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Approving 15 Drafts, First Committee Calls for Crackdown on Supply Chains Giving Terrorist Groups Materials to Build Improvised Explosive Devices

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) sent 14 draft resolutions and 1 draft decision to the General Assembly today, including one aimed at preventing terrorist groups from accessing materials to build improvised explosive devices.

Finding Committee‑wide agreement on that matter, delegates shared deep concerns about the use of such weapons.  Afghanistan’s representative, who tabled the draft resolution “Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices” (document A/C.1/72/L.15/Rev.1), said those weapons were causing devastating humanitarian consequences and were increasingly being used to target civilians.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved “L.15/Rev.1”, by which the General Assembly would strongly encourage States to develop and adopt their own national policies on countering improvised explosive devices, including through civilian‑military cooperation.  States would also be encouraged to strengthen countermeasure capabilities, prevent their territory from being used for terrorist purposes, and combat illegal armed groups, terrorists and other unauthorized recipients in their use of such weapons.

With delegates voicing different opinions on the draft, Egypt’s representative pointed out that the language in preambular paragraph 12 raised a web of issues far removed from the text’s aims.  Meanwhile, Cuba’s representative said operative paragraph 23 lacked an appropriate framework to establish definitions of anti‑personnel mines.

Tackling other draft resolutions on conventional weapons, the Committee took action on several relating to international treaties and conventions.

The Committee approved the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti‑Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/72/L.40) by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to none against, with 16 abstentions.  By the text, the Assembly would stress the importance of the full and effective implementation of and compliance with the Convention, including through the continued implementation of the action plan for the period 2014 to 2019.

While the representatives of India, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea cited security concerns as reasons for their continued need and use of such weapons, Morocco’s delegate said his delegation had voted in favour of “L.40” because it supported the objective of the complete destruction of mines and the provision of care for civilian victims.

The Committee also approved the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions” (document A/C.1/72/L.41) by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 2 against (Russian Federation, Zimbabwe), with 36 abstentions.  By the text’s provisions, the Assembly would urge all States outside the instrument to join, and all States parties in a position to do so to promote adherence to the Convention.

In approving the draft resolution “The Arms Trade Treaty” (document A/C.1/72/L.27) by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to none against, with 29 abstentions, the Committee would have the Assembly call upon all States that had not yet done so to ratify, accept, approve or accede to the instrument, in order to achieve its universalization.

Among those abstaining, Ecuador’s delegate said the instrument was unbalanced with regard to exporting and importing States.  Representing another perspective, the representative of the United States said his delegation’s abstention stemmed from his country’s current standard policy review of several conventions, including the Arms Trade Treaty.  However, the United States had robust transfer controls in place and cooperated with Member States to help prevent conventional arms from falling into the wrong hands, he said.

Approving a basket of draft resolutions on other disarmament measures and international security, the Committee took action on “Compliance with non‑proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments” (document A/C.1/72/L.7), which was approved by a vote of 165 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 11 abstentions.

By that text, the Assembly would call upon all concerned States to take concerted action to encourage the compliance by all States with their respective non‑proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and to hold accountable those not in compliance.

Also approved today were the following draft resolutions: “Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects” (document A/C.1/72/L.16/Rev.1); “Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them” (document A/C.1/72/L.21); “Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus” (document A/C.1/72/L.43); “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (document A/C.1/72/L.56/Rev.1); “Objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures” (document A/C.1/72/L.24); “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/72/L.30); “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/72/L.31); “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” (document A/C.1/72/L.32); “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/72/L.52/Rev.1).

In addition, the Committee approved the draft decision “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (document A/C.1/72/L.44).

Speaking in explanation of position were representatives of Mexico, Australia, France, Singapore, Japan, Mali, Austria, Armenia, Indonesia, Libya, Venezuela, Argentina, Poland, Cyprus, Brazil, Switzerland, Syria, Liechtenstein, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China, Brazil and South Africa.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 1 November, to continue its consideration of all draft resolutions and decisions before it.

Background

The First Committee met this morning to take action on all draft resolutions and decisions before it.  For background information, see Press Release GA/DIS/3571 of 2 October.

Action on Draft Texts

The representative of Mexico, explaining her delegation’s position on draft resolutions on disarmament aspects of outer space, agreed with the importance of preventing an arms race in outer space, and for the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes.  The declaration of a country or several not to be the first to place weapons in outer space should not be understood as an endorsement to place weapons in that domain, which Mexico would strongly oppose.

The representative of India said her delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution “No first placement of weapons in outer space” (document A/C.1/72/L.53), emphasizing that the legal regime to protect and preserve access to space for all needed to be enhanced.

The representative of Australia, speaking also on behalf of Canada and Japan, said delegations had abstained from voting on “L.53” because the draft resolution had not defined what constituted a weapon in outer space.  Any space objects capable of being manoeuvred could be potential weapons.  In addition, the no-first placement pledge could not be verifiable.  As such, their delegations would favour measures that had a practical rather than a political claim.  Furthermore, “L.53” was focused on space‑based weapons and did not address ground‑based arms, such as missiles and lasers.  Australia, Canada and Japan had also abstained from voting on the draft resolution “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/C.1/72/L.54).  Noting that the draft had called for establishing a United Nations group of governmental experts, he said non‑binding but verifiable measures were more likely to gain wider acceptance and adherence by the international community.  Those were necessary for the strengthening of the legal regime on the issue.  The outer space transparency and confidence‑building measures should be considered in the Conference on Disarmament.

The representative of France said his delegation had voted against “L.54” because the necessary conditions for a legal binding instrument had not been met.  He regretted to note the restrictive nature of the mandate of the co‑sponsors and expressed concern about the financial implications for creating another group of experts.  For its part, France was ready to work with the international community to adopt confidence‑building and transparency measures for outer space.

The representative of Singapore, noting that her delegation had voted in favour of “L.54”, said the proposed group of governmental experts needed to be transparent and inclusive, taking into account the views of all countries.

The Committee then turned to draft resolutions related to conventional weapons.

The representative of Japan, introducing the draft resolution “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (document A/C.1/72/L.56/Rev.1), said it was essential to work together.  Expressing hope that it would be adopted by consensus, he said the draft’s preambular paragraph 9 had been deleted toward that aim, and called on all Member States to extend support for it.

The representative of Afghanistan, tabling the draft resolution “Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices” (document A/C.1/72/L.15/Rev.1), said the current text included updates on several preambular and operative paragraphs to address the threats increasingly being borne by civilians.  Noting that prior versions of “L.15/Rev.1” had been adopted by consensus, he expressed hope for the same agreement in the Committee during the current session to help the global community fight against the use of such weapons.

The representative of Mali, introducing the draft resolution “Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them” (document A/C.1/72/L.21), said it contained several updates and used the same language as the version the General Assembly had adopted at its seventy‑first session.  “L.21” would have the Assembly encourage the international community to support the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Other Related Materials.  He thanked co‑sponsors and encouraged other Member States to show their support by becoming a co‑sponsor.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation would disassociate itself from paragraphs referencing the Arms Trade Treaty in draft resolutions before the Committee.  As such, Cuba would abstain from voting on draft resolution “The Arms Trade Treaty” (document A/C.1/72/L.27) because the instrument had been adopted through a premature vote, did not enjoy consensus and was characterized by ambiguities and inconsistencies in definitions and legal gaps.  In addition, “L.27” was not balanced and favoured arms‑exporting States.

