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LIFE (2014-2020): Operating grants to European environmental NGOs

The LIFE (the Financial Instrument for the Environment) Regulation, which was published on 20 December 2013, sets a budget for the next funding period, 2014–2020, of €3.4 billion in current prices. View the LIFE Regulation


Founded in 1992, LIFE is the EU's financial instrument for the environment. The LIFE Regulation provides for funding of "operational activities of NGOs that are primarily active in protecting and enhancing the environment at European level and involved in the development and implementation of Community policy and legislation" (Annex 1 to the Regulation).

At least 78% of the budgetary resources for LIFE are used for action grants for projects. However, LIFE also supports the operations of EU level environmental and climate related NGOs through the competitive and transparent awarding of operating grants. The number of NGOs funded each year varies depending on the quality of the applications, the amounts applied for and the total budget available. This funding aims to strengthen the participation of NGOs in the dialogue process in environmental and climate related policy-making and in its implementation and gives voice to the civil society.

The operating grants are awarded on a a biannual basis with calls for proposals published on the DG Environment web page. The applications are evaluated and ranked according to criteria relating to the extent to which the organisations can contribute to EU policy development and implementation in the priority areas of EU environmental and climate policy. EU level environmental NGOs that wish to apply for funding under this programme must be non-profitmaking and independent. They must also be active at a European level with activities and members in at least three EU Member States.

NGOs funded in 2017 and 2018
2°ii CEEweb FACE MIO-ECSDE Surfrider Foundation Europe
Bankwatch E3G Fern PAN Europe T&E
BirdLife Europe EAZA FoEE RGI Wetlands International
Carbon Market Watch EEB HEAL SAR WWF EPO
CCB Europarc Federation IFOAM EU Group Shipbreaking Platform ZWE
CDP Europe Eurosite J&E Slow Food

A listing of NGOs funded from 1997 until 2017 is available in the archive page

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