Navigation path

Home |Publications | LIFE programme publications | General LIFE programme publications

General LIFE programme publications

This page contains other communications material about LIFE, published by the programme. These include general brochures and more specific publications related to the LIFE-Environment and LIFE-Nature components.

Report on LIFE's contribution to employment and the green economy

Report on LIFE's contribution to employment and the green economy

February 2017

A recently published report entitled LIFE: Contributing to Employment and Economic Growth shows just how effective investment in projects that improve the environment and protect nature can be.

In addition to environmental benefits, the LIFE programme is shown to be making a considerable contribution to the European economy in terms of jobs and growth. The study found that for an initial investment of €2.1 billion (from 1991 to 2016), the LIFE programme has contributed an estimated €9.3 billion to the European economy.

The comprehensive new report is divided into four parts: factors determining a project’s sustainability (viability of outputs after LIFE financing) and replicability (probability of outputs being taken up by others); the economic impact of LIFE projects; the ‘hidden’ economic potential of LIFE Nature projects; and an overview of Green Finance.

In addition to direct contributions to employment and growth, LIFE Nature projects also have a ‘hidden’ added value in terms of ecosystem services (e.g. providing us with clean air and water, flood protection, climate stabilisation, and recreation and ecotourism). Based on a sample analysis of 25 projects, the monetisation of ecosystem services for all LIFE Nature projects was estimated as contributing a further €43 billion to the European economy.

An analysis of a large number of LIFE projects reveals that an average project creates 31 person-years in full time equivalent (FTE) jobs: 21 directly and the rest indirectly. Therefore, 1 000 such projects would create a total of 31 000 jobs during project implementation, with an additional 43 500 jobs in the five years after the start of project replication based on the most conservative replication scenario used.

For selected LIFE projects, the report estimates the number of jobs that would be created under likely replication scenarios. Notable projects for green job creation include RECYSHIP (LIFE07 ENV/E/000787) for dismantling and recycling ships (486 person-years), DYEMOND SOLAR (LIFE09 ENV/SE/000355)  in facilities manufacturing dye-sensitised solar cells (480 person-years), The Green Deserts (LIFE09 ENV/ES/000447) for people making tree boxes and planting trees (351 person-years) and EDEA-RENOV (LIFE09 ENV/ES/000466) through the implementation of energy-efficient solutions in housing (248 person-years).

The report notes that the growth in green finance, such as the market for green bonds, is creating new business opportunities that should facilitate the replication of LIFE project outcomes (e.g. innovative technologies, methodologies, or software).

Among the major factors affecting the sustainability and replicability of LIFE projects are level of innovation, personnel and infrastructure budgets, and amount spent on prototypes. For LIFE Nature projects in particular, the most important factor explaining the relationship between budget and ecosystem services value appears to be capital invested in land purchase/leasing. By identifying the key determinants for existing projects, the report can help target future finance to deliver even more jobs and benefits for the European economy.

LIFE and Land Stewardship report published

LIFE and Land Stewardship report

October 2015

The LIFE external monitoring team (NEEMO) has just published a thematic report entitled LIFE and Land Stewardship: Current status, challenges and opportunities. In this report to the European Commission, the authors assess the contribution made by the LIFE programme in engaging private stakeholders in nature conservation. The comprehensive report also explores how LIFE projects could further contribute to land stewardship agreements throughout the EU.

Land stewardship is defined as a strategy to involve landowners and land users (such as farmers, foresters, hunters, fishers and recreationalists) in the conservation of nature and landscape, with the support of a range of civil society groups. The implementation of voluntary agreements between these groups offers an important means of extending conservation practices beyond the boundaries of the Natura 2000 network and other conventionally protected areas.