The representative of Austria, also on behalf of Liechtenstein, said even though improvised explosive devices were a loose and undefined weapons category, their delegations would vote in favour of “L.15”.  They hoped the subsequent version that would be tabled during the seventy‑third session of the General Assembly would have better language on standards so that they could join as co‑sponsors.

The representative of the Republic of Korea, referencing draft resolutions “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti‑Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/72/L.40) and “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions” (document A/C.1/72/L.41), said her delegation sympathized with the objectives of the texts, but because of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, it was not a party to either instrument.   While the Republic of Korea could not support the draft resolutions, it would do its utmost to limit the humanitarian consequences of cluster munitions in a collaborative manner.

The representative of Armenia said his delegation would abstain from voting on “L.27”, which should be adopted by consensus to be more inclusive and effective.  He expressed concern that the Arms Trade Treaty could lead to situations involving political manipulation.

The representative of Indonesia, noting that her delegation would abstain from voting on “L.27”, said her country shared the spirit of the Arms Trade Treaty.  Indonesia was also carefully studying the instrument with a view to avoiding any possible inconsistencies with national law.

The representative of Egypt said his delegation would abstain from voting on “L.27” because of the Arms Trade Treaty’s shortcomings, including genuinely preventing the illicit supply of arms to terrorist groups, its lack of definitions and its reliance on arbitrary criteria.

The representative of Iran said his delegation supported measures to counter the threat posed by improvised explosive devices and would join consensus on “L.15”.  However, Iran would abstain from voting on “L.27” for several reasons, including that the call for the universalization of the Arms Trade Treaty lacked credibility.  The instrument had not been adopted by consensus due to its flaws and ignored the interests of some States, he said, citing examples of violations, including the export of billions of dollars of weapons to Israel, which that State had used in Palestine.

The representative of Libya said his country was not a party to the Mine Ban Convention, but supported and shared the international community’s concerns about those arms and their destruction.  Despite being fully aware of the damage caused by anti‑personnel mines, he said the Convention did not refer to the responsibility of occupying States to repair the damage they had caused, nor did it address the issue of providing assistance to affected countries.  For those and other reasons, his delegation would abstain from voting on “L.40”.

The representative of Morocco said his delegation would vote in favour of “L.40” because it supported the objective of the complete destruction of mines and the provision of care for civilian victims.

The representative of Venezuela said her country was not a party to the Arms Trade Treaty and would abstain from voting on “L.27”.  The imbalanced instrument could be politically manipulated, preventing it from becoming a universal treaty.  Venezuela was fully committed to eradicating the illicit trade of conventional weapons and the best way to do so was through a multilateral regime, with a non‑discriminatory and objective instrument.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices” (document A/C.1/72/L.15/Rev.1), by which the Assembly would urge all States to provide support to reduce the risks posed by those weapons in a manner that considered the different needs of women, girls, boys and men.  It would also urge Member States to comply fully with all relevant United Nations resolutions, including those related to preventing terrorist groups from using and accessing materials that could be used to make such weapons.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee turned to the draft resolution “Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects” (document A/C.1/72/L.16/Rev.1).  By the text, the Assembly would call upon all States that had not yet done so to take all measures to become parties to the Convention and the Protocols, with a view to ultimately achieve their universality.  It would also call upon all high contracting parties to ensure full and prompt compliance with their financial obligations under the Convention and its Protocols.

It approved the draft, as orally revised, without a vote.

The Committee considered the draft resolution “Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and collecting them” (document A/C.1/72/L.21), by which the Assembly would encourage the international community to support the implementation of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Other Related Materials.

By the terms of the text, the Assembly would also encourage the collaboration of civil society organizations in efforts of national commissions of States in the Sahelo‑Saharan region to combat the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and in the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.  It would also call upon the international community to provide technical and financial support to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations in that regard.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft.

The Committee took up the draft resolution “The Arms Trade Treaty” (document A/C.1/72/L.27), which would have the Assembly call upon all States that had not yet done so to ratify, accept, approve or accede to the instrument, in order to achieve its universalization.  By the terms of the text, the Assembly would call upon those States parties in a position to do so to provide assistance to requesting States in order to promote the instrument’s universalization.

The Committee approved the draft by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to none against, with 29 abstentions.

The Committee considered the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/72/L.40).  By the text, the Assembly would stress the importance of the full and effective implementation of and compliance with the Convention, including through the continued implementation of the action plan for the period 2014 to 2019.

By a recorded vote of 158 in favour to none against, with 16 abstentions, the Committee approved the draft, as orally amended.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions” (document A/C.1/72/L.41), which would have the Assembly urge all States outside the instrument to join and all States parties in a position to do so to promote adherence to the Convention through bilateral, subregional and multilateral means.

The Committee approved the draft by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 2 against (Russian Federation, Zimbabwe), with 36 abstentions.

The Committee considered the draft resolution “Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus” (document A/C.1/72/L.43), which would have the Assembly appeal to all interested States to determine the size and nature of their surplus stockpiles, whether they represented a security risk, their means of destruction, if appropriate, and whether external assistance was needed to eliminate that risk.  The Assembly would also request the Secretary‑General to convene a related group of governmental experts in 2020.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft, as orally revised.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (document A/C.1/72/L.56/Rev.1), which would have the General Assembly call upon all States to implement the International Tracing Instrument, including in their national reports the name and contact information of the national points of contact and information on national marking practices used to indicate the country of manufacture and/or country of import, as applicable.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote, as orally amended.

The representative of Ecuador said his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.27” because the instrument had several shortcomings, including an imbalance between exporting and importing States.  Nevertheless, Ecuador would continue to study the text of the Arms Trade Treaty and its implications.

The representative of Egypt said his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.40” due to the imbalanced nature of the Mine Ban Convention, which had been developed and concluded outside the United Nations.  The instrument lacked balance between humanitarian consequences and their use by countries for border protection.  On “L.15”, Egypt continued to support the draft resolution as it attempted to tackle an important threat improvised explosive devices posed.  However, he took issue with language in preambular paragraph 12, which raised a web of issues far removed from the actual scope of the draft’s objectives.

The representative of the United States said his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.27” because his country was conducting a standard policy review of several conventions, including the Arms Trade Treaty.  Nevertheless, the United States cooperated with Member States to help prevent conventional arms from falling into the wrong hands and had robust transfer controls in place.

The representative of India said regarding draft resolution “L.27” that her country had strong national export controls of defence items and fully subscribed to the objectives of Arms Trade Treaty.  Pending the conclusion of India’s review of the instrument as it related to security interests, her delegation would abstain from voting on “L.27”.  On “L.40”, India was committed to the eventual elimination of anti‑personnel mines, but had abstained from voting on the draft as it did not consider the legitimate concerns of States, especially those with long borders.

