Call for proposals

NOTICE ON THE CALFOR PROPOSALS WITHIN THE FUND FOR BILATERAL RELATIONS UNDER THE EEA 2009-2014 FINANCIAL MECHANISM FOR THE PL02

15-01-2016, 15:16

the Minister of the Environment, as the Operator of the PL02 Operational Programme: “The protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems”, announces a call for proposals within the Fund for Bilateral Relations as a part of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 at the level of the project co-financing Programme at the value of EUR 150 207.35, i.e. PLN 631 036.10[1]. 

 

1. Objective of the Fund for Bilateral Relations at the level of the PL02 Programme: The protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems

The objective of the Fund is development of partnerships and facilitation of the establishment of networks, exchange, sharing and transfer of knowledge, technology, experience and good practices between beneficiaries and entities from Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway).

Activities carried out as part of the Fund shall relate to the objective of the PL02 Programme, which is to stop the loss of biological diversity.

2. Type of projects eligible for co-financing

Projects eligible for funding are bilateral projects submitted in partnership with organisations from the Donor State(s) and/or international organisations which aim to facilitate the exchange of experience, knowledge, technology and good practices between beneficiaries and international organisations and organisations from the Donor States (according to art. 3.6 item 1b) of the Regulations) and which, at the same time, fall into one of the thematic scopes of bilateral cooperation listed below, related to the following Programme outcomes:[2]

Outcome: Increased efficiency of the management and monitoring of Natura 2000 areas.

1)      management of protected areas in Poland and the Donor States/ National Parks (public bodies such as governmental agencies, poviats, municipalities);

2)      endangered species and habitats;

3)      databases recording general trends which relate to the status of key ecosystems and offer an insight into the progress of the actions aimed to stop the loss of biological diversity;

4)      national legislation;

5)      management and research activities generally related to species and natural habitats, as well as to endangered species and invasive foreign species; (public institutions at various levels, research institutes, NGOs, other organisations);

6)      wetlands and management strategies, initiatives aimed at increasing the national and local capacity for managing ecosystems and at sustained use of the biological diversity of wetlands; (central and local managing authorities, organisations, NGOs and others);

7)      substantive management of biological diversity, comparative study. Integrated maritime area management plans;

8)      biological diversity and climate changes (adaptation and mitigation).

Outcome: Increased resistance of native ecosystems to the pressures imposed by invasive foreign species.

Experience in control management strategies and removal of black-listed species (government agencies, local administration, research institutes, sectoral programmes, organisations and others).

Outcome: Increased social awareness of the biological diversity and education on this subject in connection with climate changes and the economic value of ecosystems.

1)      Experience with environmental information centres, etc., methods of transferring complex information regarding various topics associated with the environment, relating to, for example, wetlands and the aquatic environment as well as various animal species, the function of national parks in the environmental information system.

2)      Species monitoring/registration system. A species registration system and monitoring of plants and animals by interested persons, organisations and institutions.

3)      Educational tools – educational toolkits relating to biodiversity developed for primary and lower-secondary schools.

4)      National procedures associated with the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol.

Co-financing may also be granted to projects which are based on the participation of eligible Polish entities in seminars, workshops, conferences organised by entities from the Donor States on the subjects indicated above. In such a case, it will be required to present an invitation to such a seminar, workshop or conference or to complete the application form. The condition for accepting such projects is active participation of the applicant in the planned event, understood as delivering a presentation or a lecture on the topics indicated above.

3. Entities eligible for co-financing

The following categories of entities may apply for funding from EEA FM, according to art. 6.2. item 1 of the Regulations and according to the provisions of the Fund for Bilateral Relations Strategy for the PL02 Operational Programme entitled: "The protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems" as part of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014, i.e.:

All entities, private or public, according to art. 6.2 item 1 of the Regulations, among others, local governmental bodies and national organisational units, including the State Forests Holding "Lasy Państwowe" (PGL LP), etc., with the stipulation that:

  • private entities and NGOs in the definition of art. 1.5, item 1, letter (m) of the Regulations must be registered in the territory of Poland and must have been in operation for at least 12 months prior to the date of announcing the call for proposals.

Applications may be submitted by both individual entities and groups of entities. If an application is submitted by a group of entities, the entity which holds the function of the project leader is responsible for the project and the project agreement is concluded with that entity. In case of group projects, a partnership agreement should be concluded between the project leader (the applicant) and the other entities participating in the implementation of the project. 

4. Amount of funds allocated for project co-financing

To support projects under the call for proposals, the amount of EUR 150 207.35, i.e. PLN 631 036.10 has been allocated.

The funds available under the call for proposals comprise of resources from the Fund for Bilateral Relations of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 and state budget resources.

5. Project co-financing level

The maximum level of co-financing available amounts to 100% of eligible project costs. The grant under the EEA FM fund comprises 85% of eligible project costs, whereas the Programme Operator’s contribution from the state budget amounts to 15% of eligible project costs. 

6. Maximum and minimum project co-financing amount 

Under the call for proposals, the minimum co-financing amount equals to EUR 1 000, i.e. PLN 4 201.10, whereas the maximum co-financing amount equals to EUR 20 000, i.e. PLN 84 022.00.

