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LIFE is the EU's financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 4 171 projects, contributing approximately €3.4 billion euros to the protection of the environment and climate. Read more >>
01 June 2015 The LIFE programme launched two calls for proposals, underlining its commitment to supporting projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change.
The 2015 call for action grants for the LIFE programme was launched on 1 June 2015 and covers proposals for both environment and climate action sub-programmes. The total budget for project action grants for this call is €240 811 337. Of this amount, €184 141 337 has been allocated to project action grants for the sub-programme for environment and €56 670 000 has been allocated to the sub-programme for climate action. At least 55% of the environment allocation will be dedicated to projects supporting the conservation of nature and biodiversity.
The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) is responsible for managing the call for traditional projects and capacity building projects for the environment sub-programme and traditional projects for the climate action sub-programme. Traditional projects include best-practice, demonstration, pilot or information, awareness and dissemination projects. These are funded under one of three strands for the environment sub-programme (LIFE nature & biodiversity, LIFE environment & resource efficiency and LIFE environmental governance and information). For the sub-programme for climate action, traditional project strands are LIFE climate change mitigation, LIFE climate change adaptation and LIFE climate governance & information.
30 July 2015The UK’s Moors for the Future Partnership has created four new smartphone and tablet apps through its MoorLIFE project (LIFE08 NAT/UK/000202). The free apps provide photographic guides to help identify the wildlife, vegetation and landscape features found on moorland.
“We produced the apps so that people can learn more about the wonderful landscapes that we have worked on to restore to their former glory,” said MoorLIFE project manager, Laura King. “Thanks to the EU funding we’ve completed conservation works to protect 2 500 hectares of moorland, that will increase the numbers of plants, and Sphagnum mosses that you’ll be able to spot out on the moors. And we hope that you’ll have more chances to see more wildlife as our works improve these vital habitats.”
The apps, which were developed in conjunction with the firm Natural Aptitude, have been designed with the Peak District and South Pennines in mind but can be used on all moorland in the UK.
27 July 2015Successful conservation action – aided by LIFE Nature projects in Spain and latterly in Portugal - has boosted the populations of one of the world’s most threatened large carnivores, the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus). According to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of threatened species, following six decades of decline, the population of the Iberian lynx increased from just 52 mature individuals in 2002 to 156 in 2012 [unofficial figures estimate total numbers at 357 individuals for 2014]. The decline of the species had been caused by destruction of its habitat, human-induced deaths and above all, by the effects of viral diseases of the wild rabbit (RHD and myxomatosis), its main prey. Now, however, it has moved from the ‘Critically Endangered’ to ‘Endangered’ category on the IUCN Red List.
27 July 2015The most useful Frequently Asked Questions have been published today as a downloadable PDF document.
All applicants wishing to submit a LIFE 2015 proposal are kindly reminded to consult the 2015 FAQs section on a regular basis throughout the preparation period, or to subscribe to our RSS, where new versions will be announced as they become available.
The 2015 FAQ is available here.
23 July 2015A LIFE Nature project in southern Italy has demonstrated some unforeseen benefits, both social and economic, several years after completion.
The project, 'Cesine - Conservation of Wetlands in Cesine and decrease of human impact in the area' (LIFE95 NAT/IT/000807), ran from 1996 to 2000. One of its main objectives was to close a busy highway that crossed the wetlands - a Natura 2000 site near Lecce in Puglia - and re-naturalise it to give the habitat continuity.
A new road was built and traffic re-routed around the nature reserve, but the asphalt from the old highway bisecting the site was not removed as planned: permission was not received from the relevant national authority as required under Italian law. Some unexpected benefits have arisen from leaving the road in place, though.
17 July 2015Environmental R&D experts and LIFE projects gathered on 18 June 2015 during the 2015 Environmental Science and Technology EFEforum. Organised by the research centre CARTIF - beneficiary of several LIFE projects - and EFEverde, the environmental division of the Spanish press agency EFE, the workshop featured nine success stories on environmental technologies and methods developed by LIFE projects.
The event reflected on the environmental research programmes and strategies that will shape the future of sustainable development in the EU. It also highlighted the different benefits of LIFE to society as well as the advantages of participating in the programme.
The participating LIFE projects deal mostly with air quality and resource efficiency issues.
