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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 2014-2010 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate.Read more >>
08 February 2016 An indicative planning for the LIFE call 2016 is now available. Applicants busy designing a potential new LIFE project now have a rough guide to the expected deadlines and submission routes. In addition, the total budget allocations for project types and subprogrammes are detailed.
The official 2016 call is provisionally scheduled to be published in the second half of May. Once ready, an application package and supporting information will also be made available, similar to previous calls.
28 January 2016 On Saturday, 23 January 2016 the LIFE Environment project CREAMAgua (LIFE09 ENV/000431) received the XXXV Jaulín prize – in the ‘regional’ category – for the defence of nature. For 35 years the Jaulín awards have been recognising the work of individuals and organisations that help towards the conservation of nature.
The Jaulín award is the third such prize received by LIFE CREAMAgua in recognition of the project’s great results to date. In November 2013 it was awarded a runners-up award in the Conama prize for sustainability and two years ago it received the 16th Prize for the Environment Spanish Autonomous Community of Aragon.
27 January 2016 The recently completed LIFE project IMPERIA (LIFE11 ENV/FI/000905), which developed an ARVI tool for carrying out environmental impact assessment (EIA), is already creating an impression. The project engaged experts, researchers and authorities in Finland, who are interested in applying the ARVI method.
The project's Excel-based ARVI method is moreover already being used by the largest consulting offices and has been applied to eight extensive EIA initiatives. These include the impact assessments of the increased use of biofuels by Helsingin Energia in 2014 and of the natural gas pipe between Finland and Estonia (Balticconnector) in 2015.
26 January 2016 The European Commission today announced an investment of € 63.8 million for the first-ever "Integrated Projects" to be funded under the LIFE programme for the environment. "Integrated Projects" were introduced to implement environmental legislation on a wider scale and increase the impact of funding for plans developed on the regional, multi-regional or national level. The six projects selected have a total budget of € 108.7 million, including € 63.8 million of EU co-financing. They could leverage and coordinate over € 1 billion in complementary funding from EU agricultural and regional funds, as well as national and private funds. The money will support projects in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, Finland, and the UK.
The main feature of these projects is their all-encompassing approach, ensuring involvement of multiple stakeholders and promoting the mobilisation of at least one other funding source, be it EU, national or private. LIFE Integrated Projects were introduced to help Member States comply with key EU legislation in four areas: Nature, Water, Air and Waste.
25 January 2016 The project LIFE-ENERGA Living Lab-PL (LIFE13 ENV/PL/000004) was awarded with the prestigious Polish Innovation Award 2015 during the Third Polish Entrepreneurship Congress at the beginning of November in Łódź.
The award is granted annually by the Polish agency for enterprise development and the Polish newspaper Forum Przedsiębiorczości to businesses and projects that have shown particular innovation in the field of research and development. In 2015 the award highlighted activities perceived as being particularly important for the future of Poland and Europe. Its main theme was innovative synergies between science and research.
22 January 2016 The latest LIFE Nature Focus publication looks at the importance of partnership work to the successful implementation of EU nature and biodiversity policy, in particular the management of the Natura 2000 network. Effective conservation today means working with a variety of different stakeholder groups. It means going beyond traditional partnerships with those who make a living from the land or sea – farmers, fishermen, foresters etc. – and working with society as a whole.
The 76-page brochure, LIFE and new partnerships for nature conservation, gives a taste of the breadth of stakeholder groups atypical to nature conservation that LIFE projects have worked with up till now. It reveals the secrets of successful projects and highlights important lessons for building strong and durable stakeholder partnerships for managing EU biodiversity.
19 January 2016 The 2014 LIFE call for proposals saw the introduction of new categories of LIFE projects, such as Integrated Projects (which will be launched on 26 January 2016) and Preparatory projects (LIFE PRE). The latter category is for projects that address specific needs for the development and implementation of EU environmental or climate policy and legislation.
The European Commission's 2014 call identified needs regarding:
Two LIFE PRE projects have been funded that address the second and third of these needs.
18 January 2016 EU Sustainable Energy Awards up for grabs
The Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) has just launched this year's EU Sustainable Energy Awards competition. Any recent sustainable energy project or initiative – be it small and local or large-scale – can enter as long as it is based in the EU or Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands or Ukraine. Potential entrants include LIFE projects dedicated to energy efficiency, for instance.
The high-level jury will be looking for innovative and original initiatives that have a measurable impact in helping to reduce energy use or promote renewable energy and hence contribute to the EU's climate and energy goals. They should also be replicable across Europe and be well-received by the general public.
