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Specific Grant Agreements (SGAs) with NGOs that have concluded a LIFE Framework Partnership Agreement - LIFE-NGO-SGA-EASME-2018
Deadline: 12 Jul 2018   - 20 days

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 Forest Resources
 Natural Resources
 Environment
 Sustainable Development
 Environmental protection
 LIFE programme
 Climate Sciences
 Pollution

1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND

The LIFE Regulation1 aims “to promote better environmental governance by broadening stakeholder involvement, including NGOs, in policy consultation and implementation”. In addition, Art. 21 of the LIFE Regulation states:

Operating grants shall support certain operational and administrative costs of non-profit making entities which pursue an aim of general Union interest, are primarily active in the field of environment or climate action and are involved in the development, implementation and enforcement of Union policy and legislation.

In the framework of the LIFE Multi-annual Work Programme, in April 2017 the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (hereinafter EASME) launched an open call to conclude Framework Partnership Agreements (LIFE-NGO- FPA-EASME-2017). The aim was to select and support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in order to strengthen the participation of civil society in the dialogue process for the development and implementation of environmental and climate policies.

In line with the provisions of the Commission's Financing Decision on the implementation of the LIFE Programme2, the selected framework partners are now herewith invited to submit their 2019 annual work programme in view of being awarded with a specific operating grant for the financial year 20193.

It is thus important to highlight that the present invitation is addressed exclusively to those NGOs that have been recommended for funding and could potentially be awarded a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA).

 

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

The objective of this call for proposals is to conclude Specific Grant Agreements (SGAs) with NGOs that have previously signed a FPA in the framework of the call for proposals LIFE-NGO-FP A-EASME-2017.

The present invitation does not create any rights vis-à-vis those entities that have signed an FPA. Any such right arises only upon the entry into force of the SGA and not before. Applicants should be aware that submission of a proposal is done at their own risk and their own cost and does not mean that a SGA will be concluded.

 

The present operating grant will be awarded for the second year of the financial years covered by the FPA, i.e. 2019.

The operating grants shall support their annual operational and administrative costs in relation to their activities provided for in their annual work programme, and they will include contribution to the development, shaping and/or implementation of EU environmental and/or climate policy and legislation in the EU. The expected result is to strengthen civil society participation in the policy dialogue process. Furthermore, the objective is to promote better environmental and climate governance by broadening stakeholder involvement, including NGOs, in policy consultation and implementation (Article 12(d) of the LIFE Regulation - specific objective for the priority area Environmental Governance and Information) and Article 16(d) of the LIFE Regulation – specific objective for the priority area Climate Governance and Information.

Unlike action grants, operating grants are not aimed at funding specific projects but exclusively at supporting the operational and administrative costs of NGOs. They cover the normal operating expenses which enable the organisation to have an independent existence and implement its work programme. In view of the nature of the grant, the organisation's entire budget can be involved, unless the organisation has developed areas of activity that are not connected with the activities contributing to the implementation of the specific objective as outlined above.

The priorities for this call for proposals are the following:

  • To protect, conserve and enhance the Union’s natural capital;

  • To turn the Union into a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy;

  • T o safeguard the Union’ s citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing;

  • To increase the Union's effectiveness in addressing international climate related challenges.

These thematic objectives are developed in detail in the Environment Action Programme (EAP) for the EU entitled "Living well, within the limits of our planet", the European Commission Roadmap "Moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050" and "An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change".3

The EU contribution aims at facilitating the implementation of a work programme of the applicant NGO, which could not otherwise be implemented without the support of the European Union. The financial contribution is based on the co-financing principle. It is only a supplementary financial contribution, additional to local, regional, national and/or private contributions obtained for implementing the work programme of the NGO.

Activities outlined in the biannual strategic plans and which take place outside of the EU borders are only eligible for funding if they provide direct added value in one or more of the EU Member States for the implementation, updating or development of EU environmental and/or climate legislation.4

 

Timetable

a) Launch of the invitation to submit proposals

beginning of June

b) Deadline for submitting applications

12/07/2018 before 24:00h

Before 16:00 pm (Brussels time) for hand delivered applications

c) Evaluation period

July - September 2018 (indicative)

d) Information to applicants and revision phase

September 2018 (indicative)

e) Signature of specific grant agreement

October/November 2018 (indicative)

 

3. INDICATIVE BUDGET AVAILABLE

The total indicative budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects is estimated at EUR 11,200,000 (eleven million two hundred thousand euros) for financial year 2019. The maximum amount that may be requested and awarded per beneficiary is EUR 700,000 (seven hundred thousand euros) and it cannot exceed 60% of the total eligible costs.