The report was based on a study conducted in three phases. The first phase involved the screening of all LIFE projects finalised after 2005, to identify those with good land stewardship demonstration value. This resulted in 62 LIFE projects from 28 countries (mostly LIFE Nature, but also LIFE Information and LIFE Environment) being selected for in-depth analysis during the second and largest phase of the study. In parallel with LIFE project studies, country studies were undertaken for the presence of land stewardship mechanisms. In the final phase, 31 project and 22 country case studies were used in the report to illustrate good land stewardship practice.

Spain was shown to be particularly active in the application of land stewardship agreements, whilst the UK had the most experience with land trusts (e.g. The National Trust) that manage many sites of importance. The report also notes that France has recently taken an important step to promote land stewardship, with the drafting of a biodiversity law that defines a new type of easement (a voluntary agreement between a property owner and a conservation organisation in private law, involving the transfer of a portion of the rights associated with a piece of property but not the ownership).

The report arrives at a time when the issue of land stewardship is being actively debated in the EU. For example, an EU study on Alternative Ways to Support Private Land Conservation was published in June 2015, while the First Annual Congress of the International Land Conservation Network takes place on 19-21 October 2015 in Berlin.
Land stewardship has great potential to be more widely used as a practical tool to implement policies and legal instruments for biodiversity conservation, according to the LIFE and Land Stewardship report's authors. Their aim is to help inspire the uptake of land stewardship practices on a much wider scale, and to promote the adoption of available land stewardship mechanisms that to date have only sporadically been used.

Download: LIFE and Land Stewardship report

pdf(~ 4.2 MB)

LIFE and climate change report now available

LIFE and climate change report

July 2015

A study of the climate change mitigation and adaptation practices demonstrated by the LIFE programme is now available online. The study is targeted at experts in the European Commission as well as the general public. A high number of LIFE projects (366) have direct or indirect implications for climate change. The study identified and classified these projects in order to make it easier to search for them.

The study, moreover, groups the projects together under sub-topics and is accompanied by a spreadsheet database. The graphs and lists produced underline the wide scope of solutions and innovative approaches that have been carried out by the LIFE programme. LIFE projects have dealt with all bar one of the more than 50 identified climate change sub-topics.

From 2000 to 2012, the EU contributed about €350 million to projects relevant for climate change. Nevertheless, the study highlighted regional and thematic imbalances in the programme. It also found that LIFE projects have not yet addressed the topic of migration, social tension and jobs in relation to climate change. The report was produced by Astrale GEIE on behalf of the LIFE Environment and Eco-Innovation Unit (now LIFE Environment Unit).


Alternative Ways to Support Private Land Conservation

Alternative Ways to Support Private Land Conservation

June 2015

The LIFE Programme launched a report on new ways to engage private landowners in nature conservation at EU Green Week in Brussels. Elements of the report were discussed during a LIFE-led session dedicated to the topic on Friday 5 June.

Despite the existence of EU legislation on nature conservation, according to the latest report on the State of Nature in the EU, just 16% of EU Habitats Directive-listed habitats, 23% of listed species and 52% of bird species are in a favourable conservation status. The European Commission is keen to stimulate private land conservation to help protect biodiversity further and reach the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. New private initiatives are particularly important as a complement to existing public funding mechanisms in light of limited public budgets in the wake of the financial and economic crisis.

The new report, Alternative Ways to Support Private Land Conservation, written by Tilmann Disselhoff, looks at various methods of private land conservation and incentives that can prompt landowners to surpass minimum conservation standards. To download the report, click on the link below.

Forest thematic report

Forest thematic report

February 2015

Contribution of LIFE ENV/INF/BIO/NAT projects to the
implementation, dissemination and further development of EU environmental policies and legislation

 A new in-depth thematic report on LIFE and forests has just been published. Authored by An Bollen and Darline Velghe from the LIFE programme’s external monitoring team, the 118-page publication gives an insight into the diversity of LIFE+ forest projects, analyses revealing trends and evaluates their overall relevance to EU forest policy.