16 July 2015A corrigenda of the two guidelines of the 2015 Call for proposal under the sub-programme for Climate Action has been published today in the LIFE Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation, Governance & Information application package:
14 July 2015A court in Santander (northern Spain) has found a farmer guilty of laying out poisoned baits that killed at least eleven red kites (Milvus milvus), an endangered species, as well as five dogs, six foxes, a cat, a raven, a buzzard and four vultures.
The farmer was sentenced, on 8 June 2015, to two years in prison and post-release: two years disqualification from farming or animal husbandry; four years disqualification from hunting, a fine of €90 270, and an additional fine of €28 500 to be used to monitor red kites over the next three years. This is the most severe sentence to be passed for this type of crime in Spain.
08 July 2015LIFE BOSCOS (LIFE07 ENV/E/000824) held its final event on Friday 26 June 2015 in the plenary hall of the Consell Insular of Menorca (CIMe), the project beneficiary. At the conference, organised by CIMe’s Economy, Environment and Hunting Department, the project team presented their findings on sustainable forest management in Menorca in the context of climate change.
The LIFE BOSCOS project developed planning and management guidelines aimed at reducing the negative impacts of climate change on forests in Menorca. After a first phase of studies and meetings with stakeholders (e.g. forest managers, farmers, entrepreneurs and landowners), guidelines were drawn up and demonstrated on nine collaborating estate farms. The management tools developed by LIFE BOSCOS serve as a reference for other European countries developing climate change adaptation strategies for forest ecosystems.
06 July 2015A study of the climate change mitigation and adaptation practices demonstrated by the LIFE programme is now available online. The study is targeted at experts in the European Commission as well as the general public. A high number of LIFE projects (366) have direct or indirect implications for climate change. The study identified and classified these projects in order to make it easier to search for them.
The study, moreover, groups the projects together under sub-topics and is accompanied by a spreadsheet database. The graphs and lists produced underline the wide scope of solutions and innovative approaches that have been carried out by the LIFE programme. LIFE projects have dealt with all bar one of the more than 50 identified climate change sub-topics.
3 July 2015On June 16, 2015, an awards ceremony took place in Warsaw, Poland, for the winners of the poster competition "Secondary crafts schools pupils for the environment". The competition was organised within the framework of the project LIFE/3xEnvironment/PL (LIFE12 INF/PL/000009).
The competition aimed to promote knowledge on good practices regarding reducing the use of natural resources in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) amongst secondary school pupils. Successful pupils were awarded prizes for posters they had created on this subject. The awards were presented by Mr Christian Strasser, deputy head of the LIFE unit, and two other EC representatives. A total of 112 posters were submitted from all over Poland. Attendees of the award ceremony also enjoyed presentations about the project, LIFE and other initiatives looking at environmental education regarding a reduction in the consumption of resources consumption.
30 June 2015The European Commission has chosen to award operating grants to 24 NGOs in 2015 under the LIFE Regulation 2014-2020. The successful organisations will receive a total of €9 million between them. This funding aims to strengthen the participation of NGOs in the dialogue process in environmental and climate change policy-making and in its implementation. In the past, this funding has supported successful campaigns to ban the use of the neonicotinoids, an insecticide that adversely affects bees, and lobbying efforts to end fossil fuel subsidies. The selected NGOs are active in a wide range of fields – from nature & biodiversity conservation through climate change mitigation & adaptation to environment and resources efficiency.
22 June 2015A new European Commission report provides the most comprehensive picture yet on the state of nature in the EU. The findings show that the majority of birds have a favourable status, and some species and habitats are doing better. Targeted conservation actions, e.g. those supported by LIFE projects, have brought successes, but a much greater effort is required for the situation to improve significantly.
The technical report prepared by European Environment Agency (EEA) is the first assessment to cover both the EU birds (article 12 national reports) and habitats (article 17 reports) directives, and it results from the largest collaborative data-collection and assessment of nature ever undertaken across the Member States in the period 2007-2012. It follows an earlier (2001-2006) assessment of species (excluding birds) and habitats conservation status covered by the Habitats Directive. For more, see the LIFE Focus publication, LIFE improving the conservation status of species and habitats.
