Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) play a prominent role in the Nordic Council of Ministers' (NCM) co-operation with the Baltic countries and Northwest Russia within a number of its priority areas, but also as partners in building networks and cross-border co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region. In 2013, the Nordic Ministers for Co-operation adopted new guidelines for co-operation with North-West Russia and the Baltic States 2014. These guidelines conclude that NGOs play a key role in co-operation with Northwest Russia and the Baltic States.”
The NCM originally launched the Nordic Council of Ministers' Programme for NGOs in the Baltic Sea Region (the NGO programme) in 2006 to promote co-operation between Nordic, Baltic, Polish, Belarusian and Russian NGOs. An annual budget of approximately DKK 6 million has been earmarked for the programme.
NGOs are invited to apply for funding from the programme for international co-operation projects.
Applicants should read the information below before submitting an application.
Application Requirements and Stipulations
To be considered for the NGO programme, applicants should meet the requirements described below:
1. Non-Governmental Organisation
It is a formal requirement that the applicant and relevant partners are NGOs.
The programme defines NGOs as "non-profit, publicly anchored, civic organisations that are neither owned nor controlled by public authorities, nor by private companies, and which have an open and democratic structure".
Involvements of other actors, such as authorities, within the overall framework of the project are encouraged when feasible.
2. Clear Objectives Corresponding to NCM Guidelines
The applicant must clearly describe the objectives of the project and how it is planned to achieve them. The objectives must be in line with those stipulated in NCM guidelines for co-operation with Northwest Russia, the Baltic countries, and Belarus (see below):
3. Relevance to Civil Society
The project must also be of relevance to civil society in Russia and Belarus. The application must clearly show how the project will support the capacity of NGOs in Northwest Russia and Belarus.
The application must not be designed to help fund regular activities, administration or projects of organisations. Funding should be focused on launching new initiatives that should have the possibility to continue even after the specific project has come to an end.
Funding will not be given to infrastructure projects, e.g. for purchasing IT equipment or to cover construction costs.
4. Gender and Equality
Project planning must also take cognisance of the gender and equality perspective.
5. Own Input
Applications must include details of the NGOs' own input towards launching and running the project.
Proposals with a part of the budget financed by the applicant or a third party will be viewed favourably during the selection process, and are encouraged.
Co-funding may be given as a monetary contribution, either directly by the applicant or indirectly through a third party (organisation/partner/donor/authority) towards the project.
To be considered as co-funding the contribution need to be directly linked to the budgetary framework provided and be an integral part of the application and the specific activities within this and provided before or during the implementation period.
In-kind contributions, such as use of space, staff time or equipment, are not considered as co-funding.
6. Method and Results
There must be coherence between the planned project results and the proposed methodology. In other words, there should be consistency between the problems, objectives and activities, and results.
Furthermore, the project proposal should contain a clear division of tasks and responsibilities among the relevant stakeholders.
Expected results should be concrete with verifiable indicators attached. Cost-efficient projects will be given priority.
7. Communication Plan
The applicant must present a plan for how they will communicate about the project and the results achieved.
The applicant must describe how achieved results will be used and how the project co-operation can be sustained also when funding from the NCM has ended. The proposals containing a description of follow-up activities will be viewed positively.
Projects under the auspices of the NGO programme must have - including the applicant - at least one partner in the Nordic Region, one partner from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Poland and one partner from Northwest Russia or Belarus.
In other words, at least three NGOs must be involved in a project for it to be eligible for funding. Proposals exceeding these requirements will be given priority.
There should also be coherence between the project objectives and partnerships. A high level of proven involvement of all partners within the project and during the design process will be viewed favourably.
10. Duration of Project
Applicants must clearly state the duration of the project and whether the activities involved will last for more than one year.
The NCM funds projects lasting one year, as well as projects lasting for several years. However, actual grants are only given for one year at a time.
Projects stretching over more than one year must submit annual applications to the NCM, and decision taken on yearly basis.
11. Application Process
Applicants must submit the application form and budget electronically in due time and completed in accordance with instructions, with corresponding annexes and supporting documents attached (see below).
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
The application should be submitted in English.
When uploading budget information, applicants must fill out the Budget Scheme attached in the Application Formula.
An advisory group of Nordic representatives will assist the NCM in the review process.
Applicants in projects which are considered for funding could be contacted by the NCM for possible adjustments of the project.
The contracts will be signed in December.
It is expected that approved projects can be started no later than 3 months following the signing of contract.
All projects receiving funding must submit a final report to the NCM.
12. Financial framework
Individual grants will vary in size according to the scope of the planned activity, number of partners, etc., but usually do not exceed DKK 500,000 per year. Detailed budget breakdown linked to the project frame.
Activities carried out before the funding decision from the programme are not eligible for funding from the programme.
Please submit the application electronically.
Appendices to the application form including detailed timetable and budget, status/final report/information, if the organisation has previously received funding from the NCM, as well as letters of commitment from partner organisations, must be submitted with the form but as separate files.
14. Guidelines for audit
With effect from 1 October 2016, the Nordic Council of Ministers has amended its requirements for financial reporting for all current project agreements.
The change has been made in order to comply with a recommendation from the Danish National Audit Office.
The change means that the administrative body must submit the following to the Nordic Council of Ministers via its project portal before the final instalment of the funding stipulated in the project agreement can be paid:
- Complete project accounts in pdf format
- The accounts must be drawn up in accordance with the agreed budget for the project
- The accounts must be approved and signed by the project manager at the administrative body and countersigned by its financial officer, i.e, a total of two signatures
- If the project has received more than DKK 200,000 and the administrative body is not subject to revision by one of the Nordic national audit offices, the project accounts must be audited by a certified or chartered public accountant
- The audit report must comply with the provisions laid down by the Audit regulations for funds granted by the Nordic parliaments to the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers (http://www.rigsrevisionen.dk/bagved-revisionen/revision-af-nordisk-ministerraad-og-nordisk-raad/)
- The auditor's report must be attached to the signed project accounts and must be drawn up up in accordance with Appendix 2 of Audit regulations for funds granted by the Nordic parliaments to the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers
The final instalment of the funding cannot be paid until these formalities have been completed, and the project accounts have been officially approved by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
15. Further advice and contact details