15 January 2016 This new publication from the LIFE programme, the EU’s fund for the environment and climate action, highlights the achievements and value for money of the most outstanding Environment projects completed before the end of 2014.
The 25 featured projects - drawn from nine EU Member States – showcase examples of practical solutions to many of the most pressing environmental challenges of the age, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change, using water less wastefully, protecting soil quality, managing and reusing waste and developing greener manufacturing processes.
Eight projects received the ultimate accolade (‘Best of the Best’ project), including LIFE Information and Communication (INF) projects with an environmental focus in Slovenia and the UK. In addition, a further 17 projects (including one from the LIFE INF strand) were recognised as ‘Best’ LIFE projects for their excellent work.
13 January 2016 In May, people across Europe will get to celebrate the European Union's Natura 2000 network. A variety of exciting events are being organised at Natura 2000 sites on and around Saturday, 21 May 2016 for members of the public and visitors to these protected havens.
Natura 2000 Day is about making European citizens more aware of the natural riches of the Natura 2000 network and of the conservation work they carry out. The date is an important one for Natura 2000 site managers because it is also when the European Commission announces the winners of the Natura 2000 Award at a special ceremony in Brussels.
Natura 2000 day is an initiative of the LIFE project LIFE Activa Red Natura 2000 (LIFE11 INF/ES/000665) which, among other things, has produced a website for the day as well as promotional items, including a trilingual Natura 2000 day song. The main aim of the project is to increase awareness of the Natura 2000 network in Spain and across Europe helping to create a new relationship between the general public and the Natura 2000 network. In turn this will facilitate a smoother and more effective implementation of the Habitats and Bird Directives and ensure a better understanding and protection of biodiversity as a whole.
12 January 2016 The first national conference on the reintroduction of conservation-reliant species, together with a related art exhibition, entitled Great Return, took place from 19–21 November 2015 at Sofia University, Bulgaria. The event was organised by the university's Faculty of Biology, the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna and Green Balkans, and held under the auspices of the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water.
The conference was attended by more than 100 academics, scientists and students. The event highlighted the work of Bulgaria's conservation and scientific community and demonstrated their commitment to using the latest information and knowledge in allocating resources to conserve and restore endangered protected species.
11 January 2016 The first dog patrols to detect the use of poison targeting eagle populations in Portugal are now operational. The illegal use of poisoning is a major threat to the eagle species, which is already one of the most threatened bird of prey species in Europe. The use of poison is also damaging to the environment and to human health.
The canine units were established under the LIFE Imperial project (LIFE13 NAT/PT/001300), which was launched to boost the conservation of the Iberian imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) in the country.
The LIFE project purchased seven dogs - both German shepherd and Belgium Malinois breeds. Having just finished their specific training for poison detection, the canine units are ready to begin patrols across a number of project sites in Portugal, namely Castro Verde, Vale do Guadiana, Mourão/Moura/Barrancos and Tejo Internacional/Terges/Ponsul.
The dog units will be a great asset to Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), the Portuguese law enforcement agency responsible for environment protection, as it seeks to prosecute those setting poison baits.
08 January 2016 Last year’s edition of the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) has once again been a success. With 40 coordinators coordinating over 12 000 actions in 33 countries, the 2015 edition beat all previous records regarding the number of coordinators involved and the number of countries covered. The 7th edition of the EWWR benefited from wide political support. In particular, it took place under the patronage of the European Parliament and its President, Martin Schulz.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of action developers and to the efforts of individual coordinators, the EWWR returned for an intensive week of awareness-raising events running from the 21-29 November 2015. Open to all, the EWWR happenings related to waste reduction, product reuse and material recycling, as well as to clean-ups, all over Europe. Participants could simply choose from the thousands of actions on the EWWR database.
16 December 2015The LIFE Malta Seabird Project (LIFE10 NAT/MT/000090) recently held an international workshop on seabirds to present the inventory of marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) within Maltese waters that was created by the ongoing project. Hosted by project beneficiary, BirdLife Malta, it was held on the island of Gozo.
The workshop attracted around 50 international participants – marine scientists, conservationists, government officials and European Commission representatives – from 17 countries. It was an opportunity to gather experience of protecting seabirds in the Mediterranean and to set a way forward for seabird protection across national borders.
The LIFE Malta Seabird Project has been carrying out research for the past four years to identify the most important marine sites for Malta's protected, breeding seabirds, namely the Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan), the Scopoli's shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) and the European storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus).
15 December 2015This new publication from the LIFE programme, the EU's fund for the environment and climate action, highlights the achievements and value for money of the most outstanding Nature, Biodiversity and Information and Communication projects with a nature focus that were completed before the end of last year.
