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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 4306 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate. Read more >>
03 May 2017Following the feedback received in response to the call launched on the 7th of December 2016, the Commission has decided to publish a second call for proposals to support the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). The scope of supported activities will be environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems, mainly the Natura 2000 network. For this second call some requirements have been modified, e.g. the minimum number of volunteers to be engaged in the ESC is one hundred (100) and the execution period may last up to three years (36 months).
LIFE Preparatory projects to support deployment of European Solidarity Corps (sub-programme for Environment) contribute to strengthening the Union's capacity to provide volunteering services for young people across the European Union. It focuses mainly on conservation of Natura 2000 sites, environmental protection, restoration of natural areas and ecosystems and on capacity building on voluntary services among ongoing LIFE projects.
28 April 2017 The LIFE programme has launched its 2017 call for proposals, underlining its commitment to supporting projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change.
The total budget for project action grants in this year's call is over €373 million. Of this, over €290 million is foreseen for the sub-programme for Environment and over €82 million for the sub-programme for Climate Action. At least 55% of the budgetary resources allocated to projects supported by way of action grants under the sub-programme for Environment shall be dedicated to projects supporting the conservation of nature and biodiversity.
For the sub-programme for Environment, the call covers action grants for "Traditional" projects, Preparatory projects, Integrated projects and Technical Assistance projects.
For the sub-programme for Climate Action, this call will cover action grants for "Traditional projects", Integrated projects and Technical Assistance projects.
18 July 2017The LIFE project, WASP Tool (LIFE10 ENV/GR/000622) has now made its waste prevention support tool for local authorities available in English, as well as Greek. The free web-based decision support system, dubbed WASP-Tool, was developed by the Harokopio University of Athens and partners to enable local authorities to select and implement optimal waste prevention programmes. It was tested by local authorities in Crete and Cyprus during the project, which ran from 2011 to 2014.
The tool aggregates data on waste volume and composition (biowaste, paper, plastic, metal and glass), priorities for municipal waste processing, a set of environmental, financial and social indicators, and the demographic characteristics of an area.
18 July 2017A regional platform meeting for LIFE projects from Ireland and the UK has given new insight into managing project risks. The meeting, which took place in Cambridge on 8 June 2017, was hosted by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and attended by representatives of all current LIFE projects in the two countries, as well as national authorities, including DEFRA, JNCC and Natural England (UK) and DCCAE (Ireland), and staff from the LIFE Unit of the European Commission.
The projects QUARTERBACK for LIFE (LIFE13 ENV/UK/000401), EcoCo LIFE Scotland (LIFE13 BIO/UK/000428), and ‘Unlocking the Severn’ (LIFE-Shad Severn - LIFE15 NAT/UK/000219) shared experiences and gave presentations on assessing risk consistently, managing and updating risk registers and assessing financial risks.
13 July 2017The LIFE-OPTIMAL2012 project (LIFE12 ENV/IT/000671) has officially inaugurated Biogas Wipptal, a pioneering plant in the South Tyrol region of Italy that converts livestock waste into renewable energy and a natural fertiliser.
The biogas plant, which is located in Val di Vizze, takes manure and slurry from 62 livestock farmers in the High Valley of Isarco. Since becoming operational one year ago, Biogas Wipptal has converted over 30 000 tonnes of livestock waste into 4 million kilowatts of renewable electricity and an identical amount of thermal energy, which is used to dry the digestate.
11 July 2017The LIFE project Return of the Neophron (LIFE 10 NAT/BG/000152) has published a Flyway Action Plan for the Conservation of the Balkan and Central Asian Populations of the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus (EVFAP).
This LIFE project initiative makes a significant contribution to the implementation of the international Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU) under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). The plan will be an important catalyst for future conservation of the species beyond the EU, something that will directly benefit breeding populations of the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Europe.
06 July 2017The Celtic Seas Partnership LIFE project (LIFE11/ENV/UK/392) has launched an Information Portal for the Celtic Seas. The portal enables users to find relevant data and information about the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which seeks to more effectively protect the marine environment across Europe.
