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Call for NGO Cooperative Environmental Projects

This project is financially supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit, (GTZ) Germany
The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe hereby announces a Call for NGO Cooperative Environmental Project Proposals

Note: Maximum funding available per project is EUR 35,000 from a total grant fund of EUR 375,000


The damage to the environment in the countries of South Eastern Europe (SEE) presents risks to human health and the natural balance of life. Significant problems such as air, water and soil pollution, traffic congestion and deforestation, still need to be addressed, and there is a tremendous demand for remediation of polluted zones and protection of rich biodiversity.
At the same time, SEE countries are blessed with many relatively clean and virgin natural areas to be protected. The SEE environment is a well-kept secret: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Romania, and Yugoslavia (including Kosovo) harbour some of the greatest treasures of wild land, unspoiled beaches, bird sanctuaries and rich habitats in all of Europe.
In order to address some of the many layers of environmental problems and to meet the needs of both people and nature in SEE countries, while also focusing on democratisation and cross-border cooperation, environmental NGOs should be involved and should receive the support they need in order to carry out their work. Strengthening the environmental movement in SEE can help to protect the remaining unspoiled natural areas, clean up damaged areas and prevent the disturbance of new areas. It can also assist the development of strong environmental legislation compatible with the European Union standards and the advancement of civil society, and to enforce public participation in environmental decision-making and in different regional and international processes.

NGOs in the Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme (REReP) Process

The Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme (REReP) is the basis for regional environmental policy in South Eastern Europe. Initiated by the SEE countries themselves (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Romania and Yugoslavia), REReP is the main environmental component of the Stability Pact, Working Table II.
From the early stages of REReP development, the SEE NGOs have shown strong interest and commitment to active participation in the region. This was endorsed in the conclusions of both of the official start-up meetings, where NGOs were present, as well at NGO events such as the conference "Sustainable Development in the Balkans", held in June 2000 in Struga, Macedonia.
In September 2000 an NGO REReP steering committee was established to ensure proper representation of NGO interests and viewpoints. With a mandate to represent SEE NGO community interests in REReP and to present their views especially to the Task Force -- the main body facilitating REReP implementation -- the steering committee's objectives are to contribute to REReP by ensuring that NGO positions are adequately taken into consideration, as well as to identify, review and further develop project proposals under REReP.
Apart from the steering committee, the NGOs in REReP are represented through the South Eastern European Environmental NGOs Network (SEEENN). SEEENN is a forum established at the Struga meeting in June 2000, initiating long-term processes, and organising and facilitating the implementation of specific tasks given it by its members and the broader public in the region. The network is used as a forum for discussing the present political situation in SEE as well for coordinating NGO efforts to contribute to the reconstruction of the SEE region. The NGO role in REReP is expanding to include reviewing REReP implementation, close monitoring and verification of REReP outputs, participation in project implementation, as well as developing regional projects under other REReP priority areas.
The established NGO mechanisms are intended to reinforce the role of NGOs in REReP by serving as a platform for cooperation and coordination of activities of NGOs in SEE, and building capacities for NGO participation in reconstruction processes in the region, as well as stimulating sustainable management of environmental change in South Eastern Europe.

Struga Meeting in June 2000 and SEEENN Establishment

In recent years, environmental NGOs have developed a number of initiatives and networks in the SEE region. In June 2000 The Ecologist's Movement of Macedonia, Friends of Earth Europe (FoEE), the REC and the Heinrich Boell Foundation organised the conference Sustainable Development in the Balkans in Struga, Macedonia. The NGO statement resulting from this meeting considered the Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme (REReP) a useful initiative and requested the following areas be taken into consideration by different key players and decision-makers within the REReP: assessment of the environmental impact of planned transport projects; promotion of the use of renewable energy sources; and sustainable rural and agricultural development, with an emphasis on organic farming.
As a result of this meeting, NGOs identified the following priority areas for their own work: agriculture, biodiversity, financial flow, energy and water.

Objectives of this Grant Programme

In order to help rebuild and support civil society development and the environmental NGO movement in the SEE area, enhance NGO cooperation, assist the improvement of the state of the environment and contribute to the political stability in the SEE region as a whole, the REC and GTZ are offering these grants with the following objectives:

-to assist the process of civil society rebuilding in the SEE countries;
-to improve the state of the environment in the SEE countries;
-to help build contacts and stimulate cross-border cooperation among the SEE NGOs;
-to solicit and fund the best environmental NGO projects in the SEE countries;
-to stimulate the sustainable development of the SEE region;
-to raise the international community's awareness of SEE environmental and civil society challenges; and
-to disseminate the results of the projects, improving the information flow among interested parties.
The amount available per grant is up to EUR 35,000. Two or more NGOs from different eligible countries are invited to work together implementing region-wide cooperative environmental projects.


