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EU announces Call for Proposals for EIDHR 2019

EU announces Call for Proposals for EIDHR 2019

Deadline9 January 2020

The European Union (EU) is seeking proposals for its program entitled “European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)” to support civil society in protection and promotion of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.

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This call for proposals has three lots:

    • The EU has a strong interest to improve implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) worldwide to enhance the level playing field for its companies, ensure a better prevention of abuses connected to business activities and access to remedy when abuses occur. This focus is strongly linked to other important policies of the EU such as those related to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). It is also a key priority of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2014-2019. In addition, as the role of the private sector in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and as a key player in the EU’s development cooperation increases, they must address any potential adverse risks on human rights.
    • Torture and other ill-treatment are among the most abhorrent violations of human rights, human integrity and human dignity. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Guidelines on EU policy towards third countries on torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment provide the general framework for the EIDHR support in this area. For the purpose of this call for proposals, torture and ill treatment mean any act as defined under international human rights norms and standards and existing
    • Accountability, transparency and access to information are essential for good governance, the bedrock of peaceful, resilient societies. Participatory democracy and improved oversight reduces corruption and improves public service delivery, whilst incentivising public officials to work in the public interest. Accountability, transparency have a positive impact on social cohesion, conflict prevention and the protection of minorities, and puts the rights based approach at the forefront of government actions. The New European Consensus on Development aligns EU policies and actions to the objectives of the 2030 agenda and stresses that good governance, democracy and rule of law are vital to sustainable development. This call follows up on the EU commitment to support initiatives to tackle corruption and introduce more transparency in public funding and the delivery of public services.

Objectives and Priorities

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The specific objectives and priorities under each lot are as follows:

Lot 1 – Business and Human Rights

  • The specific objective of lot 1 is to support and empower civil society to collaborate with business and investment actors in the mitigation, prevention and remediation of adverse impacts of business activities on human rights and, where needed, hold them accountable, by in particular two sub-objectives:
    • supporting community-based actors and social partners to set up human rights due diligence mechanisms and push forward multi-stakeholder engagement with the objective of promoting accountability and good corporate governance;
    • improving access to justice for victims of corporate abuses by supporting those victims through the provision of legal advice and representation in order to bring cases before national jurisdictions and/or by developing non-State non-judicial grievance mechanisms with the private sector.
  • The priorities of lot 1 are:
    • Give a voice to, help provide access to remedies, and empower victims of human rights corporate abuses with a specific focus on people living in the most vulnerable situations, women, children, youth, indigenous peoples, human rights and environmental defenders, civil society actors, internally displaced people;
    • Broaden already established partnerships or forms of collaboration between business and investment actors, national authorities and civil society actors working on achieving common human rights objectives;
    • Integrate a strong gender perspective in the methodology of actions, including gender equality and women’s empowerment. Whenever possible, gender indicators shall be developed for all target groups and data collection shall be gender disaggregated.

Lot 2 – Fight against torture and other ill-treatment

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  • The specific objective of lot 2 is to provide support to civil society projects by contributing to the prohibition and prevention of torture, ensuring accountability for torture and other ill treatment outside the EU, in particular by supporting civil society in the implementation of existing legislation, court rulings, regional statutes, and other forms of regulations on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • The priority of lot 2 is to foster coalitions and build synergies between civil society organisations and different non-state actors (such as national preventive mechanisms (NPMs), bar associations, etc.), and state actors (such as justice actors, penitentiary authorities, law enforcement officials, etc.) in the county(ies) covered by the proposal.

Lot 3 – Democratic accountability

  • The specific objective of lot 3 is to strengthen the role of civil society in contributing to democratic accountability by, inter alia, monitoring the work of state institutions, scrutinising the formulation and implementation of public policies, controlling the use of public expenditure, and raising awareness and advocating for the role of oversight institutions, notably parliaments, ombudsperson institutions, courts of auditors, audit bureaus etc. To this aim, a peer-to-peer approach is encouraged between civil society organisations conducting similar work.
  • The priorities of lot 3 are:
    • Strengthening parliamentary monitoring organisations (PMOs) in the field of accountability, including anti-corruption;
    • Strengthening organisations that monitor, raise awareness of, and demand strengthening of Ombudsmen or corresponding legislative committees, whistle-blower protection mechanisms, courts of auditors, audit bureaus and/or similar institutions and other oversight bodies;
    • Strengthening organisations that review and scrutinise the implementation of public policies and promoting transparency and accountability of budget processes, including:
      • Encouraging civic engagement and participation in policy review and budget processes by citizens at both national and sub-national levels, prioritising measures focusing on enhancing, in particular, the participation of disadvantaged and/or under-represented groups, such as poor households, women, youth, disabled people by creating an enabling environment for their participation;
      • Monitoring and evaluating the levels of participation of different groups in different stages of the policy formulation and budget cycle, and setting targets for participation and response to the issues they raise.
    • Strengthening organisations that promote accountability and/or contribute towards the prevention and fight against corruption, including:
      • Facilitating mobilisation of civil society actors demanding government responsiveness and reforms, e.g. access to timely and transparent information, credible and effective sanctions for government inaction;
      • Monitoring and advocating for the effective and impartial application of the rule of law, including application of administrative and criminal sanctions, in relation to anti-corruption measures;
      • Providing capacity building, skills development, and networking capability to facilitate collaboration between relevant local and regional change agents and watchdog organisations with similar mandates, and also those of other sectors that are relevant for anti-corruption mainstreaming;
      • Increasing the capacity of media outlets to investigate and report on corruption cases, as well as the collaboration with civil society and other change agents.
      • Promoting use of new technologies in the oversight of state institutions, by reinforcing the NGO capacities to use digital tools.

Size of Grants

  • Lot 1 – Business and human rights
    • Minimum amount: EUR 700,000
    • Maximum amount: EUR 1,500,000
  • Lot 2 – Fight against torture and other ill-treatment
    • Minimum amount: EUR 700,000
    • Maximum amount: EUR 1,500,000
  • Lot 3 – Democratic accountability
    • Minimum amount: EUR 5,000,000
    • Maximum amount: EUR 5,000,000

Eligibility Criteria

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Lead applicant

  • In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:
    • Be a legal person or an entity without legal personality or a natural person and
    • Be non-profit-making and
    • Be a non-governmental civil society organisation ,
    • Be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary.
  • No nationality restriction applies to applicants and, if any, to co-applicants and affiliated entities .


  • Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant.
  • Co-applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant himself.

Affiliated entities

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  • The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies).
  • Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):
    • Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.
    • This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:
      • Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:
        • Entities affiliated to an applicant may hence be:
          • Entities directly or indirectly controlled by the applicant (daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by the applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;
          • Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant;
          • Entities under the same direct or indirect control as the applicant (sister companies).
      • Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association, etc.) as the proposed affiliated entities.

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