The Celtic Seas is one of the designated MSFD regions and includes parts of the open Atlantic west of Ireland and Scotland, shallow seas surrounded by land in the Irish Sea and west of Scotland, numerous sea lochs and large estuaries such as the Shannon, Severn and Solway Firth.
04 July 2017The LIFE ConRasi project (LIFE14 NAT/IT/001017) made the news recently when a team of Italian and Spanish ornithologists working in in Sicily attached GPS transmitters to eight young eagles to monitor them and help put an end to poaching.
In articles published on 17 June, the national newspapers La Repubblica and Il Corriere della Sera applauded the work of the LIFE ConRasi project describing it as, “the most effective safeguard operation of the wonderful predator,” the Bonelli eagle (Aquila fasciata). Extinct across mainland Italy, the Bonelli eagle only survives in Sicily.
03 July 2017The LIFE project Waldrappteam (LIFE12 BIO/AT/000143) has welcomed the recent condemnation of a hunter for the killing of one of the most endangered bird species worldwide, the northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita).
In October 2012, two the northern bald ibises, named Goja and Jedi, were shot by an Italian bird hunter just 80 km from their wintering site in the province of Livorno (Italy). The hunter was condemned but appealed. Now the Supreme Court has ruled that the condemnation should be upheld, a decision that is setting a unique and significant precedent in the fight against illegal bird hunting in Italy.
The Austrian Waldrappteam project, which is reintroducing a migratory population of this ibis species into Europe after it became extinct in the continent 400 years ago, welcomed the news.
30 June 2017This issue of LIFEnews focuses on a LIFE platform meeting dedicated to ecosystem services and how to incorporate them into decision-making. These services are defined as the benefits provided to humanity by ecosystems.
The first article gives an overview of the event and the importance of ecosystem services, with contributions from the Estonian environment minister and DG Environment's Policy Officer for Biodiversity. The second article looks at the experiences of LIFE projects with defining/mapping and assessing ecosystem services, and applying the concept in decision-making.
29 June 2017The LIFE programme was a winner in the Andalusian Environment Awards 2017, an initiative organised by the regional government of Andalusia in Spain.
The awards recognise the work of individuals or organisations in dissemination and diffusion of environmental values in the region. LIFE received the award in the ‘natural values’ category, which focuses on those organisations designing and implementing projects on nature conservation and the reduction of human impacts on the environment.
The LIFE programme is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Since the outset, LIFE has played a key role in the protection of Andalusia's environment. The programme has invested €157 million euros in 38 projects in the region.
The award was received by Ms. Dorte Pardo López, from DG Environment, on behalf of the European Commission.
27 June 2017The MoorLIFE2020 (LIFE14 NAT/UK/000070) project will give people a virtual moor experience later this year, when it tours its ‘Bogstatic Van’ through the towns of the English Peak District and South Pennines, later this year.
The LIFE project is protecting active blanket bog habitat within the South Pennine Moors’ Natura 2000 network site through a series of conservation actions, thereby also maintaining valuable ecosystem services. In tandem, the project is inspiring people from all walks of life to value and help protect the upland moors.
People entering the mobile ‘moor in a van’ exhibition can experience the sights, sounds and even the smells associated with peat bogs, without getting their boots wet!
22 June 2017Public-private partnerships could be the answer to the lack of funding for the protection and management of Natura 2000 network sites, according to a recent conference organised by the LIFE Stymfalia project (LIFE12 NAT/GR/000275).
The objective of the conference Business and Biodiversity in Natura 2000 sites: the way forward which took place in Athens and Stymfalia on 9-10 June 2017 was to present the linkages between business and biodiversity and promote innovative and good management practices in wetlands.
“The stimulation of the private sector to generate funding opportunities for the protection of Natura 2000 sites is the European Union's policy that we are implementing for the first time in Greece through the LIFE-Stymfalia project."