Registered non-profit, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Romania, and Yugoslavia may apply for the cooperative grant. NGOs currently running a cooperative project supported by the REC Head


The Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) is working under contract for the Bundesministerium fuer wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) on implementation of technical cooperation projects all over the world in developing and transformation countries. Each project is based on the basic pillars of technical cooperation representing the policy of the German Government, which means taking into consideration the issues of poverty alleviation, gender, nature conservation and education for the target groups of the projects.


Office are NOT eligible for funding under this call. In addition, if you apply as a project leader in one concept proposal, you may only apply as a partner in ONE other concept proposal. Alternatively, you may apply as a partner only in two separate projects. In both cases, the NGO must appoint different project leaders for each project proposal.

NGOs from the CEE region and beyond can be involved in the projects as a source of expertise from outside the SEE region for issues in which the local experience is limited, but only if it is well justified by the SEE NGOs applying for the grant. NGOs from outside the SEE region cannot be primary beneficiaries from this call, but their involvement can be covered within this grant.


The NGO Cooperative Environmental Projects Grants programme aims to strengthen civil society by supporting environmental projects contributing to democratic public involvement and the development of concrete tools and mechanisms of sustainable development. The emphasis should be put on long-term campaigns and activities that will increase NGO membership and raise awareness of civil society and its importance in the ongoing democratic processes.

Firstly, the grant will be given only to NGOs working on cooperative projects. NGOs from at least two different countries will work together on an environmental issue that affects them both. NGOs will work together to apply for the grant, implement the programme, and prepare project reports. Only SEE NGOs may receive REC funds, but NGOs are also encouraged to work closely with other institutions such as local and national governments, schools, farms, businesses and universities, as well as with other NGOs in CEE countries, or beyond if this is beneficial to the project.

Secondly, projects should address transboundary or region-wide environmental problems. The call for proposals is open to ideas and suggestions from NGOs themselves. Some transboundary problems may be geographical, for example a shared river, watershed or habitat. Other transboundary issues may involve rare or endangered species that are found in different countries. For example, NGOs might work together to save a bird species that migrates from one country to another. A third type of transboundary issue could be pollution. Global climate change - caused by changes in landscape, increase in traffic and inefficient use of fossil fuels - is a pollution problem that threatens us all and requires strong international cooperation to solve. In general, transboundary projects work to solve physical, environmental problems or issues found in two or more countries.

Region-wide projects are slightly different from transboundary projects. Region-wide projects may deal with problems common to all SEE countries such as issues related to sustainable development.


Projects may address any environmental topic that is a priority in the SEE Region. The environmental problem must exist in both countries involved. It should be a priority environmental topic for both countries, with impact on the region as a whole. Projects that are local in scope are not eligible.
Grants priority areas are: REReP Process, NGO Priorities defined at Struga Meeting Sustainable Development of the Region.
The grants will be awarded to projects that:
- contribute to the process of civil society rebuilding in the SEE countries;
- strengthen the capacity of SEE NGOs;
- improve the status of the environment in SEE countries;
- build contacts and stimulate cross-border cooperation among the SEE NGOs;
- stimulate sustainable development of the SEE region by addressing issues such as democratisation, security, sustainable growth and economic and civil society development;
- raise awareness of SEE environmentalism and civil society on environmental issues; and
- establish good ties between SEE and CEE NGOs for cooperation and the exchange of experience.
In line with the above, this call for proposals is intended to encourage environmental NGOs from the Balkan region to use the following methods of operation:
- training on NGO development and capacity building;
- public awareness raising/campaigning/lobbying and media involvement;
- designing information channels regionally and locally (Web sites, electronic networks, leaflets, bulletins, publications);
- disseminating information related to the environmental implications of Balkan reconstruction and REReP;
- establishing and developing NGO partnerships at the regional level;
- involving different stakeholders in the implementation of the projects;
- developing and implementing demonstration pilot projects with clear, measurable outputs;
- developing strategies for solving environmental, cross-border issues; and
- promoting project results and outcomes on the Web and at international meetings.

