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LIFE Climate Action

 

LIFE

What is LIFE?

LIFE is the EU's funding programme for the environment and climate action for the period 2014-2020. It is divided into two programming periods: 2014-2017 and 2018-2020. The legal basis for LIFE is Regulation (EU) No 1293/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013. The LIFE Programme is divided in two sub-programmes: the sub-programme for environment and the sub-programme for climate action.

Why has a specific sub-programme been established for climate action?

The EU is committed to fighting climate change and has set climate and energy targets for 2020. It must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, boost the share of renewable sources in the energy mix to 20% and improve energy efficiency by 20%. European heads of state and governments have also committed to reduce the EU's emissions by 80-95 % by 2050. This will require increased climate action and specific investments in all sectors of the European economy. LIFE Climate Action aims to add value to EU efforts to combat climate change by focusing on specific climate challenges by piloting or testing new technologies, systems and approaches that can help leverage private finance.The most important change is that the new LIFE Programme will be composed of two sub-programmes: one for Environment and one for Climate Action. The creation of a sub-programme for Climate Action upgrades the former thematic strand "climate change" under the LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance component to reflect the increased political priority of climate policy in the EU.

What are the main objectives of the LIFE sub-programme for climate action?

The main objectives of LIFE Climate Action are to:

  • Contribute to the shift towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy;
  • Improve the development, implementation and enforcement of EU climate change policy and legislation;
  • Support better environmental and climate change governance at all levels; and
  • Support the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme.

What priority areas does the sub-programme focus on?

The LIFE Climate Action sub-programme has three priority areas.

LIFE Priority areaFocus
LIFE Climate change mitigationReducing greenhouse gas emissions
LIFE Climate change adaptationIncreasing resilience to climate change
LIFE Climate change governance and InformationIncreasing awareness, communication, cooperation and dissemination of information on climate mitigation and adaptation actions

What are the objectives of the priority on mitigation?

The aim is to contribute to the transition towards a low-emission and climate-resilient economy. Testing new approaches to climate change mitigation will be an essential aspect for making this shift. The priority area has the following specific objectives:

  • to contribute to the implementation and development of EU policy and legislation on climate change mitigation, including its integration across policy areas, in particular by developing, testing and demonstrating policy or management approaches, best practice and solutions for climate change mitigation;
  • to improve the knowledge base for the development, assessment, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of effective climate change mitigation actions and measures and to enhance the capacity to apply that knowledge in practice;
  • to facilitate the development and implementation of integrated approaches, such as for climate change mitigation strategies and action plans, at local, regional or national level;

to contribute to the development and demonstration of innovative climate change mitigation technologies, systems, methods and instruments that are suitable for being replicated, transferred or mainstreamed.

What are the objectives of the priority on adaptation?

With a view to contributing to supporting efforts leading to increased resilience to climate change, this priority area has the following specific objectives:

  • to contribute to the development and implementation of EU policy on climate change adaptation, including its integration across policy areas, in particular by developing, testing and demonstrating policy or management approaches, best practice and solutions for climate change adaptation, including, where appropriate, ecosystem-based approaches;
  • to improve the knowledge base for the development, assessment, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of effective climate change adaptation actions and measures, prioritising, where appropriate, those applying an ecosystem-based approach, and to enhance the capacity to apply that knowledge in practice;
  • to facilitate the development and implementation of integrated approaches, such as for climate change adaptation strategies and action plans, at local, regional or national level, prioritising, where appropriate, ecosystem-based approaches;
  • to contribute to the development and demonstration of innovative climate change adaptation technologies, systems, methods and instruments that are suitable for being replicated, transferred or mainstreamed.

What are the objectives of the governance and information priority area?

This priority area aims to contribute to the development and implementation of EU climate policy and legislation. Projects seeking finance must have a European added value dimension (e.g. transnationality, synergies, multi-purpose projects,) and complement actions that can be financed under other EU funds during the period 2014-2020.