Furthermore, the maximum funding that can be requested for the second financial year (2019) is limited to the same amount as the one requested for the first financial year (2018) related to the call LIFE-NGO-SGA-EASME-2017.

In case more budget becomes available, a new invitation to submit proposals might be launched to those NGOs next on the reserve list for which there would be sufficient budget. The EASME reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

 

4. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications must be sent in hard copies (1 per document requested) no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 2. Proof of the date and time of sending needs to be kept.

Applications must be submitted in writing (see section 14), using the standard application forms.5 Only application sent by post or hand-delivered will be accepted. Documents received by email will be disregarded.

Applications can only be sent by NGOs that have been recommended for funding and that have signed a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA).

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

Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official languages, but should be preferably submitted in English. Note that the project management, reporting and all communication with the EASME will have to be in English, and submission of applications in the English language would greatly facilitate the work of the EASME.

 

5. ELIGIBILITY, EXCLUSION AND SELECTION CRITERIA

Eligibility, exclusion and selection criteria have been already assessed during the FPA evaluation (Call LIFE-NGO-FPA-EASME-2017). Following this assessment, only applicants who passed these criteria are invited hereby to submit their application to this SGA call.

In order to confirm the eligibility, the Applicant Profile Information form (A.3) must be filled in by all applicants. Any change in the situation of an applicant organisation vis-à- vis the information contained in the SGA 2017 needs to be communicated in the administrative application form (A.7).

To be complete, the applicants have to submit as proposal the following:

• One original full application, printed and signed, consisting of the three parts of the application form, completed with all the information requested:

o A simplified work programme in the form of a summary (Form T, 10-20 pages)

o A detailed budget breakdown for the financial year 2019 (Form F)
o Applicant's profile and declaration on relevant changes, if any (Form A)

and Financial identification form, with supporting document when applicable (template available on: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/financial_id/financi al-id_en.cfm)

  • One full application (A, T & F forms) in electronic format (CD-ROM or USB stick with the full application).

  • Please include a formal letter accompanying the proposal requesting its evaluation, signed by a representative of your organisation.

    If there are changes as indicated on Form A.7, the following documents also need to be submitted:

• Updated legal entity form with supporting documents, template available on:

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/legal_entities/legal- entities_en.cfm

Failure to submit this information may result in a rejection of the application.

 

 

6. AWARD CRITERIA

The submitted proposals will be examined by an evaluation committee on the basis of the following criteria:

1. Compliance of the work programme with the objectives and nature of activities specified in the framework partnership agreement;

2. Technical coherence and quality of the work programme;

3. Coherence between work programme and proposed budget, including efficient use of resources.

For each criterion a maximum of 20 points will be awarded, adding up to a total maximum of 60 points. The minimum pass threshold that needs to be achieved is a total of at least 35 points.

As indicated in the call LIFE-NGO-FPA-EASME-2017 (section 9): "The FPA evaluation will also constitute the order in which NGOs will be ranked once their SGA proposals have been evaluated, i.e. no new ranking will be established after the SGA evaluation".

The evaluation phase will potentially be followed by an adjustment phase focussing on the eligibility of costs and on technical issues identified during the evaluation. The forecast budget of all applications will be reviewed to identify any cost elements which are judged excessive or ineligible. EASME may invite applicants to provide clarifications and/or a revised budget to ensure compliance with the rules on eligible costs or where the granted amount would be reduced during revisions as compared to the amount requested in the application.

EASME may request further clarifications on the proposal already submitted. The clarifications may have to be provided within a very short notice (less than two weeks).

EASME will take the final decision on recommended or rejected and reserve list applications. This award decision shall include, for selected organisations, the maximum financial amount of the grant and the rate of co-financing granted. The selection of an application by the EASME does not constitute a commitment to award a financial contribution equal to the amount requested by the beneficiary. The EASME reserves the right to reduce the grant requested if the proposal includes elements considered too expensive or not eligible.