The Forest Thematic Report is intended to provide useful insights for EU decision- and policy-makers, to share lessons learned amongst project practitioners, to disseminate results more broadly, to showcase projects for future LIFE applicants, to account for spending of EU public funds and to raise awareness on new approaches.

The report looks at 134 forest-related projects that started between 2006 and 2013, drawn from the ENV, NAT, BIO and INF strands of the LIFE programme. These are divided into seven thematic groups (restoration and conservation; invasive alien species and pests; monitoring; fire prevention; awareness raising; climate mitigation and adaptation; and renewable energy and resource efficiency) and links to the eight priority areas within the EU forest strategy (2013) are highlighted. In addition, the report includes the results of a SWOT analysis of the featured projects, reaches overall conclusions and presents a future outlook.

LIFE’s strengths with regard to forests include the fact that NAT projects focusing on habitat restoration and species conservation more often than not result in an improvement of the conservation status of different target habitats and species, thereby contributing to a better Natura 2000 network. Furthermore, one-third of all projects demonstrate an increased biodiversity of forest ecosystems and an improved connectivity between forest habitats. Some 8% of all the NAT projects assessed were trans-boundary forest-related projects, promoting increased connectivity between protected areas at a much wider level.

Another feature of LIFE projects is their emphasis on increased stakeholder consultation and involvement, embedding local support during and after projects and utilising cost-effective citizen science.

Several projects have developed forest management plans that take into account the increasing impact of climate change and that increase resilience overall. LIFE has also shown the way through projects that promote the value of traditional agro-sylvo-pastoral practices in sustainable forest management, highlighting how it is possible to combine low-intensity agriculture with forest conservation and, in so doing, improve the quality of life in rural areas.

LIFE has played an important role in capacity building at project beneficiaries and partners and the authors note also that one of the strengths of LIFE is that is has provided a platform for more private companies to take the first steps towards a bio-based economy. A further strength is that several projects have focused on resource efficiency, either through the implementation of innovative techniques for improved wood durability or by implementing the principle of cascade use of forest resources, which prioritises re-use and recycling of wood.

Amongst the opportunities relating to LIFE and forests, the authors identify potential for the creation of more green jobs, the possibility of increasing the leverage effect of LIFE by attracting more additional funding, the technical leverage effect of innovative environmental technologies, the chance to identify business opportunities to invest in forest ecosystems, and the opportunity for LIFE projects to directly contribute to or influence policy development. “Nature should be considered as a driving force for socio-economic development in rural areas,” the authors conclude.

Download: Forest thematic report

pdf(~ 8 MB)

Marine thematic report


September 2014

The future of Europe's seas – contribution of the LIFE programme to protecting and improving the marine environment

The LIFE Monitoring Team has published a thematic report on marine-related LIFE projects. Subtitled ‘The future of Europe’s seas’, the 116-page study analyses the LIFE programme’s contribution to protecting and improving the marine environment.

Previous studies have analysed LIFE’s impact on the water sector, noise and air and soil.

The principal objectives of the Marine Thematic Report were as follows:

  • To review current marine-related legislation;
  • To review all marine-related LIFE projects to examine trends and the costs of implementation (both total and EU contributions);
  • To review selected projects relating to the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and associated Programmes of Measures (POMs), using SWOT analysis;
  • To review selected projects that provide new solutions and best practice for implementation of EU legislation and policy in the most efficient way and a high potential for transferability within the EU; and
  • To understand the relevance of project approaches, including factors for failure or success of certain approaches.

The report’s authors (Dr Lynne Barrett, John Houston, Chris Rose and Dan Mitchell) analysed a total of 72 LIFE projects that took place between 2005 and 2012 in terms of means of intervention, cross-cutting issues, good environmental status (GES) and POMs. Following this initial analysis, 21 projects were selected for more detailed SWOT assessment based on their ability to contribute to seven special project areas - maintaining biodiversity; reconstruction and remediation; inventories; reducing/re-using fishing discards; contaminated sediments; reducing atmospheric emissions from shipping; and avoiding conflict and conflict resolution.

