25 May 2009 The first yearly compilations of LIFE+ projects have now been published on the LIFE website. The two compilations contain useful information about all the projects receiving LIFE funding in the 2007 call for tender. This includes contact details for the project beneficiary, a summary of the project background and objectives, information about the project duration and budget, and a map of the project area.
The 2007 LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity compilation features 57 innovation projects in 21 Member States that have been awarded €93 million in total by the LIFE programme. LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity projects improve the conservation status of endangered species and habitats.
The second 2007 compilation features both LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governance and Information & Communications projects. LIFE is funding 72 Environment Policy & Governance projects in 19 Member States to the tune of €82 million. These are pilot projects that contribute to the development of innovative policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments.
The Information & Communications strand is new to LIFE+. It includes projects that disseminate information and raise the profile of environmental issues, or provide training and awareness-raising for the prevention of forest fires. In the 2007 round of funding, LIFE awarded some €8 million to 11 Information & Communications projects from seven Member States.
The LIFE-BOMBINA project (LIFE 04 NAT/DE/000028) has successfully organised the 2nd European Bombina Song Contest, which took place on Saturday 10 May.
Choirs of fire-bellied toads (Bombina bombina) were recorded in locations in Denmark, Germany, Latvia and Sweden. The audio files were uploaded to the LIFE-Bombina website and the public encouraged to vote for their favourite entry. As with the first contest in 2007, the amphibian choirs of Sweden were again the most popular, securing 82% of the online vote, with Latvia a distant second on 8%.
The 2007 event received widespread media coverage in the participating countries, as well as elsewhere in Europe, and was reported on the main national TV news in Sweden. The country’s repeat triumph has already received significant coverage on Swedish news sites. To listen to all the entries and read more about the song contest, or to download some fire-bellied "ringtoads" for your mobile phone, visit the project website.
The third LIFE+ call for proposals has been published on 15 May 2009, with up to €250 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 15 September 2009. Thereafter, national authorities will send project proposals on to the European Commission by 22 October 2009, and the Commission will check the outline projects against the LIFE+ eligibility criteria and will assess proposals on the basis of the LIFE+ selection and award criteria. Final announcement of the projects chosen for funding is expected in July/August 2010, with projects starting at the earliest on 1 September 2010.
Project promoters are encouraged to make best use of the time available up to the deadline for submission of proposals to national authorities (15 September). Project proposals should be carefully checked to ensure that they are in line with all the criteria set out in the call documents.
The EU Member States represented on the LIFE Committee and the European Commission’s LIFE Unit have announced the selection of the 22 best LIFE Environment projects for 2008-2009. Of these outstanding environmental projects, five have been selected as the very best, or the Best of the Best (BoBs). The top five projects (in no particular order) are: ESD (Italy); MAD but better (United Kingdom); ECOSB (Luxembourg); N.E.S.S (Italy); and CO2REF (Denmark).
To be eligible for these prestigious environmental awards, projects must have completed their final report between January 2008 and January 2009. Following an initial review carried out by the LIFE Unit’s external monitoring team, the projects were assessed and scored by EU Member State representatives and the Commission. The selected projects represent the most recent successful LIFE Environment projects in terms of their contribution to immediate and long-term environmental, economic and social improvements; their degree of innovation and transferability; their relevance to policy; and their cost-effectiveness.
This is the fifth time the best LIFE Environment projects have been identified. A similar exercise was carried out last year (for 2007-2008) and in the previous three years. Following the success of last year’s awards session held during the EU’s Green Week, this year’s winners will also receive their awards at a special ceremony during Green Week 2009.
Commenting on this year’s winners, François André, from the directorate general Environment of the Belgian Federal Public Service Health said: “We are very pleased to announce 22 outstanding LIFE Environment projects. Of the 90 Life projects ending in 2008, the five BoBs came out particularly well and the 17 best projects also scored very highly.”
He especially wished to thank his colleague from the FPS, Ms Herlinde Vanhoutte, who coordinated the selection process. Acknowledging the work of all the national authority representatives who were involved in the evaluation process, he thanked them for their support. Mr. André is looking forward to the presentation of the awards at Green Week 2009 on 24th June.
The BoBs (in no particular order) are:
More information on the selected projects, including links to project summaries, layman’s reports and websites for each of the 22 best LIFE Environment projects 2008-2009 is available on the Best Projects section of the LIFE website. Finally, a new brochure, Best LIFE Environment Projects 2008-2009 will be published in the summer.
A Portuguese LIFE-Nature project has won a prize in the Banco Espírito Santo (BES) Biodiversity Award Scheme.The project, “Restoration and Management of Biodiversity in the Marine Park Site Arrábida-Espichel” (LIFE06 NAT/P/000192), received commendations by the judges for its work on the restoration of reefs and lost sea grass meadows at Portinho da Arrábida.
This included efforts to reverse current overexploitation and damage of these two rich habitats, which has lead to the almost complete destruction of sea grass meadows and their associated biological diversity in what was the last truly marine example of this habitat on the Atlantic Iberian coastline. The project won a prize of €3,000.
Last year’s awards (2008), the first, was won by the LIFE-Nature project “Important bird areas for seabirds in Portugal” (LIFE04 NAT/P/000213) which received unanimous support from the judges and a prize of €75,000 for its survey and educational work on improving knowledge about the protection of marine birds in the Atlantic ocean.
The European Commission has announced the availability of around €30m in funding for eco-innovation projects. Supported under the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) (EE 14/11/06), the eco-innovation fund aims specifically to reduce the ecological footprint of European industry.
Speaking at the launch at this year's call for proposals, Commission official Timo Makela told businesses that the focus must now be on narrowing the gap between the number of environmental technologies being developed and those currently available on the market. He also confirmed a forthcoming review of the EU's green technologies action plan (ETAP)(EE 03/05/07).
Last year, 40 projects out of a total of around 140 applicants shared the €28 million that was available. The biggest portion of projects concerned recycling but other major categories focused on the food and drink, green purchasing, and building sectors.