For the EDF, National, Regional, intra-ACP and Territorial Authorising Officers

While under the Budget the partner country's rules on division of powers decide who the signatory of the financing agreement will be, in the Cotonou Agreement it was agreed and in the framework of the Overseas Association Decision decided that the ACP States and OCTs will appoint a person to represent that country or territory in all matters of implementing the EDF. This person is the national or territorial authorising officer (NAO). For actions common to all ACP States, it is the intra-ACP authorising officer (as a rule, the ACP Secretariat in Brussels) appointed by the ACP Committee of Ambassadors and for regional actions it is the regional authorising officer who is a representative of a regional international organisation of the partner countries. His or her tasks are consequently defined in Article 35 of Annex IV to the Cotonou Agreement for ACP States and in Article 14 of Commission Regulation No 2304/2002 implementing the Overseas Association Decision for OCTs. Collectively, they will be called “EDF authorising officer”.

Wherever the conditions regarding institutional capacity and sound financial management are met, the EDF authorising officer may delegate his or her functions for implementation of the actions concerned to the body responsible within the national or territorial administration, notifying the Head of Delegation accordingly17.

The main tasks of this EDF authorising officer, some of which go beyond budget-implementation tasks, are to:

  • be responsible for the coordination, programming, regular monitoring and annual, mid-term and end-of-term reviews of the implementation of cooperation, and for coordination with donors;

  • in close cooperation with the Head of Delegation, be responsible for the preparation, submission and appraisal of projects and programmes;

  • prepare tender files and documents for calls for proposals;

  • submit tender files and documents for calls for proposals to the Head of Delegation for approval before launching invitations to tender and calls for proposals;

  • in close cooperation with the Head of Delegation, launch invitations to tender and calls for proposals, receive tenders and proposals, chair their evaluation and establish the results thereof;

  • approve and submit to the Head of Delegation for approval the results of evaluation of tenders and proposals, and also the proposals for the award of contracts and grants;

  • submit contracts and contract riders to the Head of Delegation for approval and endorsement18;

  • submit programme estimates and riders thereto to the Head of Delegation for approval and endorsement;

  • sign contracts and contract riders approved by the Head of Delegation;

  • validate and authorise expenditure within the limits of the funds assigned to him or her;

  • make any adaptation arrangements necessary to ensure the proper execution of actions from the financial and technical viewpoint;

  • make minor adjustments and technical changes to projects and programmes provided that they do not affect the technical solutions adopted and remain within the limit of the reserve for adjustments included in the budget of the financing agreement, provided that he/she informs the Head of Delegation without delay;

  • decide on the imposition or remission of penalties for delay, provided that he/she informs the Head of Delegation without delay;

  • decide on the discharge of guarantors, provided that he/she informs the Head of Delegation without delay;

  • decide on final acceptance, provided that the Head of Delegation is present at provisional acceptance, endorses the corresponding minutes and, where appropriate, is present at the final acceptance, in particular where the extent of the reservations recorded at the provisional acceptance necessitates major additional work;

  • sign final payments for works and supply contracts.

The EDF authorising officer must assume financial responsibility for the executive tasks assigned to him or her.

Where the (Commission's) authorising officer by delegation becomes aware of problems in carrying out procedures relating to management of EDF resources, he or she will, in conjunction with the EDF authorising officer, make all contacts necessary to remedy the situation and take any steps that are necessary.

Where the EDF authorising officer does not or is unable to carry out the tasks incumbent on him/her, the Commission's authorising officer by delegation may temporarily take his/her place according to the conditions as set out in Article 96 of theCotonou agreement.

17 It is strongly recommended that this delegation of powers be provided for in Annex I (Technical and Administrative Provisions) of the Financing agreement.
18 With the exception of contracts and contract riders for which payments will not be executed by the Commission on behalf of one or more ACP States (see section 4.2.1 of the Practical guide to procedures for programme estimates).