In the context of the call for proposals “Biodiversità e Clima” of the Lombardy Region, the Cariplo Foundation gave Etifor the task of implementing a technical assistance service for the beneficiary organisations of the above-mentioned call.

THE CALL FOR PROPOSALS

With the resolution D.g.r. n.5706 of the 15 December 2021, the Lombardy Region has approved the criteria for the new regional call for proposals “Biodiversity and Climate” (BioClima). The criteria have been developed drawing from the experience of the project LIFE IP GESTIRE 2020 Azione C21. With this new call for proposals, the Lombardy Region grants non-repayable capital grants to the managing bodies of protected areas and Natura 2000 sites under the law l.r.86/83 and to public administrations for the realisation of interventions of biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and valorisation of the ecosystem services provided by forests, protected areas, and ecological networks of Lombardy, through the engagement of the private sector.

Based on the criteria of the call for proposals, which have been developed in the context of the LIFE IP GESTIRE 202 Azione C21, the Lombardy Region grants non-repayable capital grants to the managing bodies of protected areas and Natura 2000 sites under the law l.r.86/83 and to public administrations for the realisation of interventions concerning biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and valorisation of the ecosystem services provided by forests, protected areas, and ecological networks of Lombardy, through the engagement of the private sector.

Public administrations, managing bodies of the Natura 2000 sites, managing bodies of protected areas under the law L.R. 86/83, exception made for private managing bodies (WWF Oasi Società unipersonale arl per Valpredina e Vanzago e l’Azienda Faunistico-Venatoria Valbelviso Barbellino) and for ERSAF, which is part of the evaluation committee for this call for proposals. Each beneficiary subject can present one single application.

The total budget is €3.5 million (for the years 2022 and 2023).

The non-repayable capital contribution will be up to 70% of the eligible costs.

The amount of the subsidy ranges from a minimum of €105,000 to a maximum of €350,000; to be used to finance conservation measures consisting of three components:

  • Main forestry operations
  • Supplementary interventions to safeguard biodiversity
  • Interventions for the enhancement of ecosystem services

The projects must provide for a minimum co-financing of 30%: at least 10% from private sources through activities of economic valorisation of ecosystem services, while the remaining 20% can be co-financed by the beneficiary body. The grant will be disbursed in two tranches: the first upon acceptance of the grant (57%), the second as the balance (43%).

The eligible interventions are described in the Annex A – Eligible interventions of the criteria sheet.

The territorial scope of the interventions extends to the entire territory of the Lombardy Region. The area in which the project will be implemented must be owned by or available to the beneficiaries of the grant under a legal title. The beneficiary must also maintain the availability under the same title and/or ownership of the area covered by the application for at least 15 years. The documentation proving the title of the area must be produced, penalty the inadmissibility of the application, upon submission of the application, together with the deed of commitment by the beneficiary to maintain the availability under the same title and/or ownership of the area covered by the application for at least 15 years.

In order to be eligible for the subsidy, main forestry operations and supplementary interventions to protect biodiversity, with regard to capital expenditure, must started within the timeframe indicated in the schedule and completed by 31 December 2023. Interventions for the enhancement of ecosystem services may be carried out throughout the following year and must be completed by 31 December 2024. Failure to comply with the aforementioned deadlines will result in the forfeiture of the grant under Article 27 of the law L.R. 34/78.

The eligible expenditures are described in the Annex B – Eligible expenditures of the criteria sheet.

The procedure to be adopted will be graded and will take into account the minimum eligibility requirements and the “merit” requirements described in Annex C – Merit criteria of the criteria sheet.

Applications, accompanied by the project documentation to be defined in the call for proposals, shall be submitted via the Integrated Information System “Online calls for proposals”. Funding will be eligible on the basis of the following criteria:

  • compliance with the application submission deadline
  • correctness of the submission of the application
  • completeness of content and correctness of documentation, which will be defined in the call for proposals

The disbursement of the resources to the beneficiaries will take place, by executive act, as follows:

  • 57% following the receipt of the deed of acceptance of the grant
  • 43% within 60 days of the complete submission of the final accounts for the project

ERSAF will carry out random technical, administrative and accounting checks both during and after the implementation of the interventions in order to verify the proper management of the regional resources. The terms of the checks will be laid down in the notice.