The authors found that marine-related LIFE projects are evenly split between the Nature (NAT) and Environment (ENV) strands of the LIFE programme and the means of delivery is also evenly split between management measures (mainly NAT projects) and the development of new technologies (mainly ENV projects).

The analysis of cross-cutting issues encompassed governance, stakeholder engagement, maritime spatial planning, ecosystem-based approaches, and transboundary issues. One key finding of the report is that LIFE projects are exceptionally good at stakeholder engagement. The authors also found that there are many marine-related LIFE projects that deal in some way with transboundary issues, although more could be done to include non-Member States in such projects.

In terms of GES, the report notes that “there are many good examples of projects contributing to maintaining biodiversity and good ecosystem health and the majority either promote management measures to achieve good conservation status within existing marine protected areas or establish new protected areas within a network.”

Marine-related ENV projects tend to focus more on resolving pressures on the marine environment, such as contaminants and marine litter.

In terms of Programmes of Measures, the authors say that: “The majority of projects did demonstrate one or more of the POMs listed in the Marine Strategy and some projects had a combination of more than one measure up to a maximum of five. The most commonly occurring POMs were input controls (measures controlling human activity) and output controls (measures controlling perturbation).”

In conclusion, the report states that “LIFE projects can make a significant contribution to the understanding and future implementation of the MSFD.” However, to do so, it is necessary to capture and include the output from the projects in the decision-making process. The report provides suggestions as to how this may be achieved.

Download: Marine thematic report

pdf(~2,4 MB)

Pilot Study on Soil

Pilot Study on Soil

November 2013

Contribution of LIFE ENV/INF projects to the implementation, dissemination and further development of EU environmental  policies and legislation

A pilot study on soil-related LIFE projects has been published by the LIFE Monitoring Team. The study analysed the contribution of the LIFE programme to the implementation, dissemination and further development of EU environmental policies and legislation in this area.

This latest study forms part of a series of thematic studies and follows the publication of analyses of LIFE’s impact on the water sector and on noise and air. The aim of the studies is to strengthen the link between the LIFE Units in charge of the management of operational projects and the Thematic Units dealing mainly with environmental policy.

All 39 soil-related LIFE projects carried out in the period 2000-2011 were included in the latest study. Many of these projects have helped shape and implement the goals of the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (COM (2006) 231). The main results of the soil study are as follows:

  • All the selected projects deal with one or more of the threats to soils identified in the Soil Thematic Strategy, thus reinforcing the need for a specific directive that enforces the protection of soils and their sustainable use.
  • A particular strength of soil-related projects is their integrated approach to addressing several problems at once. Soil protection can also benefit efforts to prevent water pollution or landslides.
  • The absence of LIFE Information and Communication projects dealing with soils shows that this theme is very complex and that the most effective channels communicating its importance still need to be identified and tested.
  • Only a few projects include surveys and studies of the characteristics of soils– an adequate level of knowledge on this natural resource at European level is still to be attained and further efforts to harmonise this knowledge are required.
  • Several LIFE projects dealing with habitat restoration do not adequately assess the positive effects their actions might have on soils.
  • The most recent threats, such as loss of soil because of sealing in urban areas or hydrogeological issues in disadvantaged areas, have only been partially tackled by LIFE projects.
  • European initiatives should focus on the theme of prevention of pollution rather than exclusively on soil remediation and the removal of pollutants.
  • For projects implemented over a vast area, the spatial variability of soils within a specific territory is often a crucial issue. If not properly addressed, this technical problem can diminish the success of the project.

The report concludes: “As a general overview of the soil-related projects, it can be stated that the results achieved frequently address in a proper way the objectives set by European legislation and by the projects themselves.

“Even though no project explicitly proposes new legislation on soil, many projects provide input that can be favourably used in the further development of European and national laws, especially in the regulations of specific environmental strategies.”