The representative of Argentina said her delegation had abstained from voting on “L.41” because her country did not possess cluster munitions, had not subscribed to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the language in the draft was not sufficiently ambitious.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation had joined the consensus on “L.43” with several reservations, including that the language did not reflect measures to be adopted to improve stockpile management.  “L.43” should respect the rights of States to determine their surpluses according to security needs, she said, noting that Cuba maintained and applied a strict and effective national system on ammunition controls, with its stockpiles being fully consistent with legitimate national defence needs.  Cuba also supported “L.15/Rev.1”, with reservations, including that preambular paragraph 18 and operative paragraph 23 did not offer the right framework to establish definitions on anti‑personnel mines.  Her delegation had abstained from voting on “L.40”, although it shared the legitimate humanitarian concerns from the use of anti‑personnel mines.

The representative of Poland, speaking on behalf of several countries, said their delegations had abstained from voting on “L.41”.  They supported international efforts addressing the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions and supported the Convention on Cluster Munitions’ humanitarian goals, but those objectives must be balanced with States’ security concerns and military needs.

The representative of Cyprus said his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.41”.  Cyprus was a State party to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects and was in compliance with European Union standards.  However, its ratification process of the Convention on Cluster Munitions was ongoing due to the current national security situation.

The representative of Pakistan said his country had joined the consensus on “L.15/Rev.1”, as it shared concerns about the use of improvised explosive devices by terrorist groups.  Pakistan had also voted in favour of “L.27”; however, the Arms Trade Treaty’s success and universality would depend on its non‑discriminatory implementation.  On “L.40”, he said his delegation had abstained from the vote because landmines continued to play a role in meeting security needs of many States and was an integral part of Pakistan’s defence policy.  On “L.41”, his delegation had abstained from voting because Pakistan did not respect treaties negotiated outside the United Nations framework.  On “L.43”, he said Pakistan had joined the consensus, but emphasized that the largest stockpiles were maintained by major military powers and they should take the lead in safe disposal efforts.

The representative of Brazil said his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.41”.  While it had supported efforts to address cluster munitions through the United Nations, it had not participated in the process leading to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as it was a parallel process to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.  There were serious loopholes in the Convention on Cluster Munitions and its effectiveness had also been undermined by article 21, which pertains to relations with States not party to that instrument.

The representative of Myanmar said his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.40” and “L.41”.  While it supported the conventions in principle, there were constraints that were preventing Myanmar from joining them.

The representative of Switzerland said his delegation had joined the consensus on “L.15/Rev.1”, but had reservations.  The draft resolution described non‑State actors as illegal armed groups, and the terminology did not affect the rights and obligations stemming from international law and the human rights of non‑State actors.

The representative of Singapore said her delegation had voted in favour of “L.40” and supported initiatives on the prohibition of using anti‑personnel mines to target civilians.  Her delegation had also voted in favour of “L.41”, she said, as Singapore supported international efforts to address the humanitarian consequences of the use of cluster munitions.

The representative of Iran said “L.40” focused on the humanitarian consequences and did not consider any measures against the actual use of mines.  Because anti‑personnel mines were still an effective means of defence, Iran had abstained from voting on “L.40”.  Turning to “L.41”, he said the draft resolution should have considered the progressive transparency and all‑inclusive process to ensure that States’ rights to security were respected and that no individual State could obtain advantages over others.  Circumventing the United Nations disarmament machinery and creating instruments outside it was not acceptable nor in line with the Organization’s objectives.  The General Assembly should not encourage such a process.  For that reason, his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.41”.

The representative of Syria said his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.27”.  Syria was among States seeking to codify the arms trade.  Pointing out that Syria was suffering from the “bloody actions” of terrorist groups that had obtained all types of weapons in an illegal way from regional and international parties, including States parties of the Arms Trade Treaty.  The instrument had been used to guarantee the interests of some conventional weapon‑producing States, had not been adopted by consensus and did not consider the views of numerous nations, having overlooked proposals to include in the text a reference to “foreign occupation”.  The text also did not include explicit language to ensure the absolute prohibition or supply of weapons to non‑State actors and terrorist groups.  Certain States that had supported the Arms Trade Treaty’s adoption had also equipped terrorist groups with weapons.  As such, his delegation had reservations on draft resolutions containing references to the Arms Trade Treaty.

The Committee then turned to draft resolutions relating to other disarmament issues and international security.

The representative of India said suggested amendments had been included in the draft resolution “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/72/L.52/Rev.1).  He expressed hope that the draft would be approved without a vote.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation had co‑sponsored draft resolutions “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/72/L.30), “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/72/L.31) and “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non‑proliferation” (document A/C.1/72/L.32).  With regard to “L.30”, she reiterated that disarmament and development were the main challenges faced by mankind today, and it was not acceptable to devote $1.7 billion to military spending while the world was in dire need of achieving development goals.  On “L.31”, Member States should comply strictly with environmental norms, she said, adding that the draft text was an important contribution to the quest for multilateral solutions.

The representative of Liechtenstein expressed strong support for the rule of law, including in the field of disarmament.  Legally binding multilateral instruments were key to non‑proliferation and disarmament progress.  Compliance was essential to achieve that objective, he said, noting that his delegation supported the draft resolution “Compliance with non‑proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments” (document A/C.1/72/L.7).  In that vein, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme was one of the most significant achievements.

The representative of the United States said his delegation would not support “L.30” because disarmament and development were two distinct issues.  Similarly, it would not support “L.31” because the United States already operated under stringent environmental controls and the issue was not relevant to the First Committee’s work.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation would abstain from voting on “L.7” because the draft lacked an approach based on cooperation.  All States must comply with provisions of agreements they had previously entered into, she said, emphasizing that “L.7” paved the way for unacceptable interpretations of State obligations.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation would vote against “L.7” because it contained elements that jeopardized Pyongyang’s interests.  Moreover, the draft targeted the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and pushed an “impure political purpose”.

The representative of Iran said his delegation supported the fundamental principle of “L.7”, but treaty obligations should be assessed objectively and judgments should be conducted by relevant international organizations in order to prevent subjective assessments that could be used as political and foreign policy leverage.  The international community had already witnessed that in the past and were well aware of current examples.  In that context, the draft had overlooked the central role of relevant organizations, including the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as the sole bodies for the verification of compliance of non‑proliferation and disarmament agreements.  At the same time, it was ironic that Israel, one of the draft’s sponsors, was itself not a party to any of the instruments banning weapons of mass destruction.  For those reasons, his delegation would abstain from voting on “L.7”.

The representative of France said his delegation would abstain from any draft resolutions containing explicit references to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution “Compliance with non‑proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments” (document A/C.1/72/L.7).  By the terms of the text, the General Assembly would call upon all concerned States to take concerted action, in a manner consistent with relevant international law; to encourage, through bilateral and multilateral means, the compliance by all States with their respective non‑proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and with other agreed obligations; and to hold those not in compliance with such agreements accountable for their non‑compliance in a manner consistent with the Charter of the United Nations.

By a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 11 abstentions, the Committee approved the draft.

