The Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator is now accepting applications under its first Small Grants Round. The Project Incubator funding is intended for Action Groups or Commonwealth governments with partners providing solutions to shared ocean issues. The grants range from £5000 to £50,000. This round of applications closes on by January.
About the Project Incubator
The Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator supports the development of governments’ projects under the Commonwealth Blue Charter that accelerate their transition to fair, sustainable and inclusive marine conservation and maritime development, while mitigating and adapting to climate change. The Blue Charter is an agreement by all 56 member countries to actively cooperate to support ocean action and meet commitments for sustainable ocean development. Its work programme is implemented through 10 Action Groups, led or co-led by 16 champion countries. To date, at least 46 Commonwealth countries have joined one or more Action Groups
The Project Incubator supports Commonwealth governments and their partners developing solutions that address shared ocean issues. While the grants are modest (£5k – £50k), the scope is large, and can include project-related capacity building, the writing of larger project proposals, ‘rapid assessments’, and proof-of-concept pilot projects. In summary, the Project Incubator:
- Encourages the development of projects under each of the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group themes;
- Focuses on the entire project cycle, including rapid assessments, proof-of-concept and small-sized projects;
- Assists in the development of funding proposals for medium-sized and larger projects;
- Provides mentoring and technical support;
- Facilitates project partnerships with non-governmental entities;
- Encourages planning for sustainability and scaling up, including regional initiatives;
- Supports ideas that dare to be different –innovative and cooperative solutions;
- Supports meeting global ocean commitments including ’30 by 30’ and the UN SDGs;
- Encourages the engagement of women, youth, LGBTI, Indigenous Peoples and local communities;
- Follows best practices, including transparency, accountability, and inclusivity.
- Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator grants:
- £5000 to £50,000.
- Grants cannot be split into smaller grants per recipient to circumvent the £50,000 limit.
- Not all awards will be for money. Some awards may be for direct technical assistance, perhaps also with some granting.
- Two similar applications from different entities may be contacted about the possibility of combining efforts.
- All grants need to demonstrate some in-kind support; e.g., volunteered labour, expertise, office space, and/or free use of equipment.
- Partnerships are strongly encouraged.
- Co-funding is encouraged, particularly for larger projects.
- Any capacity building related to developing a new ocean-related project, or to better manage an existing one, will be considered. In the application form, a few options are mentioned, as outlined below, (but it remains open to other suggestions as well):
- Training: you have identified a training course that meets the needs of your project and would like support for one or more staff to enrol.
- Technical assistance: you are requesting help on a specific issue, which could be provided by a Commonwealth Secretariat Adviser or perhaps a contracted expert.
- Knowledge Exchange: The Incubator can arrange a visit to another Commonwealth country that is already undertaking the activity that you wish to learn more about. Our Knowledge Exchange Programme has not yet begun, but we are open to suggestions about where to begin, and for what topics.
All applications for the Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator grant:
- Must have a Commonwealth Government as the lead project entity.
- The lead entity is responsible for the delivery of the project.
- In a situation where the Government may not be equipped to receive international funding, it may assign a fiscal agent or one of the project partners to manage the grant’s finances. However, the lead Government remains responsible for overseeing the proper disbursement of these funds.
Additionally, partnering with non-governmental entities is strongly recommended as all Commonwealth Governments eligible, noting:
- The country must be a member of the Blue Charter Action Group under which this proposed project best fits.
- The country must be fully up to date in meeting its Commonwealth membership obligations i.e. not in breach of the ‘Abuja Guidelines’;
- A single country may receive up to four awards in a 12-month period. If more than four Project Incubator applications are approved in principle, the country must choose which ones will be actioned;
- If a country is involved in multi-country applications, in some cases the four-award limit outlined in the bullet above may be waived.
- We encourage and prefer multi-country (e.g. regional) applications. However, we acknowledge that with this level of granting, there may be insufficient support for large collaborations.
- A non-Commonwealth Government may be involved but cannot be the lead entity or receive funding, so would need to be self-supporting with respect to its involvement. The support they bring to the project can be counted as co-financing to the project. Enter their names under the ‘Partners’ section of the form.
- External partnerships are highly recommended, particularly for larger projects. Qualifying partnerships are usually from the inter-governmental sector, NGO sector, private sector, or academia. However, multi-country government partnerships also count as a partnership.
How To Apply: To apply for the Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator grants,
- Use Offline application form (PDF) (MS Word)
- Read the Frequently Asked Question (PDF) (MS Word)