- What is the upper limit for the size of large grants?
Large grants are those larger than $20,000. Officially, the upper limit is $1,000,000. In practice, we are extremely unlikely to award any grants this large. In the first phase of CEPF investment in the Indo-Burma hotspot, the median size of large grants was $126,934. Several grants were made in the region of $100,000 to $400,000. Please see (http://www.cepf.net/grants/project_database/Pages/default.aspx#) for more information. The size of grants in this second phase of investment (2013-18) will likely be similar. We would prefer that budgets are made to reflect the expected cost of the work, rather than aiming at the grant size limit.
- What is the maximum duration of projects funded by CEPF?
The maximum length is five years. In practice, small grants are usually 1-2 years in length, and large grants usually 1-3 years in length.
CEPF Indo-Burma FAQs
Grant Size and Duration
- The organisation that I work for is not yet legally registered. Can I apply for funding?
No. Organisations applying for funding must have some form of legal registration (details of registration will vary by country).
- What can we do if we are not legally registered?
You could work with a registered organisation on a project seeking to build the capacity of NGOs by securing their official registration. Work of this kind would relate to Strategic Direction 8 (“Strengthen the capacity of civil society to work on biodiversity, communities and livelihoods at regional, national, local and grassroots levels”)
- The organisation I work for is legally registered, but does not have a bank account in its own name (it uses a personal bank account). Is this a problem?
This is a problem, because the use of personal bank accounts represents an unacceptable risk from a financial perspective. Legally registered organisations that do not have a bank account in their own name are eligible to apply for funds but they are only eligible to receive funding if they have a bank account in their own name. If this applies to you, you are encouraged to open a bank account in the organisation’s name, if this is permissible in your country. Generally, there will be several months between submission of an application and grant award (if successful). This should allow time for an organisational bank account to be opened, if possible.
- Are small grants only available to local NGOs?
No. Small grants are available to all eligible organisations.
- Are large grants only available to international organisations?
No. Large grants are available to all eligible organisations.
- I work for a university. It operates independently from government, but is a public body. Can I apply for funding?
Public universities are typically eligible for funding. However, this varies across CEPF regions. To be eligible for funding, an organization must be able to demonstrate that it has a legal personality independent of any government agency or sector. It must have the authority to apply for and receive private funds, and must not be in a position to assert a claim of sovereign immunity. The following questions may help you determine this:
- Does the organization have private (as opposed to appropriated) sources of funds?
- Can the organization open and maintain a separate bank account for private funding?
- Will CEPF or any of its funding sources have access to books and records in order to conduct a full project financial audit?
- If CEPF had to disallow costs, is the organization legally permitted to reimburse CEPF for such disallowed costs?
- Can the organization subject itself to binding arbitration to resolve disputes?
If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact the RIT at CEPF-Indoburma@iucn.org.
- I work for a private company. Can I apply for funding?
Yes. Private companies are considered civil society organisations by CEPF. However, the company must not take any indirect costs/overheads/management support percentage, etc. Compensation for staff time must simply be salaries, and must not incorporate any fee. The company should be prepared to share financial documentation if it is required by the CEPF financial risk assessment.
- Can I apply for funding as an individual, not connected to an organisation?
No. Funding is not available to individuals in the Indo-Burma Hotspot. You must apply through a legally registered organisation.
- I work for local/regional government. Can I apply for funding?
No. CEPF funding is not available to government.
- I find the language of the Strategic Directions quite hard to understand. Do you have a simple summary?
- SD1 aims to safeguard priority, globally threatened species, and can only be used to address those species identified in Table 25 of the Ecosystem Profile. Projects can be undertaken anywhere in the Hotspot.
- SD2 seeks to address illegal trafficking and consumption of wildlife. Projects can be undertaken anywhere in the Hotspot.
- SD4 seeks to engage local communities in the management of priority key biodiversity areas, and must be undertaken in one or more of the priority KBAs (Table 24 in the CEPF Ecosystem Profile) or anywhere in Myanmar.
- SD6 is about mainstreaming biodiversity into development planning, and must take place in one of the four priority corridors (Table 24) or Myanmar.
- SD8 is about strengthening civil society, and can take place anywhere in the Hotspot, from grassroots right up to regional levels.
- The work I want to do relates to more than one Strategic Direction (SD). How can I explain this in my Letter of Inquiry (LoI)?
Your LoI must be aimed at one single SD. This must be stated in the LoI under the section “Strategic Direction from the CEPF Ecosystem Profile”. However, we appreciate that in reality most projects will have impacts that relate to more than one SD. Your LoI can explain this under “Link to CEPF Investment Strategy”.
- What will happen if I submit a LoI focussing on multiple SDs?
If you submit a LoI that states multiple SDs under “Strategic Direction from the CEPF Ecosystem Profile”, the RIT will contact you and ask you to select one. If you do not select one SD at this stage, your LoI will not be considered for funding.