14 June 2017Kaja has given birth! The four-year-old lynx (Lynx lynx carpathicus), who was one of the first three individuals to be reintroduced to the Palatinate Forest under the German LIFE Luchs Pfälzerwald project (LIFE13 NAT/DE/000755), has produced a litter of two. The births are the first reproductions to have occurred in the biosphere reserve since the 18th century.
The parents, Kaja and Lucky, were reintroduced from Slovakia around a year ago. Having fitted the lynx with GPS collars, the beneficiary, the Rheinland-Pfalz Nature and Environment Foundation (Stiftung Natur und Umwelt Rheinland-Pfalz), was able to follow the pair’s progress.
They noted an encounter between the two on 17-20 February during a favourable mating time. The gestation period for a lynx is 72 days.
13 June 2017A workshop on climate action in agriculture and forestry was held by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA) and the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EASME) in Brussels on 1 June 2017.
The meeting emphasised the need for the agriculture and forestry sectors to take greater action to meet the EU's climate goals, including those under the Paris Agreement and the 2030 climate and energy framework. It also highlighted some innovative approaches to climate action, illustrated by a number of LIFE and Horizon 2020 projects, and how they can help farmers and foresters take up climate-smart production methods.
Miguel Sagredo-Fernandez, a senior member of the cabinet of Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, opened the workshop. He told attendees, "successful LIFE and Horizon 2020 projects are great examples of how climate policies translate into research and action on the ground."
09 June 2017The latest LIFE Nature Focus publication highlights the issues threatening Europe's coastal habitats and how the LIFE programme has addressed them. Coastal regions generate 40% of our GDP, but development must be sustainable and must recognise the natural value of our varied coastlines. Only 13% of coastal species are in a 'favourable' conservation status, while 73% of coastal habitats are assessed as being 'bad' or 'inadequate'.
It is in the interests of all business sectors, from tourism to shipping and fisheries, to safeguard and improve the health of our coastal ecosystems. Adopting an ecosystem approach to their management fosters, rather than hinders, growth and jobs.
06 June 2017This edition of LIFEnews celebrates the 25th anniversary of the LIFE programme.
The first article looks at the new European Natura 2000 Day and some events held across the EU to celebrate LIFE's anniversary.
The second article focuses on the Green Awards in Brussels which honoured some outstanding LIFE projects from the programme's 25-year history.
07 June 2017The LIFE project Dyemond Solar (LIFE09 ENV/SE/000355) won an award in the Climate Action category at the Green Awards in Brussels. The awards were held to celebrate the most outstanding LIFE projects carried out since 1992 and are one of the highlights of the LIFE programme’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
The LIFE project, which was carried out by Exeger Sweden AB, demonstrated the feasibility of scaling-up screen printing for the manufacture of Dye-Sensitised Solar Cells (DSC). It built a pilot line that lay the ground work for the design and construction of the world’s largest DSC factory.
02 June 2017The latest LIFE platform meeting took place on 10-12 May 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. The theme was ecosystem services and the discussion focused on how to get the concept into practical decision-making. The event was hosted by the Baltic Environmental Forum under the auspices of LIFE Viva Grass (LIFE13 ENV/LT/000189), a project to improve land use and conservation policies for the long-term maintenance of grassland biodiversity and the ecosystem services that grasslands provide.
Over 100 people from 16 Member States attended the meeting, including policymakers, academics and representatives from 50 LIFE projects. The meeting showcased a variety of restoration techniques, innovative approaches to improving knowledge and understanding of ecosystem services, new management initiatives and governance challenges.
31 May 2017Outstanding LIFE projects from the programme's 25-year history were celebrated at the Green Awards ceremony in Brussels on 30 May. A special edition of the annual LIFE awards, the Green Awards singled out projects that have had remarkable effects on the EU's natural environment and in creating green jobs and boosting green growth over the past quarter century.
Taking place during EU Green Week, the packed ceremony was attended by people from across the EU, with representatives from local authorities, government agencies, educational institutions, students, private companies, NGOs and volunteers.