The Committee took up the draft resolution “Objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures” (document A/C.1/72/L.24).  The Assembly would, by the text’s terms, invite Member States in a position to do so to supplement their reports, on a voluntary basis, with explanatory remarks regarding submitted data to explain or clarify the figures provided in the reporting forms, such as the total military expenditures as a share of gross domestic product, major changes from previous reports and any additional information reflecting their defence policy, military strategies and doctrines.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then considered the draft resolution “Relationship between disarmament and development” (document A/C.1/72/L.30).  By the text, the Assembly would urge the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft.

The Committee turned to the draft resolution “Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control” (document A/C.1/72/L.31), by which the Assembly would call upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures so as to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress within the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment.

Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft.

It then took action on the draft resolution “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non‑proliferation” (document A/C.1/72/L.32).  By the text, the Assembly would call upon all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation as an important means of pursuing and achieving their common objectives in the area of disarmament and non‑proliferation.

The Committee approved the draft by a recorded vote of 120 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Micronesia, United Kingdom, United States), with 49 abstentions.

The Committee then took up a draft decision on “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” (document A/C.1/72/L.44), by which the Assembly would include that item in the provisional agenda of its seventy‑third session.

By a recorded vote of 173 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Ukraine), the Committee approved the draft.

The Committee then considered the draft resolution “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/C.1/72/L.52/Rev.1).  By its terms, the Assembly would invite Member States to continue efforts to apply developments in science and technology for disarmament‑related purposes, including the verification of disarmament, arms control and non‑proliferation instruments, and to make related technologies available to interested States.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

The representative of Ecuador said his delegation had abstained from voting on “L.7” because of several concerns.  Operative paragraph 7 could be interpreted as a possible justification of the application of unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the United Nations Charter.  Compliance should be in good faith and any amendment to agreements must be with the free consent of parties to them.

The representative of Pakistan said his delegation had voted in favour of “L.7” and shared the view that all States should comply with the treaty obligations in order to achieve global peace and security.  The question of compliance should be strictly applied to legal provisions of relevant treaties.  Agreed‑upon obligations were only those made by States voluntarily and in exercise of their sovereignty.

The representative of China said his delegation had voted in favour of “L.7” because nations should faithfully uphold treaty provisions without double standards.  For its part, China opposed using compliance as a political tool.

The representative of Brazil said her delegation had voted in favour of “L.7” because treaties should be fully implemented and compliance should not be selective.  Similarly, full compliance of article VI of the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons should be upheld.  Effective verification mechanisms translated into effective compliance, she said, noting her delegation’s desire to see the language found in General Assembly resolution 66/49 in operative paragraph 6 of the draft resolution.

The representative of Venezuela said her delegation had abstained from voting on “L.7” because it was unbalanced and did not consider the responsibility of nuclear‑weapon States, and did not address concerns about the use of weapons of mass destruction.  She reiterated Venezuela’s commitment to adopt multilateral measures leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons under the Non‑Proliferation Treaty framework.

The representative of South Africa said his delegation had voted in favour of “L.7” given that compliance with non‑proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements were critical to maintain confidence in the multilateral system.  However, he was deeply concerned about the selective focus taken on certain agreements in the arms control environment.  Such imbalance caused divisions that could undermine the goals of certain instruments, he said, citing the Arms Trade Treaty as an example of that situation.

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Africa: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): DRL Labor Programs to Combat Slavery in West Africa

October 31, 2017


This is the announcement of funding opportunity number DRLA-DRLAQM-18-015

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 19.345

Application Deadline: January 12, 2018

For new application submission instructions, see Section D below.

A. Project Description

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that support to combat slavery and assist the reintegration of former slaves into society in West Africa.

Program activities should focus in at least one of these countries and may include, but are not limited to, increasing collaboration among civil society organizations working to promote the rights of current and former slaves; engaging with former slaves, advocates, and civil society organizations to assist former slaves in claiming their rights under existing laws; conducting public awareness campaigns focused on combatting slavery; improving the capacity of legal and judicial professionals to hold slaveholders to account; engaging with key stakeholders to increase non-discriminatory access to services and to vocational training critical to the reintegration of current and former slaves; strengthening advocacy efforts to increase respect for human rights and to expand former slaves’ public and political participation and access to formal identification cards; and supporting civil society organizations working to combat the practice of forced begging, particularly among the talibé population.

DRL intends to support at least two programs with this funding; therefore, proposed budgets should not exceed $1m. Countries may include, but are not limited to, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, and/or Senegal. Applicants must demonstrate knowledge of relevant ongoing USG-funded programs in the countries they are proposing to work, and explain how a new program will build on existing efforts.

Projects should aim to have impact that leads to democratic reforms, and should have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. DRL’s preference is to avoid duplicating past efforts by supporting new and creative approaches. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way.

Where appropriate, competitive proposals may include:

  • Systematic follow up with trainees at specific intervals (3 months, 6 months, etc.) after the completion of trainings to track how beneficiaries are retaining new knowledge as well as applying their new skills.
  • Opportunities for trainees to apply their new knowledge and skills in practical efforts.
  • Solicitation of feedback and suggestions from beneficiaries when developing trainings and activities in order to strengthen the sustainability of labor programs and participant ownership of project outcomes.
  • Input from participants on sustainability plans and systematic review of the plans throughout the life of the project with adjustments made as necessary.
  • Inclusion of vulnerable populations in needs and/or rapid assessments in order to identify challenges, gaps, and opportunities among these groups.
  • Joint identification and definition of key concepts with relevant stakeholders and stakeholder input into project activities.

To maximize the impact and sustainability of the award(s) that result(s) from this NOFO, DRL reserves the right to execute a non-competitive continuation amendment(s). The total duration of any award, including a potential non-competitive continuation amendment(s), shall not exceed 60 months or five years. Any non-competitive continuation is contingent on performance and availability of funds. A non-competitive continuation is not guaranteed; the Department of State reserves the right to exercise or not exercise the option to issue non-competitive continuation amendment(s).

Activities that are not typically considered competitive include, but are not limited to:

  • The provision of large amounts of humanitarian assistance;
  • English language instruction;
  • Development of high-tech computer or communications software and/or hardware;
  • Purely academic exchanges or fellowships;
  • External exchanges or fellowships lasting longer than six months;
  • Off-shore activities that are not clearly linked to in-country initiatives and impact or are not necessary for security concerns;
  • Theoretical explorations of human rights or democracy issues, including projects aimed primarily at research and evaluation that do not incorporate training or capacity-building for local civil society;
  • Micro-loans or similar small business development initiatives;
  • Initiatives directed towards a diaspora community rather than current residents of targeted countries.

DRL may ask successful applicant(s) to incorporate coordination of an implementer and stakeholder meeting into the Scope of Work of the final project. DRL will discuss this possibility with particular applicant(s) during the proposal negotiation phase.

B. Federal Award Information

DRL anticipates having approximately 2,000,000 of HRDF available to support approximately two successful applications submitted in response to this NOFO, subject to the availability of funding. Applicants can submit one application in response to the NOFO.

Applicants should not request less than $500,000 and no more than $1,000.000. Applicants should include an anticipated start date between June 2018 – September 2018 and the period of performance should be between 24 months to 36 months.

The U.S. government may (a) reject any or all applications, (b) accept other than the lowest cost application, (c) accept more than one application, and (d) waive informalities and minor irregularities in applications received.