The specific objectives are:

  • to promote awareness raising on climate matters, including generating public and stakeholder support of EU policy- making in the field of the climate, and to promote knowledge on sustainable development;
  • to support communication, management, and dissemination of information in the field of the climate and to facilitate knowledge sharing on successful climate solutions and practice, including by developing cooperation platforms among stakeholders and training;
  • to promote and contribute to more effective compliance with and enforcement of EU climate legislation, in particular by promoting the development and dissemination of best practices and policy approaches;

to promote better climate governance by broadening stakeholder involvement, including NGOs, in consultation on and implementation of policy.

What are the significant features of the LIFE Programme?

  • LIFE is the only EU financial instrument fully dedicated to the environment and climate action;
  • LIFE is a catalyst: it provides a platform for the development and exchange of best practice and knowledge, thereby improving, catalysing and accelerating changes;
  • LIFE is a good instrument for showing regional and national authorities the benefits of investing in environment and climate action and provides an incentive for them to develop strategic frameworks for spending;
  • LIFE has successfully tackled environmental challenges since 1992.

What is the budget of the LIFE Programme?

The overall budget for the implementation of the LIFE Programme is €3.457 billion for the period 2014-2020, 75% of which is allocated to the sub-programme for environment (€2,592,491,250) and 25% to the sub-programme for climate action (€864,163,750). €449.2 million is allocated to climate action for 2014-2017. Of this, €56,67 million will be available for the 2015 call for proposals for action grants. The total indicative budget for integrated projects in 2015 is about €14 million.

For applicants

Who can submit a project proposal?

A proposal can be submitted by any legal person registered in the European Union.

Applicants fall into three types of beneficiaries: (1) public bodies, (2) private commercial organisations and (3) private non-commercial organisations (including NGOs).

The term "public bodies" is defined as referring to national public authorities, regardless of their form of organisation – central, regional or local structure – or the various bodies under their control, provided these operate on behalf of and under the responsibility of the national public authority concerned. In the case of entities registered as private law bodies wishing to be considered for the purpose of this call as equivalent to "public law bodies", they should provide evidence proving that they comply with all criteria applicable to bodies governed by public law and in the event the organisation stops its activities, its rights and obligations, liability and debts will be transferred to a public body. The applicant must demonstrate its legal status by confirming a legal registration in the EU.

How, where and when can I submit a proposal?

Applicants wishing to submit a proposal should consult the LIFE website for detailed instructions for each type of proposal. For action grants projects, applicants must use only the eProposal tool to create and submit proposal(s).

What are action grant projects?

According to the LIFE Regulation, LIFE Climate Change Mitigation and Climate Change Adaptation, projects must be pilot, demonstration or best practice projects.

A pilot project aims to assess the effectiveness of the method, to inform other stakeholders of the results and to encourage them, where appropriate, to use the techniques and methods successfully tested in the project.

For demonstration projects to achieve the required EU added value, they must be designed to demonstrate whether or not the target techniques and methods work in the project's context (geographical, ecological, socio-economic). A successful demonstration project is available to all potential stakeholders and aims to encourage other stakeholders to use the techniques and methods demonstrated in the project. Demonstration projects may have a higher EU added value if they take place on a national or transnational level, rather than on a local scale.

As regards the demonstration scale, the project should be implemented on a technical scale that allows the evaluation of the technical and economic viability of the proposed pilot on a larger scale. The proposal must justify the choice of scale for the project in light of the above. In particular, for projects developing decision support systems, planning tools or the like, there has to be a specific project action implementing the tool to demonstrate its technical and economic viability and to enable a comparison with the baseline situation.

Note that the application of an established best practice action/methodology in a particular geographical region where it has not been applied before is considered to be a best practice activity. A best practice project is one that is available to all potential stakeholders to adopt and that illustrates how this can be done.

LIFE Climate Action information, awareness and dissemination projects must meet one or more of the general objectives of the climate governance and information priority area. The projects need to have a clear intended application of information, awareness and dissemination activities and need to clearly outline the intended improvements.

All projects need to contribute to the general objectives of the LIFE programme. This means that the climate advantages demonstrated by the project need to have a clear intended application and a potential impact towards achieving a low emission and climate-resilient society and/or the integration of climate objectives into the public and private sector.

For the duration of the first LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017, the maximum EU co-financing rate for LIFE action grant projects is 60% of the total eligible project costs.