25 May 2017The call for applications for the 2018 edition of the Natura 2000 Awards is now open.
Find out more from the Natura 2000 Awards webpage including application details, guidance documents and an explanation of how to participate in the exciting award ceremony.
The awards are designed to reward excellence in the management of Natura 2000 network sites. The aim is to demonstrate how the network works and to showcase its added value for local economies.
The Natura 2000 network is ensuring the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats, and is the centrepiece of the EU's nature and biodiversity policy. The network covers almost a fifth of Europe's land area and an important part of the surrounding seas, making it the largest coordinated network of conservation areas anywhere in the world.
Mr Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will make the keynote speech and present awards in the environment and nature and biodiversity categories.
Yvon Slingenbergh from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action will award prizes in the climate action category.
The nominated projects can be found here.
23 May 2017“LIFE is contributing to the spread of green skills and the creation of green jobs in a broad range of sectors.”- Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.
The latest LIFE Focus brochure shows just how the EU’s fund for environment, nature and climate protection is doing this. Produced to coincide with the EU Green Jobs Summit in Brussels, the brochure echoes the theme of Green Week 2017: “Green Jobs for a Greener Future”.
LIFE greening jobs and growth focuses on the people that have found new employment or developed new green skills thanks to LIFE. Their stories bring home the important contribution the LIFE programme has made to green growth.
The brochure shows LIFE’s impact on people working in cities, the countryside, and coastal communities (‘blue growth’). It also highlights green jobs in the water sector, and green jobs of the future (new developments in solar cell technology, sustainable packaging, and the recycling of cars and ships).
19 May 2017The LIFE RE-WEEE (LIFE14 ENV/GR/000858) project held its 3rd Consultation Forum on 10 March 2017 to help choose two municipalities for its Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Sorting Centres, in the Greek regions of Attika and Central Macedonia.
LIFE RE-WEEE is demonstrating new approaches for the prevention and reuse of WEEE, including the development of efficient sorting and preparation for reuse methods. It aims to establish - for the first time in Greece - the foundations for the prevention of waste through systematic collection and re-use operations. The two new sorting centres will process a variety of WEEE, with the aim of increasing consumer acceptance of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment (UEEE).
The establishment of an annual day to celebrate Natura 2000 network – the largest network of protected sites in the world – and raise awareness of the importance of its conservation is the initiative of the Spanish LIFE project Activa Red Natura 2000 (LIFE11 INF/ES/000665).
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Brussels on the occasion of the declaration, Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries commended the idea of European Natura 2000 Day, which “began as a grassroots initiative through an EU-funded LIFE project in Spain. I would like to pay tribute to the people who have worked hard to make this Day a reality.”
He added that, "with the European Natura 2000 Day we pay tribute to this unique network and its value for people and our economy. For me it is one of the European Union’s truly outstanding achievements: a network of over 27 000 protected sites, covering over 1 million square kilometres across the land and sea, made possible through the cooperation among all our Member States."
15 May 2017This issue of LIFEnews looks at green jobs and skills.
The first article features an interview with Christos Kissas from LIFE's external monitoring team about a new study on the programme's impact on jobs and growth.
The second article showcases a number of LIFE projects that have created new sustainable jobs and promoted the development of green skills.
12 May 2017The LIFE project Waldrappteam (LIFE12 BIO/AT/000143) is using the unusual technique of hand-raising chicks to successfully reintroduce the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) into Europe. In April, 31 chicks aged between2-to-8 days were taken from nests at two breeding colonies in Austria to be cared for by experienced – human - foster mothers. These birds will become the founders of a new Northern Bald Ibis breeding colony in Überlingen at Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
The Northern Bald Ibis disappeared from Europe some 400 years ago and there is currently only one remaining colony in Morocco (consisting of around 200 adults) and a few individuals in the Middle East.
