The public consultation process on the future of the LIFE programme, which was launched in mid-2010 and closed on 15 February, was an important way of taking account of the desires of stakeholders, according to the Commission.
Speaking at the ‘Stakeholders consultation on the future instrument for environment and climate change (future LIFE)’, which was held on 28 January at the Maison des Associations Internationales, Angelo Salsi, head of the LIFE Nature Unit, DG for Environment, said: "We hope you will feel in a very genuine way the Commission wants to build things from the ground and take your feedback on board."
The meeting of key European stakeholders in Brussels yielded much useful feedback on the European Commission’s proposals for the future of the LIFE programme and the direction of EU environmental funding. It brought together more than 130 participants, representing key stakeholder groups including national and regional governments, NGOs, industry associations and previous LIFE beneficiaries in a series of presentations and working group sessions.
In his opening remarks, Hervé Martin, head of the LIFE Environment Unit, DG for Environment, affirmed the importance that the Commission is attaching to the consultation process. He told delegates: “We rely completely on you as to what we will put on the table with regards to the future funding of LIFE.”
Safeguarding Europe’s natural value and rich biodiversity was the highest priority among those present, with the management of Natura 2000 sites and the demonstration of good practices being the most important actions. Climate change was another key concern of delegates. While the overwhelming majority said that the environment should have a specific funding instrument, three quarters of delegates did not think that LIFE should not focus on specific environmental themes to the exclusion of others.
Moreover, stakeholders showed a strong support for expanding the planning and delivery of the financial instrument that follows LIFE+ at the end of 2013.
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