17 June 2013The LIFE+ Information and Communication project RESTORE (LIFE09 INF/UK/000032) has published a new guide to river restoration called Rivers by Design. The guide is aimed at planners, developers, architects and landscape architects and seeks to show them how to maximise the benefits of river restoration in development projects.
The guide explains the context and need for river restoration, illustrating how well-planned river restoration can increase ecological quality, reduce flood risk and create social and economic benefits. It explains to the target audience the crucial role they can play in delivering such projects to meet the needs of people and the environment.
14 June 2013The latest LIFE Focus publication highlights the relevance of LIFE Environment project actions in helping to create durable jobs and develop green skills across the EU. As its title suggests, LIFE creating green jobs and skills provides a host of practical examples of project actions that provide a blueprint for the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient economy, as well as illustrating the added social and economic value of the LIFE programme, the EU's financial instrument for the environment.
The publication highlights the policy agenda and challenges involved in greening the EU job market, and analyses the lessons that can be learned from more than 20 years of LIFE. The focus is on the main projects that have had an impact on durable job creation and green skills development, with 23 case studies from 11 Member States, divided into six thematic areas: waste; capacity building; business and industry; packaging; energy production and agriculture.
13 June 2013The introduction of anti-poisoning dog units on the Italian territory by the LIFE Nature project ANTIDOTO (LIFE07 NAT/IT/000436) is giving excellent results.
The project, coordinated by the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, is centred on an innovative methodology for preventing poisoning incidents: the use of small dog units able to detect poisoned food. Three anti-poisoning dog units, two in Italy and one in Aragona (Spain), were set-up with the help of the project partner from Andalusia, which had established similar units in 2004 and has good experience in this field.
The new dog units are regularly performing field inspections, as well as inspections upon request.
12 June 2013The best LIFE Environment and Nature projects of 2012 were honoured at an award ceremony during Green Week in Brussels last week. The future of LIFE was also addressed by Jutta Haug, MEP, who is leading the negotiations for the next LIFE programme period of 2014-2020.
An award ceremony on 5 June celebrated some of the best LIFE Environment and Nature projects of 2012. The awards, taking place for the ninth year, were presented by Jutta Haug, MEP and rapporteur for the new LIFE Regulation, and Hemmo Muntingh, retired MEP, who was described as the father of LIFE, having initiated the programme back in 1992.
Mr Muntingh regaled the audience with how the LIFE programme came into being and his role in the process, whilst Ms Haug focused on its future, saying she was glad to see in the award ceremony such “excellent and encouraging examples of an exceptionally successful EU programme”.
10 June 2013A LIFE project in Poland has found an unusual way of highlighting its nature conservation work: a CD of soundscapes recorded in Natura 2000 sites. Entitled Grassland Recordings, the disc has been compiled by Klub Przyrodników (“The Naturalists’ Club), the coordinating beneficiary of the XericGrasslandsPL project (LIFE08 NAT/PL/000513) and is available for free from the NGO’s head office in Świebodzin.
The CD contains a selection of sounds typical of Polish xerothermic grasslands, from grazing sheep to crickets to birdsongs, and is designed to appeal to everyone from grassland lovers to people who just want to relax on a winter’s evening.
07 June 2013The Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas (“Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests” ICNF), Portuguese partner in the Spanish-led LIFE+ ‘Iberlince’ project (LIFE10 NAT/ES/000570) has confirmed in a press release (Portuguese only) ) the sighting of an Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) in Vila Nova de Milfontes, in western Portugal. It is the first confirmed Iberian lynx sighting in Portugal for three years and is a hugely positive sign in the attempts to restore population numbers of the species, which is the most endangered feline in the world.
A movement-activated camera placed by the local hunting association to carry out wild boar surveying in the area of Milfontes first took a photo of a lynx in early May; however, it was not possible to identify the animal. Subsequently, a team from the ICNF increased surveillance of the area with support from the LIFE+ project partners in Andalusia. The lynx was photographed again in broad daylight on 26th May, allowing his identification as Hongo, a male born in Aznalcázar, Spain in 2011. He had last been seen in October 2012 more than 300 km away in Doñana National Park, Andalusia.
05 June 2013The CREAMAgua project (LIFE09 ENV/ES/000431) held a celebratory event on April 26 to mark the end of its interventions to create and restore wetlands and riparian habitats of the Flumen river in Los Monegros, Spain. Its successful activities covered 509 ha of public land, which included the creation or restoration of 16 wetland areas and 70 ha of riparian habitat.
The President of the project beneficiary - the local authority of Los Monegros - Ildefonso Salillas was proud that the project “had turned Los Monegros into an international reference for the conservation of wetland zones.” This had been achieved through “the triple objective of improving the water quality in the Flumen river, increasing biodiversity and demonstrating how local authorities can develop strategies to protect their local environment.”
03 June 2013 A session at this year's Green Week in Brussels will be dedicated to highlighting “The contribution of the LIFE programme to air quality in the EU: past, present and future”.
Taking place at The Egg conference centre (Rue Bara) from 14:30 to 16:00 on Wednesday 5 June, the session will be moderated by Alexis Tsalas of the LIFE – Environment & Eco-innovation Unit, with presentations by Dr Georgia Valaoras, Regional Coordinator for South-East Europe, Astrale GEIE and Stijn Janssen, Environmental Modelling, VITO NV.
30 May 2013How can sustainable diets become the norm in Europe? The ‘LiveWell for LIFE’ project (LIFE10 ENV/UK/000173) has published a new report that addresses this question.
The report, ‘Adopting sustainable diets: opportunities and barriers’, which was developed with the Network of European Food Stakeholders, attempts to establish common ground for adopting sustainable diets in different European socio-economic contexts. To do this, it adopted the ‘triangle of change’ approach that emphasises the coordinated effort of people, businesses and government is necessary for achieving a more sustainable society. This approach recognises that all have a role to play, depending on what each is best able and best placed to deliver.
29 May 2013 An incubating pair of Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus) can now be watched online thanks to a special camera introduced to their nest by the LIFE+ project Return of the Neophron (LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152).
This is the only camera in the world in a wild nest of a globally threatened species. What is more, the incubating eggs are expected to hatch in early June, offering a wonderful experience for bird and nature lovers everywhere!
The camera was installed in a wild nest in northern Bulgaria by the LIFE+ project beneficiary, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. It enables live online monitoring from one of the few areas where Egyptian vultures still nest in Europe.
28 May 2013The Guidelines for Applicants Part 2 (application forms) has been updated for the application packages related to Environment Policy & Governance and to Information & Communication.
This update concerns the instructions regarding the use of eProposal, nothing else is changed. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Please go the funding pages to download the updated application packages
27 May 2013We are very pleased to announce that LIFE Focus publications are now available in flipbook format for viewing online on PCs, laptops, tablet devices and even smartphones.
Head to the publications pages to enjoy the three most recent LIFE Focus publications in flipbook format – wherever you are. And look out soon for the latest themes to be covered in the LIFE programme's journal - coexistence with large carnivores (Nature) and the impact of LIFE on job creation and the development of green skills (Environment).
24 May 2013 The ‘Ecoedición’ project (LIFE08 ENV/E/000124) has launched a ‘badbook’ campaign that aims to make readers, booksellers and publishers aware of the environmental impacts of publishing.
The campaign consists of six short films on separate aspects of the publishing process: choice of raw materials, design, energy consumption in the production phase, packaging and distribution. It will promote ways of reducing the environmental damage caused at each turn in the lifecycle of a book or printed publication.