In a statement, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “This report is significant and timely. While it shows a mixed picture overall, it clearly demonstrates that efforts to improve vulnerable ecosystems can be highly effective. It also underlines the scale of the challenges that remain. We have to rise to those challenges, as the health of our nature is linked to the health of Europe's people, and to our economy.”
19 June 2015The Vultures’ Return (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278) LIFE project released 32 Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) over six years with the aim of restoring the bird’s population in Bulgaria. On 9 June 2015, project beneficiary Green Balkans was delighted to announce the first birth resulting from its reintroduction programme in the Balkan Mountains.
Project Manager Elena Kmetova revealed, “we have observed the very first wild-born baby Griffon vulture, hatched by parents released within the Vultures’ Return project. The majestic vulture has returned after more than 70 years of absence and this comes in the very last month of the extended project, to remind us that all these efforts and sleepless nights do pay off!”
The Vultures’ Return project established a breeding programme for Griffon vulture at Green Balkans’ Wildlife Rescue Centre in Bulgaria.
16 June 2015Discussions on the latest phase in the management of the Natura 2000 network of protected sites, the drawing up of Prioritised Action Frameworks (PAFs), were recently held in Brussels among those responsible for PAFs and their implementation, and Commission officials.
Chairing the meeting, Angelo Salsi, head of the LIFE-Nature unit, Directorate General for the Environment, said that it was great opportunity for the attendees to help shape the process.
In his introductory remarks, he emphasised that LIFE projects “really show the EU how far you can go and in what way”.
The event, a ‘Thematic Platform Meeting on Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) projects’, examined the contribution of LIFE projects in drawing up national and regional PAFs and fulfilling the objectives of the Habitats Directive, particularly Article 8 – which foresees the need to develop PAFs.
PAFs are conceived as Natura 2000 network planning tools for setting objectives and priorities, defining the measures to be financed, identifying the potential contributions of different funds and setting out the actions to be taken. They also cover monitoring and evaluation.
15 June 2015 This call for proposals aims at identifying framework partners to which the EASME may at a later stage award specific operating grants. Those specific operating grants shall foresee co-financing of the operating costs of NGO's related to the eligible activities provided for in the framework partners' 2016 and 2017 Work Programme, and they will cover certain administrative and operational costs for the financial years 2016 and 2017.
The call will close on 27 July 2015. Please note that if the application is not sent by post but delivered by hand, it must arrive not later than 16:00 Brussels local time on 27 July at the Commission's central mail service. See the full calendar on the call page.
Applicants must use the LIFE operating grants application package for the preparation of their proposals (in English only). Applications can be submitted in any official EU language, but preferably in English. The application package contains full and detailed explanations with regard to eligibility, procedures, co-funding rates and all other relevant details.
10 June 2015To coincide with Natura 2000 Day on 21 May 2015, the LIFE IPENS project (LIFE11 NAT/UK/000384) held a closing conference in London where it launched a report setting out a blueprint for the long-term management of England’s Natura 2000 network sites. There are 338 such sites in England, covering more than 2 million hectares, in both marine and terrestrial locations. This is the first time that this information has been brought together for all of these sites.
Led by Natural England in partnership with the Environment Agency, IPENS - Improvement Programme for England’s Natura 2000 network sites - involved more than 650 different organisations and has greatly increased understanding of what needs to be done to protect and enhance the Natura 2000 network in England.
The project produced a site improvement plan for each Natura 2000 network site and developed strategic plans to address issues that affect multiple sites. It also outlined priority actions needed to improve conditions and contribute to favourable conservation status, and it identified gaps in Natura 2000 evidence.
09 June 2015 The LIFE Programme launched a report on new ways to engage private landowners in nature conservation at EU Green Week in Brussels. Elements of the report were discussed during a LIFE-led session dedicated to the topic on Friday 5 June – see next July's LIFEnews for a report on this session.
Despite the existence of EU legislation on nature conservation, according to the latest report on the State of Nature in the EU, just 16% of EU Habitats Directive-listed habitats, 23% of listed species and 52% of bird species are in a favourable conservation status. The European Commission is keen to stimulate private land conservation to help protect biodiversity further and reach the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. New private initiatives are particularly important as a complement to existing public funding mechanisms in light of limited public budgets in the wake of the financial and economic crisis.