The U.S. government may make award(s) on the basis of initial applications received, without discussions or negotiations. Therefore, each initial application should contain the applicant's best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The U.S. government reserves the right (though it is not under obligation to do so), however, to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or to suggest refinements in the project description, budget, or other aspects of an application.

DRL anticipates awarding either a grant or cooperative agreement depending on the needs and risk factors of the program. The final determination on mechanism will be made by the Grants Officer. The distinction between grants and cooperative agreements revolves around the existence of “substantial involvement.” Cooperative agreements require greater Federal government participation in the project. If a cooperative agreement is awarded, DRL will undertake reasonable and programmatically necessary substantial involvement. Examples of substantial involvement can include, but are not limited to:

  1. Active participation or collaboration with the recipient in the implementation of the award.
  2. Review and approval of one stage of work before another can begin.
  3. Review and approval of substantive provisions of proposed subawards or contracts.
  4. Approval of the recipient’s budget or plan of work prior to the award.

For projects of $150,000 or less, DRL expects to provide a fixed amount (fixed price) award. Fixed amount awards are generally used when the work to be performed can be priced with a reasonable degree of certainty, the grantee can reliably predict costs based on similar types of work, or the grantee can easily obtain bids or quotes. Appropriate activities for fixed amount awards generally include, but are not limited to: conferences, workshops, surveys, studies, and technical assistance when costs can be separated by milestone. Fixed amount awards should be based upon milestones, which outline a verifiable product, task, deliverable, or goal. Milestones generally include three components: (1) a description of the product, task, deliverable, or goal to be accomplished; (2) a description of how the recipient will document the completion of the product, task, deliverable, or goal (e.g. survey submission, submitting training materials, toolkits or reports); and (3) the amount that DRL will pay the recipient for the deliverable. Accountability is based primarily on performance and meeting milestones. While it is possible to provide flexibility within the milestone timing, the period of performance for fixed amount awards cannot be modified.

The authority for this funding opportunity is found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA).

C. Eligibility Information

For application information, please see the proposal submission instructions on our website.

C.1 Eligible Applicants

DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.

Applications submitted by for-profit entities may be subject to additional review following the panel selection process. Additionally, the Department of State generally prohibits profit to for-profit or commercial organizations under its assistance awards. Profit is defined as any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs. The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR 30, Cost Accounting Standards Administration, and 48 CFR 31 Contract Cost Principles and Procedures.

Please see 2 CFR 200.307 for regulations regarding program income.

C.2 Cost Sharing or Matching

Providing cost sharing, matching, or cost participation is not an eligibility factor or requirement for this NOFO, and providing cost share will not result in a more favorable competitive ranking.

C.3 Other

Applicants should have existing, or the capacity to develop, active partnerships with thematic or in-country partners, entities and relevant stakeholders, including private sector partners and NGOs, and have demonstrable experience in administering successful and preferably similar projects. DRL encourages applications from foreign-based NGOs headquartered in the geographic regions/countries relevant to this NOFO. Applicants may form consortia and submit a combined application. However, one organization should be designated as the lead applicant with the other members as sub-award partners. DRL reserves the right to request additional background information on applicants that do not have previous experience administering federal grant awards, and these applicants may be subject to limited funding on a pilot basis.

DRL is committed to an anti-discrimination policy in all of its projects and activities. DRL welcomes applications irrespective of race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other status.

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management (SAM)(www.sam.gov) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR,1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR,1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally no entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM.gov can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Excluded Parties List System in SAM.gov to ensure that no ineligible entity is included in their application.

D. Application and Submission Information

D.1 Address to Request Application Package

Applicants can find application forms, kits, or other materials needed to apply on www.grants.gov and SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) under the announcement title “DRL Labor Program to Combat Slavery in West Africa” funding opportunity number “DRLA-DRLAQM-18-015” Please contact the DRL point of contact listed in section G if requesting reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities or for security reasons. Please note: reasonable accommodations do not include deadline extensions.

** Applications will be accepted in either grants.gov or SAMS Domestic. However, please note that applicants seeking to submit through SAMS Domestic can only do so after December 8, 2017 on (https://mygrants.service-now.com). Applicants seeking to submit their application on or prior to December 8, 2017 must do so through grants.gov. **

D.2 Content and Form of Application Submission

For all application documents, please ensure:

  1. All documents are in English and all costs are in U.S. dollars. If an original document within the application is in another language, an English translation must be provided (please note: the Department of State, as indicated in 2 CFR 200.111, requires that English is the official language of all award documents. If any document is provided in both English and a foreign language, the English language version is the controlling version);
  2. All pages are numbered, including budgets and attachments;
  3. All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper; and,
  4. All documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Captions and footnotes may be 10 point Times New Roman font. Font sizes in charts and tables, including the budget, can be reformatted to fit within 1 page width.

D.2.1 Application Requirements

Complete applications must include the following:

  1. Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B forms.
  1. If your organization engages in lobbying the U.S. government including Congress, or pays for another entity to lobby on your behalf, the SF-LLL “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” form is also required.
  1. Cover Page (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably in Microsoft Word) that includes a table with the name of the organization, project title, target country/countries, thematic area, project synopsis, and name and contact information for the application’s main point of contact.
  1. Executive Summary (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably in Microsoft Word) that outlines project goals, objectives, and activities.
  1. Table of Contents (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably in Microsoft Word) listing all documents and attachments, with page numbers.
  1. Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten [10] pages, preferably in Microsoft Word). Please note the ten page limit does not include the Table of Contents, Cover Page, Attachments, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative, or Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA). Applicants are encouraged to combine multiple documents in a single Word Document or PDF (i.e., Cover Page, Table of Contents, Executive Summary, and Proposal Narrative in one file).
  1. Budget (preferably as an Excel workbook) that includes three [3] columns containing the request to DRL, any cost sharing contribution, and the total budget. A summary budget should also be included using the OMB-approved budget categories (see SF-424A as a sample) in a separate tab. Costs must be in U.S. dollars. Detailed line-item budgets for subgrantees should be included as additional tabs within the Excel workbook (if available at the time of submission).
  1. Budget Narrative (preferably as a Word Document) that includes substantive explanations and justifications for each line-item in the detailed budget spreadsheet, as well as the source and a description of all cost-share offered.
  1. Your organization’s most recent A-133 audit (if applicable), F Audit, or standard audit. Please see Audit section 2F below for more information.
  1. Logic Model (not to exceed two [2] pages, preferably in Microsoft Word).
  1. Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative (not to exceed two [2] pages).
  1. Monitoring and Evaluation Performance Indicator Table (not to exceed four [4] pages in Microsoft Word).
  1. Risk Analysis (not to exceed one [1] page, preferably in Microsoft Word).
  1. Key Personnel (not to exceed one [1] page total, preferably as a Word Document): Please include short bios that demonstrate relevant professional experience. Given the limited space, CVs are not recommended for submission.
  1. Timeline (not to exceed one [1] page): The timeline of the overall proposal should include activities, evaluation efforts, and program closeout.
  2. Security Plan: if applicable; please refer to the NOFO to see if this is required.