21 May 2013Today, 21 May 2013, marks the very first Natura 2000 day. An initiative of the LIFE+ Information & Communication project, 'Conéctate a la Red Natura - Natura 2000: connecting people with biodiversity' (LIFE11 INF/ES/000665), the goal of what project beneficiary SEO / BirdLife hopes will become an annual Europe-wide celebration, is to promote the natural heritage of Spain represented by the network of Natura 2000 sites. The aim is to raise awareness of the issues concerning the preservation of these areas through the media and social networks as part of an overall LIFE project goal of improving awareness of the Natura 2000 network in Spain and contribute to the appreciation of its maintenance.
To this end, the beneficiary has invited all Europeans to take a picture of their hands in the shape of a butterfly and upload it to the project website or social media platforms as a sign of their commitment to the Natura 2000 network.
13 May 2013A black vulture (Aegypius monachus) has been spotted in the Eastern Balkan Mountains for the first time for more than 30 years. A photo-trap set up at the vulture supplementary feeding site in the area of the Sinite Kamani Nature Park captured a young black vulture in April, together with a group of foraging griffons. The pictured bird was released as part of the LIFE project, 'Vultures Return in Bulgaria' (LIFE08 NAT/BG/278).
The vulture probably originated from Serbia and was recorded along with several wild, non-tagged young and sub-adult griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus).
30 April 2013MME Birdlife Hungary, the beneficiary of the ongoing LIFE Nature ‘HELICON’ project (LIFE10 NAT/HU/000019), took part in an event in Hungary in February that revealed the scale of the problem of illegal raptor deaths in the country.
More than 100 professionals from Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and the UK attended the annual meeting of the Raptor Committee of Birdlife Hungary, which followed the 8th Hungarian Conservation-Biology Meeting (co-organised by MME with the Hungarian Biological Society, Bükk National Park Directorate and the European section of the Society for Conservation Biology).
24 April 2013 'SAMBAH' (Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise – LIFE08 NAT/S/000261) is a five-year LIFE Nature project that targets the conservation of the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) within the Baltic Sea region.
Led by Kolmardens Djurpark (Kolmarden Wildlife Park) in Sweden, this international project has revealed initial results from two years of monitoring using 300 passive acoustic porpoise click loggers (CPODs) at a meeting with marine stakeholders and sea-management authorities from the countries around the Baltic that was held in Gothenburg on 15 April.
22 April 2013The European Commission's LIFE Nature Unit will be holding a platform meeting (thematic seminar) on nature conservation and agriculture in wet alluvial grasslands at the Éthic étapes Lac de Maine in Angers, France on 16-17 May, 2013.
The general objective of the event, which will be hosted by Ligue de la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), is to exchange experience around the combination of nature conservation and farming practices. This will include discussion of such issues as: how to involve local farmers in nature conservation; greening the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); management agreements with farmers on purchased land; and ensuring compatibility between pasture and the needs of ground-nesting birds.
19 April 2013The Natura 2000 newsletter was launched in 1996 and is now in its 33rd edition. To ensure that it continues to meet expectations, DG Environment has commissioned an online reader survey, which will remain open end of June 2013.
To have your say on the future of the newsletter - how useful is it to you, what would you like to see more or less of, do you prefer to read it on paper or online? – please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N2000newslettersurvey
18 April 2013A popular Bulgarian TV comedy show recently broadcast an episode where the main characters discuss the benefits of eating Griffon vulture eggs for potency, while scheming to steal the eggs of the rare birds! Although meant to be amusing, the episode was viewed with alarm by the team coordinating the LIFE ‘Vultures Return’ project (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278), which is working to recover the populations of endangered vulture species in the country.
The LIFE team reacted immediately, disseminating a witty press-release challenging the show’s script-writers and warning viewers of the potential threat to human health of consuming vulture eggs.
17 April 2013Connie Hedegaard, Climate Commissioner, paid tribute to the Danish LIFE project, ‘Carbon 20’ (LIFE09 ENV/DK/000366), at the recent ‘Allerødmessen’ climate fair. Two of the companies engaged in the project have been recognised for their efforts to reduce their CO2 emissions.
Projects such as ‘Carbon 20’ are central to efforts to reduce our climate impact, according to the Commissioner.
“This is what it is about. I can try to make laws in the EU to change things, but these laws are not worth anything if they do not lead to changes. Therefore it is wonderful to see that there are people making actual changes through the Carbon 20 project,” she said.
The awards event on 22 February was part of the on-going LIFE project’s campaign to encourage at least 100 companies to reduce their CO2 emissions by 20%.
16 April 2013The Greek LIFE+ Environment wastewater treatment project SOL-BRINE (LIFE09 ENV/GR/000299) is holding its final conference from 19 to 21 September, on the island of Tinos, located in the Cyclades archipelago.
The international conference, 'Water Is Necessary for Life - WIN4Life' is open to all interested parties, providing participants with the opportunity to exchange views and ideas about water management, advanced wastewater treatment processes and sustainable brine management practices.
The event will include oral and poster presentation sessions. Authors wishing to submit a paper should send an abstract to the Scientific Secretariat, Dr. K. Moustakas (email@example.com) by 15 May 2013.
05 April 2013Over 80 participants gathered in Brasov, Romania recently to learn more about developing communication skills to increase management capacity and support for Natura 2000 sites in the country. The event, “Efficient managers for Efficient Natura 2000 Network” was organised in the framework of the ongoing LIFE+ Information & Communication project, EME Natura 2000 (LIFE11 INF/RO/000819).
The seminar, held on 4-5 March 2013, was organised by the project beneficiary, ProPark – the national foundation for protected areas, together with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Europarc federation and the Brasov agency for sustainable development.
05 April 2013 The winners of the 2012 ‘Best of the Best’ and ‘Best’ LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment projects have been selected and will be presented at a combined awards ceremony to be held during Green Week in Brussels, the theme of which is Air Quality.
The winning projects will be acknowledged at a special event on 5 June from 6.30-9.30 pm in The Egg Conference Centre, rue Bara 173-177, B-1070 Brussels. Winning projects who wish attend the ceremony must register for Green Week and also contact Paula.Lopez-Paredes@ec.europa.eu for further information.
03 April 2013The LIFE Environment project, ‘ETA-BETA’ (LIFE09 ENV/IT/000105) has announced its final results.
Since September 2010, the project has been promoting the development of Eco-managed Industrial and Business Estates (EIBEs) and ecologically equipped productive areas (EEPAs) as local governance and policy tools for implementing the EU’s Environmental Technology Action Plan
The ETA-BETA approach offers an organisational model for the management of EIBEs, which consists of a set of operational instruments for area managers and for individual SMEs for implementing the European Commission’s Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) at local level.
27 March 2013The ‘LIFE+Ecoedición’ project (LIFE08 ENV/E/000124) has launched a Green Publishing Membership Campaign. The aim of this campaign is to provide technical support, training and specialised consulting services to help public bodies and private companies with the practical application of green publishing criteria using the project’s “Sustainability Assessment of Publications” software. This offers a simplified approach designed to enable participants to produce greener publications without costly, time consuming investment.
During the campaign participants will learn how they can achieve a good position within the European market and how to anticipate environmental requirements in public contracts and tenders. They will also make new contacts and learn from others. The project will promote participants’ achievements and show their commitment to sustainable development and responsible consumption and purchasing.
26 March 2013On 13 March, the LIFE Nature ‘Salt of Life’ project (LIFE11 NAT/BG/000362) began scheduled bypass channel cleaning in Atanasovsko Lake, Bulgaria. During the six-year long project the entire length of the channel will be cleaned using a new dragline excavator, which was purchased partially with funds from the EU’s LIFE Programme.