11 May 2017Voting for the Green Awards is now closed. The Green Awards commemorate the most outstanding completed LIFE projects since 1992 and they form one of the highlights of the LIFE programme’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
The winners, who have been selected via a public vote on Facebook, will be announced in three categories: Environment; Nature & biodiversity; and Climate Action.
The award ceremony takes place in Brussels on the evening of 30 May 2017 as part of EU Green Week - a key event in the European environment policy calendar attracting policymakers, leading environmentalists, stakeholders and other interested parties from across Europe and the globe. The theme of this year’s Green Week is “Green jobs for a greener future”.
10 May 2017On 11 April 2017, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced the first loan agreement backed by the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF), one of the two innovative financial instruments funded by the LIFE programme. The €6 million loan was made available to Rewilding Europe Capital (REC).
The NCFF is a LIFE financial instrument providing loans or equity investments for revenue-generating or cost-saving projects that promote the preservation of natural capital for biodiversity and climate change adaptation purposes, backed by an EU guarantee. It recognises and fosters the business case for investing in natural capital.
At the signing ceremony in Brussels, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said:
"Nature is essential for our lives, and our economy. The recent successful evaluation of the EU Nature directives illustrated this. The Rewilding Europe project will be the first of many that the Bank on Nature initiative, building on the Natural Capital Financing Facility, will assist in our plans to create rural jobs and protect nature".
05 May 2017Following a thorough evaluation of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the European Commission has adopted the Action Plan for nature, people and the economy. The action plan is designed to improve implementation of the directives and thus boost their contribution to the attainment of the EU's biodiversity targets for 2020.
The plan focuses on 4 priority areas and comprises 15 actions to be carried out between now and 2019. Its publication follows on from the recent Birds and Habitats Directives fitness check, which highlighted the strategic role that the LIFE programme plays in supporting the implementation of the Directives.
LIFE Nature and Biodiversity projects deliver high value for money and can support a much wider range of measures for both management and restoration of Natura 2000 network sites than other EU funding instruments, including communication and outreach activities. As such, LIFE has significant capacity to develop partnerships for effective and efficient implementation. Furthermore, the LIFE Regulation for 2014-2020 provides funding possibilities regarding the management of the Natura 2000 network and for more coherence through integrated projects on condition that they implement the PAFs.
26 April 2017 This edition of LIFEnews focuses on environmental governance.
The first article features an interview with Liam Cashman from DG Environment's Compliance and Better Regulation Unit.
The second article showcases a number of LIFE projects which are helping to improve implementation of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation.
26 April 2017 A proactive approach to engaging citizens in the management of river basins to cope with the effects of climate change was the theme of the final conference of the BeWater project in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, in March 2017.
BeWater, a project funded by the EU’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration, was an initiative encompassing partner organisations from nine EU Member States and Tunisia. The project promoted collaboration between science and society for sustainable water management and adaptation to the impacts of global change in the Mediterranean. The project used an iterative process of mutual learning, participatory techniques and a bottom-up approach to ensure that stakeholders play an active role in determining appropriate strategies for management of river basins.
Experts from across the European Union – coming from a range of sectors including public authorities, policymakers, scientists, academics and representatives of environmental NGOs – gathered at the conference.
21 April 2017 This year the LIFE programme celebrates its 25th anniversary. In order to commemorate LIFE's achievements during this time, the European Commission has selected 15 outstanding LIFE projects as nominees for the Green Awards. The awards are for the most outstanding completed LIFE projects since 1992.
The winners in each of the categories (Environment, Nature & biodiversity and Climate Action) will be announced on 30 May 2017 at the Green Awards ceremony during EU Green Week in Brussels. There will be two Green Award winners in each of the three categories (i.e. six winners in total).
The winners will be selected by means of a public vote on Facebook. Voting is open from now until 10 May 2017.
The nominees for the Green Awards were selected by a jury, based on a number of criteria, including long-term sustainability, communication potential and broader impact on national, European or global level. They were additionally scored on innovation, transferability, environmental benefits and conservation status.
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