 

7. LEGAL COMMITMENTS

In the event of a grant awarded by the EASME, a specific grant agreement and detailing the conditions and level of funding, will be sent to the beneficiary, as well as the procedure in view to formalise the obligations of the parties.

The beneficiary will in principle sign the 2 copies of the original agreement after signature by EASME and return one copy to the EASME immediately.

 

Submission of a grant application implies acceptance of the model SGA attached to the present call.

Please note that the award of a grant does not establish an entitlement for any subsequent years.

 

 

8. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

8.1 General Principles

The general financial principles are the following: non-cumulative award, non- retroactivity, co-financing, balanced budget, implementation contracts/ subcontracting and financial support to third parties. Further details are provided in the application guide, under section "main financial and management rules"

a) Non-cumulative award9

Applicants may receive only one operating grant per financial year from the budget of the European Union.

In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget. To prevent this, applicants shall indicate the sources and amounts of Union funding received or applied for the same action or part of the action or for their functioning during the same financial year as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.10

In case of receiving EU funding for an action grant, overhead costs in that action grant cannot be (fully) charged to the action grant during the operating grant duration.11

b) Non-retroactivity12
No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed.

In the case of operating grants, the grant agreement shall be signed (or notification of the grant decision given) within six months of the start of the beneficiary's financial year.

Costs eligible for financing may neither have been incurred before the grant application was lodged nor before the start of the beneficiary's budgetary year.

c) Co-financing13

Co-financing means that the resources which are necessary to carry out the action or the work programme may not be entirely provided by the EU grant.

Co-financing of the action or of the work programme may take the form of:

  • −  the beneficiary's own resources,

  • −  income generated by the action or work programme,

  • −  financial contributions from third parties.

d)  Balanced budget14

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

The budget must be drawn up in euros.

Applicants who foresee that costs will not be incurred in euros, are invited to use the exchange rate published15.

e)  Implementation contracts/subcontracting16

Where the implementation of the action or the work programme requires the award of procurement contracts (implementation contracts), the beneficiary must award the contract to the bid offering best value for money or the lowest price (as appropriate), avoiding conflicts of interests and retain the documentation for the event of an audit.

In the event of procurement exceeding € 60 000 or € 135 000, the beneficiary must abide by special rules as referred in article I.4 of the framework partnership agreement. Moreover the beneficiary is expected to clearly document the tendering procedure and retain the documentation for the event of an audit.

Sub-contracting, i.e. the externalisation of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action/work programme as described in the proposal must satisfy the conditions applicable to any implementation contract (as specified above) and in addition to them the following conditions:

- it may only cover the implementation of a limited part of the action;

- it must be justified having regard to the nature of the action and what is necessary for its implementation;

- it must be clearly stated in the proposal.

f)  Financial support to third parties17.

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

8.2. Funding form18

These kinds of grants are calculated on the basis of a detailed estimated budget indicating clearly the costs that are eligible for EU funding. The grant amount may neither exceed the eligible costs nor the amount requested. Amounts are indicated in euros.

Maximum amount requested
The EU grant is limited to a maximum co-funding rate of 60 % of eligible costs taking

into account the maximum grant amount referred to in section 3.

Consequently, part of the total eligible expenses entered in the estimative budget must be financed from sources other than EU grants (see co-financing principle mentioned in the application guide, under section "main financial and management rules").

 

Eligible costs
Eligible costs are costs actually incurred by the beneficiary of a grant which meet all the

following criteria:

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

The period of eligibility of costs will start as specified in the grant agreement. If a beneficiary can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed, expenditure may be authorised before the grant is awarded. Under no circumstances can the eligibility period start before the date of submission of the grant application nor before the start of the beneficiary's budgetary year (see non- retroactivity principle mentioned in the application guide, under section "main financial and management rules").

