A Marco Polo grant agreement takes effect the day it is signed by both parties. But this is not necessarily the start-date for the project in question. Eligible projects for the 2011 call for proposals can start any time between 1 July 2010 and 1 July 2013. However, the action can have as its earliest starting date the day the proposal was submitted to the EACI.
The implementation period varies. It is two years for common learning actions, a maximum of three years for modal shift projects and three-to-five years for motorways of the sea, catalyst and traffic avoidance projects.
Implementation requires beneficiaries to respect a series of obligations, which concern, inter alia, the registration of modal shift or traffic avoidance, and verification and reporting procedures.
The grant agreement sets up a number of tools for monitoring progress towards the attainment of modal shift and environmental targets. These include regular technical implementation reports and financial statements and verification visits.
One important tool which beneficiaries are required to set up within three months of contract signature is the 'specific registration tool' [127 KB] .
Under the grant agreement, the beneficiary has to create a software-based registration tool for reporting shifted or avoided tonne-kilometres. This tool will identify the actual modal-shift or traffic avoidance volume achieved as foreseen in the agreement. The tool must be externally audited and certified by a recognised independent auditing and certifying entity. The registration tool applies to all projects except common learning actions. The system must allow its data to be retrieved immediately, particularly during project verification visits by the EACI. These can happen at any time, but regular visits take place once a year.
At the end of the project, the beneficiary must submit to the EACI a final certificate by an approved auditor confirming that the tonne-kilometres declared by the beneficiary are real and accurately recorded.