05 June 2015The UK’s Prince Charles took time to enjoy the great outdoors and find out about LIFE on his recent four-day visit to Ireland. On 19 May 2015, the environmentally-aware prince headed to the limestone landscape of the Burren National Park, on Ireland’s Atlantic coastline, the site of two LIFE projects.
The BurrenLIFE (LIFE04 NAT/IE/000125) project ended in 2010, but the Burren Life Programme is continuing the sustainable agricultural measures initiated by LIFE. The Burren is home to several priority habitats that are threatened by a reduction in farming, and the LIFE project was set up to develop a new model for sustainable agricultural management.
29 May 2015 The 2015 edition of Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy, takes place from 3-5 June at The Egg, Rue Bara, Brussels. The theme is nature and biodiversity. Green Week offers a unique opportunity for debate, exchanges of experience and sharing of best practice. The conference has become an unmissable event for all involved in protecting the environment. The LIFE programme is again playing a prominent role during Green Week, in Brussels and at satellite events around Europe.
For full details of LIFE events during Green Week and a list of LIFE project beneficiaries taking part in the exhibition, download the programme here)- IMPORTANT: In order to attend LIFE-related events at Green Week, it is necessary to register via the Green Week Website (before 03/06) or directly at the Green Week desk at the Conference Centre after. N.B. It is not possible to register for individual LIFE events; rather, it is essential to complete the general registration form for Green Week to gain access to the venue.
21 May 2015All across Europe today [21 May] events are being held in honour of the third annual Natura 2000 Day. The day was established by Spanish LIFE project, LIFE Activa Red Natura 2000 (LIFE11 INF/ES/000665), to spread awareness of the importance of Natura 2000, the largest network of protected sites in the world.
Recognising the significance of even the smallest acts, the interlocked thumbs ‘butterfly’s wings’ hand sign has once again played a role in promoting the Natura 2000 Day. Public figures including former Spain and Real Madrid footballer, Emilio Butragueño, Olympic medallist Gemma Mengual and German MEPs Martin Schulz and Michael Cramer are among the many people who have been photographed making the hand sign in the run up to the day. These have been uploaded on the Natura 2000 Day website and via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (tagged #Natura2000Day). The sign has also featured on posters with the caption, ‘A small gesture can change everything’.
19 May 2015Local volunteers in the north western Highlands of Scotland (in the United Kingdom) are helping to safeguard the freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) threatened by illegal fishing. The volunteer work – highlighted recently by The Herald, a Scottish newspaper – is part of the LIFE+ Nature Pearls in Peril (LIFE11 NAT/UK/000383) project.
Involving organisations across Scotland, England and Wales, the four-year project runs until 2016. A wide range of conservation measures are being implemented in key river systems to safeguard these Habitats Directive (Annex II-listed) freshwater molluscs, which have an unfavourable conservation status. A key action is the implementation of the Riverwatch scheme to raise awareness of the threat to M. margaritifera from illegal exploitation and to train volunteers in identifying and reporting pearl mussel crime.
18 May 2015An introductory event on the European Commission's (EC) new Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF) in Brussels on 8 May 2015 attracted a variety of participants. Launched in February this year, the new financial instrument will fund pro-biodiversity and pro-climate change adaptation projects across the EU.
Pia Bucella, Director of Natural Capital at DG Environment, and Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director of Mainstreaming Adaptation and Low Carbon Technology at DG CLIMA, introduced the event. Ms Bucella highlighted that an aim of the new financial instrument was, "to ensure better development and preservation of our natural capital," alongside traditional avenues such as the Common Agricultural Policy, regional funding and the LIFE programme.
Mr Delgado Rosa noted another key aspect of the NCFF, attracting the private sector to leverage the funding available for natural capital. "It won't be easy," he commented, "it's very innovative, there's a lot of learning to be done. But I'm sure it will be a success."
13 May 2015The European Commission is currently performing a ‘Fitness Check’ of the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive — Directive 2009/147/EC and Council Directive 92/43/EEC respectively. In this context, it has launched a public online consultation.
As part of the Commission’s Smart Regulation policy, the Fitness Check is intended to verify the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance, and European added value of the directives in question. In particular, it will analyse successes and problems with regard to implementation and integration, related costs, opportunities for improving implementation and reducing administrative burden, and the state of play in the implementation in different EU countries, while taking the views of key stakeholder groups into consideration.