FAQ on the thematic selection procedure 2020

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) has launched a new selection procedure under International Climate Initiative (IKI).

In the following, applicants will find answers to frequently asked questions about the procedure.

Formal requirements

When and in what format can project outlines be submitted?

Project outlines can be submitted exclusively via the IKI online platform, in English language, until 10th March 2021. Outlines not submitted as per these requirements, e.g. hard copy submissions or email attachments, will not be considered for the selection process.

Who can submit a project outline?

International Climate Initiative (IKI) is open to different actors in Germany and abroad. Funding is offered to projects being run by non-governmental organisations, commercial enterprises, universities and research institutions from Germany and abroad, implementing organisations in the Federal Republic of Germany, institutions in cooperation countries (including accredited national implementing organisations at international or multilateral organisations) as well as international intergovernmental organisations and institutions, such as development banks or United Nations organisations and programmes.

Governments in cooperation countries are not eligible to apply for IKI funding. Individuals are not eligible for funding.

Can the project outline be reviewed by the BMU/IKI in advance?

No preliminary review of project outlines is carried out by the BMU/IKI or ZUG. In addition, to avoid potential distortion of competition, no specific advice or assessments can be given as to the structure or content of individual outlines.

An online seminar for general questions and information on the 2020’s thematic selection procedure is planned for mid-December.

Are there any limitations regarding the choice of cooperation countries?

All cooperation countries must be ODA-eligible as of the day the project outline is submitted (according to the List of ODA-eligible countries). Restrictions regarding the countries or regions that may be included in projects differ for each funding priority and are further specified in the information provided for each funding priority. As a rule, if no further specification is provided for the funding priority chosen, preference is given to regional projects. For regional projects, the countries included in the specific geographical region do not necessarily need to be neighbouring countries. Generally speaking, funding priorities 1 to 11 are open to bilateral projects, in particular funding priority 2, but they must have a regional impact. Global projects that cover more than one geographical region are eligible under funding priority 12 or 13, but otherwise are only eligible in exceptional cases and where [separate] justification of added value is provided.

Is a preparation phase mandatory?

Conducting a preparation phase is not mandatory but recommended if e.g.:

  • the implementing organisation has no direct experience in conducting IKI projects;
  • target regions for the specific project measures must be selected jointly with the cooperation countries;
  • the project partners in the consortium have little or no solid track record of cooperation, in particular with the local partner organisations selected;
  • the success of the project depends to a large extent on cross-sectoral cooperation in cooperation countries and the involvement of local actors.

Against this background, please indicate whether the consortium is planning a preparation phase. If yes, please describe the scope, providing details on the key outcomes to be achieved as well as the circumstances requiring clarification. If you are not planning on conducting a preparation phase, please provide a brief justification for your decision. Please note that the budget for the preparation phase will be part of the overall IKI funding budget.

Partner organisations and consortia

Is funding available without a consortium or does a consortium need to be formed?

Projects under funding priorities 1 to 9 must be conducted by a consortium comprised of more than two organisations. A consortium does not necessarily need to include a German organisation. You may apply without a consortium under funding priorities 10 and 11, provided the amount of funding being requested is under seven million euros. Applying without a consortium is also an option under funding priorities 12 and 13.

What is a cooperation agreement and when does it need to be submitted?

Successful project implementation depends on relationships built on trust and fair treatment of all project partners involved. The project partners stipulate the conditions underlying the cooperation, i.e. rights and obligations, in an internal agreement (cooperation agreement). As far as possible, this agreement should already be part of the project outline in the first stage of the selection procedure (see Funding Information Sheet, Annex II).

Can political partners be part of the consortium and also be funding recipients through the project?

Political partners are not permitted to be part of the consortium and may not receive forwarded funds as this could be associated with undue budgetary support.

Can an organisation be involved in multiple consortia or submit multiple outlines?

There is no limit to the number of outlines an individual organisation can be involved in, nor to the number of outlines submitted by the lead implementing organisation.

Are national offices of multinational organisations considered local actors?

National offices of multinational organisations are considered local actors if they hold an official legal status under the national law in place in the respective cooperation country. The technical and administrative skills in national offices should be leveraged and/or developed as part of the project.

Project budget

Are there any guidelines in terms of the amount of financial support?

The minimum and maximum funding volume differ for each funding priority, and is further specified in the respective information provided for each funding priority. Falling below or exceeding the min./max. funding volume will lead to exclusion. Budget planning must be realistic and transparent.

In addition, the average annual BMU funding volume should not exceed the main implementing organisation’s average annual turnover, measured against the last three financial years. Decisive in this respect is the total amount of the grant, which the lead implementing organisation is the recipient of. The average annual funding volume is determined based on the BMU’s planned overall funding volume and the planned project duration.

∅ annual funding volume = total BMU funding : years (project duration)

What are own funds and other external funds?

Own funds usually refer to uncommitted financing provided by the applicant to finance the total eligible project expenditure using its own assets. In general, a reasonable contribution in the form of own funds and/or mobilising additional financing resources is a prerequisite for funding. What determines a reasonable amount of own funds to be contributed can only be decided on a case-by-case basis. What constitutes a reasonable amount particularly depends on the lead implementing organisation’s financial capacity. There is no fixed minimum contribution amount. Financing the objective of the project is primarily the responsibility of the implementing organisations, which must, therefore, take every reasonable effort to raise the necessary funds themselves. Only in exceptional cases, full financing of projects from IKI funds is only possible.

In addition to own funds, other external funding can also be included, e.g. in the form of external funds and third-party grants. External funds are funds from private donors (businesses, associations, etc.) with an interest in the project being implemented and who freely provide this funding to finance overall eligible expenditure. Confirmation from the donor regarding their provision of external funds must be provided in the second stage of the selection process.

Third-party grants are exclusively defined as funding provided for the project by other public bodies. Other public bodies may include German federal and state institutions organised under public law, federal corporations, institutions, foundations under public law and their associations, regardless of their legal form, and all EU institutions.

Can in-kind contributions and personnel services be counted as own funds?

Only uncommitted funds that result in verifiable capital flows during the project duration can be considered as own funds in the budget calculation.

Other forms of contribution by the lead implementing organisation, consortium partners, political partners or third parties in the form of non-cash contributions (e.g. existing personnel, contributions in kind, infrastructure) are however generally permitted.

What expenditure is eligible for funding?

Generally, all expenditure (personnel costs, material expenses and investment expenditure) that is absolutely necessary and economically appropriate to achieve the project target within the approval period is eligible for funding. This expenditure must be included in the financial budget.

What expenditure is not eligible and cannot be included in the budget?

The following expenses are not eligible for funding:

  • in the case of entitlement to input tax deduction under Section 15 of the German Value-added Tax Act (Umsatzsteuergesetz), value-added tax (including on a pro rata basis, where applicable) is not eligible;
  • expenditure which cannot be supported with original documentation;
  • expenditure without proof of payment;
  • unused discounts and rebates;
  • expenses incurred outside the approval period;
  • insurance coverage not required by law;
  • expenditure that cannot be clearly attributed to the project;
  • expenditure later resulting in refunds (e.g. deposit schemes, rental deposits);
  • costs of first-class flights;
  • other expenses and unforeseen expenses

Does the IKI have a fixed limit/percentage for overheads (administrative/indirect expenses)?

No fixed limit or percentage has been defined for overheads. However, if the estimated administrative or indirect expenses appear too high in relation to direct expenditure, the lead implementing organisation will be requested to regularly provide verification of these expenses for further review.