrived (based on the date and hour of submission) and any other additional proposal will be rejected. It is the responsibility of each lead applicant to verify that its co-applicants and affiliated entities (if any) are not involved as lead applicant, co-applicant or affiliated entity in other proposals.

 

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.
  • flat-rate financing: covering specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by applying a percentage fixed ex ante.
  • lump sums: covering in global terms all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance.

 

Simplified costs options (SCOs) are divided in two categories:

1/ "output or result based SCOs": this category includes costs linked to outputs, results, activities, deliverables in the framework of a specific project (for example the determination of a lump sum for the organization of a conference, or for the realisation of a determined output/activity). Where possible and appropriate, lump sums, unit costs or flat rates shall be determined in such a way to allow their payment upon achievement of concrete outputs and/or results. This type of SCO can be proposed by the Beneficiary (no threshold is applicable) at proposal's stage. In case the evaluation committee and the contracting authority are not satisfied with the quality of the justification provided reimbursement on the basis of actually incurred costs is always possible.

2/ "other/recurrent SCOs". This second category entails simplified cost options embedded in the accounting practices of the beneficiary, for which an ex-ante assessment is deemed necessary, considering the need of a consistent application of the conditions required. Examples are: an additional percentage on actual salaries to cover remuneration-related costs or the use of an allocation method to apportion costs of a project office foreseen in the Description of the Action. In order the use of systemic/recurrent SCOs, the beneficiary's accounting practices need to have been positively assessed by an audit firm based on standard ToRs provided by the Commission. To obtain reimbursement of this category of SCOs, the beneficiary shall make reference to the previously obtained ex-ante assessment in the budget justification sheet (annex e3c).

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). Determining SCO is possible also through ‘expert judgement’ provided by internally available experts or procured in accordance with the applicable rules. Experts must be either commissioned auditors or chartered accountants, or staff of the Commission but cannot be staff of the beneficiary. 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 the details of the procedure to be followed depending on the type and amount of the costs to be declared as SCO.

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’, ‘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 for output or result based SCO.
  • − clearly explain the formulas for calculation of the final eligible amount for output or result based SCO
  • − make reference to the previously obtained ex-ante assessment for other/recurrent SCOs.

In case of output or result based SCOs the evaluation committee and the contracting authority decide 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. In case the evaluation committee and the contracting authority are not satisfied with the quality of the justification provided reimbursement on the basis of actually incurred costs is always possible.

No threshold is set ex-ante for the total amount of financing that can be authorised by the contracting authority on the basis of simplified cost options. Other/recurrent SCOs can be declared only if previously successfully ex-ante assessed.

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).

Direct costs related to the financial support to third parties and direct material support to HRDs must also be incurred during the implementation period of the grant contract issued from the present Call for Proposals. (Please refer to Article 14.1. a) (i) of the "General Conditions" – Annex II to the Standard Grant Contract (Annex G to the present 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 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 normally 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.

 

Ethics clauses and Code of Conduct

a) Absence of conflict of interest

The applicant must not be affected by any conflict of interest and must have no equivalent relation in that respect with other applicants or parties involved in the actions. Any attempt by an applicant to obtain confidential information, enter into unlawful agreements with competitors or influence the evaluation committee or the contracting authority during the process of examining, clarifying, evaluating and comparing applications will lead to the rejection of its application and may result in administrative penalties according to the Financial Regulation in force.

b) Respect for human rights as well as environmental legislation and core labour standards

The applicant and its staff must comply with human rights. In particular and in accordance with the applicable act, applicants who have been awarded contracts must comply with the environmental legislation including multilateral environmental agreements, and with the core labour standards as applicable and as defined in the relevant International Labour Organisation conventions (such as the conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining; elimination of forced and compulsory labour; abolition of child labour).

Zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and sexual abuse:

The European Commission applies a policy of 'zero tolerance' in relation to all wrongful conduct which has an impact on the professional credibility of the applicant.  