Applications that do not include the elements listed above will be deemed technically ineligible.

D.2.2 Additional Application Documents

Strong applications will also contain the following:

  • Individual Letters of Support and/or Memorandum of Understanding. Letters of support and MOUs must be specific to the project implementation (e.g. from proposed partners or sub-award recipients) and will not count towards the page limit.

Please refer to the Proposal Submission Instructions on DRL’s website for detailed guidance on the documents above: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/275216.pdf. For an application checklist and sample templates please see the Resources page on DRL’s website:http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm. The sample templates provided on the DRL website are suggested, but not mandatory.

DRL reserves the right to request additional documents not included in this NOFO. Additionally, to ensure that all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the DRL Review Panel will review from the first page of each section up to the page limit and no further.

Note: If ultimately provided with a notification of non-binding intent to make a Federal award, applicants typically have two to three weeks to provide additional information and documents requested in the notification of intent. The deadlines may vary in each notification of intent and applicants must adhere to the stated deadline in the notification of intent.

D.2.3 Additional Information Requested For Those Receiving Notification of Intent

Successful applicants must submit after notification of intent to make a Federal award, but prior to issuance of a Federal award:

  • Written responses and revised application documents addressing conditions and recommendations from the DRL Review Panel;
  • If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA as a PDF file.
  • Completion of the Department’s Financial Management Survey, if receiving DRL funding for the first time;
  • Submission of required documents to register in the Payment Management System managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, if receiving DRL funding for the first time (unless an exemption is provided);
  • Other requested information or documents included in the notification of intent to make a Federal award or subsequent communications prior to issuance of a Federal award.

D.3 Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), formerly referred to as DUNS, and an active registration with the SAM.gov before submitting an application. DRL may not review applications from or make awards to applicants that have not completed all applicable UEI and SAM.gov requirements. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.

Note: The process of obtaining a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.

  • If you are based in the United States or pay employees within the United States, prior to registering in SAM.gov you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code.
  • If you are based outside of the United States and do not pay employees within the United States, you do not need an EIN from the IRS. However, you will need a NATO CAGE (NCAGE) code before you can have an active registration in SAM.gov.

All organizations must also continue to maintain active SAM.gov registration with current information at all times during which they have an active Federal award or application under consideration by a Federal award agency. SAM.gov requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration in SAM.gov and to maintain that active registration. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements at the time of application, the applicant may be deemed unqualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

For further guidance on the registration process, please see the SAM.gov Registration Guide on DRL’s website: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c72333.htm. Please refer to 2 CFR 25.200 for additional information.

Please note the registration process for SAM.gov is free.

In October 2017, new information was added to the www.SAM.gov website to help international registrations, including “Quick Start Guide for International Registrations” and “Helpful Hints”. Navigate to SAM.gov, click HELP in the top navigation bar, then click International Registrants in the left navigation panel.

D.3.1 Exemptions

An exemption from these requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:

  • An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.

* Organizations requesting exemption from SAM.gov, NCAGE, and UEI should email the point of contact in the NOFO. If establishing your SAM.gov account as private rather than public view, please notify DRL at the time of submission.

Note: Foreign organizations will be required to register with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) to receive a NCAGE code in order to register in SAM.gov. NSPA will forward your registration request to the applicable National Codification Bureau (NCB) if your organization is located in a NATO or Tier 2 Sponsored Non-NATO Nation. As of March 2016, NATO nations included Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States of America; and Tier 2 nations included Australia, Austria, Brazil, Finland, Israel, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Serbia, and Singapore.

NSPA and/or the appropriate NCB forwards all NCAGE code information to all Allied Committee 135 (AC/135) nations, which as of March 2016 also included Afghanistan, Argentina, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Montenegro, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates. All organizations are strongly advised to take this into consideration when assessing whether registration may result in possible endangerment.

D.4 Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), on January 12, 2018 on www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) under the announcement title “DRL Labor Programs to Combat Slavery in West Africa” funding opportunity number “DRLA-DRLAQM-18-015.”

** Applications will be accepted in either grants.gov or SAMS Domestic. However, please note that applicants seeking to submit through SAMS Domestic can only do so after December 8, 2017 on (https://mygrants.service-now.com). Applicants seeking to submit their application on or prior to December 8, 2017 must do so through grants.gov. **

Grants.gov and SAMS Domestic automatically log the date and time an application submission is made, and the Department of State will use this information to determine whether an application has been submitted on time. Late applications are neither reviewed nor considered unless the DRL point of contact listed in section G is contacted prior to the deadline and is provided with evidence of system errors caused by www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic that is outside of the applicant’s control and is the sole reason for a late submission. Applicants should not expect a notification upon DRL receiving their application.

D.5 Funding Restrictions

DRL will not consider applications that reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization.

Project activities whose direct beneficiaries are foreign militaries or paramilitary groups or individuals will not be considered for DRL funding given purpose limitations on funding.

The Leahy Law prohibits Department foreign assistance funds from supporting foreign security force units if the Secretary of State has credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. Per 22 USC §2378d(a) (2015), “No assistance shall be furnished under this chapter [FOREIGN ASSISTANCE] or the Arms Export Control Act [22 USC 2751 et seq.] to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” Restrictions may apply to any proposed assistance to police or other law enforcement. Among these, pursuant to section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA), no assistance provided through this funding opportunity may be furnished to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country when there is credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. In accordance with the requirements of section 620M of the FAA, also known as the Leahy law, project beneficiaries or participants from a foreign government’s security forces may need to be vetted by the Department before the provision of any assistance.

If a proposed grant or cooperative agreement will provide assistance to foreign security forces or personnel, compliance with the Leahy Law is required. Federal awards generally will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs; however, the Grants Officer may approve pre-award costs on a case-by-case basis. Generally, construction costs are not allowed under DRL awards. For additional information, please see the DRL Proposal Submission Instructions for Applications using SAMS Domestic Updated October 2017: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/275216.pdf

D.6 Application Submission

All application submissions must be made electronically via www.grants.gov or SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com). Both systems require registration by the applying organization. Please note: the Grants.gov registration process can take 10 business days or longer, even if all registration steps are completed in a timely manner.

** Applications will be accepted in either grants.gov or SAMS Domestic. However, please note that applicants seeking to submit through SAMS Domestic can only do so after December 8, 2017 on (https://mygrants.service-now.com). Applicants seeking to submit their application on or prior to December 8, 2017 must do so through grants.gov. **

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that it has an active registration in SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov. Applicants are required to document that the application has been received by SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov in its entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for disqualification that result from applicants not being registered before the due date, for system errors in either SAMS Domestic or Grants.gov, or other errors in the application process. Additionally you must save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.

Faxed, couriered, or emailed documents will not be accepted. Reasonable accommodations may, in appropriate circumstances, be provided to applicants with disabilities or for security reasons. Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable NOFO and these instructions.

DRL encourages organizations to submit applications during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM Eastern Time). If an applicant experiences technical difficulties and has contacted the appropriate helpdesk but is not receiving timely assistance (e.g. if you have not received a response within 48 hours of contacting the helpdesk), you may contact the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO in section G. The point of contact may assist in contacting the appropriate helpdesk, but an applicant should also document their efforts in contacting the helpdesk. Applicants may also contact the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO if experiencing technical issues with grants.gov or SAMS Domestic that may result in a late submission.

