26 July 2012

I. Introduction

The AEWA Small Grants Fund was established by the first session of the Meeting of the Parties to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) in 1999 through Resolution

1.7. At its second session (2002), the Meeting of the Parties reiterated its conviction that a Small Grants Fund could become an extremely useful tool to facilitate the implementation of the Agreement (Resolution 2.9).

At the fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties, in 2008, the Parties adopted the AEWA Strategic Plan 2009-2017 through Resolution 4.7. Under its Objective 5, the Strategic Plan aims at activating the Small Grants Fund and disbursing at least € 100,000 annually to developing countries for implementation of AEWA. Contracting Parties were moreover requested through Resolution 4.7 to provide financial resources for the successful and efficient operation of the Small Grants Fund, which is not fully covered by the AEWA core budget so far.

II. Eligibility

In accordance with Resolution 2.9, only developing countries and countries with economies in transition are eligible for funding. Countries, which are not Party to the Agreement are also able to apply to the Fund for assistance to allow them to prepare for accession to AEWA. However, priority will be given to Contracting Parties to AEWA. Countries, which are Contracting Parties to the Agreement are not eligible as a general rule if they have payments of contributions in arrears of more than 3 years. Countries are also not eligible if a project from an earlier project cycle is pending in the same country. A list of countries which are, in principle, eligible for receiving assistance under the Small Grants Fund is available in Section C. The list of eligible countries might, however, be restricted under the terms of individual calls for project proposals, depending on the requirements set by the respective funding body.

III. Forms of assistance available under the Small Grants Fund

1. The proposed activities should

a) clearly contribute to the implementation of the Agreement and its Strategic Plan; and/or b) respond to emergencies affecting a population of AEWA species and/or sites used by AEWA species.

The AEWA Strategic Plan 2009-2017, adopted by the 4th session of the Meeting of the Parties to AEWA (Resolution 4.7, September 2008), is available on the AEWA website at

2. Non-Contracting Parties can apply for financial assistance enabling preparatory work in order to progress towards the accession to the Agreement.

3. The award for any single project will depend on the available funds and will be defined under the individual calls for project proposals, but should not exceed € 25,000 in case of assistance provided to Contracting Parties and € 15,000 in case of preparatory assistance provided to Non-Contracting Parties.

IV. Procedure of application

1. Funds available for allocation

a) The Small Grants Fund is administered by the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat.

b) The Fund is mainly financed through voluntary contributions; thus a regular allocation of funds cannot be guaranteed.

c) The cycle for submission of project proposals depends on the funding accrued for this purpose; thus, depending on the funds available, the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat will invite the National AEWA Focal Points of eligible countries to submit project proposals to the Small Grants Fund on an annual basis, indicating the deadline for submission, the maximum duration of the projects, the maximum amount granted to each project and any other restrictions or criteria set under the call.

2. Formulation of project proposals

a) All project proposals must be submitted using the format attached to these Guidelines (see Section B.1). This “Grant Application Form” should be endorsed by the AEWA National Focal Point in the country (see Section B.2 “Endorsement Form”).

b) Projects should, in general, be implemented in a time-frame not exceeding 24 months. The maximum duration might, however, vary under the individual call for project proposals, depending on the budget available and the restrictions set by the respective sources of funds.

c) Countries are unlikely to gain support for more than one project under the same call for project proposals. Thus, countries are encouraged to make a pre-selection of potential projects and to only submit the one considered to be the top priority for advancing the implementation of the Agreement and its Strategic Plan in the respective country, to the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat.

3. Submission of project proposals

Project proposals can be submitted by any national governmental or non-governmental agency/ organisation concerned with the conservation of migratory waterbirds and/or their habitats. All projects must be endorsed by the AEWA National Focal Point in the respective country.

a) Project proposals to implement AEWA and its Strategic Plan

Formal submission of proposals must be made by the deadline indicated in the call for project proposals.

b) Project proposals to seek emergency assistance

Emergency assistance project proposals may be submitted at any time. Provided that funds are available, the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat will undertake a technical and feasibility analysis and, upon intersessional consultation with the Technical and Standing Committee members, will take a decision within a maximum of three months after receiving the request.

c) Project proposals to seek preparatory assistance

Eligible countries that are not yet Contracting Parties to the Agreement may, by the indicated deadline, apply for a grant from the Small Grants Fund to support activities necessary for completing their accession, e.g. preparatory workshops. Higher priority will, however, be given to proposals from Contracting Parties.

4. Evaluation and approval of project proposals

The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat will make a technical and feasibility assessment of all projects received. During this process, the Secretariat may invite views, as appropriate, from the members of the Technical Committee. The Secretariat will submit its recommendations for funding to the Standing Committee members who will be requested to approve the allocation of funding to the projects pre-selected by the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat. The pre-selection of projects out of the pool of equally eligible projects will primarily be based on an assessment in the light of AEWA conservation priorities. Secondly the Secretariat will endeavour to reach a balanced geographical coverage within the overall area of eligible countries. In the case that the Standing Committee does not approve one or more of the pre-selected projects by consensus, the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat will submit additional proposals from the pool of eligible project proposals received in the same cycle to the Standing Committee. Should there be no further eligible projects in the pool, then the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat will transfer the unused funds to the next SGF cycle.

V. Transfer of funds and submission of Progress and Final Reports

The AEWA Secretariat prepares the Small Scale Funding Agreement with the respective organisation or agency receiving the project funding. Upon signature of the Small Scale Funding Agreement by both parties, the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat will disburse an initial payment of 40%.

Each recipient organisation or agency is required to provide a mid-term Progress Report on the implementation of the funded project not later than 12 months after receipt of the initial payment for projects with duration of up to 24 months and not later than 6 months for projects with duration up to 12 months. A Final Report should be submitted not later than three months after completion of the project. The deadlines for submission of both reports will be specified in the Small Scale Funding Agreement. Both Progress and Final Reports must be submitted with the endorsement of the AEWA National Focal Point. The Final Report should include a statement of expenditure for the funds provided and copies of any materials produced under the project.

The second and third instalments, amounting to 30% of the funds respectively, will be paid upon receipt of an acceptable Progress Report and Final Report.

VI. Terms of Small Scale Funding Agreement to be concluded with organisations or agencies receiving assistance

In the Small Scale Funding Agreement which will be concluded between the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat and the organisation or agency that will be granted financial assistance, the following will be specified:

a) the extent and purpose of the financial assistance granted; b) the obligations of the recipient organisation or agency towards the implementation of the project;

cthe obligation of the recipient to display the AEWA logo on all correspondence or material printed in connection with meetings or activities financed under the project (such as invitations, announcements, agendas, reports, etc.) and to refer to the activity as being sponsored by AEWA;

dthe obligation of the recipient to reimburse to the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat any portion of cash advance remaining unspent or uncommitted on completion of the activities of the Small Scale Funding Agreement within one month of presentation of the expenditures report.

Any controversy of claim arising out of, or in accordance with the Small Scale Funding Agreement or breach thereof, shall, unless it is settled by direct negotiation, be settled in accordance with UNCITRAL arbitration rules as currently in force. Any arbitration award rendered as a result of such arbitration as the final adjudication of any such controversy or claim is binding for both parties.

VII. Reporting to donors

The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat provides donors with summary reports of project results prepared on the basis of the Final Reports received from the beneficiaries.

Download PDF with all details and forms here

How to Apply: 
See attached PDF.
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