  •  they are indicated in the estimated budget of the work programme;

  •  they are incurred in connection with the work programme as described in the grant agreement;

  •  they are necessary for the implementation of the work programme which is the subject of the grant;

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

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

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

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

Eligible costs

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

- the costs of personnel working under an employment contract with the applicant or equivalent appointing act and assigned to the work programme, comprising actual salaries plus social security contributions and other statutory costs included in the remuneration, provided that these costs are in line with the applicant's usual policy on remuneration. Those costs may include additional remuneration, including payments on the basis of supplementary contracts regardless of their nature, provided that it is paid in a consistent manner whenever the same kind of work or expertise is required and independently from the source of funding used;

 

- subsistence allowances (for meetings, including kick-off meetings where applicable, conferences, etc.) provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual practices,

- costs of travel (for meetings, including kick-off meetings where applicable, conferences, etc.), provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual practices on travel,

- depreciation cost of equipment (new or second-hand): only the portion of the equipment's depreciation corresponding to the duration of the work programme and the rate of actual use for the purposes of the work programme may be taken into account by the EASME,

- costs entailed by implementation contracts awarded by the beneficiaries for the purposes of carrying out the work programme, provided that the conditions laid down in the grant agreement or grant decision are met;

- costs arising directly from requirements linked to the implementation of the work programme (dissemination of information, specific evaluation of the work programme, translations, reproduction, costs of consumables and supplies, provided that they are identifiable and assigned to the work programme). Furthermore, it may include structural and support costs of an administrative, technical and logistical nature which are cross- cutting for the operation of the beneficiary's various activities of the work programme and the running costs of the organization, such as communication costs (telephone, fax, internet & e-mail, postage), insurance, maintenance of office equipment, consumables and supplies, bank charges, etc...;

- costs relating to a pre-financing guarantee lodged by the beneficiary of the grant, where required;

- costs relating to external audits where required in support of the requests for payments;

- value added tax ("VAT") is not eligible unless the beneficiary can show that he/she is unable to recover it.

Ineligible costs

In addition to any other costs which do not fulfill the conditions set out in Article II.19.1 of the model Framework Partnership Agreement, the following costs shall not be considered eligible:

  • return on capital;

  • debt and debt service charges;

  • provisions for losses or debts;

  • interest owed;

  • doubtful debts;

  • exchange losses;

  • costs of transfers from the Agency charged by the bank of the partner;

  • costs declared by the beneficiary in the framework of another action receiving a grant financed from the Union budget already covered by an operating grant (including grants awarded by a Member State and financed from the Union budget and grants awarded by other bodies than the Agency for the purpose of implementing the Union budget); please refer also to footnote 11.

  • contributions in kind from third parties;

  • excessive or reckless expenditure;

  • deductible V A T .

 

 

Calculation of the final grant amount

The final amount of the grant to be awarded to the beneficiary is established after completion of the work programme, upon approval of the request for payment containing the following documents20:

- a final report providing details of the implementation and results of the action/work programme ;

- the final financial statement of costs actually incurred,

- where applicable, a certificate on the financial statements of the work programme and underlying accounts21.

EU grants may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the work programme of the beneficiary. Profit shall be defined as a surplus of the receipts over the eligible costs incurred by the beneficiary, when the request is made for payment of the balance. In this respect, where a profit is made, the EASME shall be entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the Union contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred by the beneficiary to carry out the work programme accordingly.

8.3. Payment arrangements 22
The payment conditions are gathered in article 5 of the model specific grant agreement

annexed to the present call.

In principle they may be the following: a pre-financing payment and a payment of the balance23.

The pre-financing may be divided in two instalments24 depending on the results of the financial viability check.

Alternatively, a financial guarantee may be requested also depending on the results of the financial viability check.

The EASME will establish the amount of the payment of the balance to be made to the beneficiary on the basis of the calculation of the final grant amount (see section 7.2 above). If the total of earlier payments is higher than the final grant amount, the beneficiary will be required to reimburse the amount paid in excess by the EASME through a recovery order25.

 

9. PUBLICITY

9.1. By the beneficiaries

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

In this respect, beneficiaries are required to give prominence to the name and logo of the LIFE programme on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the co-financed work programme.

 

In addition to the name and logo, beneficiaries are requested to systematically insert a disclaimer in all communication and publication material, stating that the Agency is not responsible for the views displayed in the publications and/or in conjunction with the activities for which the grant is used. The beneficiaries' obligations regarding the use of logos and of disclaimers are provided by the Framework Partnership agreement (Article I.6), available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/toolkit/pmtools/ngos/grant_agreements.htm

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

9.2. By the EASME26

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

The EASME will publish the following information:

- name of the beneficiary

- address of the beneficiary when the latter is a legal person, region when the beneficiary is a natural person, as defined on NUTS 2 level27 if he/she is domiciled within EU or equivalent if domiciled outside EU,

- subject of the grant,

- amount awarded.