The work on the bypass channel is a key action of a project whose main aim is to establish a functional, efficient and sustainable infrastructure for water management and the control of the coastal lagoon in Atanasovsko Lake. This will create long-term improvements to habitat conditions and enable adaptation to the effects of climate change. The project partners are the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (beneficiary), the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and Black Sea Salinas Ltd.
21 March 2013The Polish ‘AQC Plan’ project (LIFE08 NAT/PL/000511) has taken part in an international seminar on the conservation of the greater spotted eagle (Aquila clanga) and other birds of prey in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica. The event, which took place on 12 March, was organised by the National Parks of Montenegro and gave the project beneficiaries Polish Birds, Eagle Conservation Committee and Biebrza National Park the opportunity not only to talk about its LIFE co-funded work in the Biebrza Valley, but also to promote the importance of eagle conservation to wider Montenegrin society. The importance of the latter is indicated by the shooting in December 2012, of Bruzda, a male greater spotted eagle that was being tracked by radio transmitter by the project team as it flew south on its winter migration route. Bruzda died after being shot within the bounds of Skadar Lake National Park in Montenegro, an incident that has aroused much controversy and media attention.
13 March 2013“Crafted by time”, by Vangelis Efthymiou, is a documentary about the Prespa Lakes that will be shown at the15th Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival – Images of the 21st Century this month. The film was produced as part of the LIFE Information and Communication project “PROM.SUS.FIS.PR.PRESPA” (LIFE09 INF/GR/000319) , which aims to inform the public and raise awareness about issues connected with the rare fish species and fisheries of Prespa.
The film takes a look at the magical world of the Prespa Lakes. Its protagonists are the 23 unique fish species found in Prespa. These fish are highly important to the area’s natural wealth and one of the main reasons why Prespa is considered to be one of the ten most important wetlands in the Mediterranean. The film also talks to local fishermen about their traditional customs and practices, old stories about the lake and the problems they face today.
12 March 2013From 1 February to 31 May both amateur and professional nature photographers are invited to take part in the photo competition “Oroklini Lake all through the year”. The competition aims to promote the Oroklini wetland in Cyprus and its importance for biodiversity. The photographer of the best picture will be awarded 1 000 euros prize money. Later in the year an exhibition and an album containing selected photos from the competition will be created.
The competition has been organised by the Voroklini Community Council as part of the LIFE ‘OROKLINI’ project (LIFE10 NAT/CY/000716), which began in 2012. Its main objectives are to restore and manage Oroklini Lake and to conserve its important bird species.
08 March 2013The first results of the LIFE project AgriClimateChange (LIFE09 ENV/ES/000441) have shown how agriculture can reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by nearly half in some cases. This important project is not just showing farmers what can be done to respond to climate change, but adding new information to political debate around reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
The AgriClimateChange project – through partners in Spain, France, Italy and Germany – has developed and tested a tool to assess the energy consumption, GHG emissions and carbon storage potential of farm plots using up to 60 parameters.
21 February 2013The regional government of Andalusia has honoured the LIFE 'Agricarbon' project – 'Sustainable Agriculture in Carbon Arithmetics' (LIFE08 ENV/E/000129) with its Environment Award for 2012. The award recognises the project's great contribution to the fight against climate change.
The 'Agricarbon' project is encouraging the establishment of sustainable agricultural techniques, such as conservation agriculture and precision farming, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fostering climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector.
Agricarbon has shown that by adopting conservation agriculture and precision farming, Spain could significantly reduce it energy consumption and thus its carbon emissions.
20 February 2013The final workshop organised by the LIFE project GREENLYSIS (LIFE08 ENV/E/000118), which was recently held at the Cetaqua Water Technology Centre in Cornellà de Llobregat, Barcelona, attracted more than 40 people.
The workshop was an opportunity for the project team leaders to present the results of the project and share their experience of reducing the environmental impact of a wastewater treatment plant.
The GREENLYSIS project aimed to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis powered by renewable energies. It demonstrated that the released oxygen can be pressurised and used to purify the waste stream, while the hydrogen can be collected and used to power the treatment plant.
19 February 2013The seventh LIFE+ call for proposals was published on 19 February, 2013, with up to €278 million available for co-financing of projects under three headings: Nature and Biodiversity (NAT); Environment Policy and Governance (ENV); and Information and Communication (INF).
Project proposals should be submitted to the relevant national authority using the eProposal tool no later than 16:00 hours (Brussels time) on 25 June, 2013. Member States will forward proposals to the European Commission by 5 July, 2013. The earliest possible starting date for 2013 projects is 1 June, 2014.
Please note that applicants may only use the eProposal tool to create and submit proposal(s) under the 2013 LIFE+ Call for Proposals.
14 February 2013In January 2013, Italy’s Ministers of the Environment, Agriculture and Economic Development signed a decree forbidding the trading, raising and keeping of the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), an invasive alien species introduced to the country some 60 years ago.
This inter-ministerial decree is one of the first important results of ‘EC-SQUARE’ (LIFE09 NAT/IT/000095), a LIFE Nature project targeting the conservation of Europe’s only native tree squirrel, the red squirrel (Scirius vulgaris) in parts of northern Italy.
The red squirrel populations of Piedmont, Lombardy and LIguria are in decline as a consequence of the presence of the larger American grey squirrel, which outcompetes them for food.
28 JanuaryA LIFE Information & Communication project has outlined the initial results of its efforts to promote recycling among the French public. The ‘Collect +’ initiative (LIFE11 INF/FR/000730) presented the results of its first phase of actions during a telephone seminar on 23 January that was organised by the project partners.
Led by the Casino Group retail chain, ‘Collect +’ instigated a publicity drive last November to encourage supermarket shoppers to sort and recycle household waste items. New collection facilities were installed in-store, backed by a major publicity campaign to raise public awareness and training for staff to enable them to support the project.
21 JanuaryEurope’s Natura 2000 network of protected sites provides benefits estimated to be worth as much as €300 billion each year. Spain hosts many of the EU’s biodiversity hotspots and a new LIFE Information & Communication project - Conéctate a la Red Natura’ (LIFE11 INF/ES/000665) - is proactively promoting the value of the Natura 2000 network in Spain. The goal of this ambitious project is to help everyone in Spain to better understand, appreciate, enjoy and ultimately support the Natura 2000 network.
The project was launched earlier this month (January 2013) by high profile figures including Mr Arias Cañete, Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The initiative, which will receive €1.075 million of co-funding from LIFE, out of a total budget of €2.15 million, has a busy programme of awareness-raising activities running until March 2017.
18 January 2013 The monthly LIFE+ newsletter ‘LIFEnews’ carried feature articles on a range of important and emerging topics of European environmental and nature interest. Here we look at which subjects captured the most interest of our readers last year. We present the five most-read feature articles of 2012!
In fifth place is the March 2012 article detailing LIFE’s efforts at the forefront of expanding the Natura 2000 network into the marine environment. LIFE projects have been increasing understanding of marine ecosystems and often making surprising discoveries. LIFE improves Natura knowhow for managing marine ecosystems
The fourth most-read article is also from the March 2012 newsletter on marine environments. This feature explains how LIFE is contributing to the development of Integrated Coastal Zone Management, which is recommended policy at European level. LIFE supports integrated management approaches for Europe’s coastal zones
21 December 2012Over 80 participants attended the final conference of the LIFE Environment project, ‘COSMOS’ (LIFE08 ENV/IT/000434), which took place in Brescia (Italy) 14 December 2012. The conference provided an opportunity to present the results of the project to both a technical audience and the general public, including physical demonstrations of prototype products developed by project partners.
