31 May 2011The LIFE family came together in Brussels last Thursday – 25 May – for the LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment Awards 2010, a celebration of the 'Best' and the 'Best of the Best' projects co-funded by the LIFE programme that were completed in 2010.
Fittingly, the LIFE Nature Awards 2010 was held alongside the events of Green Week in the European Commission's Charlemagne Building: as Head of Unit – LIFE Nature, Angelo Salsi, reminded the audience, Green Week was inspired by the “LIFE Week” events of 1999, another example of the demonstration value of LIFE.
In all, 18 Nature projects were selected for recognition by the LIFE unit in 2010 – 12 as 'Best' projects, and six as 'Best of the Best'. The 'Best of the Best' LIFE Nature projects 2010 were drawn from Germany (LIFE05 NAT/D/000057), Ireland (two projects - LIFE04 NAT/IE/000125 and LIFE05 NAT/IRL/000182), Portugal ((LIFE06 NAT/P/000191), Spain (LIFE05 NAT/E/000058) and the UK (LIFE05 NAT/UK/000143). Winners of the 'Best' LIFE Nature award included completed projects from Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Spain and Sweden. A full list of the successful projects can be seen on this page.
The selections were made by Anne-Laure Barberousse, on behalf of the French government, in co-operation with the LIFE Unit, based on established key criteria: projects’ 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. “The work you've done shows how well you've spent your money and our money,” Simon Goss, Communication Coordinator, LIFE Units, DG ENV told the winning projects.
A crucial point highlighted by several of those recognised at the Best LIFE Nature Awards ceremony was the importance of linking projects to people in order to raise awareness, change perceptions and build partnerships. Or, as Oliver Schmidt-Formann of the 'Best of the Best' Lippe-Aue project memorably put it, “participation was the key to success...we brought the river to the public.”
The Best LIFE Environment Awards 2010 were held later the same day in the European Parliament as part of “LIFE and our Environment: Success Stories and Future Challenges”, a conference to exchange experiences on the implementation of LIFE Environment attended by more than 200 high-level participants.
A total of 13 LIFE Environment projects were selected for recognition in 2010, based on the same key criteria as for the LIFE Nature awards. These included four 'Best of the Best' projects – two from Italy (LIFE06 ENV/IT/000266 and LIFE06 ENV/IT/000254), one from Spain (LIFE06 ENV/E/000010), and one from Sweden (LIFE06 ENV/E/000010) – and nine 'Best' projects, drawn from Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. A full list of the successful projects can be seen in the best projects section.
“We are fully aware of the hard work involved in all the projects,” said Alban de Villepin of the LIFE Environment unit, who presented the awards to these exemplary LIFE Environment projects.
All of the 'Best' and 'Best of the Best' projects will feature in one of two brochures to be published by the LIFE unit later this year: Best LIFE Nature Projects 2010 and Best LIFE Environment Projects 2010.
A gallery of photographs from the two awards ceremonies is available here.
31 May 2011 Close to 85.8% of respondents to a recent public consultation on the future of LIFE+, the European Commission's environmental funding tool, consider that there is a need for a specific EU financial instrument for environment and climate action. A majority of 54.6% also think that the budget for the instrument should be increased. In the run-up to the next multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, the results of this consultation will feed into an evaluation of the need for a specific environmental and climate action programme in the EU's budget.
As part of ongoing reflections on a financial successor for LIFE+, stakeholders have been widely consulted over the past months. Respondents have expressed their views on the need for a specific financial instrument for the environment and climate action, on ways to boost its added value, and on the architecture of such an instrument in the next programming period.
The conclusions show that:
These conclusions draw together the results of several consultations carried out by the European Commission. A broad stakeholder consultation on the future of LIFE+ was conducted from November 2010 to February 2011. The consultation received 912 contributions, from citizens, national authorities, social partners, businesses and NGOs, across the EU and from some non-EU countries.
This on-line consultation was complemented with a specific survey of 147 LIFE project managers. An expert workshop was held on 28 January 2011, attended by approximately 100 stakeholders including LIFE+ National Contact Points, NGOs, and economic and social partners. In parallel, the Committee of the Regions conducted a consultation on the territorial impacts of the successor to LIFE+ and received 40 contributions.
The results of these consultations will be factored in a combined impact assessment and ex-ante evaluation of a successor for LIFE+. The Commission intends to prepare a proposal for a future financial instrument for the environment and climate action by the end of 2011.
Read the press release in several languages.
30 May 2011The PISCES LIFE project has produced a promotional film that explains how the project will be a powerful mechanism for change in the Celtic Sea. The film highlights the competing interests of users of the sea and the impacts of their actions. It presents the benefits of communication among PISCES stakeholders, the production of a code of conduct and the drawing up of guidelines for how the whole ecosystem can be managed in the future.
The film is the first in a series of “Reflections on Change” videos, which will be showcased at the June workshop in Brittany. The films will be available afterwards to view on the project website (http://projectpisces.eu).
The PISCES project is bringing together the major sectors operating within the Celtic Sea to find a way to manage activities sustainably. The aim is to introduce an ecosystem approach to marine management that will be relevant and useful to people operating within and around the Celtic Sea.