What are capacity building projects?

Capacity building projects provide financial support to activities required to build the capacity of Member States, including LIFE national or regional contact points, with a view to enabling Member States to participate more effectively in the LIFE Programme. Applications for a capacity building project can be sent on a rolling basis until 30 September 2015.  Only one capacity building project will be funded per eligible Member State.

What are operating grants for non-governmental organisations (NGOs)?

Operating grants are made available to non-governmental organisations that are primarily active in the field of climate action and/or environment.  The objective of the operating grants is to co-finance the operational and administrative costs of EU level climate and/or environmental NGOs in relation to activities which contribute to the implementation and/or development of EU environmental and/or climate policy and legislation in the EU. The expected result is to strengthen civil society participation in the dialogue process of environmental and/or climate policy development and implementation.

Please consult the LIFE website for the latest information on calls and the changes to the calls as of 2015.

What are integrated projects?

Integrated projects under the sub-programme for Climate Action are projects implementing on a large territorial scale (regional, multi-regional, national or trans-national scale) climate action plans, strategies or roadmaps required by specific Union climate legislation, developed pursuant to other Union acts or developed by Member States' authorities, primarily in the areas of climate change mitigation and adaptation, while ensuring involvement of stakeholders and promoting the coordination with and mobilisation of at least one other relevant Union, national or private funding source.

A call is open for technical assistance projects, which, by way of action grants, provide financial support to help applicants prepare integrated projects for the following year(s).

What is the timetable for calls?

Project typeLaunch dateDeadline
Action grant projects1 June 201515 September 2015
Capacity building projects18 June 2014On a rolling basis, no later than 30 September 2015
Operating grants for NGOs (call for framework partnership agreements)15 June 201527 July 2015 (closed)
Integrated projects1 June 20151 October 2015 (concept note)
March/April 2016 (full proposal)
Technical assistance projects for preparation of integrated projects1 June 201515 September 2015
Preparatory projects for the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation1 June 201530 October 2015

What is the optimal starting date and duration of a project?

When preparing the project's time planning, beneficiaries should be aware that the expected date of the signature of the grant agreements for the LIFE 2015 action projects will be during May/June 2016. The earliest possible starting date for these projects is 15 June 2016.

There is no pre-determined project duration for a LIFE action grant project. The project duration must correspond to what is necessary to complete all of the project's actions and to reach all its objectives. Most projects last for 2–5 years.

Where can a LIFE project take place?

LIFE projects take place principally in the territory of the European Union Member States. The LIFE Programme may also finance activities outside the EU and in overseas countries and territories (OCTs), provided that the coordinating beneficiary is based in the EU. Strong evidence must be provided that the activities to be carried out outside the EU are necessary to achieve EU climate objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of actions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply.

What are the financial instruments under the LIFE programme?

Besides the possibility to receive action grants or operating grants for projects, funding is channelled through two pilot financial instruments, the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF) and the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE) to incentivise private finance through loans and guarantees.

The PF4EE combines lending to financial intermediaries with protection against losses associated with making loans for energy efficiency projects. PF4EE will help intermediary banks in Member States to develop and offer specific loan programmes for energy efficiency projects. These loan programs will be aligned with the national energy efficiency action plans.

The NCFF provides financing opportunities in the form of loans or equity investments for revenue-generating or cost-saving pilot projects promoting the preservation of natural capital, including eco-system based adaptation projects. The NCFF is to establish a pipeline of replicable, bankable operations that will serve as a "proof of concept" and that will demonstrate to potential investors the attractiveness of such operations.

Both instruments are implemented by the European Investment Bank.

Who is the Contracting Authority for the new LIFE-programme?

The Contracting Authority is the European Commission's Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). Most implementation tasks are delegated to EASME, (for example, the selection and monitoring of projects), while the Commission remains responsible for the governance of the programme.

Where can I find more information on the LIFE programme?

More information and necessary documents about the LIFE sub-programme for Climate Action in general, the recent call and how to apply can be found on the LIFE Webpage. Applicants may wish also to consult the relevant national contact point when preparing a proposal.

 
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