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Environment Policy

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LIFE-Third Countries

Capacities and administrative structures needed in the
environmental sector and in the development of environmental
policy and action programmes in some third countries
bordering on the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea



Regulation (EC) No. 1655/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the 17 July 2000 concerning the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE), OJ L 192 of 28.7.2000.


Legal References

  • Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1973/92 of 21 May 1992, OJ L 206, 22.07.90, establishing a Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE), amended by Regulation (EC) No. 1404/96, OJ L 181 of 20.07.1996.



The purpose of LIFE-Third Countries is to contribute to the establishment of capacities and administrative structures needed in the environmental sector and in the development of environmental policy and action programmes in third countries bordering on the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea, other than the countries of Central and Eastern Europe which have concluded Association Agreements with the European Community.


Target Public / beneficiaries

LIFE-Third Countries is primarily intended to support the efforts of national administrations in implementing, updating and developing environmental policies and action programmes.

In general, LIFE-Third Countries is open to persons or companies of whatever legal status, provided that they reside or are established in an eligible country, The eligible countries/territories are: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Baltic shoreline of Russia (Kaliningrad and St Peterburg regions).

LIFE is also open to governmental and non-governmental organisations, technical assistance programmes and regional networks, having an international status and operating in the Mediterranean and Baltic regions for the protection of the environment.



The deadline for submitting LIFE-Third countries projects to the Commission, via the national authorities, to the Commission has been set for 31 October 2000.

The Commission shall fix annually the date of forwarding proposals. There is no standard duration, but usually projects in third countries range from 1 to 3 years.


Eligible Measures

The following shall be considered eligible for LIFE-Third Countries:

  • Technical assistance projects;

  • Accompanying measures required for evaluating, monitoring and promoting the actions undertaken during the implementation phase of the LIFE instrument and during the first two phases.

  • Accompanying measures are not accessible through a call for project proposals, they are defined by the EC on the needs identified for the management of the instrument and so therefore shall be the subject of calls for expression of interest in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

Proposals shall be considered for financial support when they are in accordance with the following criteria:

  • To be carried out by technically and financially sound participants,

  • To be feasible in terms of technical proposals, management and value for money,

  • To be of interest to the Community, notably through its contribution to implementing regional and international guidelines and agreements,

  • To contribute to an approach promoting sustainable development at international, national and regional level,

  • To provide solutions to major environmental problems in the region and the relevant sector.

Priority will be given to projects which promote co-operation at a transborder, transnational or regional level.


Rural dimension

The basin sides of North Western Tunisia have been chosen by the Tunisian Ministry for the Environment and National and Regional development, to initiate a programme of sustainable development at local level. The Ministry plan to develop this policy along the lines of Agenda 21, the UNCEDís (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) strategy for sustainable development.

This particular region has been chosen due to its strategic importance in securing the countryís water and food supply. The project, which will last two years (September 1998-September 2000), comprises of 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 - development of a preliminary Agenda 21 project and definition of how sustainable development is going to be implemented at a local level;

  • Phase 2 - test plan for a structure aiming to achieve environmental multisectoral planning and the implementation of a policy for particular types of waste;

  • Phase 3 - readjustment of local implementation of sustainable development in the light of experiences gained in Phase 2.

Furthermore, an awareness raising campaign will be set up and relations with other Mediterranean partners will be encouraged. A total of EUR 250,000 has been allocated to this project from LIFE- Third Countries funds.


European Union financial support

Of the total budget for the third phase of LIFE 2000-2004 (EUR 640m), 6% has been earmarked for LIFE-Third Countries.


Nature and Amount of Financial Support

Financial assistance shall be provided by co-financing of projects and accompanying measures and is subject to the following limits:

  • A maximum of 70% of the eligible costs for technical assistance projects;

  • A maximum of 100% of the cost of the accompanying measures (see accompanying measures);

  • The Commission will only finance projects whose total costs are above EUR 100,000 and under EUR 600,000.



For the transmission of applications from the third countries, the project co-ordinators may use the delegations of the European Commission in third countries. When projects involve more than one country, the country in which the project co-ordinating body is located should forward proposals.

In the case of international organisations, governmental or non- governmental organisations and regional networks, applications may be submitted directly to the Commission.

For the selection of LIFE-Third countries projects, the Commission is assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States.

The beneficiary is expected to adhere strictly to the project timetable. External monitoring and assessment activities are based on on-site missions and on-the-spot checks as well as the following reports:

  • Six-monthly progress reports containing information on the projectís development;
  • An interim report consisting of a technical and a financial section,
  • A final report which is to be submitted within three months of completion of the project,
  • A summary of the final report for the Commission..


Communication support

LIFE-Third Countries 2000 Information Package consists of:

  • LIFE-Third Countries application guide for financial support for the EC Financial Instrument for the Environment (EN/FR, July 2000)

  • LIFE-Third Countries application forms (EN/FR, July 2000).

    The information package can be downloaded from the Commissionís web site at the following address:


Additional Sources of Information

  • European Commission
    Directorate General Environment, ENV-A
    Co-ordinator LIFE-Third Countries
    BU-9 5/185
    Rue de la Loi, 200
    B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
    Fax: +32 2 296 95 57

    Delegations of the European Commission in the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Baltic shoreline of Russia (Kaliningrad and St Petersburg regions).


    date of publication: 09/2000

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