A key outcome will be a set of practical guidelines for an ecosystem approach that will inform the implementation of EU legislation: the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The Directive requires Ireland, France and the UK to draw up co-ordinated strategies to protect and restore Europe’s marine ecosystems.
24 May 2011The European Journalism Centre recently organised a four-day visit to the Biomares (LIFE06 NAT/P/000192) LIFE project in Portugal. The winners of the TH!NK5:Water, an international blogging competition, as well as journalists and photographers had the opportunity to learn about the project, which is aiming to restore the biodiversity of the Professor Luiz Saldanha Marine Park inside the Arrábida Natural Park.
Biomares is also demonstrating how to combine nautical recreational activities with the conservation of EU protected habitats, ‘reefs’ and ‘sandbanks permanently underwater in shallow seawaters’. The project is bringing together specialists in the field of marine habitat restoration, in order to allow on site implementation of the technical measures to restore the seagrass meadows.
Participants on the April visit reported that the project is an excellent example of how conservation of biodiversity can work closely with the interests of the local community.
23 May 2011A European Commission conference, “LIFE for our Environment: Success Stories and Future Challenges”, has been organised to provide an opportunity to exchange experiences on the implementation of LIFE Environment. The conference will be broadcast live from the European Parliament on 25 May (14:00-19:00); and on the 26 May (09:00-18:00).
Watch the exclusive European Commission event here. (Please note, this link will be active 30 minutes before the start of the conference).
17 May 2011The EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy for growth sets the priority of moving to a more resource efficient, green and competitive economy. The LIFE programme has a long track record of innovative approaches for building a resource efficient Europe.
This LIFE Focus publication aims to showcase how LIFE funding has generated a vast portfolio of know-how for a diverse range of beneficiaries and sectors: from LIFE Environment projects that have helped improve the resource efficiency of production processes to products that incorporate eco-design principles throughout their lifecycle. Other exemplary projects highlight approaches that can save water, reduce the negative impacts of transport, agriculture, fisheries and the food and beverage sector and lead to more energy-efficient buildings.
The publication also shows how LIFE projects are helping to realise key EU policy goals such as better land use and planning, the development of green skills and Green Public Procurement.
To download the publication, visit our LIFE Focus pages.
13 May 2011The winners of the 2010 ‘Best of the Best’ LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment projects have been selected and will be presented at two separate awards’ ceremonies to be held in May in Brussels: at the conference ‘LIFE for our Environment: Success Stories and Future challenges’ (LIFE Environment projects); and during this year’s EU Green Week (LIFE Nature projects).
The LIFE Environment Awards 2010 will be presented by Hervé Martin, Head of the LIFE Environment Unit, on 25 May at 17.45 - 18.45, in the ‘Spinelli Building’ (A3E.2) of the European Parliament. Note: Registration is now closed for this Green Week side event.
The LIFE Nature Awards 2010 will be presented by Angelo Salsi, Head of the LIFE Nature Unit, on 25 May at 14.30 – 16.30, in the ‘Salon Rouge’ of the Charlemagne Building, Rue de la Loi 170, B-1000 Brussels. Note: Green Week Registration is required.
The selections were made by Member State representatives, working in co-operation with the European Commission’s DG Environment LIFE Unit, to produce a shortlist of projects. From these, six (LIFE Nature) and four (LIFE Environment) projects were awarded the ‘Best of the Best’ LIFE projects 2010.
The winners of the Best LIFE Environment 2010 Project Awards (in alphabetical order):
The winners of the Best LIFE Nature Project 2010 Awards (in alphabetical order):
For more information on the selected 2010 LIFE Environment projects and LIFE Nature, including links to project summaries, layman’s reports and websites, visit the Best Projects section of the LIFE website. Finally, two new publications on the awarded and LIFE Environment and LIFE Nature projects will be published later in the year.
12 May 2011 The project BATinLoko, which is aiming to define best environmental performance indicators for the textile and clothing sector in Portugal, held a workshop for industry representatives at Minho University in Portugal on 4 May.
At this workshop the informatics tool developed by the project and an economic model for BAT evaluation were presented to the textile sector. This tool helps simulate BAT implementation by calculating the environmental and economic benefits. After the workshop, textile companies took part in a training session in order to obtain industry feedback on the tool.
In a wider context, the project BATinLoko – ‘Environmental performance indicators and their relationship with economic factors in textile BAT implementation’ (LIFE 07/ENV/P/000625) – is aiming to demonstrate an effective approach to performance indicators that can be easily applied to other sectors across Europe.
The project will also produce a Decision Support Manual that provides textile companies with relevant information about environmental performance indicators, economic factors and BAT implementation. Special attention will be paid to advice on reducing carbon footprints and CO2 emissions.
Further details on the project are available on their website.
04 May 2011 View the fascinating new selection of LIFE project videos from the revamped online 'LIFE Video Player' displaying over 150 clips of LIFE and LIFE+ projects. Each of the LIFE programme's nature, biodiversity and environment themes is further divided by sub-categories to enable a quick search for information on individual categories.
Under the LIFE Nature & Biodiversity theme, for example, search for LIFE projects covering 'Biodiversity issues', "Habitats', or 'Species'. And for LIFE Environment Policy & Governance projects, there are 10 sub-categories of projects from 'Air & Noise', 'Information - Communication', to 'Water' and 'Waste'.
View the LIFE project videos.