WORKING WITH DG ECHO AS AN NGO PARTNER
BECOME A DG ECHO PARTNER
Within the framework of ECHO  Partnership certification process, NGOs are invited to commission an ex-ante assessment following the Terms of Reference published in summer 2019.
A Frequently Asked Questions document you can find below has been published and is regularly updated.
PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN NGO AND DG ECHO
The Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) does not usually intervene directly on the ground. The implementation of humanitarian aid actions is done by humanitarian organisations, such as humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), with which DG ECHO enters into a partnership.
NGOs submit an application to become a DG ECHO partner. In order to apply for the  ECHO Partnership 2021, the candidate NGO must provide DG ECHO with an assurance, given by an independent external auditor, that the NGO fulfils the minimum requirements and the additional suitability requirements set by DG ECHO based on the Humanitarian Aid Regulation, the Financial Regulation and international best practices.
To this end, DG ECHO issues the present Terms of Reference (ToR) to be used by the candidate NGO to engage the external auditors to perform an assessment of its organisation and report on it.
APPLICATION PROCESS FOR THE ECHO PARTNERSHIP 2021
Several different versions of Partnership Agreements have been concluded under the HAR. The first one entered into force in 1993, the second in 1998, the third in 2003, the fourth 2008 and the fifth has entered into force on the 1st of January 2014. The validity of the 2014 FPA has been extended by two years, until 31 December 2020, to allow DG ECHO to prepare and roll out the new Partnership Certificate due to apply as of 1 January 2021.
In order to be in a position to become a DG ECHO Partner on 1 January 2021, the candidate NGO needs to submit the Independent Auditor’s Final Report to DG ECHO before 1 July 2020. Final reports received beyond that date may delay the certification process beyond 1 January 2021.
APPEL, the application for electronic exchange of information between DG ECHO and its partners and potential partners, is ready to receive applications of partners.
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION
Application for the  ECHO Partnership 2021 are made on-line by connecting to APPEL.
In order to be able to connect to APPEL, you will first need to Create an EU Login account.
If you already have an EU login account (which you either created for connecting to APPEL or that you created for connecting to another European Commission information system such as PADOR), please use this account (e-mail address, password) to connect to APPEL by clicking on the link Connect to APPEL.
In APPEL, Applicants will be asked to fill in 2 blocks of questions reflecting the content of the external auditor report and to upload the report. Annex 4 A/B will be uploaded separately. Specific explanations on the different steps of the on-line application process are provided on the dedicated pages.
In case of questions related to the application procedure you may write to ECHO-APPEL@ec.europa.eu.
Paper copy of the final assessment report is to be sent to DG ECHO at the following address:
European Commission (DG ECHO)
ex-ante assessment – Partnership 2021
AWARD OF THE CERTIFICATE
The Commission will finalise the ex-ante assessment of candidate NGOs based:
- on the findings set out in the Independent Auditor’s Final Report and;
- on the assessment of the candidate NGOs’ accountability level when the latter (a) is a member of a family, network or (con-)federation or (b) works systematically with Implementing Partners.
While this report will contribute to the assessment of the Organisation, DG ECHO retains the final decision on whether to award the Certificate or not.
Candidate NGOs interested in applying for a Programmatic Partnership will have to first meet the thresholds and requirements laid down in this respect in the Terms of Reference.
Only NGOs holding a valid Certificate can be selected as a Programmatic Partner at a later stage through a dedicated procedure.
A prospective partner's application will involve the recording and processing of personal data, which will be treated according to Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC.
Have a look to this learning material in order to get more information on the application process and the Certificate
Please note that, as of 1 February 2020, the UK is a third country.
Consequently, the Commission will not enter into new partnership  (due to apply as of 01/01/2021) with UK-based entities, even for those who would have submitted their application before 01/01/2021 (end of the transition period set in the Withdrawal Agreement), unless, by that date, different arrangements would have been agreed between the EU and the UK.
FPA 21 FAQ - Final version
Guidance Annex 4a/B – Ex-Ante Assessment