Five projects received the ultimate accolade ('Best of the Best' project), including a LIFE Information and Communication (INF) project in Greece. For the first time, the public was allowed to vote for its favourite one of these projects. The inaugural winner of the public vote - the LIFE Community Award for Nature - was announced at the 7th edition of the annual awards ceremony for the winning projects, held in Brussels during EU Green Week earlier this year.
11 December 2015The LIFE project Elia (LIFE10 NAT/BE/000709) has won first prize in the environmental protection category in the Renewables Grid Initiative’s ‘Good Practice of the Year’ 2015 awards. The winners were presented with their trophies at the second annual award ceremony in Brussels on 19 November 2015.
The Elia project was launched to create green corridors for biodiversity under overhead high-tension electrical lines in wooded areas (155 km of corridors in Belgium and on seven sites in France). The RGI award was made in recognition of the importance of the private sector in nature protection, and a successful business and biodiversity initiative.
10 December 2015 Selected non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have now been invited to submit their applications for the award of an operating grant covering the financial year 2016. Applications should be returned by the end of this year (31 December) and can be downloaded here.
The application process follows on from the European Commission's call for LIFE framework partnership agreements for NGOs. Applications for the 2016 work programmes will be assessed in January/February ahead of the signing of specific operating grant agreements in March 2016.
09 December 2015The Latvian project LIFE Ecosystem Services (LIFE13 ENV/LV/000839) has just published a new video that explores the relationship between man and nature. The film provides a straightforward explanation of what ecosystem services are, as well as their benefits for humankind.
The video, entitled, ‘assessment of ecosystems and their services for nature biodiversity conservation and management’, is one of three planned around the theme of ecosystem services. These films are part of the project’s extensive communications campaign.
EU biodiversity strategy requires Member States to identify, map and assess ecosystems and their services. In Latvia, however, such practices have not yet been introduced and LIFE Ecosystem Services aims to close this gap by developing an innovative methodology which balances environmental, social and economic values.
01 December 2015The latest LIFE Focus brochure highlights the contribution the LIFE programme has made to the implementation of EU policy on climate change adaptation. Together with last year's brochure on LIFE and Climate change mitigation, it gives an overview of LIFE's work to date in the field of climate action. Both brochures are essential reading ahead of COP21 in Paris.
LIFE and Climate change adaptation features a foreword by Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. In it he spells out the importance of taking an integrated approach to climate adaptation, enabling it to be mainstreamed into all relevant sectors.
This integrated approach is reflected in the content of the latest LIFE Focus brochure, with an introduction to policy issues and LIFE's impact followed by thematic sections covering all the key sectors: strategic planning for adaptation at national and local level; urban resilience; agriculture; forests; water (including water management and flood protection); coastal areas; and biodiversity.
30 November 2015The LIFE project BLACKWATER SAMOK (LIFE09 NAT/IE/000220) will receive an award at the Cork Environmental Forum (CEF) Awards 2015 in recognition of its “extraordinary work.” The CEF judges were particularly impressed by the project’s initiative to tackle the spread of Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), an invasive species prevalent on the banks of the Allow river.
The award ceremony takes place in Cork city on 3 December 2015. Nominations are sought in several categories, and the LIFE project is to receive the Community and Voluntary Sector Environmental Award.
26 November 2015 Representatives of the LandLife project (LIFE10 INF/ES/000540 ), were amongst the more than 100 people from around the world who participated in the 2nd International Land Conservation Network (ILCN) Congress , in Berlin from 19-21 October 2015.
The congress saw participating organisations from the EU create a European chapter of the ILCN: the European Land Conservation Network (ELCN). This marked a key step towards achieving the LandLife project's vision that, by 2020, land stewardship will become a widely accepted land management approach on all kinds of landscapes across Europe for helping to preserve Europe's natural beauty and resources.
The European congress delegates exchanged experiences with long-established land trust organisations in the USA and Canada, and with countries like South Africa and Chile that are in the process of building land trust systems. Participants agreed that, while conserving the grassroots approach at local level, the ELCN would also have to define and harmonise EU-wide standards and practices, provide legal guidance at national level, and help build trust between the nature conservation community and private landowners.
25 November 2015 The European Commission has announced the first recipients of LIFE Climate Action funding. It has awarded action grants to 26 projects in 11 Member States. The projects represent a total investment of some €73.9 million. The EU will provide €36.75 million of this figure. The projects cover actions in the fields of climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and climate governance and information.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: “These projects demonstrate EU support for practical action to meet climate obligations ahead of the Paris Climate Conference. They show that it is possible to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. LIFE is contributing to a shift towards a low carbon, resource efficient and climate-resilient economy.”