The aim of the project was to demonstrate the industrial applicability of a technological process for the inertisation of fly ash, using a silica colloidal medium, developed at the University of Brescia (Italy). The project's industrial partners constructed a prototype system to produce suitable amounts of the resulting COSMOS filler, and to demonstrate its potential for commercial use, a number of demonstration products were developed. These included a project to manufacture designer jewellery, which was first showcased at the Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle (France) in 2010.
20 December 2012The LIFE Environment ‘CARBONTOUR’ project (LIFE09 ENV/GR/000297) held its final conference in Athens 10 December, 2012 on the promotion of sustainability and energy efficiency in the tourism sector.
The conference at the Divani Caravel Hotel brought together hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents, scientists, engineers and professionals from the private sector, government departments, municipalities, research bodies and educational institutions to exchange new ideas, techniques and experiences in all areas of sustainable tourism.
11 December 2012The Fédération des Entreprises de Propreté et Services Associés (FEP), the beneficiary of the French LIFE project, ‘CISDP - Cleaning Industry Sustainable Development Programme’ (LIFE08 ENV/F/000481), has won first prize in the category of ‘Management and Initiatives for Sustainable Development’ at the Prix Entreprises et Environnement.
FEP, the French Federation of Cleaning Industries, won the award for its project to reduce water consumption, pollution and waste, as well as to improve the recycling of waste. The award, which was established in 1987, is organised by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE) with the support of ADEME's OREE, Credit Cooperative, Les Echos and Environment Magazine. It rewards companies or group of companies with a record of outstanding achievements in the fields of environment and sustainable development.
10 December 2012The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) has enjoyed its biggest ever year. The week, which was first launched in 2009 by the LIFE project ‘EWWR’ (LIFE07 INF/F/000185), saw 10 793 separate actions organised across 25 European and two non-European countries, 17-25 November 2012. To find details of activities in your area, visit the EWWR Database.
The LIFE project launched the EWWR to promote reductions in the amount of municipal waste in Europe through awareness-raising and waste reduction activities with local populations, authorities, schools and businesses. The number of actions organised each year keeps increasing. There was more than four times the number of activities in 2012 than during the first EWWR and 2012 saw half as many actions again as 2011.
07 December 2012 The French LIFE project 'R-URBAN' (LIFE10 ENV/FR/000215) has won the Zumtobel Foundation Award, – category ‘Research & Initiative’.
This prize, which is awarded every two years, recognises sustainable initiatives in the fields of architecture and engineering that are making a valuable contribution to citizens’ quality of life.
The LIFE project is demonstrating that networks of active citizens and associations can initiate locally closed ecological cycles that will support the emergence of alternative models of living, production and consumption between the urban and the rural areas.
05 December 2012European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik has paid a visit to the Parque Natural de la Abufera ("Albufera Nature Reserve") in Valencia, Spain. He was accompanied on the 06 November visit to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre of El Saler and Natura 2000 site "Tancat de la Pipa" by the Mayor of Valencia, Rita Barbera, and Spain's Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Miguel Arias.
Valencia is seeking EU support for its bid to have the Albufera Nature Reserve become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Commissioner indicated that he would be "willing to support any initiative to achieve greater protection, although that is a decision that depends on all Member States." He also highlighted the fact that the reserve is already protected by Europe as part of the Natura 2000 network. He encouraged Valencia to propose more LIFE projects under the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020.
21 November 2012 A photo of jewellery that was produced from recycled waste by the LIFE project ‘COSMOS’ (LIFE08 ENV/IT/000434) has won first prize in the ‘Energy and Natural Resources’ category in a picture competition organised by the European Projects Association (EPA).
The photo finished second in the competition overall, receiving more than 500 votes and a ‘special mention’ from the organisers.
The EPA aims to improve participation in EU-funded projects by providing necessary information, networking, services and tools. In collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Academy for Education and Social Research, it is holding an annual competition to highlight the role that European projects are playing in achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
20 November 2012 A workshop was recently held in Brussels to discuss how LIFE is establishing 'prioritised action frameworks' (PAFs)– frameworks that set out the priorities for nature conservation for Member States, identify required management measures and outline necessary actions for the next funding period, 2014-2020. The kick-off workshop focused on common issues for all PAFs, opportunities for the exchange of knowledge among them and common reporting requirements.
The process of defining PAFs was initiated in 2011 when the LIFE Nature-Unit opened a call for proposals. Eight were selected in the first round of funding.
16 November 2012 The PRO KLIMA (LIFE09 INF/DE/000012) LIFE project focusing on mobile air-conditioning systems (MAC systems) recently created an animated short film, ‘Cool down but be smart’.
The film addresses the environmental problems related to the additional consumption of fuel due to the use of the MAC system, and offers drivers recommendations on how and when they should use their MAC system. Available in German and English, the film also warns of the negative environmental impact of the refrigerant R134a.
13 November 2012 The small town of Rivignano in northeast Italy has been awarded the ‘Albanella d’Oro’ (Golden Circus) by the regional divison of WWF for the its implementation of a forested wetland recovery LIFE project, ‘S.T.A.R. – Stella Alnus Recovery’ (LIFE07 NAT/IT/000498).
The award is given to public bodies, associations, private firms and citizens who carry out effective initiatives that safeguard biodiversity and the environment. The municipality of Rivignano was the beneficiary of a project that aimed to conserve the priority habitat 91E0: Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae). The project has targeted more than 30 hectares of wet woodlands along the river Stella in the heart of an area threatened by intensive agricultural exploitation.
05 November 2012 Research conducted as part of a LIFE project has recently proved that the endangered weatherfish (Misgurnus fossilis) is not extinct in Denmark. In recent decades, populations of the fish species have declined sharply and only one now remains in the moor area of Sølsted Mose. The fish, however, hadn’t been reported since 2008 and was feared extinct.
Nevertheless, the LIFE project to restore the raised bog in Sølsted Mose (LIFE10 NAT/DK/000099) needed to take into consideration the possible presence of the weatherfish and the beneficiary, the municipality of Tønder, initiated a survey of the moor area.
31 October 2012 The LIFE project, ‘Malta Seabird’ (LIFE10 NAT/MT/000090), has tracked the storm petrel for the first time in Europe. The bird species was tracked using radio-tracking technology – a method that is extremely difficult for this species owing to its small size and the vast areas it can cover.
Researchers from the project beneficiary, BirdLife Malta, attached radio tags to 34 storm petrel adults last July. They then carried out 30 flights with a Cessna aircraft equipped with special antennae, covering more than 8 000 nautical miles over the sea. In addition to the aerial surveys, researchers used antennae on a boat and on land to monitor signals from the tagged birds.
30 October 2012 A new study from the LIFE Monitoring Team - led by the Astrale Consortium - provides a detailed analysis of the contribution made by LIFE Environment & Governance and LIFE Information & Communication projects to the implementation, dissemination and further development of EU noise and air policies and legislation, focusing in particular on resource efficiency.
As with other thematic LIFE studies, such as for the water sector, the main aim of this 176-page report is to supply useful information on the results of LIFE projects to Thematic Units, and consequently strengthen the link between the LIFE Unit in charge of the management of operational projects and Thematic Units dealing mainly with environmental policy.
The report assesses relevant LIFE projects from the period 2005-2010 in the field of environmental noise (28 projects) and air pollution (94 projects). An in-depth analysis of a selection of projects from each policy area is included in the study.
