24 February 2011The fifth LIFE+ call for proposals was published on 26 February 2011, with up to €267 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 18 July, 2011. National authorities will then send received proposals to the European Commission by 9 September, 2011. 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.
The earliest possible starting date for 2011 projects is 1 June, 2012. Project promoters are encouraged to make best use of the time available up to the deadline for submission of proposals to national authorities. Project proposals should be carefully checked to ensure that they are in line with all the criteria set out in the call documents.
18 February 2011 The Spanish project ‘Conservation and reintroduction of the Iberian lynx in Andalucía’ (LIFE06 NAT/E/000209) has released its first captively bred lynx into the Guarrizas area near Jaen. This marks a significant achievement for the captive breeding programme, but also in the recolonisation of areas deserted by the world’s most endangered feline.
The two females - Grazalema y Granadilla - were born in the project’s captive breeding centre La Olivilla only last year and have been in a pre-release enclosure since December 2010. The project team have closely monitored their acclimatisation to this semi-wild environment and gradually reduced their active support to the animals.
The captively bred lynx have lived their pre-release and now full release alongside a juvenile male - Granizo - captured from the wild in the area of Cardeña (Córdoba) in late 2010. By containing them in the same area, the project succeeded in developing good social interaction between them and the learning of hunting and other survival techniques.
Guarrizas was specifically selected for recolonisation by the Iberian lynx because of its suitability. There is a large area of quality habitat, including adequate populations of rabbits and other prey and a project survey found 90% of the local population to be in favour of their reintroduction. By releasing lynx of different origin into the area, the project hopes to create the genetic diversity needed for the long-term viability of the population.
Previously, the project released nine lynx into the area of Guadalmellato during 2010. These were seven adults captured in other areas - forming three adult pairs and one non-reproductive female - plus the two cubs of one of the pairs, born during the pre-release phase. Although one adult male and one cub have died since release, this figure is much lower than the 50% mortality rate anticipated at the start of the project. The emotional journey of returning the Iberian lynx to its natural place in southern Spain is still taking bigger steps forward for each sad loss that occurs. For more information on the LIFE project and the ongoing Spanish programme of which it is a part, please visit: www.lifelince.org
The project, ‘Demonstrating the introduction of novel renewable Polyurethane materials for high quality, top design and sustainable shoes’, has been very successful in developing a novel polyurethane material for the production of shoe soles.
The beneficiary, Dow Chemical Company, at its laboratories in Correggio, Emilia-Romagna, demonstrated the possibility of producing a polyurethane system containing up to 35% in weight of renewable non fossil material.
The chemical process uses several seed oils of vegetable origin and delivers two significant environmental benefits: reduction of fossil fuel oil and fewer carbon dioxide emissions.
Mondial Suole, the industrial sole producers and partner in the project, positively tested samples of the new material to assure its quality. It is also promoting to the footwear industry the new green solution to assess the size and the expected growth of the potential market. Full commercialization of the product is expected from the end date of the project in December 2011.
03 February 2011 A recent meeting of key European stakeholders in Brussels yielded much useful feedback on the European Commission’s orientations or ideas for the successor future of the LIFE programme and the direction of future EU environmental funding.
The ‘Stakeholders consultation on the future instrument for environment and climate change (future of LIFE)’, which was held on 28 January at the Maison des Associations Internationales, in Brussels brought together more than 130 participants, representing key environmental stakeholder groups, including national and regional governments, NGOs, industry associations and previous LIFE beneficiaries in a series of presentations and working group sessions.
The results of the discussions will be fed directly into the impact assessment that was launched in September mid-2010 and will be completed close in June 2011on 15 February. In his opening remarks, Mr Timo Makela, Director for International Affairs, LIFE and Eco-Innovation of the Environment Directorate General, underlined the importance that the Commission is attaching to the consultation process. Mr Hervé Martin, Head of the LIFE Environment and Eco-Innovation Unit told delegates: “We rely completely on you as to what we will put on the table with regards to the future funding of LIFE.”
Safeguarding Europe’s natural value and rich biodiversity was the highest priority for a future EU financial instrument for the environment among those present, with the management of Natura 2000 sites and the demonstration of good practices being the most important actions. Climate change was another key concern of delegates. While the overwhelming majority said that the environment should have a specific funding instrument, three quarters of delegates did not think that LIFE should be limited to few environmental themes.
Moreover, stakeholders showed a strong support for expanding the planning and delivery of the financial instrument that follows LIFE+ at the end of 2013. When closing the meeting, Mr Angelo Salsi, head of LIFE Nature Unit, closed the meeting by reaffirming the Commission’s desire to involve all stakeholders in the design of the future EU instrument for the environment. Stakeholders were also invited to contribute to the online public consultation that is open until 15 February 2011. Mr Salsi, concluded the meeting saying: "We hope you will feel in a very genuine way the Commission wants to build things from the ground and take your feedback on board," he said.
01 February 2011 Evidence of the continuing dissemination value and interest of LIFE projects by sector, is provided by a new publication, a Polish version of the LIFE Focus publication, “LIFE and European forests”.
The original publication was published in English in 2006. This new publication, “LIFE - ekosystemy leśne" is a translated version of the original, but with some minor updates concerning the LIFE programme, now LIFE+. Together with the English version, an electronic version can be downloaded from the ‘publications’ section of the LIFE website.
In addition to the electronic copies, 500 copies have also been printed. The brochure is targeted specifically at State Forest districts units, in order to encourage Polish foresters to apply for LIFE+ project funding. According to Łukasz Porębski of the Warsaw-based CCEP (Coordination Centre for Environmental Projects) after just one month, a number of have already registered their interest is preparing their applications for nature conservation projects for the LIFE+ 2011 call for proposals.
“I hope (and there are some results already) that this brochure will help to generate new projects for nature conservation in Polish forests.” He says. For more information on the CCEP, see the website (Polish and English).