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Second Year Pilot Project - Mapping and Assessing the state of Ecosystems and their Services in the Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories: establishing links and pooling resources
Deadline: 30 Apr 2019   - 66 days

EU logo mono EC - DG Environment

 Forest Resources
 Marine and Coast
 Eco-Innovation
 Natural Resources
 Environment
 Environmental protection
 Environmental Law
 Pollution

Reference: ENV/2019/CFP/MAES-OR-OCT 2

1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND

Legal basis: Pilot project within the meaning of Article 54(2)(a) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012.

This open Call for Proposals implements the second year 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 Strategy1 '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 initiative2 which is supported – inter alia – by the Joint research Centre (JRC)3, the European Environment Agency (EEA)4 and the co-ordination support action ESMERALDA5 (Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking) funded under the Horizon2020. ESMERALDA has delivered a flexible methodology to provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments. In the frame of the BEST initiative6 regional ecosystem profiles7 for the EU's Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories have been developed. NETBIOME8 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.

 

2. OBJECTIVE(S) – THEME(S) – PRIORITIES

The selected project shall provide a further tangible contribution to the EU MAES initiative to support regional policy in overseas Europe by mobilising stakeholders and pooling resources and by demonstrating the feasibility and the added value of a bottom- up approach, involving and empowering local actors.

It shall complement and expand the activities of the on-going project MOVE9, strengthening links and capitalising on on-going work allowing further testing and implementation of the MAES methodology in different regions of the world as Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories are located in the Caribbean, implementing the first year pilot project.

 

Pacific, Indian Ocean, Amazon, South Altantic, Macaronesian, polar and subpolar regions, providing methodologies and good practice guidelines, testing the IUCN Red

list for ecosystems10 in the EU's ORs and OCTs as a tool and source of information for an operational implementation 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 mapping and assessing marine ecosystem services as well the RED List of ecosystem efforts for marine and coastal ecosystems and the evolution of their valuable services.

It shall involve policymakers, researchers and civil society in the development of methodologies for mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems and their services in outermost regions (ORs) and overseas countries and territories (OCTs).

The selected project is aimed at:

1. supporting regional biodiversity policy in overseas Europe: further mobilising stakeholders, strengthening and pooling resources financed under the first year of the pilot project, the project will aim at assessing the state of the art of the MAES within the participating overseas entities, making an inventory and confirming and substantiating the human and material capacities present in each of them;

2. building on the work carried out in the frame of the NETBIOME networks and the BEST (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of European overseas) initiative and the IUCN Red list for ecosystems;

3. identifying and analysing further case studies in specific regions on which to focus the work of dedicated teams of local experts, policymakers and civil society members pooled from across the OR and OCTs.

 

3. TIMETABLE

(a) Publication of the call

January 2019

(b) Deadline for submitting applications

Tuesday 30th April 2019 17h00 Brussels local time

(c) Evaluation period

May - June 2019

(d) Information to applicants

July - August 2019

(e) Signature of grant agreement

October - November 2019

 

4. BUDGET AVAILABLE

The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under this call for proposals is estimated at EUR 1.500.000.

The maximum grant will be EUR 1.500.000 The Commission expects to fund 1 proposal.

10 https://iucnrle.org/

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

 

5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

In order to be admissible, applications must be:

  •   sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3;

  •   submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application form available at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/funding/grants_en.htm;

  •   drafted in one of the EU official languages.
    Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to rejection of the application.

 

6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

6.1. Eligible applicants

Proposals may be submitted by any of the following applicants:

  •   non-profit organisation (private or public);

  •   public authorities (national, regional, local);

  •   international organisations;

  •   universities;

  •   educational institutions;

  •   research centres;

  •   profit making entities.

Natural persons are not eligible.

Country of establishment

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

Multi-beneficiary/Consortium requirements

In order to be eligible, a proposal must be submitted by a consortium composed of at least two legal entities.

Supporting documents

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 establishing the public-law entity ;
  • 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.

For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.17 of the grant agreement.

6.2.

Eligible activities

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

  •   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 36 and 48 calendar months.

 

7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA

7.1. Exclusion

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, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended, or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under EU or 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 applicable law;

(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 intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

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

  2. (ii)  entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;

  3. (iii)  violating intellectual property rights;

  4. (iv)  attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission during the award procedure;

  5. (v)  attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

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

    1. (i)  fraud, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

    2. (ii)  corruption, as defined in Article 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 or 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, or conduct referred to in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, or corruption as defined in the applicable law;

    3. (iii)  conduct related to a criminal organisation, as referred to in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

    4. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing within the meaning of Article 1(3), (4) and (5) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council;

    5. (v)  terrorist 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;

    6. (vi)  child labour or other offences concerning trafficking in human beings as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  2. (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;

  3. (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;

  4. (g)  It has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that the applicant has created an entity in a different jurisdiction with the intent to circumvent fiscal, social or any other legal obligations of mandatory application in the jurisdiction of its registered office, central administration or principal place of business;

  5. (h)  it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that an entity has been created with the intent referred to in point (g);

  6. (i)  for the situations referred to in points (c) to (h) above, the applicant is subject to:

    1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by European Public Prosecutor's Office after its establishment, the Court of Auditors, the European Anti-Fraud Office or the internal auditor, 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;

    2. (ii)  non-final judgments or 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;

    3. (iii)  facts referred to in decisions of persons or entities being entrusted with EU budget implementation tasks;

    4. (iv)  information transmitted by Member States implementing Union funds;

    5. (v)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of Union competition law or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law; or

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

7.2. Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.4), it must 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 correct the conduct and prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines or of any taxes or social security contributions. 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.

7.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

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

  1. (a)  is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1; or

  2. (b)  has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information; or

  3. (c)  was previously involved in the preparation of documents used in the award procedure where this entails a breach of the principle of equal treatment, including distortion of competition, that cannot be remedied otherwise.

 

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

Administrative sanctions (exclusion) may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.

7.4. Supporting documents

Applicants and affiliated entities must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141 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:

  1. (i)  the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants and their affiliated entities; OR

  2. (ii)  each applicant in the consortium signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities; OR

  3. (iii)  each applicant in the consortium and the affiliated entities each sign a separate declaration in their own name.

 

8. SELECTION CRITERIA

8.1. 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:

a) Low value grants (≤ EUR 60.000):
 a declaration on their honour.

b) 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

c) Grants

for an action > EUR 750.000 or operating grants > EUR 100.000:

 the Financial Capacity Form in excel format (provided for in the application form), filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures, in order to calculate the ratios as detailed in the form.

  1. (i)  the information and supporting documents mentioned in point b) above, and

  2. (ii)  an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available, where such an audit report is available or whenever a statutory report is required by law.

If the audit report is not available AND a statutory report is not required by law, a self-declaration signed by the applicant's authorised representative certifying the validity of its accounts for the last financial year available must be provided.

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 Commission 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.

8.2. 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.

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.

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.

 

9. AWARD CRITERIA
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):

o complementarity and collaboration with the MOVE project;

o involvement of Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories (ORs and OCTs), as targeted areas and in terms of participation of relevant authorities;

o contribution to the MAES initiative;

o involvement of the different stakeholders and/or target groups;

o synergy with the MOVE project;

o capitalisation of BEST Ecosystem Profiles;

o experience in the implementation of IUCN Red List of Ecosystem methodology.

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

o 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;

o feasibility of the project in terms of coherence of the actions with the expected results, resources and timetable, including measures for quality;

o cost effectiveness of the proposed action. Control and risk management (max. 10 points).

Weighting and thresholds

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.

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.

 

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