25 October 2012 The Bulgarian LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity project 'The Return of the Neophron' (LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152) has issued a fascinating bulletin about the migration routes of nine Egyptian vultures that it tagged with satellite transmitters in Bulgaria and Greece during the summer of 2012. You can read more about the adventures of Arda, Dobri, Ikaros, Ilyaz, Lazaros, Lefkipos, Odysseus, Svetlina and Volen here.
Monitoring of juvenile and adult vultures using satellite transmitters is expected to increase knowledge of the migration routes and wintering areas of the Balkan breeding population of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) as part of the LIFE project's overall goal of improving the conservation status of the species in Greece and Bulgaria.
23 October 2012 The 'LiveWell for LIFE' project (LIFE10 ENV/UK/000173) is to launch LiveWell Plates for France, Spain and Sweden this autumn, as part of its programme to demonstrate country-specific sustainable diets across the EU.
The LiveWell Plate is a tool that defines what healthy and sustainable diets could look like for different European countries.
The LiveWell for LIFE project contributes towards greater understanding of the linkages between unsustainable food consumption, GHG emissions, and climate change. The main goal of the project is to produce policy guidelines and practical pathways to help transition Europe to a more sustainable diet, whilst reducing the environmental impact caused along the entire EU food supply chain, such as greenhouse gas emissions. The project beneficiary and partner are, respectively, the World Wildlife Fund and Friends of Europe.
22 October 2012 More than 50 people attended a final workshop for the LIFE + water project 'ENSAT - Enhancement of Soil Aquifer Treatment' (LIFE08 ENV/E/000117) on 28 September 2012 in Can Serra, Spain. Here they witnessed the results of two years of work on a pilot project to improve groundwater through a technique known as Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) in the Barcelona area's main water reservoir. Water professionals, experts and stakeholders met to discuss the results of exploring this alternative method of storing water in order to cope with seasonal fluctuations, overexploitation or saltwater intrusion. The project actions also focused on removing pollutants through the use of reactive organic substrate layers; so-called Soil Aquifer Treatment (SAT) in infiltration ponds at the project's test site in the Llobregat river delta south-west of the Catalonian capitol.
19 October 2012 Members of the Spanish Life + Environmental Policy and Governance project, 'Water Change' (LIFE07 ENV/E/000845) have led a workshop on planning and adapting to changes in the availability of water resources that was attended by 13 employees of the Agbar group, a global specialist in water management. The eight-hour master class, held on 01 October 2012, centred on the tools developed through the now finished 'Water Change' project to assess the impact on water resources stemming from climate change, more extreme weather, and changes in land use and water demand, collectively described as Global Change.
18 October 2012 The LIFE Monitoring Team, which is led by the Astrale Consortium, has published a comprehensive 171-page analysis of the LIFE programme's contribution to the implementation, dissemination and further development of EU environmental policies and legislation in the water sector.
For its Water Sector Report, the Astrale team reviewed some 150 water-related projects that have been funded during the last six years, including projects from all strands of the LIFE programme - ENV/NAT/INF. Thirty-three projects were subjected to a detailed assessment (SWOT analysis).
All projects were analysed in terms of the water directives to which they are related in order to gain some understanding of the proportion of projects contributing to each directive; a subsequent gap analysis revealed those legislative areas which are not well served by LIFE projects.
15 October 2012The eighth Symposium for European Freshwater Sciences (SEFS) will take place in Münster, Germany from 01-05 July 2013.
The event aims to integrate recent insights from ecological and evolutionary perspectives into improved knowledge of the diversity, dynamics, and functioning of freshwater ecosystems.
The Symposium will provide a cross-disciplinary platform for discussion of research ranging from the level of genes and cells to ecosystems and landscapes.
08 October 2012A meadow trail was recently officially opened at Rastatter Rheinauen, a beautiful 850 ha nature reserve in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The trial was built as part of the LIFE project, "Rheinauen bei Rastatt - Rhine wetlands near Rastatt’ (LIFE09 NAT/DE/000004), which is aiming to improve the wetland ecosystems along a substantial stretch of the river Rhine.
The trail was opened by Nicolette Kressl, regional government president, and Hans Jürgen Pütsch, the mayor of Rastatt. Herr Kressl said: "The meadow trail at Schafköpfel in Rastatt floodplains is primarily intended for the citizens of the area. We want to bring them closer to the natural resources of their home."
05 October 2012The LIFE project MoorLIFE (LIFE08 NAT/UK/000202) has been airlifting 150 million gel beads containing Sphagnum moss onto nearly 1 000 ha of moorlands in northern England. Matt Buckler, conservation works manager for the Moors for the Future Partnership described the action as “probably the most important landscape-scale delivery phase of works ever in UK moorland restoration.”
This pioneering work has involved Sphagnum gel beads being airlifted by helicopter in five-litre tubs and spread by hand by staff, volunteers, rangers and a contractor across 980 ha of Peak District and South Pennine moors. Each bead is the size of a fingernail and contains several small strands of moss grown in a laboratory from a small sample of local source Sphagnum. The beads are designed to provide initial sustenance and protection and help embed the moss on the moor.
02 October 2012The value of the LIFE programme was highlighted at a recent event in Southern England, UK, that provided an opportunity to share experience of cross-border working.
On 14 September, Southern England Local Partners, the EU Affairs network for Southern England (www.selp.org.uk), held its annual European Congress at the Centre for European and International Studies Research at the University of Portsmouth. The event brought together over 50 representatives from local authorities, universities and business intermediaries such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), all interested in enhancing understanding of the European dimension of their work.
01 October 2012The "Lands of Priolo", a territory within the Azores, has been granted the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas by the EUROPARC Federation Council. The application for the Charter was made by the Regional Secretariat for the Environment and Sea, within the context of the Portuguese LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity project, 'LAURISSILVA SUSTENTAVEL' ('Sustainable Laurel Forest" - LIFE07 NAT/P/000630).
Lands of Priolo is the name given to the territory in which the Azores Bullfinch, or, Priolo (Pyrrhula murina), an endemic and very rare bird, occurs. Located in the eastern part of the island of São Miguel, Azores, this territory includes the municipalities of Nordeste and Povoação, as well as a large protected area. These two municipalities have been relatively isolated from the rest of the island and this fact has allowed them to preserve their natural patrimony, culture and traditions. In addition to the Priolo, the area contains the most important remaining laurel forests and a large expanse of peatlands, as well as waterfalls, high sea cliffs and the volcano crater lagoon, Furnas Lake.
28 September 2012The LIFE RESTORE project (LIFE09 INF/UK/000032) is calling on all river restoration practitioners to share their experiences through a new interactive resource: River Wiki. The project has launched this innovative Internet tool to enable better and faster development and transfer of good river restoration practice.
The wiki enables users to search and comment on a database of river restoration activities from across Europe. Practitioners can add their own projects to the database whether they are completed, underway or still at the planning stage. The aim is to facilitate the identification and transfer of best practice in river restoration as well as enabling people to learn from each other’s mistakes.
25 September 2012 Area-based approaches to nature conservation often require joined-up activity by different landowners. Coordinating such consistent approaches to nature conservation across a habitat's territory can help to tackle fragmentation challenges. Various synergies are also possible from the economies of scale that emerge during collective approaches to land management.
Many farmers and foresters are already accustomed to working together in groups such as machinery rings and product supply-chains. This experience can be harnessed to encourage landowners to combine forces within a nature conservation action, and Denmark's successful LIFE REGAIN project (LIFE04 NAT/DK/000022) has demonstrated the beneficial results that this type of collaboration can achieve.