- Does my project have to focus on one Investment Priority (IP)?
Your work must focus on one SD. It does not have to focus on one IP. Some funded projects will relate to one IP. Some may relate to more than one. In rare cases, some might not directly relate to any IPs. LoI will be reviewed and evaluated for their relevance to the priorities of CEPF (among other criteria). All other things being equal, LoIs that closely relate to one or more IP are more likely to be funded than LoIs that do not.
- The call for proposals states that projects must relate to SD 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8. What about the other SDs mentioned in the ecosystem profile? How can I apply for funding under these?
Although the Ecosystem Profile identifies 11 Strategic Directions for the Hotspot, CEPF only funds 6 – one of which is support for the RIT itself. However, the remaining SDs (3, 5, 7, 9 and 10) are priorities for other donors. Please note that some of these donors operate on an invitation-only basis, not through open calls for proposals, and that they do not accept unsolicited applications.
- I want funding for a species-focussed project (Strategic Direction 1 – “Safeguard priority globally threatened species by mitigating major threats”), but the species I work on is not listed on Table 25 of the Ecosystem Profile. Can I apply under SD1 anyway?
I’m afraid not. Projects funded under SD1 can only relate to the species listed in Table 25 (Ecosystem Profile page 200). However, your work might be eligible for funding under a different SD. For example, if the species is threatened by illegal wildlife trade, you could write a LoI that focusses on SD2. If you want to protect this species through building the capacity of civil society organisations, you could write a LoI that focusses on SD8.
- But I think that this species should be a CEPF priority. Can species be added to Table 25?
The species listed in Table 25 were chosen through a priority-setting exercise carried out in the development of the Ecosystem Profile. This document also includes a list of “provisional priority species” (Appendix 4). Any of these species could become eligible for CEPF investment if their global threat status was reassessed as globally threatened during the five‐year investment phase. In addition, there will be an opportunity to update the list of priority species (and list of priority sites) during the mid ‐ term assessment, which will take place half ‐ way through the investment phase.
- I want funding for work relating to SD4 (“Empower local communities to engage in conservation and management of priority key biodiversity areas”). How can I find out if my site is in a Priority KBA?
There is a list of priority sites in Table 24 (page 198) of the Ecosystem Profile. In addition, Figures 7 to 12b (pages 35 to 47) include the locations of all the KBAs in the Hotspot. Priority KBAs are those that are darkly shaded in the Figures, and are all found within the CEPF priority corridors (Mekong and major tributaries, Sino-Vietnamese limestone, Tonle-Sap lake and inundation zone, and Hainan Mountains).
- Can work funded by CEPF only focus on the CEPF priority species?
No. Work funded by CEPF can address any species in the hotspot. The only SD that imposes restrictions on species is SD1 (“Safeguard priority globally threatened species by mitigating major threats”). Work under SD2, 4, 6, or 8 can relate to any species.
- Investment priority 1.3 is to “Conduct research on globally threatened species for which there is a need for greatly improved information on status and distribution”. Am I free to decide which species these are, or has CEPF already determined this?
The 4th column on Table 25 of the Ecosystem Profile (page 200) states which priority species have an “over-riding need for improved information”. There are currently 26 priority species in this category.
- Can work funded by CEPF only focus on the priority corridors (the Mekong and major tributaries, the Sino-Vietnamese limestone, the Tonle-Sap lake and inundation zone, the Hainan mountains, and Myanmar)?
No. Work funded by CEPF can be carried out anywhere in the Hotspot. The only SD that requires a focus on the priority corridors is SD6 (“Engage key actors in mainstreaming biodiversity, communities and livelihoods into development planning in the priority corridors”).
- Can work funded by CEPF only focus on the priority KBAs?
No. Work funded by CEPF can be carried out anywhere in the Hotspot. The only SD that requires a focus on priority KBAs is SD4 (“Empower local communities to engage in conservation and management of priority key biodiversity areas”).
- Can work funded by CEPF only focus on the Hotspot?
- I ticked “yes” to one or more of the safeguard questions on the LoI template. Does this mean that my project is less likely to be funded?
No. Triggering safeguards is not a problem. Projects that trigger safeguards are not less likely to be funded, unless they include ineligible activities. The RIT will contact you if further steps are necessary to respond to the safeguards, and we may ask that you make some revisions to your LoI.
- Do all LoI have to be submitted in English?
Large grant (>$20,000) LoIs must be submitted in English. Small grant (<$20,000) LoIs can be submitted in English, or in local languages (Thai, Lao, Khmer, Vietnamese, Burmese, Chinese).
- Can I ask the RIT to look at a draft of my LoI before I submit it?
