2010 has been a busy year for the LIFE Programme. In addition to its usual mix of project work involved with implementing, updating and developing EU environmental policy and legislation, LIFE has also been taking a detailed look at itself during 2010 through a mid-term evaluation exercise. Findings from this introspective process were presented to the European Council and Parliament in September to inform initial discussions about future options for LIFE.
The current LIFE + programming period ends in 2013 and the EU has now started preparations to look forward towards the new 2014-2020 financial perspective. In doing so the EU acknowledges that “environmental problems and priorities are continually evolving and so are their financing needs”. LIFE’s experiences provide a strong baseline to build on and lessons learnt from the last 19 years of LIFE programme activity will help shape the decisions that are ultimately made about environmental funding for 2014-2020.
LIFE stakeholders from around the EU are being invited to participate in this decision-making process by giving their views and ideas about a potential successor for the LIFE+ programme. An on-line questionnaire is collecting these opinions and this public consultation is open to anyone with an interest in the long-term future of Europe’s environment.
Esther Pozo Vera from the European Commission’s LIFE Unit explains “The web-based consultation is open until February 15th. During this time we want to hear the views from people that have experience from working with LIFE activity at all different levels. We also want to reach a broader audience and hear from people who have not yet been involved with LIFE but could be in the future. For example, there are many research institutes, public bodies, business organisations, NGOs and SMEs that are not necessarily involved at the moment, but now is their time to react and propose ideas that could help them to use future LIFE type support for, among other things, implementing environmental legislation or developing eco-innovative tools.”
She continues by saying that in addition to collecting suggestions from stakeholders “We have included in the consultation a number of specific ideas that have emerged following preparatory work during 2010, and we are using some of the questions to test these ideas. In such cases we have offered different options and we have also provided scope for people to provide their own comments as well.”
Results from the consultation will be used to elaborate the proposals for LIFE type activity in the next funding period, and summaries of responses to the on-line questionnaire will be included in the official report that will be considered by the European Council and Parliament. This is all due to happen before the summer of 2011.
Ms Pozo Vera remains keen that the official report reflects a wide cross section of LIFE’s potential client base. Consequently, she encourages all LIFEnews readers not only to participate in the consultation themselves as soon as possible, but also to tell their colleagues about the consultation so that its benefits can be cascaded out around the EU. She concludes “Preliminary findings from the questionnaire will be presented at a stakeholder conference in January and so it will be very useful to receive responses in advance of the February deadline.”
LIFEnews readers can help shape the future of the LIFE programme by clicking here, and following the step by step guidance that has been produced to take stakeholders through the consultation’s questionnaire.