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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 4 171 projects, contributing approximately €3.4 billion euros to the protection of the environment and climate. Read more >>


LIFE inspires huge increase in Spain's protected maritime areas

Photo:LIFE07 NAT/E/000732

02 September 2014The Spanish Government has created 39 new protected areas for birds in the marine environment based on the work of two Spanish LIFE projects: Marine IBAs (Important Bird Areas for Seabirds) (LIFE04 NAT/ES/000049); and INDEMARES (LIFE07 NAT/E/000732). The new designations have multiplied by 20 the protected area for seabirds in Spain, which now covers almost 50 000 km2.

The 39 sites have been designated as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the EU’s Birds Directive and brought into the Natura 2000 Network. Their formal approval has been the culmination of 10 years’ work under the two LIFE projects. The Marine IBAs project (2004-2009) created a standard methodology to identify marine IBAs and conducted a detailed inventory, leading to an initial proposal of new marine SPAs for Spain.


Report published on LIFE Platform Meeting on Urban Resilience

LIFE Platform Meeting on Urban Resilience

05 August 2014 The European Commission has published the report from the LIFE Platform Meeting ‘Urban Resilience: LIFE+ projects and European policies’. This meeting, held in Colombes, France, on 4-5 April 2014, provided the platform for discussions on urban resilience challenges, the sharing of experiences from completed and on-going LIFE projects, and the opportunity for experts to make recommendations on how the LIFE programme can best support future projects in this area.

Urban resilience is defined as the ability of an urban territory or community to resist, absorb, accommodate and recover from hazards, such as natural disasters, the impacts of climate change and poverty. A resilient approach addresses, for example, reducing the environmental impacts of pollution and waste, mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change, and solutions to economic and social issues.

During presentation and workshop sessions, the Platform Meeting focused on three thematic areas: resilient infrastructure and urban planning; waste management, recycling and re-use; and natural resource management and renewable energy production. There was an emphasis on common methods and tools used in these different areas.


Scandinavian Platform Meeting demonstrates LIFE's contribution to nature conservation

LIFE Scandinavian Platform Meeting

30 July 2014The LIFE Scandinavian Platform Meeting was successfully held on 10-12 June in 2014 in Rovaniemi (Finland). The general objective of this annual meeting is to help LIFE Nature projects in Finland, Denmark and Sweden contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation. Three projects co-organised the meeting: Return of Rural Wetlands (LIFE09 NAT/FI/000563), Boreal Peatland Life (LIFE08 NAT/FIN/000596) and NATNET (LIFE10 NAT/FI/000047).

A total of 73 participants took part, representing the European Commission and a range of LIFE projects. On the first day, at the Hotel Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Arnoud Heeres (Programme Manager LIFE Nature, European Commission) outlined the new Life Programme 2014-2020; Lucie Trokanova (LIFE Communications Team) explained how LIFE projects can effectively communicate their results; and Bent Jepsen (Astrale) described the role of the External Monitoring Team.


New report on climate change adaptation and mitigation Platform Meeting

Climate change report

22 July 2014The European Commission has published a report on the LIFE Platform Meeting ‘Climate change - ecosystem services approach for adaptation and mitigation’, which was held in Norwich, UK, on 14-15 May 2014.

Current and past LIFE projects came together at the event to share their experiences on developing responses to the predicted impacts of climate change across EU Member States. Another aim of the meeting was to look at the opportunities to attract funding for mitigation and adaptation projects in the LIFE multi-annual work programme for 2014-2017.

Nature conservation bodies were encouraged to seize the opportunities available to develop new partnerships through the climate action sub-programme and Integrated Projects, as well as continuing with the traditional project approach.


Success for Strasbourg's Rohrschollen Island flooding

Photo: LIFE08 NAT/F/000471

18 July 2014The first large-scale testing of a new floodgate, favouring the flooding and restoration of the river dynamics of valuable Rhine habitats on Rohrschollen Island (Strasbourg) has been successfully carried out by the LIFE Rohrschollen Island project (LIFE08 NAT/F/000471).

The testing of the floodgate was carried out on 17 June 2014, at a special event organised by the city of Strasbourg – the project beneficiary. The ongoing project is working to reproduce, through hydrological works, the island's natural flood dynamics, before this part of the Rhine was modified by dams and dikes.

