WORKING WITH DG ECHO AS AN NGO PARTNER
Force majeure is any unforeseeable exceptional situation or event beyond the partner's control, which prevents from fulfilling any or part of its obligations under the Specific Grant Agreement. The force majeure situation should not be attributable to error or negligence on partner's part or on the part of its implementing partners or contractors, and which proves to be inevitable in spite of exercising all due diligence.
To determine whether a situation qualifies as force majeure, the partner must be able to answer to the questions posed in the table with 'yes' in all cases, with the exception of point 5 where the answer should be 'no'.
DUE DILIGENCE OBLIGATION
The exact content of the due diligence obligation will depend on the specific humanitarian context. (E.g. if the partner did not sufficiently secure its equipment and the equipment was stolen during riots or if the partner failed to communicate with ECHO to address the situation, force majeure would not apply.)
To comply with its due diligence obligation, the partners have to ensure that:
All supplies, especially equipment, used for the implementation of the Action are adequately protected from damage and, when possible and cost-effective, insured. When the partner has no insurance, it should explain what the reasons are for the absence of insurance (e.g. high risk, not possible to obtain one in a war zone, costs, etc.) and what its internal policies in absence of insurance are.
The staff participating in the implementation of the Action are adequately protected and when possible and cost-effective, insured. The partner should also have a sound and comprehensive security/safety policy, which is regularly updated. Staff is to be adequately trained on the content of the said policy and on security measures in general. The partner should have security assessment and protocols and procedures for an emergency evaluation of staff in place.
Back-up copies of documents exist, stored securely on any appropriate medium, either on IT or on paper.
When assessing a possible situation of force majeure, ECHO will also consider what other precautionary/mitigation measures the partner has taken in the context.
WHAT IS NOT FORCE MAJEURE?
Situations in which the performance of an obligation has simply become more difficult for reasons outside the reasons mentioned above.
Situations which occurred due to neglect (e.g. loss of supporting documents due to insufficient archiving practices).
Default of service, defect in equipment or material, delays in making them available (e.g. delays in custom services, container lost in the harbor).
HOW TO DEAL WITH FORCE MAJEURE
The partner will notify ECHO without delay through a Modification Request of a force majeure situation, providing in the section 13 of the Single Form information on the incident, the consequences on the Action, the extent/size of the losses if any, and the general security context. The partner will not be held in breach of its obligations when the conditions explained above are met.
After analyses of the situation, the Action may have to be suspended, fully or partially, or terminated