24 November 2015A Natura 2000 Award (European Citizen category) was recently presented to SEO/BirdLife, Agencia EFE and BirdLife Europe, the beneficiaries of the ‘LIFE Activa Red Natura 2000: Connecting people with biodiversity’ project (LIFE11 INF/ES/000665), at a presentation in the Campo de Montiel Natura 2000 network site in the Spanish region of Castile-La Mancha. Daniel Calleja Crespo, the Director-General for the European Commission’s Environment Directorate, handed over the award to the project beneficiaries for their work in establishing a ‘Natura 2000 Day’.
The first Natura 2000 Day was held on 21 May 2013, and the LIFE project team hope it will continue to be held annually on this date. The LIFE Activa Red Natura 2000 project’s overall objective is to improve awareness of the Natura 2000 network, with Natura 2000 Day being the first campaign targeted at EU citizens to encourage them to get to know and support the European network of protected areas. For further information, visit the project’s website.
23 November 2015Pupils of the Heinrich Böll Secondary School near Cologne, Germany, are helping the LIFE project Ville Forests (LIFE13 NAT/DE/000147) to increase the area of oak-hornbeam forest in western Germany. At the end of October the 11-year-olds made trays, filled them with locally collected acorns and placed them in selected spruce stands for the Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) to collect and hide over winter.
Using the jay as an aide to spread acorns is a traditional method of encouraging oak regeneration in conifer monocultures. The aim is to eventually convert these conifer patches into predominantly oak habitats.
The jay hoards large number of acorns in the autumn to make sure it has enough food for the winter. Not all of the acorns get eaten and those that don't then germinate in the spring, producing young oaks that will hopefully grow into adult trees.
20 November 2015The European Commission has approved funding for 96 new projects in 21 Member States under its LIFE programme for the Environment. These projects represent a total investment of € 264.8 million, of which the EU will provide € 160.6 million. They cover actions in the field of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity, and environmental governance and information.
EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "Money invested in environment projects is money well spent. I am delighted to see that our LIFE programme will support many innovative projects, and I am sure they will make a vital contribution. As well as protecting and enhancing natural capital, there are many promising avenues here that will help steer Europe towards a low-carbon, resource efficient and sustainable future. We will follow these projects carefully, with a view to sharing and replicating their success."
17 November 2015At a recent workshop at the European Parliament - ‘LIFE – How to use €3.46 billion for environment and climate protection’ (10 November), - Angelo Salsi, head of unit, LIFE and CIP Eco-innovation, EASME, said that the increased budget for LIFE in the 2014-2020 funding period was an "endorsement of the quality of work" performed by the programme.
The workshop, which was organised by the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee in cooperation with the LIFE Working Group, explored ways in which the current edition of LIFE can make an effective contribution to the achievement of environmental protection and climate change targets. It was aimed at members of the ENVI Committee and all participants of the LIFE programme.
The event was chaired by Italian MEP Nicola Caputo and Croatian MEP Dubravka Suica, who are the co-chairs of the LIFE Working Group, ENVI Committee. The first part examined the new programme, while the second half of the workshop focused on improving the LIFE programme’s effectiveness and the promotion of good practices.
16 November 2015The LIFE-ELMIAS award was recently presented to 25 people at the annual Meadow Day at Väskinde community centre, Gotland, Sweden. The award recognises the special efforts the awardees have made in the fight against Elms disease on the Swedish island as part of the LIFE project LIFE- ELMIAS (LIFE12 NAT/SE/001139). The awards were presented for the second year running.
LIFE-ELMIAS is a five-year project aiming to carry out activities to safeguard threatened habitats including Fennoscandian wooded meadows and Fennoscandian old broad-leaved deciduous forests. These habitats make up almost 70% of the old growth tree layer on Gotland and contain 17% of the Swedish population of old elms and 24% of the old ash.
12 November 2015All European regions will be affected by climate change, but the impacts will depend on the local context. Climate change therefore needs to be addressed at local level, through local actions and planning strategies, as well as at national, European, and global level, such as the UN Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris next month.
The BLUE AP project (LIFE11 ENV/IT/000119) developed a local Adaptation Plan to Climate Change for Bologna (Italy), which defined strategies and measures for alleviating climate change impacts such as water shortages, heatwaves, and heavy precipitation and flooding. The measures included ‘green’ and ‘blue’ infrastructure approaches, including green roofs and facades, rainfall harvesting and sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS).Further information about the project can be found on its website.
