How does this program relate to the Australian Mekong Partnerships (AMP) currently under development?
The department is currently developing a new partnerships platform called the Australian Mekong Partnerships (AMP). AMP aims to strengthen and develop a consistent approach to how Australian Aid partners with INGOs in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It will provide opportunities for dialogue and support at a regional level, which will augment INGO partnerships that will emerge under country programs and strategies.
The AMP and the Community-based Climate Change Action Grants Program are different but complementary programs. Rather than initiate new INGO engagement opportunities and partnerships, AMP will support implementation of existing and new partnerships initiated under Australian Aid programs in the region. In Vietnam, this will include supporting the Community-based Climate Change Action Grants Program once partners have been selected.
Why are only some countries in South East Asia eligible for the program?
In response to the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness, the Australian Government has committed to consolidating the aid program with fewer, larger programs in fewer sectors. As a result, our climate change partnerships with INGOs will focus on the countries where climate change aligns with aid development priorities in that country.
In Vietnam, for example, one of the priorities is to help Vietnam adapt to a changing climate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with global efforts. This includes building on previous success in disaster risk reduction and working in partnership with Germany in the Mekong Delta to rehabilitate mangrove forests to protect coastlines and help communities establish sustainable livelihoods. On mitigation, Australia will support Vietnam's transition to low-carbon development, to reduce emissions and improve energy security and sustainable use of resources. Vietnam is a key focus of the Community-based Climate Change Action Grants Program.
What is considered an International NGO for the purposes of this program?
An International NGO, for the purposes of this grants program, is a non-government organisation established outside of Australia.
Successful applicants must demonstrate they have the ability to manage projects of this size ($1–3 million). As detailed Section 6.1 of the Application Guidelines, organisations that are not accredited by the department will be requested to provide documents to help assess their management capacity, systems and operations, including:
- a copy of the organisation’s constitution or articles of association
- an audited financial statement certified by a public accountant who is not a member of the organisation
- a copy of the organisation’s annual report or similar document
- an outline of its work program.
Please note: These documents should not be provided when submitting a concept paper. The department will request these documents during the assessment process.
Australian or International NGOs may partner with smaller, local organisations that have valuable local knowledge but may not themselves have the capacity to implement activities of this scale. In this instance, applications should be submitted by the Australian or International NGO.
Universities and research organisations may be partner organisations, but will not be eligible to apply as a lead organisation.
Are there any geographic preferences within Vietnam?
Climate change is affecting communities across Vietnam in different ways. While the Mekong Delta is highly vulnerable to climate change and is a priority for the climate change adaptation assistance program in Vietnam, we will also consider adaptation proposals outside of the this region. NGOs must clearly demonstrate the expected climate change impacts within the target province/community and how the proposed activities will build resilience to these impacts.
What will the detailed design process entail?
Further information on the detailed design process will be provided to successful NGOs once the selection process has been finalised. Guidance and support will be provided to NGOs during the design phase, including for the design of monitoring and evaluation frameworks and the identification of key shared results across adaptation and mitigation projects where appropriate.
Does the page limit include the template or can NGOs submit the proposal in narrative form?
The concept paper must be submitted using the template at Annex 2 to the Application Guidelines, adhering to the page and word limits specified in the template. Applications that do not use the template will not be accepted.
What costs are considered to be management overheads?
As stated in Section 6.3 (e) of the Application Guidelines, support will not be provided for applications that seek funding for management overheads that exceed 10% of the total project costs.
This clause is referring to the charges associated with the overall operational capability of an NGO including staff-related social charges, rent, financial audit and/or legal fees, general administrative fees, membership fees, insurance, staff support (e.g. secretarial), utilities, bank charges and office supplies.
It does not include costs that can be specifically attributed to the project such as salaries for project staff, project travel and other activity-related expenses.
Are there templates or required formats for the budget and logframes?
No, NGOs should determine the best format for their purposes. Budgets must include sufficient information for the department to assess the eligibility of the project and the extent to which the proposal demonstrates value for money. Project logframes are optional.
What is considered to be a ‘recurrent cost’ and in what circumstances would they be acceptable?
Where relevant, we wish to avoid situations whereby communities are burdened with costs they are unable to meet and have not agreed to at the commencement of the activity. For example, if we were to fund an infrastructure activity, we would categorise ongoing maintenance of that infrastructure as ‘recurrent costs’. We do not object to activities which incur recurrent costs, so long as your application identifies these and includes a convincing plan for dealing with them. For example, a local community accepted it was responsible for the ongoing maintenance costs of infrastructure, and has the capacity (financial and/or human) to ensure those costs are met through the availability of community funds and relevant maintenance specialists.
To what extent will the department support process or policy focused enabling activities through these grants?
The department recognises community-based activities require the support of policy-based measures, at various scales, to ensure the outcomes are achieved and sustained into the future. NGOs are welcome to include activities that support the development of a better enabling environment for the overall activity; however, the department would like the focus of the proposals to be on the climate change adaptation/mitigation outcomes that can be achieved against the Community-based Climate Change Action Grants objectives (Section 2 of the Application Guidelines). Section 6.3 (g) further reinforces this focus with ineligible activities being those activities that cannot clearly demonstrate an ability to generate “on-the-ground” benefits for target communities.
Where NGOs choose to incorporate such activities, it is suggested that NGOs clearly explain the context for its inclusion, both in terms of the existing enabling environment and the relationship to the adaptation/mitigation activities proposed.
Can you please clarify what elements a ‘new project’ should demonstrate in lieu of an existing foundation or framework?
As outlines in Section 7.1.3 (b), one of the selection criteria is the extent to which an activity replicates or scales-up existing climate change projects, and/or integrates climate change into existing successful community development projects.
A new project is considered to be an activity that does not fit within one of the three activities described above. For example, a new project may demonstrate an innovative activity in community based climate change adaptation/mitigation, or it may be addressing a need within a community that has not previously been involved in climate change projects. The most important aspect of the new climate change project proposal will be the ability to demonstrate that tangible results can be achieved within the project timeframe.
Will existing projects under the 2009 round of Climate Change Adaptation grants be funded from the advertised allocation, and if so can the department state what amount is open under the current round of grants?
The amount of funding available that was advertised in the Application Guidelines for the Community-based Climate Change Action Grants will include potential funding for existing community based projects that were selected in the first round of grants in 2009 and have since demonstrated strong achievement of outcomes and value for money through an independent assessment of the projects. We are yet to negotiate extensions of these activities with the relevant organisations and are therefore unable to clarify the amount of funding that will be remaining for this round of grants.
Is an organisation eligible to lead on more than one awarded grant? Are there any restrictions for organisations to submit more than one proposal in a single country?
There is no restriction on the number of applications an organisation can submit either as the lead organisation or the partner organisation, in a single country or in multiple countries. However, we are seeking to fund a range of projects so please be aware that you may be competing against yourself if you submit more than one application within a grant category.
What supporting documents/annexes are acceptable for the submissions?
The concept paper template (Annex 2 of the Application Guidelines) provides guidance on the length of the application and the attachments or annexes that are required as a minimum. The department is conscious of the amount of material that the selection panel can reasonably assess within a short timeframe and would like to ensure that concept papers are kept within the template that has been set where possible. All information required for your application is addressed within the concept note template. Although there is no restriction on the number of annexes that can be included, we suggest supporting documentation be kept to a minimum.