Physical abuse or punishment, or threats of physical abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, harassment and verbal abuse, as well as other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited. 

c) Anti-corruption and anti-bribery 

The applicant shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations and codes relating to anti-bribery and anti-corruption. The European Commission reserves the right to suspend or cancel project financing if corrupt practices of any kind are discovered at any stage of the award process or during the execution of a contract and if the contracting authority fails to take all appropriate measures to remedy the situation. For the purposes of this provision, ‘corrupt practices’ are the offer of a bribe, gift, gratuity or commission to any person as an inducement or reward for performing or refraining from any act relating to the award of a contract or execution of a contract already concluded with the contracting authority.

d) Unusual commercial expenses 

Applications will be rejected or contracts terminated if it emerges that the award or execution of a contract has given rise to unusual commercial expenses. Such unusual commercial expenses are commissions not mentioned in the main contract or not stemming from a properly concluded contract referring to the main contract, commissions not paid in return for any actual and legitimate service, commissions remitted to a tax haven, commissions paid to a payee who is not clearly identified or commissions paid to a company which has every appearance of being a front company.

Grant beneficiaries found to have paid unusual commercial expenses on projects funded by the European Union are liable, depending on the seriousness of the facts observed, to have their contracts terminated or to be permanently excluded from receiving EU/EDF funds.

e) Error, irregularities or fraud

The contracting authority reserves the right to suspend or cancel the procedure, where the award procedure proves to have been subject to substantial errors, irregularities or fraud. If substantial errors, irregularities or fraud are discovered after the award of the contract, the contracting authority may refrain from concluding the contract.

 

​​​​​​​2.2. How to apply and the procedures to follow

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

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

Concept note step: Registration is obligatory for lead applicants.  

Full application step: Registration is obligatory for co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies). Lead applicants must make sure that their PADOR profile is up to date. 

 

II. Provide information about the action in the documents listed under sections 2.2.2 (concept note) 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 2.2.3 and 2.2.7). 

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. 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. 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 add, replace or remove a co-applicant or an affiliated entity only in duly justified cases (e.g. bankruptcy of initial co-applicant or affiliated entity). In case of replacement, 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/adjustments shall be included in section 2.1.1(iv) of the grant application form. The validity of the justification will be examined by the Evaluation Committee. Should the justification not be deemed valid, the proposal may be rejected on that sole basis.

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. 

Hand-written concept notes will not be accepted.

​​​​​​​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. 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. 

 

Please note that "technical reasons" should be understood ONLY in a situation when PROSPECT is not responding. Paper submission when PROSPECT is working may lead to the rejection of the application.

The validity of the submission off-line will be examined by the Evaluation Committee. 

The envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, together with the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’.

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. 

Submission off-line for technical reasons should not be mixed up with paper submission for confidentiality reasons (please see below).

NB: In exceptional cases, when the applicants do not find it appropriate to send the Concept Note through PROSPECT due to security and confidentiality concerns of the actors involved, Concept Notes can instead be submitted in a sealed envelope by registered mail with delivery confirmation, private courier service or by hand-delivery at the address below (a signed and dated acknowledgement of receipt will be given by the European Commission). The fact that the proposal is sent due to security and confidentiality concerns should also be made clear in the envelope. When the organizations involved in the proposal do not find it appropriate to register in PADOR online due to security and confidentiality concerns, they 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 2.2.3 and 2.2.7.). 

Postal address

European Commission
Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development
Unit DEVCO B6 Finance and Contracts
Attn. Head of Unit L-41 03/110
Avenue du Bourget, 1
B-1049 Brussels
BELGIUM

Address for hand delivery or by private courier service

European Commission
Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development
Unit DEVCO B6 Finance and Contracts
Attn. Head of Unit L-41 03/110
Central Mail Service
Avenue du Bourget, 1
B-1140 Brussels (Evere)
BELGIUM

Tel : +32 2 2997916 

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 at January 22, 2019, at 16:00 Brussels time. In order to convert this deadline to local time you can use any online time converter tool that takes into account time zones and winter/summer time changes (example available here). 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 16:00 Brussels time as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt.

Any concept note submitted after the deadline will be rejected.