Download: Pilot Study on Soil

pdf(~2,4 MB)

Pilot Study on Water

Pilot Study on Water

Updated 2015

Contribution of LIFE ENV/INF/NAT projects to the implementation, dissemination and further development of EU environmental policies and legislation

Water Sector – Report Update

The principal objectives of the study were to:

  • Review current water related legislation and agree a list of key directives to be assessed.
  • Review all water related projects to determine which key directives were considered, examine trends and what the costs of implementation were (both total and EC contributions).
  • Review selected projects relating to the implementation of key EU water legislation, including the Water Framework Directive, using SWOT analysis.
  • Review of selected projects that provide new solutions and best practice for implementation of EU legislation and policy in the most efficient way and a high potential for transferability within the EU. Selected projects also allow understanding of factors for failure or success of certain approaches.

Download: Pilot Study on Water (Updated 2015)

pdf(~2 MB)

Pilot Study on Waste

Pilot Study on Waste

January 2012

Contribution of LIFE ENV/INF projects to the implementation, dissemination and further development of EU environmental policies and legislation, focusing in particular on resource efficiency.

The present study has been prepared on joint request from the LIFE Environment and Eco-Innovation Unit and the Thematic Unit on Waste of DG Environment. The main aim of the thematic LIFE studies is to provide useful information on LIFE projects' results to thematic Units, and consequently strengthen the link between the LIFE Units in charge of the management of operational projects and Thematic Units dealing mainly with environmental policy. The scope of this study covers all LIFE projects in the waste sector, with a special focus on LIFE05 – LIFE09 projects. 126 projects have been assessed in relation to EU waste Directives; an in-depth analysis was carried out for 26 projects.

Download: Pilot Study on Waste

pdf(~900 KB)


Assessing LIFE's impact on EU noise and air policy

Report on LIFE's contribution to employment and the green economy

October 2012

Contribution of LIFE ENV/INF projects to the implementation,  dissemination and further development of EU environmental policies and legislation, focusing in particular on resource efficiency

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.

Biodiversity is Life

Best LIFE-Environment Projects 2005-2006

June 2006

To mark the occasion of Green Week 2006, the LIFE Unit issued a special thematic leaflet, "Biodiversity is Life". It contains details on LIFE's actions for biodiversity.

Download: Biodiversity is LIFE
pdf(~266 KB)

Best Practice - a method for dissemination and implementation of project results

Best LIFE-Environment Projects 2004-2005


This Best Practice pamphlet sets out the background and the principles to Best Practice (BP) within the LIFE programme. It is an invaluable tool for project beneficiaries and other concerned parties helping them to better disseminate and replicate their projects and results – while at the same time helping to meet wider objectives of promoting and developing a knowledge-based, sustainable and competitive Europe.




The Financial Instrument for the Environment

The Financial Instrument for the Environment

October 2002 - 6 pages

This brochure presents an overview of the 3 thematic components of LIFE III: LIFE-Nature, LIFE--Environment and LIFE-Third Countries. The brochure includes examples of projects for each component.




CD-LIFE Publications (2001-2005)

CD-LIFE Publications (2001-2005)


This CD-ROM, available in English only, is a compilation of various LIFE publications produced during the lifetime of the scheme.




LIFE after LIFE. A review of the long-term effects of nine projects funded under LIFE-Nature


April 2002 - 131 pages





LIFE Environment in Action. 56 new success stories for Europe's environment

LIFE Environment in Action. 56 new success stories for Europe's environment

February 2001 - 131 pages

This brochure presents an overview of the 3 thematic components of LIFE III: LIFE-Nature, LIFE--Environment and LIFE-Third Countries. The brochure includes examples of projects for each component.




LIFE-Nature & l'emploi

LIFE-Nature & l'emploi

1996 - 21 pages

Download:  LIFE-Nature & l’emploi
pdf(~692 KB)


  • TOP