25 September 2012On 27-28 June 2012, representatives of the PROVIDUNE (LIFE07 NAT/IT/000519) and JUNICOAST (LIFE07 NAT/GR/000296) projects held a networking meeting in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy) to share methodologies and exchange know-how, best practices and experiences. Both LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity co-funded projects aim to protect priority habitats consisting of coastal dunes with Juniperus ssp. - one of the most endangered habitats in the EU.
The event follows on from earlier coastal dune networking actions carried out by each project individually.
24 September 2012The inaugural European Land Stewardship Week will take place from 28 September to 07 October 2012. The 'LANDLIFEWEEK' event is an initiative of the Spanish LIFE Information & Communication project, 'LANDLIFE' (LIFE10 INF/ES/000540), whose overarching goal is to boost land stewardship as a tool for nature and biodiversity conservation (particularly in the Western Mediterranean Arch), by communicating its value to the general public, institutions, land planners and specific stakeholders.
12 September 2012The Regional Authority of Tuscany has reported continuing excellent long-term results from the LIFE Nature project ‘Capraia/Toscana’ (LIFE97 NAT/IT/004153), which finished more than 10 years ago. The project eradicated invasive rat populations from the small islands of the Tuscan archipelago. These interventions have proved to be a cost-effective means of improving conditions for ground-nesting birds, reptiles and terrestrial molluscs with only a limited need for ongoing monitoring and control.
10 September 2012 The LIFE+ Slovenian WEEE campaign project (LIFE10 INF/SI/000139) sent its special ‘E-transformer’ vehicle on a two-month promotional tour of some of the country’s main shopping centres this summer, to raise awareness of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling.
E-transformer (actually a mobile, solar-powered multimedia trailer) is a main tool of the LIFE+ Information and Communication project, run by the project beneficiary ZEOS, a non-profit NGO partnership for the management of WEEE in Slovenia. Its mission is to increase awareness, especially among families with younger children, of the proper handling, treatment and recovery of WEEE. According to project manager, Emil Sehic, the response so far, has been “very positive”.
05 September 2012A group of international journalists recently completed a 1 500 km trip through the Alps to highlight the LIFE project sites found in the mountainous region. Their journey – the sixth SuperAlp! organised by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention – passed through Slovenia, Austria, Italy and on to France, where it finished in the city of Grenoble.
This year's seven-day trip (04-11 July) formed part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Habitats Directive and the LIFE Programme. By completing the journey by train, bus, bicycle and foot, the SuperAlp! initiative is showing that it is possible to get about in the Alps using only public transport.
04 September 2012 The Annual Compilation of new LIFE projects has been published. A total of 202 projects submitted under the LIFE+ 2011 Call for Proposals have been approved for co-funding, representing a total investment of €516.5 million, of which the EU will provide some €268.4 million.
The projects come from 25 Member States and cover actions in the fields of nature conservation, environmental policy, climate change and information and communication on environmental issues.
Full details are available in the respective Annual Compilations which can be downloaded from the LIFE website
30 August 2012 The LIFE+ project, ‘Save the Raptors’ (LIFE07 NAT/BG/000068), which was carried out by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, has recently launched a video on the Eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) and the communication of its conservation needs through contemporary art.
A giant 20 m graffiti artwork was created recently on the front wall of a public school at the very heart of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, as part of a charitable initiative featuring four graffiti artists. The impressive mural tells the story of the globally endangered eagle species. Only 23 pairs of this majestic bird remain, and these are found in remote regions of Sakar and West Strandja in southeast Bulgaria.
06 August 2012 The LIFE+ Nature project 'Vultures Return in Bulgaria' (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278) has successfully reached the highway point, and the project beneficiary, the nature conservation NGO Green Balkans, has marked the occasion by publishing some charming reports about the adventures of its three returning birds: Bulgarka the traveller, Liubka the inquisitive and Freeda the free-flyer.
Here you can read the latest news about the three griffon vultures, which were bred in Spain and released into the wild in Bulgaria last year.
27 July 2012Habitat restoration is reducing the severe threat posed to the endangered population of bittern in Bavaria, Germany. A LIFE project, 'The promotion of bitterns in pond areas of Bavaria'(LIFE97 NAT/D/004222) , which ended in 2001, is being followed up by a new initiative co-funded by the Allianz Environmental Foundation (Allianz Umweltstiftung) and National League for Bird Protection (Landesbund für Vogelschutz).
Only a few pairs of the great bittern (Botaurus stellaris) are now found in southern Germany, but thanks to the restoration efforts of recent years
20 July 2012The European Commission has approved funding for 202 new projects under the LIFE+ programme, the European Union's environment fund. The projects are from 25 Member States and cover actions in the fields of nature conservation, environmental policy, climate change and information and communication on environmental issues. Overall, they represent a total investment of some €516.5 million, of which the EU will provide €268.4 million.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "In this 20th anniversary year of the founding of LIFE and of the Habitats Directive, I'm delighted to announce the continuing financial support for high quality environmental projects across the EU. These latest LIFE+ projects continue a trend, started more than two decades ago, for innovative and best-practice actions furthering nature conservation, improving the environment and tackling climate change".
17 July 2012Representatives of the Italian National Focal Point – NFP (Ministry of Environment), the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the LIFE Unit met in Rome recently, for a national workshop highlighting the importance of the LIFE programme in Italy over the past 20 years; and discussing the links between LIFE+ and the National Rural Development Network.
Organised as part of the EU-wide ‘LIFE 20th anniversary’ events, the workshop, held in Rome on 28 June, included the presentation of a new study, “LIFE+ e la Rete Rurale Nazionale” (LIFE+ and the national rural development network) highlighting the importance of LIFE co-funded projects in promoting the rural development network and of guaranteeing the transferability of their results.
Opening the workshop, Mariano Grillo, Director General for Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Energy (Ministry of Environment) said the study also showed some interesting synergies with agricultural policies.
06 July 2012The LIFE project Indemares (LIFE07 NAT/E/000732) has made the exciting discovery of a previously unknown species of deep-sea squat lobster in the Atlantic Ocean off the Spanish Galician coast. The find of this new species highlights the secrets that Europe’s oceans still hold and the value of improved investigation and understanding of marine ecosystems.
The species was found at more than 1 400 metres depth on the Galicia Bank – an underwater mountain in the Atlantic Ocean facing the Galician coast - during the August 2011 research expedition of the ocean survey vessel ‘Miguel Oliver’. It was undertaken under the Indemares project, which aims to study and characterise marine ecosystems off the Spanish coast with the overall aim of developing the Spanish marine Natura 2000 network.
25 June 2012 Waste reduction is a top priority for the EU’s Waste Framework Directive and LIFE has been co-financing a major EU level initiative promoting waste reduction over the last three years. Using support from the LIFE Information & Communication component, the ‘European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR)’ project has made beneficial progress in raising awareness about this important European policy goal across many countries.
LIFE’s inputs into the EWWR came to a conclusion recently with the project’s final conference, held in Paris. The conference focused on the important role that effective communication methods can play in promoting opportunities for reducing the amount of waste that society creates.
12 June 2012 To mark the 20th anniversary of the LIFE programme in 2012, the LIFE Units have published a special brochure - The Voices of LIFE: 20 years of getting things done - containing interviews with some of the many people who have been involved with and benefitted from the LIFE programme over the last two decades.