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

 

10. DATA PROTECTION

The reply to any call for proposals involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name, address and CV). Such data will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data28. Unless indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested are required to evaluate the application in accordance with the specifications of the call for proposal will be processed solely for that purpose by the Head of Unit of LIFE and Eco-innovation of EASME. Details concerning the processing of personal data are available on the privacy statement at: http://ec.europa.eu/easme/sites/easme- site/files/privacy-statement-calls-EASME.pdf

Personal data may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System by the Commission, should the beneficiary be in one of the situations mentioned in Article 

106(1) and 107 of the Financial Regulation 966/201229 (for more information see the Privacy Statement on:

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

 

11. PROCEDURE FOR THE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS

Specific Grant Agreements (SGAs) for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are managed by Unit B.3, LIFE and CIP Eco-Innovation, in the Executive Agency for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) of the European Commission.

Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the formal requirements and by the deadline indicated under section 2.

No modification to the application is allowed once the deadline for submission has elapsed. However, if there is a need to clarify certain aspects or for the correction of clerical mistakes, the EASME may contact the applicant for this purpose during the evaluation process. 30

Applicants will be informed in writing about the results of the selection process.31

Submission procedure

Application forms are available at

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/ngos/index.htm.
For practical guidance on how to fill the T and F forms, please refer to the 2017 SGA call

application guide (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/ngos/finansup_17.htm).

Applications shall be submitted using the correct forms, duly completed, dated, showing a balanced budget (revenue/expenditure), submitted in two copies (one printed version, one electronic version in a USB drive or CD rom), and signed by the person authorised to enter into legally binding commitments on behalf of the applicant organisation. In case of deviations between the paper and the electronic version, the former shall prevail.

Applications can be sent:
- by post, date as postmark;
- in person, date as receipt,
- by courier service, date as receipt by the courier service.

Proposals should be placed inside two sealed envelopes. Both the outer and inner envelopes should be addressed as indicated below:

Invitation for specific grant agreements LIFE-NGO-SGA-EASME-2018
SPECIFIC GRANT AGREEMENTS FOR NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS NOT TO BE OPENED BY THE INTERNAL MAIL DEPARTMENT

The envelopes should furthermore contain the address as indicated below:

1. Applications may be sent by registered mail to the following address:

European Commission
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), Unit B.3, COV2 8/046 For the attention of Ms Eva Paparatti (call coordinator)
B-1049 Brussels
Belgium

Proof of delivery will be the date on the postmark.

2. Applications may be sent by private courier or hand-delivered to the following address:

European Commission
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), Unit B.3, COV2 8/046 For the attention of Ms Eva Paparatti (call coordinator)
Avenue du Bourget 1
B-1140 Brussels (Evere)
Belgium

The Central Mail Service is open from 08.00 to 17.00 Monday to Thursday, and from 8.00 to 16.00 on Fridays. It is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Commission holidays.

Proof of delivery by private courier will be the date and time received by the courier.

Proof of hand-delivery at the Central Mail Service (other than by a private courier) will be the date and time received according to the deposit slip.

NB:

  • You must use the standard forms.

  • Forms cannot be handwritten.

The application should contain all the details necessary to carry out the evaluation without needing to refer to other documents.

The proposal must be submitted on time and it must be sent to the correct address. E-mail submission only is not possible.

It is not sufficient to only submit an electronic version. Applications sent by fax or e-mail will not be accepted.

 

 

Contacts

For any questions, please contact:
- functional mailbox: EASME-LIFE-NGO@ec.europa.eu
- LIFE website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/ngos/index.htm

Annexes to this Call:

- 2017 SGA call application guide (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/ngos/finansup_17.htm)

- Application forms A, T and F
- Model of the specific grant agreement
- Templates for financial and technical reports or for the external audit statement (certificate on financial statements) can be found on: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/toolkit/pmtools/ngos/tech_report.htm



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