Applicants experiencing technical difficulties should follow these three steps:

  1. Contact the helpdesk for either Grants.gov or SAMS Domestic immediately.
  2. Document (including screenshots) technical issues AND efforts to contact the helpdesk.
  3. Submit all of the required documents to the DRL point of contact listed in the NOFO before the deadline.

Note: The Procurement Office/Grant Office will determine technical eligibility of all applications.

SAMS Domestic Applications:

All applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications via SAMS Domestic (https://mygrants.service-now.com) after December 8, 2017.

Applicants using SAMS Domestic for the first time should complete their “New Organization Registration.” To register with SAMS Domestic, click “Login to https://mygrants.service-now.com” and follow the “create an account” link.

Organizations must remember to save a screen shot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.

SAMS Domestic Help Desk:
For assistance with SAMS Domestic accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact the ILMS help desk by phone at 1-888-313-4567 (toll charges for international callers) or through the Self Service online portal that can be accessed from https://afsitsm.service-now.com/ilms. Customer Support is available 24/7/365.

Grants.gov Applications
Applicants who do not submit applications via SAMS Domestic may submit via www.grants.gov.

Please be advised that completing all the necessary registration steps for obtaining a username and password from Grants.gov can take more than two weeks.

Please refer to the Grants.gov website for definitions of various "application statuses" and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from Grants.gov upon the successful submission of an application. Validation of an electronic submission via Grants.gov can take up to two business days. Additionally you must remember to save a screenshot of the checklist showing all documents submitted in case any document fails to upload successfully.

Grants.gov Helpdesk:

For assistance with Grants.gov, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email support@grants.gov. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.

See https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/federal-holidays/ for a list of federal holidays.

E. Application Review Information

E.1 Proposal Review Criteria

The DRL Review Panel will evaluate each application individually against the following criteria, listed below in order of importance, and not against competing applications. Please use the below criteria as a reference but do not structure your application according to the sub-sections.

Quality of Project Idea

Applications should be responsive to the program framework and policy objectives identified in the NOFO, appropriate in the country/regional context, and should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to DRL’s mission of promoting human rights and democracy. Projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms. DRL prefers new approaches that do not duplicate efforts by other entities. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way. In countries where similar activities are already taking place, an explanation should be provided as to how new activities will not duplicate or merely add to existing activities and how these efforts will be coordinated. Proposals that promote creative approaches to recognized ongoing challenges are highly encouraged. DRL prioritizes project proposals with inclusive approaches for advancing these rights.

Project Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives

A strong application will include a clear articulation of how the proposed project activities contribute to the overall project objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed. A comprehensive monthly work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and the logistical capacity of the organization. Objectives should be ambitious yet measurable, results-focused and achievable in a reasonable time frame. A complete application must include a logic model to demonstrate how the project activities will have an impact on its proposed objectives. The logic model should match the objectives, outcomes, key activities and outputs described in the narrative. Applications should address how the project will engage relevant stakeholders and should identify local partners as appropriate.

If local partners have been identified, DRL strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners. Additionally, applicants should describe the division of labor among the direct applicant and any local partners. If applicable, applications should identify target geographic areas for activities, target participant groups or selection criteria for participants, and the specific roles of sub-awardees, among other pertinent details.

DRL recognizes that all programs have some level of risk due to internal/external variables that have the potential to adversely affect a program. Risk management should address how the program design incorporates the identification, assessment, and management of key risk factors. DRL will review the risk analysis based on the organization’s ability to identify risks that could have an impact on the overall program as well as how the organization will manage these risks.

Institution’s Record and Capacity

DRL will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Applications should demonstrate an institutional record of successful democracy and human rights programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past grants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project's objectives. Projects should have potential for continued funding beyond DRL resources.

Inclusivity of Marginalized Populations

DRL strives to ensure its projects advance the rights and uphold the dignity of all persons. The Bureau requests an inclusive programming approach, which should encompass marginalized populations, especially those facing discrimination and violence that undermines society’s collective security. To the extent possible, applicants should identify and support marginalized populations in all proposed project activities and objectives, and should provide specific analysis, measures, and corresponding targets to include them as appropriate. It assumes that interventions will not affect all segments of society in the same way. It requires stakeholders to identify and address the difference between the opportunities and barriers to equality and to design programs in a way that does not perpetuate inequality.

Cost Effectiveness

DRL strongly encourages applicants to clearly demonstrate project cost-effectiveness in their application, including examples of leveraging institutional and other resources. However, cost-sharing or other examples of leveraging other resources are not required. Inclusion of cost-sharing in the budget does not result in additional points awarded during the review process. Budgets should have low and/or reasonable overhead and administration costs, and applicants should provide clear explanations and justifications for these costs in relation to the work involved. All budget items should be clearly explained and justified to demonstrate necessity, appropriateness, and connection to the project objectives.

Please note: If cost-share is included in the budget, the recipient must maintain written records to support all allowable costs that are claimed as its contribution to cost-share, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. In the event the recipient does not meet the minimum amount of cost-sharing as stipulated in the recipient’s budget, DRL’s contribution may be reduced in proportion to the recipient’s contribution.

Multiplier Effect/Sustainability

Applications should clearly delineate how elements of the project will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant. A good multiplier effect will have an impact beyond the direct beneficiaries of the grant (e.g. participants trained under a grant go on to train other people; workshop participants use skills from a workshop to enhance a national level election that affects the entire populace). A strong sustainability plan may include demonstrating continuing impact beyond the life of a project or garnering other donor support after DRL funding ceases.

Project Monitoring and Evaluation

Complete applications will include a detailed M&E Narrative and M&E Plan, which detail how the project’s progress will be monitored and evaluated. Incorporating well-designed monitoring and evaluation processes into a project is an efficient method for documenting the change (intended and unintended) that a project seeks. Applications should demonstrate the capacity to provide objectives with measurable outputs and outcomes.

The quality of the M&E sections will be judged on the narrative explaining how both monitoring and evaluation will be carried out and who will be responsible for those related activities. The M&E Narrative should explain how an external evaluation will be incorporated into the project implementation plan or how the project will be systematically assessed in the absence of one. Please see the section on Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for more information on what is required in the narrative.

The output and outcome-based performance indicators should not only be separated by project objectives but also should match the objectives, outcomes, and outputs detailed in the logic model and proposal narrative. Performance indicators should be clearly defined (i.e., explained how the indicators will be measured and reported) either within the table or with a separate Performance Indicator Reference Sheet (PIRS). For each performance indicator, the table should also include baselines and quarterly and cumulative targets, data collection tools, data sources, types of data disaggregation, and frequency of monitoring and evaluation. There should also be metrics to capture how project activities target those discriminated against or marginalized populations or addresses their concerns, where applicable. Please see the section on Monitoring and Evaluation Plan in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for more information on what is required in the plan.