Projects must include actions with (a) direct, concrete, measurable outputs; (b) that involve public participation and (c) that have long-term impact and follow-up plans.

Projects that deal with institutional strengthening/capacity-building/development of strategic planning are encouraged, although the project should strike a balance between capacity-building activities and output oriented activities.

This call encourages the involvement of NGOs with less experience in project management to participate as junior partners. This cooperation will allow the junior partners to learn from the more developed NGOs and enable them to contribute to different regional processes.

Experts from the CEE region and other non-SEE NGOs can be involved in the project by providing expertise, knowledge, and experience, but they cannot be primary beneficiaries of this grant. SEE NGOs must define clearly the type of experience as well as the expert whom they would like to be involved in their project in order for that person's costs to be covered.


The application is a two-part process. In the first part, NGOs write a short concept paper briefly describing their projects. The format for the concept paper can be found at the end of this announcement. The REC will evaluate the concept papers based on defined standards and criteria (described in Stage 2: Evaluation of Concept Papers). The top concept papers will be selected and those NGOs will be asked to write a detailed project proposal. Grants will be awarded based on the detailed project proposals.


Grants will be awarded only to organisations working together on projects. NGOs should begin by finding partners in other countries who are working on similar topics. You may wish to find partner organisations using the following resources:
· Personal contacts, other NGOs, local universities, libraries and agencies;
· The REC NGO Directory. Country Offices have copies of the directory, or access the information on the Internet http://www.rec.org/REC/Programs/NGO_Support/GTZcall.html
The partner NGOs should agree on a topic, a project idea and on the leading NGO. A framework for the project is required, but at this stage exact details are not necessary.

Junior partner involvement: NGOs with little experience in project management can be invited to participate in the project with a clear and defined role. This cooperation will help the junior partners to learn from the more developed NGOs and enable them to contribute to different regional processes.

Technical assistance: At the concept-paper stage, the NGOs might include the need for technical assistance and identify the expert who will help them develop the full project proposal. The amount of the start-up grant should cover the money for this assistance. The CV of the expert should be included and agreement from the expert should be demonstrated.

CEE and beyond CEE NGO involvement: The SEE NGOs who need expertise from outside the SEE region can invite CEE and beyond-CEE NGOs to cooperate on the project.

STAGE 1: PREPARING THE CONCEPT PAPERS (deadline: March 18, 2002)

You must fill out the following forms:
· Format for Concept Proposals (see attached)
· Statement of Cooperation (see attached)
CEE and beyond-CEE NGOs involved in the project should fill out the Statement of Cooperation form.
Please supply the following information:
· Problem description: related to the objectives and topics of this Call.
· Action plan: explain briefly what you will do to solve the problem.
· Budget: 1) Budget estimation (with explanations of the main budget items) for the whole project; 2) Detailed justified budget for the start-up grant.
· Eligibility documentation. You must prove your eligibility. We ask you therefore to send:
1) a copy of the NGO registration;
2) a short description of the previous NGO projects/successes; and
3) information about the annual budgets for the three last years.
· Additional information: (If needed!) A justified request for involvement of an additional consultant to help with preparing the full proposal should be provided at this stage. The start-up grant could include this cost. If experts are selected the CV should be included in the concept paper package.
We understand that writing the detailed full project proposal with a partner in another country may be more expensive for you. The REC offers to help NGOs meet in order to write a joint project. Therefore, the REC is offering a start-up grant of up to EUR 1500 to cover travel and meeting expenses. In your concept paper, explain how much it will cost you to meet with your partner(s). Include travel, accommodation and meal costs. Considering that some NGOs might need additional assistance for preparing the proposals, a consultancy fee can be also included in the start-up grant amount. These are the only costs that will be covered by the REC.
IMPORTANT! Concept papers must be sent to all of the following places. First, send the original concept paper to the REC Headquarters in Szentendre. Next, send a copy of the concept paper to the REC Country Office in your country and to that of your partner. The REC Country Offices always have a chance to comment on the concept papers. The concept papers should be sent only by post. We do not accept concept papers sent by fax or e-mail. The concept papers must arrive at the REC Head Office and REC Country Offices by March 18, 2002.

Download: GTZ Grants

For further informations contact us:

The Regional Environmental Center - Field Office Kosovo/a
Florina Skeja
Kodra e Diellit III, Lamela 26,
Prishtina, Kosovo - UNMIK
tel: 038 552-123,
E-mail: rec_kos@yahoo.co.uk


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