As an extra feature in this, the 20th anniversary month, you can listen to extracts from some of the interviews below. Hear the Head of the LIFE Nature Unit, Angelo Salsi, discussing the outstanding achievements of the LIFE programme and Frank Vassen, one of the few people to have been a LIFE project manager, monitor and Desk Officer within the LIFE Unit, highlighting the value and importance of the programme's bottom-up approach, the scale of its projects and the importance of EU recognition for those projects.
08 June 2012 Restoration actions carried out under the LIFE project, ‘Danube birds conservation’ (LIFE07 NAT/SK/000707), are greatly benefitting sand martins (Riparia riparia) at one site in Slovakia. Restoration last year of a 200 m-section of steep river bank, a traditional nesting site for the bird species, has led to their return in high numbers.
Tomas Kusik of the BROZ Regional Association for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development, the project beneficiary, said: “A couple of years ago, no nesting was recorded, but after our restoration action, 970 pairs are now nesting there!”
The overall objective of the project is to improve the conservation status of the floodplain bird species in the Natura 2000 sites: SPA Dunajské luhy (Slovakia) and SPA Szigetkoz (Hungary).
29 May 2012In an address at Green Week in Brussels on 24 May, Karl Falkenberg, Director General of DG Environment, said that integrated projects which co-ordinate actions with other funding streams represent the way forward for the LIFE programme.
Speaking at the session, ’20 years of LIFE – the past, present and future of water policy funding’, Mr Falkenberg said that the limited LIFE budget means that projects will have to use “multiplier effects” to achieve an impact that is not merely local but one that spreads across Member States, he said. The EU will favour cross-border initiatives, while partnerships for research will give access to additional finances, he added.
25 May 2012A special celebration was held during Green Week in Brussels to mark the 20th anniversary of the LIFE programme, the Habitats Directive and Natura 2000. Bruno Julien, a former head of LIFE and Nature Units, DG ENV, said that LIFE projects had convinced people in his native France and in many countries of the worth of the Natura 2000 network of protected sites.
Mr Julien was honoured to present the awards to the best LIFE Nature projects of 2011 at the event. Four projects were singled out for special praise as ‘Best of the Best’ projects 2011, while a further nine were named ‘best’ projects.
24 May 2012As part of the year-long celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the LIFE programme, a special event was organised under the Danish presidency of the EU in Jutland on 21 May – 20 years to the day since the passing of the LIFE Regulation and the EU Habitats Directive into law.
The visitor centre of Lille Vildmose, a Natura 2000 site that is home of one of the last remaining areas of active raised bog in Denmark, welcomed a delegation of representatives from national nature associations, NGOs, the European Committee of the Danish Parliament and the European Commission, as well as Janez Potočnik, the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Ida Auken, the Danish environment minister, and Henning Jensen, the mayor of Aalborg.
22 May 2012The first griffon vulture nest for 50 years has been discovered in the Balkan Mountains – thanks to the reintroduction efforts of the 'Vultures Return in Bulgaria' (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278) project. This announcement made during LIFE's 20th anniversary celebrations – feted in EU countries throughout the month of May – provides yet more evidence of the positive impact of the LIFE programme. The evidence of the return to nest of this endangered bird of prey (to an area where they haven't been seen for 50 years) also highlights the (early) positive results of the griffon conservation measures being carried out in Bulgaria by the project beneficiary, Green Balkans, with its partner the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna.
16 May 2012A new report , which was carried out as part of a LIFE+ project, shows that blood bags made of DEHP-plasticised PVC pose a significant risk to human health. The report – a life-cycle assessment, LCA – was commissioned by the Swedish project ‘PVCfreeBloodBag’ (LIFE10 ENV/SE/000037), which is aiming to phase out the current blood bags in Europe and replace them with PVC-free alternatives.
The study compared the impact of a blood bag made of PVC (polyvinylchloride) and DEHP (di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) with that of a hypothetical blood bag made of HDPE (high density polyethylene). The LCA shows that today’s PVC bag has a significantly higher potential for harming human health than a polyethylene bag, with regards to both DEHP and PVC.
03 May 2012LIFE celebrates its 20th anniversary on 21 May 2012: The LIFE Regulation passed into law on 21 May 1992 – paving the way for the launch of the LIFE programme, the EU’s financial instrument for the environment. To mark this auspicious occasion, more than 300 ‘LIFE 20th anniversary’ events are taking place throughout the month of May – organised by LIFE projects present or past. The dissemination (innovative and fun) events range from a LIFE Easter Camp for kids (Spain), a regional Flower Fair (Greece), to a moonlit Frog Concert (Germany)
In addition, a special one-day nature event, held in Jutland (Denmark) on 21 May, will mark both LIFE’s 20th birthday and celebrate the EU Habitats Directive and Natura 2000 network. For details of this event – attended by Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, and Denmark’s Environment Minister, Ida Auken – as well as information on all the 300-plus LIFE events, see the LIFE 20th anniversary calendar.
19 April 2012Proving there is plenty of life after LIFE, the Dutch company Paperfoam, a recipient of LIFE funding from 1999-2001 (LIFE99 ENV/NL/000232) has recently launched a commercial product that achieves one of the key goals of its LIFE Environment project. The target of the 'Paperfoam' project was to develop new, 'green' products for the industrial packaging market based around a patented 'injection moulding' technology and using recyclable raw materials, such as potato starch, rather than the usual polystyrenes or cardboard. The beneficiary aimed to show that it was possible to produce a commercially viable, environmentally friendly alternative that could be used for packaging both food and non-food items.
12 April 2012 LiveWell for LIFE (LIFE10/ENV/UK/000173) – a new LIFE+ project promoting a healthier and more sustainable diet among Europeans; and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU food supply chain – has published a report following its launch stakeholder debate, held in Brussels in February 2012.
The report “Eating our way to a healthy planet” summarizes the debate, which brought together representatives from national and European institutions, businesses, industry and academia. Tony Long, Director of the WWF European Policy Office (a project partner) and Catherine Bearder, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development, were among the main speakers.
23 March 2012The Italian Parliament is to change an environmental law to allow the use of beached Posidonia oceanica (algae and seagrass) residues as compost for agricultural purposes. This decision was heavily influenced by the work of the ongoing Italian LIFE+ Environment PRIME project.
Every year many coastal communities face the environmental problem of what to do with the thousands of tonnes of P.oceanica residues that are washed up on Mediterranean beaches. A bill to allow the possible reuse of the biomass as compost for agricultural purposes has been approved by the Italian Senate and is at the Chamber of Deputies for final approval. It contains a clear reference to the favourable results of the LIFE+ PRIME project.
22 March 2012To mark the 20th anniversary of the LIFE programme in 2012, the LIFE Units organised two competitions open to all beneficiaries and project partners, past or present: a photo competition and a competition to sum up, in 20 words or less, what LIFE means to you.
From the numerous entries received, a panel of judges had the hard task of selecting the 20 “Best” photos and 20 “Best” texts. This long-list of “Best” entries was then whittled down to select the three “Best of the Best” photos and texts.
14 March 2012An important conservation and access project on the UK's Suffolk coast is making significant progress on improving water management and reducing the impact of disturbance on an incredibly fragile landscape. With support from LIFE+ Nature, the National Trust at Orford Ness and the RSPB at Havergate Island are working together for the benefit of internationally important wildlife, habitats and landscape under the “The Alde-Ore Estuary - Securing a sustainable future for wildlife” project (LIFE08 NAT/UK/000199).
13 March 2012The sixth LIFE+ call for proposals was published on 13 March 2012, with up to €276 million available for co-financing of projects under three headings: Nature and biodiversity; Environment policy and governance; and Information and communication.