However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may also reject any concept note sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the concept note evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2).

​​​​​​​2.2.4. Further information about concept notes

Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of concept notes to the address(es) below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:

EuropeAid-161042@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). Lead applicants should then keep strictly to the format of the grant application form and fill in the paragraphs and pages in order.

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 complete the full application form carefully and as clearly as possible so that it can be assessed properly. 

Hand-written applications will not be accepted.

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 add, replace or remove a co-applicant or an affiliated entity only in duly justified cases (e.g. bankruptcy of initial co-applicant or affiliated entity). In case of replacement, 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/adjustments shall be included in section 2.1.1(iv) of the full application form. The validity of the justification will be examined by the Evaluation Committee. Should the justification not be deemed valid, the proposal may be rejected on that sole basis.

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) and of the external audit report must be uploaded in PADOR by the full application deadline. A copy of the latest accounts and external audit report 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. 

(a) If the lead applicant submitted the concept note by post / hand delivery (see section 2.2.3) it must send the full application by the same means (by post or hand delivery). 

(b) If the lead applicant submitted the concept note online via PROSPECT but it is technically impossible for the organisation to submit the full application online.

In the above two cases the lead applicant must send by post the application, i.e the full application form, the budget, the logical framework and the declaration by the lead applicant. The lead applicant must send, in a sealed envelope as described below, the following items:

a. One original signed copy of the full application form, the budget and the logical framework. The declaration by the lead applicant and the mandate(s) by the co-applicant(s) (Annex A.2, section 5) must be printed and stapled separately and enclosed in the envelope.

b. 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. 

Postal address

European Commission
Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development
Unit DEVCO B6 Finance and Contracts
Attn. Head of Unit L-41 03/110
Avenue du Bourget, 1
B-1049 Brussels
BELGIUM

Address for hand delivery or by private courier service

European Commission
Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development
Unit DEVCO B6 Finance and Contracts
Attn. Head of Unit L-41 03/110
Central Mail Service
Avenue du Bourget, 1
B-1140 Brussels (Evere)
BELGIUM

Tel : +32 2 2997916 

The envelope must bear the reference number and the title of the call for proposals, the full name and address of the lead applicant, and the words ‘Not to be opened before the opening session’.

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

Please note that incomplete applications may be rejected. Lead applicants are advised to verify that their application is complete using the checklist (Annex A.2, Instructions).

 

2.2.7 Deadline for submission of full applications 

The deadline for the submission of full applications will be indicated in the letter sent to the lead applicants whose application has been pre-selected. This letter will appear online automatically in the PROSPECT profile of the lead applicant. Lead applicants who, in exceptional cases (see section 2.2.6) had to submit their application by post or hand-delivery, will receive the letter by email or by post if no e-mail address was provided.

Lead applicants are strongly advised not to wait until the last day to submit their full applications, since heavy Internet traffic or a fault with the Internet connection (including electricity failure, etc.) could lead to difficulties in submission. The Contacting Authority cannot be held responsible for any delay due to such afore-mentioned difficulties. 

In the case of submission by post, (see section 2.2.6), the date of submission is evidenced by the date of dispatch, the postmark or the date of the deposit slip. In the case of hand-deliveries, the deadline for receipt is at 16:00 Brussels time  as evidenced by the signed and dated receipt.

Any application submitted after the deadline will be rejected. 

However, for reasons of administrative efficiency, the Contracting Authority may also reject any full application sent in due time but received after the effective date of approval of the full application evaluation (see indicative calendar under section 2.5.2). 

2.2.8 Further information about full applications 

Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 21 days before the deadline for the submission of full applications to the addresses listed below, indicating clearly the reference of the call for proposals:

EuropeAid-161042@ec.europa.eu

The Contracting Authority has no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this date.

Replies will be given no later than 11 days before the deadline for the submission of applications. 

To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the Contracting Authority cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of lead applicants, co-applicants, affiliated entity(ies), or an action.

No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the evaluation procedure, will be published on the EuropeAid website https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm?do=publi.welcome, as appropriate. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.

All 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.

 



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