Launched in 1992, the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE) has provided financial support for projects that contribute to the development, updating and implementation of Community environmental policy.
While many other EU funding programmes have environmental components, LIFE has been the only programme devoted entirely to supporting the development and implementation of environmental policy in the Member States of the European Union, in candidate countries who are associated to LIFE and in certain third countries bordering on the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas.
LIFE consisted of three thematic components: LIFE-Environment, LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Third Countries.
LIFE contributed to the implementation, development and enhancement of the Community environmental policy and legislation and worked to integrate environmental concerns into other EU policies. Employing a practical approach, LIFE supported the development of new solutions to environmental problems facing the EU and aimed for the full implementation of Community policy defined by the Sixth Action Programme for the Environment.
For the first phase, which lasted from 1992 to 1995, some 400 million euros were allocated. In the second phase (1996-1999), approximately 450 million euros were allocated. The third and last phase, LIFE III (2000-2004), had a budget of 640 million euros. LIFE III was subsequently extended from 2005 to 2006 with a budget of 317 million euros by Regulation (EC) No 1682/2004 in September 2004.
LIFE was open to all 'legal persons', and projects financed by LIFE had to meet the following general criteria:
In total, LIFE supported 2,751 projects from 1992 to 2006, including:
To search for information on specific projects, go to the LIFE project database.
Please note, there will be no further calls under the current LIFE III programme. The last call for proposals under the extension of LIFE III was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 21 June 2005 (OJ C 149 of 21.06.200).
The new financial instrument for the environment, LIFE+, will provide future opportunities for funding. LIFE+ was proposed by the Commission in September 2004 and agreement was reached by the EU Environment Council meeting in Luxembourg on 27 June 2006. The LIFE+ Regulation is expected to enter into force by September 2007, with the first calls for proposals to be opened in autumn 2007.