Visit the official page

The new BioClima call for proposals aims to be a virtuous example of public-private co-financing for the enhancement of ecosystem services in the protected and forest areas of the Lombardy Region. Given the innovative nature of the initiative, the Cariplo Foundation has appointed Etifor to provide technical assistance to organisations interested in participating in the Lombardy Region’s BioClima call for proposals. The commitment is part of a Framework Agreement signed in January 2021 between the Cariplo Foundation and the Lombardy Region to support joint actions in the field of environmental sustainability.

The assistance service, besides providing information support on the opportunity and the characteristics of the call for proposals, will have the specific aim of supporting potential beneficiaries in:

  1. designing interventions related to the “measurement, independent verification and valorisation of ecosystem services” (Point 3 of Annex A – Eligible interventions)
  2. activities to find co-financing and subsequent sponsorships

1. Designing interventions related to the “measurement, independent verification and valorisation of ecosystem services”:

Applicant project proposals will have to predict, measure and certify the expected impact on ecosystem services. The Technical Assistance Service will provide beneficiaries who request it with:

A. Technical support for the description of the activities to be conducted, in case the funding is obtained, to obtain independent third-party verification of ecosystem services, using the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) standard;

B. Technical support for the development of a preliminary estimate of the positive impact on the expected ecosystem services generated by the project by using internationally recognised calculation and/or verification procedures. Reference will be made to FSC® certification and the Ecosystem Services Procedure (FSC-PRO-30-006 V1-0);

C. Support in the definition of a strategy for the economic valorisation of ecosystem services to be attached to the project proposal;

D. Support in the identification of potential or confirmed sponsorships to be attached to the project proposal

The service will be addressed to the beneficiary and/or to the technical designer selected by the beneficiary.

Points a,b, c, and d will mainly be disbursed during the application phase to the BioClima call for proposals, only to the entities that will request it. Activities c and d, after the application phase, will be addressed only to those entities that have obtained funding from the Lombardy Region, until the end of the assignment, scheduled for December 2024.

The final technical project of the interventions under points 1 and 2 of Annex A, the executive project and the direction of works will be considered eligible costs of the call for proposals and, therefore, are not part of the development activities of the Technical Assistance Service. The costs of audits and consultancy for the preparation for the FSC certification are also not included in the Technical Assistance Service but will be eligible costs in the funding applications submitted to the call for proposals.

Activities to find co-financing and subsequent sponsorships:

In addition to the expected impact on ecosystem services, the applicant project proposals must ensure a minimum co-financing of at least 30% of the project cost, of which at least 10% from private sources through activities of economic valorisation of ecosystem services, while the remaining 20% can be co-financed by the beneficiary body.

The main task of the Technical Assistance Service will be to support the beneficiary bodies in identifying third parties (public and private) willing to co-finance the projects by enhancing the positive impacts on the ecosystem services generated, according to the guidelines of the call for proposals. To promote the projects, the WOWnature® platform, managed by Etifor itself, can be used.

-Date of opening of the call for proposals: 14/03/2022 at 10:00am
-Date of closing of the call for proposals: 03/05/2022 at 16:00pm

Etifor has organised a webinar to present the technical assistance service to the call for proposals. On this occasion, people interested will be able to learn more about the objectives and the criteria of the call for proposals, and the opportunities offered by the service. This is an online event and it will be replicated in three different dates:

  • Wednesday 09/02, 11:00-12:00am
  • Monday 21/02, 11:00-12:00am
  • Friday 11/03, 11:00-12:00am

REGISTER HERE

Learn more about the webinars and watch the presentations (in Italian).

Work in progress.

HOW TO REQUEST THE SERVICE

During the pre-publication phase of the call for proposals you can already indicate your interest in participating and receiving support from technical assistance by filling out the Google form Preliminary assessment of candidates for BioClima. We will contact you in 5 days following the notice.

The technical assistance service will support a maximum of 10-20 applications, and find in the years 2022-2024 up to a maximum of 1.5 million euros for private co-financing. Therefore, the service retains the possibility to support the organisations that best meet the criteria described in Annex C.

Fill the form

FSC® CERTIFICATION OF ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

The Technical Assistance Service of the BioClima call for proposals provides support for the certification of impacts on ecosystem services of candidate projects. Visit the page dedicated to the FSC certification and the Ecosystem Services Procedure to have more information about it.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

ALEX PRA
ALEX PRA