7. Expenditure eligibility period

Project eligibility starting date: the date of the decision on granting co-financing to the project being made by the Programme Operator.

Project eligibility end date: 30 September 2017.

8. Project selection criteria

Applicants complete co-financing applications which are then submitted for assessment and acceptance together with necessary appendices. In regard to partnership applications, except for applications based on participation in a seminar, workshop or conference, applications are considered to be submitted in partnership, provided that a partnership agreement or a letter of intent has been concluded/issued between the project applicant and its partner from a Donor State and/or an international organisation prior to the submission of the application. A template of the partnership agreement is available for download below.

In case of projects based on participation in seminars, workshops, conferences organised by entities from the Donor States, an invitation or a completed application form should be submitted, together with confirmation that the applicant will actively contribute to the fulfilment of the objective of the event, for instance, by delivering a presentation or a lecture.

Project assessment is conducted in two stages and comprises of formal and substantive assessment. Only projects which meet all formal criteria will undergo substantive assessment. The formal and substantive assessment have a zero-one form. Meeting all substantive criteria by a project constitutes a positive result.

Submitted applications will be assessed by experts appointed by the Programme Operator in terms of their compliance with the formal and substantive criteria on a continuous basis. The assessing experts will sign a declaration on their impartiality and confidentiality.

The formal assessment will be completed in 10 working days from submission of the application, while the substantive assessment will be completed in 10 working days from conclusion of the formal assessment.

The list of projects recommended for co-financing and of their bilateral partners will be submitted to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Poland.

The list of applicants which have been granted co-financing from the Fund for Bilateral Relations will be published on the website of the Programme Operator and will be gradually updated until the available funds have been exhausted.

The applicants which have been granted funding will be informed by the Programme Operator about the grants received and asked to sign an agreement on the bilateral project.

Agreements on bilateral projects will be concluded in the Polish language, and the amount of co-financing will be expressed in PLN.

During the formal assessment, the Applicant will have a single opportunity to submit any missing documents. At the formal assessment stage, the following deficiencies may be remedied:

- obvious typos and errors in calculations in the application form and/or appendices;

- lack of an electronic version of the application form and/or appendices;

- lack of consistency between the paper and electronic version;

- lack of appendices.

During the substantive assessment, the applicant will have a single opportunity to supplement/explain any deficiencies to fulfil the substantive criteria.

In case of supplements, a request will be sent to the applicant electronically and by fax (with proof of mailing) to supplement the application form or to provide explanations.

The request will specify the criteria which have not been fulfilled and will contain a detailed description of the scope of incompliance. Supplements and/or explanations should be provided by the applicant within 3 working days from receipt of the request from NFEPWM.

Project assessment criteria (formal and substantive) are a component of the Fund for Bilateral Relations Strategy adopted by the Donors for the PL02 Operational Programme entitled: "The protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems" as part of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. The Fund for Bilateral Relations Strategy for the PL02 Operational Programme is available for download below.

9. Payment system

Co-financing will be provided solely in the form of reimbursement of eligible costs borne in relation to the implementation of the project on the basis of submitted and accepted periodic reports (payment applications).

In case of verification of expenses incurred by a project partner from a Donor State and/or international organisations, the settlement may be based on a report prepared by an independent expert auditor confirming that the declared costs have been incurred in accordance with the Regulations, national legislation and accounting practices in place in the country of the project partner.

The abovementioned report should be considered sufficient proof of the costs incurred. This principle is only applicable to project partners from the Donor States/international organisations, according to art. 7.13 item 5 of the Regulations.

10. Eligible and non-eligible expenditures, contributions in kind

The following cost categories, according to art. 7.7 of the Regulations, are eligible as part of bilateral projects financed by the Fund for Bilateral Relations:

Expenses related to strengthening bilateral relations between Polish entities and entities from the Donor States in the thematic scope indicated in item 2 of the notice on the call for proposal, provided that the expenses are proportional and directly related to strengthening bilateral cooperation.

(a)    Expenses related to the establishment of a cooperation network, establishment of relations, exchange of experience, knowledge and technology, as well as good practices between Polish entities and entities from the Donor States and international organisations, within the thematic scope indicated in item 2 of the notice on the call for proposals.

(b)   Expenses related to seeking project partners from the Donor States prior to the submission of the proposal or at the submission stage, development of the partnership for project purposes, preparation of the bilateral project draft together with the partner within the thematic scope indicated in item 2 of the notice on the call for proposals.

Travel costs include subsistence allowance according to paragraph 1(b) of article 7.3. of the Regulations.

In justified cases, taking into consideration the principle of proportionality, travel costs inclusive of subsistence allowance may be calculated as a flat fee.

Costs incurred by partners from the Donor States/international organisations are eligible, however, applications for their reimbursement may be submitted solely by beneficiaries. If the costs are deemed eligible, they are reimbursed to the beneficiaries.

All rules of cost non-eligibility are applicable. Partners from the Donor States must indicate incurred costs in the payment application submitted by the project beneficiary.