Of course. RIT members are happy to answer questions, look at drafts before submission, and give suggestions. RIT members are particularly happy to answer questions about the eligibility of organisations, and the relevance of proposed work to CEPF priorities and SDs. As the submission deadline approaches, however, RIT members are likely to be very busy, and may not have time to look at draft LoI in any detail.
- Can I speak to a member of the RIT in person?
Yes. The RIT has members based in Bangkok – Thailand, Phnom Penh – Cambodia, Vientiane – Lao PDR, Hanoi – Viet Nam, Yangon – Myanmar, and Hong Kong – China. If you are in one of these cities, we would be happy to speak to you in person. To arrange a meeting, please contact CEPF-Indoburma@iucn.org. If you are based elsewhere in the hotspot, a RIT member would be happy to speak to you over the phone or over Skype.
- Can I submit my LoI as a hard copy (or on a disc, on a flash drive, etc.)?
No. LoI must be submitted electronically. LoI submitted as hard copies or as physical media will not be considered for funding.
- Should I submit any accompanying documents with my LoI?
It is not necessary to submit any accompanying documents with your LoI. If we need any additional documentation, we will contact you.
- What email address should I submit my LoI to?
Small grant LoIs should be submitted to CEPF-Indoburma@iucn.org. Large grant LoIs should be submitted to email@example.com.
- Will I receive a confirmation email that my LoI has been received?
Yes. Small grant LoI submission will be confirmed by the RIT. Large grant LoI submission will be confirmed by the CEPF Secretariat.
- I submitted my LoI earlier today, but I haven’t received a confirmation email. What should I do?
If you submitted your LoI on the day of the deadline, there may be a delay in the RIT confirming receipt. The RIT receives a large number of LoI on this date, and it takes time to confirm receipt of them all. If you have still not received a confirmation email a number of days after the deadline, you may contact the RIT again to confirm receipt.
- I submitted my LoI to the wrong address (for example a large grant LoI was sent to CEPF-Indoburma@iucn.org). What will happen?
Don’t worry, the RIT and CEPF Secretariat are in constant communication. We will make sure that your LoI reaches the right people.
- I have submitted my LoI a few hours after the deadline. Will my LoI still be considered for funding?
I’m afraid not. We can only accept LoI that are submitted before the deadline. We strongly recommend that LoI are submitted a few days before the deadline.
- My submission email bounced back to me. What should I do?
The RIT is not responsible for email failures of any kind. This is one reason that we recommend that LoIs are submitted a few days before the deadline. If your email did not reach the RIT before the deadline, it will not be considered for funding. All you can do is re-submit at the next call for proposals.
- What is the LoI review process?
LoIs will first be screened for eligibility by the RIT. LoIs will then be reviewed in each country by the RIT, a National Advisory Committee, and external reviewers (when necessary – for reasons of technical content or potential conflict of interest). For small grant LoI, contracts will then be made with successful applicants and funds will be transferred. For large grant LoI, shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit full proposals which will then undergo a further review. For small grants, decision-making authority lies with the RIT. For large grants, decision-making authority lies with the CEPF Secretariat.
- How long will the review process take?
The first call for proposals in this phase of funding by CEPF in the Indo-Burma Hotspot was issued on the 29th July 2013. The deadline for LoI was 9th September. For small grant LoI, we are expecting to notify applicants in December. For large grant LoI, we are expecting to notify applicants of short-listing in December, and make decisions on full proposals in March 2014.
- Under what criteria will LoI be evaluated?
LoIs will be evaluated for their fit with the CEPF investment strategy, the likelihood that the project approach will achieve its stated objectives, the degree to which the work builds upon past initiatives and complements ongoing initiatives in the hotspot that have similar objectives, the appropriateness of the budget, and the perceived capacity of the applicant to carry out the work effectively and efficiently.
Conflicts of Interest/Complaints
- The RIT is led by IUCN. Will IUCN members be given preferential treatment?
No. All LoI submitted by IUCN members will be subject to an external review, to ensure that there is no favouritism.
- Can IUCN apply for CEPF grants in the Indo-Burma Hotspot?
No. As IUCN is leading the RIT, its country offices etc. are not eligible for CEPF grants.
- The RIT is being represented in Myanmar by the Myanmar Environmental Rehabilitation-conservation Network (MERN). Will MERN members be given preferential treatment?
No. All LoI submitted by MERN members will be subject to an external review, to ensure that there is no favouritism.
- I would like to complain about the RIT and/or the grant-making process. Who can I contact?
Applicants are encouraged to contact the RIT or CEPF Grant Director if they have additional questions about the decision. If unsatisfied with the response, please direct complaints to (Jerry W. Bosken at firstname.lastname@example.org), or submit the grievance to the CEPF Executive Director at email@example.com. Please note that Scott is a member of the IUCN Ethics Committee, and is not a member of the RIT.