This first flooding was carried out in the presence of the deputy mayor, responsible for sustainable development, and the regional representative of the EDF (the national electricity provider).


Rare falcon returns to Slovakia

Photo: LIFE09 ENV/ES/000431

03 July 2014A pair of red-footed falcons (Falco vespertinus) have been discovered near Trnava, Slovakia, the first to be seen in this area for 40 years. The species, which was the focus of a recent LIFE project and is the target of an ongoing one, is close to extinction in Slovakia. Only two pairs were previously known to inhabit the country.

The main EU population of the red-footed falcon is found in the Pannonian lowlands. The raptor favours steppe-type habitats with extensive agriculture and low tree coverage. MME Birdlife Hungary carried out conservation actions in favour of the falcon in Hungary and Romania under the LIFE project, F.VESPERTINUS-HU/RO (LIFE05/NAT/HU/000122). It created thousands of artificial nesting sites and a special agro-environmental scheme for the conservation of feeding habitats. As a result of the project, the Hungarian population increased from 600 to 1 200 breeding pairs.


Annual Compilations of new LIFE projects published

Photo: LIFE09 ENV/ES/000431

30 June 2014The Annual Compilations of new LIFE+ projects are now online. From the 2013 call for proposals, the European Commission has selected 125 projects for co-funding under the Environment Policy & Governance strand; 92 projects under LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity strand of the programme; and eight new environmental awareness projects in six countries under LIFE+ Information & Communication.

The Environment Policy & Governance strand supports pilot projects that contribute to the development of innovative policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments. Total investment in this strand will come to €318.5 million, of which the EU will provide €130.8 million.

The LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity projects, which aim to improve the conservation status of endangered species and habitats, are carried out by partnerships of conservation bodies, government authorities and other parties located across 25 Member States. In total, they represent an investment of €233.9 million, of which the EU will contribute €133.9 million.


Spanish LIFE project wins Regional Environment Award

Photo: LIFE09 ENV/ES/000431

24 June 2014The Spanish Autonomous Community of Aragon has awarded its 2014 Prize for the Environment to the LIFE+ project CREAMAgua (LIFE09 ENV/ES/000431). The project, run by the local authority (Comarca) of Los Monegros, won the prize in the ‘Local Government’ category at the 16th annual awards ceremony held in Zaragoza on 5 June 2014, World Environment Day.

CREAMAgua created wetlands and riverbank forests to act as natural filters to reduce the run-off of inorganic nutrients - nitrates and phosphates - and salts from agricultural land into rivers. It was led by the local authority, but worked actively with local farmers in the management of the wetland areas.


EC launches platform for resolving human-large carnivore conflicts

Photo: LIFE02 TCY/CRO/014

20 June 2014Populations of brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), wolverine (Gulo gulo) and Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) are stabilising or increasing in EU Member States, after a long period of decline. Improved protection in Natura 2000 network sites and greater public awareness of nature conservation has enabled these large carnivores to return to areas from which they have long been absent. However, this can bring them into increasing conflict with human activities. Over 70 LIFE projects have focused on large carnivores and many of these have involved conflict reduction measures, as described in the LIFE Focus publication ‘LIFE and human coexistence with large carnivores’.

The European Commission launched the EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores on 10 June 2014, to help solve at a European level the social and economic problems that can sometimes result from an increase in large carnivore numbers.


New arrival in yelkouan nest box

Photo:LIFE10 NAT/MT/000090

19 June 2014Following an earlier success (reported in May 2014) on the website of the LIFE+ MALTA SEABIRD PROJECT (LIFE10 NAT/MT/000090) - of a first occupant of an artificial nest box by a yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) - the LIFE team has just revealed the arrival of a “fluffy, fast growing chick”. A delighted spokesperson says: “This is Malta’s first chick to hatch and grow inside an artificial nest.” During the day, the LIFE team explains, the parents already leave the chick alone – returning to feed it with “regurgitated squid and fish” during the night.

More successful seabird nest news is expected as the 2011-2016 project progresses, especially as the project team is being supported by a rat eradication programme, which is being run in the species’ main breeding colony, on the isle of Rdum tal-Madonna. Rats are an invasive species to the Maltese isles and as the yelkouan lays just one egg per year, rat predation on their eggs and chicks is a major threat.


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