E.2 Review and Selection Process

DRL strives to ensure that each application receives a balanced evaluation by a DRL Review Panel. The Department’s Office of Acquisitions Management (AQM) will determine technical eligibility for all applications. All technically eligible applications for a given NOFO are reviewed against the same seven criteria, which include quality of project idea, project planning/ability to achieve objectives, institutional record and capacity, inclusive programming, cost effectiveness, multiplier effect/sustainability, and project monitoring and evaluation.

Additionally, the DRL Review Panel will evaluate how the application addresses the NOFO request, U.S. foreign policy goals, and the priority needs of DRL overall. DRL may also take into consideration the balance of the current portfolio of active projects, including geographic or thematic diversity, if needed.

In most cases, the DRL Review Panel includes representatives from DRL, the appropriate Department of State regional bureau (to include feedback from U.S. embassies), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (to include feedback from USAID missions). In some cases, additional panelists may participate, including from other Department of State bureaus or offices, U.S. government departments, agencies, or boards, representatives from partner governments, or representatives from entities that are in a public-private partnership with DRL. At the end of the panel’s discussion about an application, the Panel votes on recommending the application for approval by the DRL Assistant Secretary. If more applications are ultimately recommended for approval than DRL can fund, the Panel will rank the recommended applications in priority order for consideration by the DRL Assistant Secretary. The Grants Officer Representative (GOR) for the eventual award does not vote on the panel. All Panelists must sign non-disclosure agreements and conflicts of interest agreements.

DRL Review Panels may provide conditions and recommendations on applications to enhance the proposed project, which must be addressed by the applicant before further consideration of the award. To ensure effective use of DRL funds, conditions or recommendations may include requests to increase, decrease, clarify, and/or justify costs and project activities.

F. Federal Award Administration Information

F.1 Federal Award Notices

DRL will provide a separate notification to applicants on the result of their applications. Successful applicants will receive a letter electronically via email requesting that the applicant respond to Panel conditions and recommendations. This notification is not an authorization to begin activities and does not constitute formal approval or a funding commitment.

Final approval is contingent on the applicant successfully responding to the Panel’s conditions and recommendations, being registered in required systems, including the U.S. government’s Payment Management System (PMS), unless an exemption is provided, and completing and providing any additional documentation requested by DRL or AQM. Final approval is also contingent on Congressional notification requirements being met and final review and approval by the Department’s warranted Grants Officer.

The notice of Federal award signed by the Department’s warranted Grants Officers is the sole authorizing document. If awarded, the notice of Federal award will be provided to the applicant’s designated Authorizing Official via SAMS Domestic to be electronically counter-signed in the system.

F.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements

The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards set forth in 2 CFR Chapter 200 (Sub-Chapters A through F) shall apply to all non-Federal entities, except for assistance awards to Individuals and Foreign Public Entities. Sub-Chapters A through E shall apply to all foreign organizations, and Sub-Chapters A through D shall apply to all U.S. and foreign for-profit entities.

The applicant/recipient of the award and any sub-recipient under the award must comply with all applicable terms and conditions, in addition to the assurance and certifications made part of the Notice of Award. The Department’s Standard Terms and Conditions can be viewed at https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm.

F.3 Reporting

Applicants should be aware that DRL awards will require that all reports (financial and progress) are uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic on a quarterly basis. The Federal Financial Report (FFR or SF-425) is the required form for the financial reports and must be submitted in PMS as well as a copy from PMS then uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic. The progress reports uploaded to the grant file in SAMS Domestic must a narrative as described below; and Project Indicators (or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer) for the F Framework indicators.

Narrative progress reports should reflect the focus on measuring the project’s impact on the overarching objectives and should be compiled according to the objectives, outcomes, and outputs as outlined in the award’s Scope of Work (SOW) and in the Monitoring and Evaluation Narrative. An assessment of the overall project’s impact should be included in each progress report. Where relevant, progress reports should include the following sections:

  • Relevant contextual information (limited);
  • Explanation and evaluation of significant activities of the reporting period and how the activities reflect progress toward achieving objectives, including meeting benchmarks/targets as set in the M&E plan. In addition, attach the M&E plan, comparing the target and actual numbers for the indicators;
  • Any tangible impact or success stories from the project, when possible;
  • Copy of mid-term and/or final evaluation report(s) conducted by an external evaluator; if applicable;
  • Relevant supporting documentation or products related to the project activities (such as articles, meeting lists and agendas, participant surveys, photos, manuals, etc.) as separate attachments;
  • Description of how the Recipient is pursuing sustainability, including looking for sources of follow-on funding;
  • Any problems/challenges in implementing the project and a corrective action plan with an updated timeline of activities;
  • Reasons why established goals were not met;
  • Data for the required F Framework indicator(s) for the quarter as well as aggregate data by fiscal year: Program Indicators or other mutually agreed upon format approved by the Grants Officer.
  • Proposed activities for the next quarter;
  • Additional pertinent information, including analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs, if applicable.

A final narrative and financial report must also be submitted within 90 days after the expiration of the award.

Please note: Delays in reporting may result in delays of payment approvals and failure to provide required reports may jeopardize the recipient's’ ability to receive future U.S. government funds.

DRL reserves the right to request any additional programmatic and/or financial project information during the award period.

G. Contact Information

For technical submission questions related to this NOFO, please contact the DRLLaborGrants@state.gov inbox.

For assistance with SAMS Domestic accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact the ILMS help desk by phone at 1-888-313-4567 (toll charges for international callers) or through the Self Service online portal that can be accessed from https://afsitsm.service-now.com/ilms. Customer Support is available 24/7/365.

Please note, establishing an account in SAMS Domestic may require the use of smartphone for multi-factor authentication (MFA). If an applicant does not have accessibility to a smartphone during the time of creating an account, please contact the helpdesk and request and instructions on MFA for Windows PC.

For assistance with Grants.gov accounts and technical issues related to using the system, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email support@grants.gov. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.

For a list of federal holidays visit:

https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/federal-holidays/

With the exception of technical submission questions, during the NOFO period U.S. Department of State staff in Washington and overseas shall not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process has been completed and rejection and approval letters have been transmitted.

H. Other Information

Applicants should be aware that DRL understands that some information contained in applications may be considered sensitive or proprietary and will make appropriate efforts to protect such information. However, applicants are advised that DRL cannot guarantee that such information will not be disclosed, including pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other similar statutes.

The information in this NOFO and “DRL’s Proposal Submission Instructions for Applications using SAMS Domestic Updated October 2017” is binding and may not be modified by any DRL representative. Explanatory information provided by DRL that contradicts this language will not be binding. Issuance of the NOFO and negotiation of applications does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government. DRL reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets.

This NOFO will appear on www.grants.gov, SAMS Domestic (after December 8, 2017), and DRL’s website http://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/c12302.htm.

Background Information on DRL and general DRL funding

DRL has the mission of promoting democracy and protecting human rights globally. DRL supports projects that uphold democratic principles, support and strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, prevent atrocities, combat and prevent violent extremism, and build civil society around the world. DRL typically focuses its work in countries with egregious human rights violations, where democracy and human rights advocates are under pressure and where governments are undemocratic or in transition.

Additional background information on DRL and its efforts can be found on www.state.gov/j/drl.


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