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New EU Call for Proposals: IPA-CSF Partnership Programmes for CSOs

posted 11 Jan 2012, 08:03 by Henk Visser
Support to regional thematic networks - Framework Partnership Agreements and Implementation grants
The overall objective for the Civil Society Facility (CSF) is 'To contribute to anchoring democratic values and structures, human rights, social inclusion and the rule of law, thereby supporting the EU integration process.'

The purpose is to achieve: 'A more dynamic civil society actively participating in public debate on democracy, human rights, social inclusion and the rule of law and with capacity to influence policy and decision making processes.'

The new Call for Proposals aims to achieve this by establishing partnerships with regional networks of CSOs to pursue shared objectives regarding good governance and the fulfilment of the political criteria for EU accession. The partnerships will strengthen CSO dialogue and the development of knowledge and experience. By bringing together representatives from different organisations in the Western Balkans, Turkey and EU, the programme will enhance CSO cooperation and understanding beyond regional and national levels.

The programme will provide for the development and implementation of around 15 long-term thematic Partnership Programmes. They will make it possible for likeminded CSOs to perform activities based on a joint strategy and agreed programme of activities.

The Partnership Programmes will be implemented through Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) with associated grants for implementation.

FPAs support the need to work with networks involving a certain number of CSO partners on a regular, stable and longer-term basis. They are a long-term cooperation mechanism between the European Commission and the CSO partners. FPAs set out the common objectives, the nature of planned actions, the procedure for awarding specific grants and the general rights and obligations of each party. FPAs do not in themselves carry any financial commitment but make it possible to work with partners in a more flexible fashion. The duration of the FPAs will be up to 48 months.

The specific grants for implementation will have an initial duration of 24 months.

The first three to six months of these grants must be used by the Lead CSO and its partners to refine their strategy and plans for implementation in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the European Commission. At the end of the inception phase, Lead CSO and its partners must produce an inception report to be reviewed and approved by the European Commission.

Towards the end of the first two years of implementation, the Contracting Authority will arrange for a mid-term review of the Partnership Programmes. It will be based on terms of reference agreed by the Contracting Authority in consultation with the partners. If the mid-term review deems the individual partnerships to be of continued relevance and effectiveness in delivering expected results or outcomes, the Commission will consider providing continued funding for up to another 24 months.
Funding for years three and four will be provided through the European Commission's budget for 2013. It will be subject to the Budget Authority’s approval of the 2013 budget and the European Commission’s adoption of a new Financing Decision for activities proposed for 2013 onwards. Continued funding will be within the ceilings of the initial grants for implementation.
Important: Applications for this Call for Proposals must set out the strategy, indicative work plan and expected results for the full duration of the FPA, i.e. 48 months. The logical framework must also cover the entirety of the FPA and should have clear milestones for achievements for the first 24 months. This is for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating progress of the initial implementation grant. The budget should only cover the first 24 months of the FPA.

More information (guidelines, application form, etc.) on the Europeaid website.