Project proposals should be sent to the relevant national authority no later than 26 September, 2012. National authorities will then send them to the European Commission by 2 October, 2012. The earliest possible starting date for 2012 projects is 1 July, 2013.
07 March 2012The latest LIFE Focus publication is a special edition to mark the 20th anniversary of the LIFE programme in 2012. A joint publication of the LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment units, The Voices of LIFE: 20 years of getting things done focuses on the people who have helped the LIFE programme achieve so much over the last two decades. Featuring interviews with more than 75 individuals from 20 countries, the publication allows people to explain, in their own words, the impact that LIFE co-funding has had on their work, their environment, their communities and their lives.
17 February 2012Two Danish LIFE Nature projects, which were launched in 2011 and focus on restoring raised bogs in "Lille Vildmose" (LIFE10 NAT/DK/000102) and "Sølsted Mose" (LIFE10 NAT/DK/000099), recently held a joint-venture seminar on best practice for raised bog restoration. The restoration of raised bog (7110*) is currently a nature conservation priority In Denmark.
The seminar, which took place on 31 January at the "Lille Vildmose" visitor centre, was an opportunity for leading Danish raised bog experts to make recommendations for achieving a favourable conservation status of raised bog in the two project sites.
15 February 2012After many years of decline, the bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is re-establishing itself in British wetlands. While its subtle brown plumage make it difficult to spot among reeds, its distinctive foghorn-like call or ‘boom’ is being heard again in Britain thanks to conservation efforts co-funded by LIFE. In 1997, the population of bitterns had fallen to 11, and the project, ‘Bittern - Urgent action for the Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) in the UK’ (LIFE96 NAT/UK/003057) was launched to arrest the decline of this bird species, which before the Middle Ages was common in the UK. Its numbers fell first as a result of its desirability as a delicacy, then its interest to taxidermists, and finally the drainage of wetlands.
09 February 2012As a result of its actions to restore an endangered habitat of North Wales, the LIFE Nature Anglesey and Lleyn Fens project (LIFE07 NAT/UK/000948) is forming an important link with the local community. Whilst the goal of the project is to restore EU Habitats Directive-listed alkaline and calcareous fens through ground works followed by extensive grazing, as project manager Justin Hanson explains in this interview (mp3 file) , through its actions, the village of Talwrn on Anglesey has been able to replace a vital part of community life: the village shop.
Such is the appreciation for LIFE's efforts, that, not only has the shop been named after the local project site (Cors Bodeilio), but it will also be used to disseminate information about the project.
06 February 2012Two successful LIFE wetlands-related projects, one in Ireland and the other in Germany, highlight the importance of the LIFE programme for wetland conservation – said Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, in a statement to mark World Wetlands Day 2012 (2 February).
Wetlands are among the world’s most threatened ecosystems, with some 50% of all wetlands having disappeared in the last century, said the Commissioner, noting that: "In Europe, the situation is even grimmer, with two thirds of our wetlands having disappeared over the past 100 years."
The EU is a major provider of funds for wetland conservation projects both within and outside Europe, he commented, adding that since 1992, LIFE has co-funded some 120 wetlands-related projects. Almost all of these have been oriented towards nature conservation, reflecting the biodiversity value of the wetland habitats.
02 February 2012The European Commission has begun a period of consultation on a dedicated legislative instrument on invasive alien species (IAS) (27 January to 12 April). It welcomes contributions from all citizens and stakeholder organisations to the new instrument which it aims to develop by 2012.
The Commission adopted a Communication "Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species (2008)" to address the gap in legislation on IAS. Last year, the Commission outlined its aim to ensure that "by 2020, Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and their pathways are identified and prioritised, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and pathways are managed to prevent the introduction and establishment of new IAS". The focus of the latest consultation is on the policy measures that are now being considered based on the input and feedback from all relevant stakeholders since the start of the process in 2008.
31 January 2012The Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships 2012 are now open for applications!. The award provides three young European conservationists with €3 000 to undertake a study visit to one or more protected area located in a European country other than his/her own. They are awarded by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation and the EUROPARC Federation. The deadline for applications is 11 May, 2012.
The €3 000, donated by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation (DE), gives successful scholars the chance to gather experience and strengthen their networks. Applicants must be under 35 and of European nationality, and themes for applications must be connected to the management of natural areas.
23 January 2012Turtles are a common ‘poster child’ of worldwide conservation efforts. However, exotic species of turtle, such as the common slider (Trachemys scripta), are amongst the most damaging invasive species in Europe. LIFE-Trachemys (LIFE09 NAT/ES/000529) successfully captured 4 600 sliders from wetlands in Valencia in 2011. This represents three times more captures than the preceding year.
19 January 2012Ten European companies have pledged to reduce their impact on biodiversity, as part of a LIFE+ project, the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign (LIFE08 INF/D/000022). The companies representative of a broad range of sectors – include a car producer, airport manager, a large travel agency and a producer of outdoor products – have all successfully implemented a ‘Biodiversity Check’ offered by the 2010-2012 project.
18 January 2012Sharing best practices on European river restoration is one of the main goals of the LIFE+ Information & Communication project; RESTORE (LIFE09 INF/UK/000032). It was also the topic of a successful workshop hosted last November, by the partnership project in Slovenia.
The workshop, held in November 2011 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, looked at "Experiences on reaching consensus on river restoration good practices, as a means to support delivery of European policy goals." It was facilitated by the Environment Agency (England and Wales), the Government Service for Land and Water Management (DLG, the Netherlands), The River Restoration Centre (UK), Wetlands International, CIRF (Italy) and SYKE (Finland) as part of the ongoing RESTORE partnership.
16 January 2012A LIFE project is asking for your help in gaining better understanding about EU land use and ‘land stewardship’.
All that’s required is a few minutes of your time to complete an online questionnaire. Your answers will be used to help build a baseline of information about the concept of EU land stewardship.
Don’t worry if the terminology and concept are new to you because the aim of the survey is to find out what type of information and awareness raising actions are needed to promote land stewardship as an empowerment tool for involving stakeholders in biodiversity conservation.
12 January 2012The LIFE+ Nature project, ‘HAPPYFISH’, has been awarded the 2011 Estonian Environmental Prize, which is given to outstanding projects, campaigns or events in the fields of environmental protection, information dissemination and awareness-raising. "The project ‘Happyfish’ is an excellent example of how a bright idea can be combined with innovation and care for old traditions and important natural values," said Keit Pentus, the Estonian environment minister, on announcing the winners.
The project – ‘Saving life in meanders and oxbow lakes of Emajõgi River on Alam-Pedja NATURA 2000 area’ (‘Happyfish’ LIFE07 NAT/EE/000120) – is being implemented by the NGO Estonian Wildlife.
15 December 2011The EU Member States represented on the LIFE Committee and the European Commission's LIFE Nature Unit have announced the Best LIFE Nature Projects 2010. The 18 projects selected represent the most successful of the recently completed LIFE Nature projects, in terms of best practices and/or demonstration actions on nature conservation and the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives.
12 December 2011News about LIFE’s successor has been released from the European Commission which confirms a proposed LIFE budget of €3.2 billion over the 2014-2020 financial period. The new draft regulation refers to a LIFE Programme for the Environment and Climate Action and has been designed to build on the success of the existing LIFE+ Programme. The proposals introduce innovations to strengthen LIFE’s structure, enhance its strategic role and simplify operations through greater flexibility.
The newsletter LIFENews, issued every month, features information on the LIFE programme, presents successful projects and identifies events and publications linked to the programme.