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News: May 2013

Report sets out common ground for sustainable diets


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.

The triangle of change approach also highlights interrelations: opportunities for one stakeholder group – such as a growing interest in sustainable food and health – can also benefit another.

The ‘LiveWell for LIFE’ project hopes that the findings of the report will help build a foundation for change and lead to the development of EU public policies that encourage sustainable diets in Spain, France and Sweden. Policy options and pathways for change will form the project’s final recommendations in 2014.

The report can be downloaded online here. The main objective of the ‘LiveWell for LIFE’ project is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the EU food supply chain.

For more information, visit:

LIFE+ project offers chance to witness live chick birth of globally threatened species

Photo: LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152

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. It is an area where the LIFE+ project is working to protect nests of this endangered species from human disturbance and support breeding success with supplementary feeding stations.

For more information on this project which aims to contribute to avoiding the extinction of the endangered Egyptian vulture, visit the project website: or read the project summary.

[2013 Call] Important note: application packages updated for Environment Policy & Governance and Information & Communication


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


LIFE Focus goes digital - and portable


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).


'Badbook' campaign launched in Spain


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.

The ‘badbook’ campaign aims to convey the message that all of us are part of the problem but also part of the solution.

The LIFE project was set up to promote sustainable management in the Junta de Andalucia's public administration editorial services.To find out more about green publishing, visit

Black vulture returns to East Balkans

Photo: LIFE08 NAT/BG/278

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/000278).

The vulture probably originated from Serbia and was recorded along with several wild, non-tagged young and sub-adult griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus).

Black vulture was once widely distributed across the country, mostly in the plain areas but also in hilly areas and the broad-leaved forest belt – namely, the Dobrudzha, Ludogorie, Shumen and Provadija plateaus, the Danube plain, the slopes of Sakar, Vitosha, the mountains surrounding Sofia, the Rhodopes and south-eastern Bulgaria.

However, the use of poison, traps and poachers led to the complete extinction of the black vulcan as a nesting species. The last confirmed nest of the species was found by the Green Balkans team in the area of the Studen Kladenets Reservoir in 1997 and since then no nesting has been confirmed.

But the country is often visited by black vultures, which still nest in the Dadia Reserve in northern Greece and cross the border in search of food. They often use the supplementary feeding sites that have been maintained by Green Balkans and the BSPB for the past 25 years.

The siting of the black vulture at the supplementary feeding site represents a huge success for the project. Griffon vulture is an indicator species, which it is hoped confirms the improved conditions of the Balkan Mountains.

Celebrate Natura 2000 Day!

Janez Potočnik

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. Alongside many ordinary citizens from across Spain and elsewhere in the EU, a number of well-known figures have made the 'butterfly gesture' in support of the Natura 2000 network, including world champion cyclist, Óscar Freire, renowned chef, Ferrán Adriá and journalist Pepe Oneto. Our photograph shows Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik lending his backing to the campaign. As well as the European Commission's LIFE programme, the Natura 2000 Day is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Biodiversity Foundation, Red Eléctrica, and the autonomous governments of Andalusia, Castilla y León, the Basque Country, Navarre, the Balearic Islands, Castile-La Mancha, Madrid and Cantabria.

The lead up to the first Natura 2000 Day has been marked by conservation actions throughout Spain's Autonomous Communities, including many events involving children and schools. For more information; to upload your 'butterfly gesture' photo; or to follow the day's events, visit the website:, the Facebook page (ActivaNatura2000), or the Twitter feed (@ActivaRedNatura; #DIANATURA2000).


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