06 November 2015The LIFE ‘Activa Red Natura 2000: Connecting people with biodiversity’ project has released its new publication ‘Natura 2000 Network Handbook for journalists’ in digital form, in Spanish and English versions. The handbook contains useful information on the Natura 2000 network, and an assessment of the weaknesses and strengths that hinder or foster communications concerning the network of European protected areas.
The Handbook for journalists was developed from a communications workshop on the Natura 2000 network organised by the LIFE project’s coordinating beneficiary SEO/BirdLife, the EFE news agency and the Association of Environmental Information Journalists (APIA). The workshop was held in Madrid in December 2013.
03 November 2015The Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm has carried out the first in vitro tests of PVC-free blood bags.
The hospital is a partner in the LIFE project ‘PVCFreeBloodBag’ (LIFE10 ENV/SE/000037), which was set up to address the lack of incentives for blood bag manufacturers to create PVC-free blood bags.
To this end, the project is demonstrating that public healthcare organisations and private plastics manufacturers can co-operate in removing barriers to PVC-free blood bags.
23 October 2015 The LIFE La Mancha project (LIFE10 NAT/ES/000563) is raising awareness of the importance of the La Mancha wetlands in Central Spain via an innovative video made using geo-journalism tools. By overlapping project information and online images, the video illustrates the exact locations and range of project actions.
“Google Earth has a huge potential to show information, from a global and local point of view, to help us understand our closest environment,” points out the project’s video-maker Eduardo García Milagros.
An essential part of the project is to raise awareness of the importance of the La Mancha wetlands, which are less well-known than other wetlands in the region.
16 October 2015 The LIFE external monitoring team (NEEMO) has just published a thematic report entitled LIFE and Land Stewardship: Current status, challenges and opportunities. In this report to the European Commission, the authors assess the contribution made by the LIFE programme in engaging private stakeholders in nature conservation. The comprehensive report also explores how LIFE projects could further contribute to land stewardship agreements throughout the EU.
Land stewardship is defined as a strategy to involve landowners and land users (such as farmers, foresters, hunters, fishers and recreationalists) in the conservation of nature and landscape, with the support of a range of civil society groups. The implementation of voluntary agreements between these groups offers an important means of extending conservation practices beyond the boundaries of the Natura 2000 network and other conventionally protected areas.
16 October 2015 The 2015 edition of the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) takes place from the 21-29 November 2015. The EWWR consists of multiple activities taking place around Europe that promote awareness about sustainable resource and waste management. This year’s edition will have a particular focus on dematerialisation – doing more with less.
Dematerialisation includes the idea of replacing products with services, as well as of improving the use of materials (through product reuse, substituting materials or by using fewer materials for a specific function). Solutions such as the sharing economy, services replacing products and improved materials are important for resource efficiency.
15 October 2015 You may now submit your applications for the third edition of the Natura 2000 awards.
The pan-European awards celebrate excellence in the management of Natura 2000 sites and conservation. The European Commission launched the annual awards to showcase the added value of the network and to increasing public awareness about Europe's valuable natural heritage.
The awards comprise five different categories: Communication; Socio-Economic Benefits; Conservation; Reconciling Interests / Perceptions; and Cross-border Cooperation and Networking. An additional European Citizens' Award was introduced for the first time in 2015.
12 October 2015 The Moors for the Future Partnership, which works to protect priority international habitats in the Peak District and South Pennines, has received €16 million to deliver the MoorLIFE 2020 project.
This includes €12 million from LIFE, the largest award the programme has ever given to a UK-based conservation project. Additional funding is provided by the utility companies, Severn Trent Water United Utilities and Yorkshire Water.
The new project builds on 12 years of partnership work protecting large areas of the moors, including actions carried out as part of an earlier LIFE project (MoorLIFE – LIFE08 NAT/UK/000202). The €16 million of funding will enable the partnership to expand its work hugely, protecting the integrity of 9 500 hectares of active blanket bog through re-vegetating bare peat, improving hydrology and diversifying existing vegetation.
25 September 2015 The Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification (AENOR) has validated a carbon footprint calculation tool for the footwear industry developed by the LIFE project CO2SHOE (LIFE12 ENV/ES/000315). The computer-based tool is now operational as ‘Standard ISO/TS 14067 – Carbon footprint of products’.
Calculating carbon footprints for footwear is challenging, because greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be determined for many components (such as leather, plastics and textiles) and for a series of processes. LIFE project beneficiary INESCOP, the Spanish Footwear Technology Institute, achieved this goal by developing an innovative and user-friendly tool in partnership with the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC), the Spanish Federation of Footwear Industries (FICE), and technology companies in Italy, Poland and Portugal.