Contributions in kind and indirect costs are not applicable to bilateral projects.

11. Application submission deadline, place and manner

Call for proposals calendar

Announcement of the call for proposals – 15 January 2016

Starting date of acceptance of applications from applicants – 18 January 2016

End date of acceptance of applications from applicants – 21 March 2016  

If the resources are not exhausted, the call for proposal end date may be postponed or a subsequent starting date of a new call for proposals may be announced.

Co-financing is granted in accordance with the order of submission of applications, on the basis of a positive assessment result and availability of resources.

A completed application together with the required appendices, submitted on the valid application form and signed by a person authorised for its submission should be submitted by the applicant in 1 paper copy and 1 electronic copy (CD/ DVD or pen-drive) to the following address:

Narodowy Fundusz Ochrony Środowiska i Gospodarki Wodnej

Departament Ochrony Klimatu

ul. Konstruktorska 3A

02-673 Warszawa

The paper copy of the application form should be prepared in the A4 format and placed in a folder marked with the name of the programme, project and the full name of the applicant. The electronic version on an electronic medium should also bear the name of the project and the applicant.

Application forms may be submitted in person to the National Fund Office during the business hours, i.e. 8:00AM-3:00PM, or by mail sent via Poczta Polska or courier, against confirmation of receipt. For applications sent via Poczta Polska or courier, the application dispatch date is taken into consideration.

12. Partnership projects

It is required that all applications, except for co-financing applications relating to participation in seminars, workshops and conferences indicated in item 2 of the notice on the call for proposals, are bilateral partnership projects, i.e. projects prepared and submitted together with partners from the Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) and/or an international organisation. With the exclusion of group projects specified in item 3 of the notice on the call for proposals, partnerships established in order to implement bilateral projects with entities other than entities from the Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) and/or an international organisation are not eligible for this call for proposals. In order to satisfy the partnership requirement, it is necessary to attach a letter of intent or a partnership agreement to the application form. Before concluding the project implementation agreement it will be necessary to present a signed partnership agreement.

In case of projects based on participation in seminars, workshops, conferences organised by entities from the Donor States, it is necessary to submit an invitation or a completed application form with confirmation that the applicant will actively contribute to the fulfilment of the objective of the event, for example, by delivering a presentation or a lecture.

In order to support the establishment of partnerships with partners from the Donor States, the Programme Operator encourages applicants to visit such websites as: http://www.ngonorway.org/ (potential partners from Norway) or to contact the following persons by e-mail:

Mr Kjartan Ingvarsson from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Iceland ()

Mr Panagiotis Potolidis-Beck, Office for Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein ()

Contact details of potential Norwegian partners are also provided in the documentation on the call for proposals.

Moreover, we recommend reading the information available on the following websites:

-              http://www.eog.gov.pl

-              http://eeagrants.org/Partnerships

 

13. Legal framework and Programme documents 

While submitting the application, the Applicant has to consider the provisions of the following documents:

  • Memorandum of Understanding of the implementation of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 available for download,
  • Programme agreement concluded between the EEA Financial Mechanism Committee and the National Contact Point available for download,
  • Regulations regarding the implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014,
  • Donor States guidelines,
  • “Fund for Bilateral Relations Strategy” for the PL02 Programme: “The protection of the biological diversity and ecosystems” available for download,
  • Terms of the call for proposals. 

 

14. Application form

The application should be provided only on the appropriate application form available for download below, which includes instructions on its completion.

15. List of required appendices

The following appendices need to be attached to the application form:

  1. Documents confirming project partnership (letter of intent or partnership agreement);
  2. List of persons involved in the implementation of the project at the applicant’s end;
  3. Detailed schedule of the study tour/conference/seminar/course/meeting or workshop with an indication of the objective of the event, its duration and the profile and number of participants;
  4. Invitation to the seminar, workshop or conference or a completed application form;
  5. Declaration of the conformity of the paper and electronic version of the application form;
  6. Others deemed necessary by the applicant.

16. Language of the application form

The project proposal with all required appendices should be submitted in the Polish language, except for the letter of intent and partnership agreement, invitation and the application form, which may be submitted in the Polish and/or English language.

17. Contact details of the Programme Operator

Any questions regarding the call for proposals, within its duration, should be addressed to:

Ministerstwo Środowiska

Departament Funduszy Europejskich

ul. Wawelska 52/54

00-922 Warszawa

tel. no. 22 36 92  823

e-mail:

Narodowy Fundusz Ochrony Środowiska i Gospodarki Wodnej

Departament Ochrony Klimatu

ul. Konstruktorska 3A

02-673 Warszawa
tel. no. 22 45 95 819, 22 45 95 833

e-mail: mfeog@nfosigw.gov.pl


[1] The amount available under the call for proposals is expressed in EUR and then converted by the Programme Operator into the national currency and expressed in PLN according to the average monthly exchange rate published in the Official Journal of the European Union (series C), calculated for the last 6 months prior to the month of announcing the call for proposals, where 1 EUR =  4.2011 PLN)

[2] Types of institutions which may constitute potential partners are indicated in brackets.

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