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LIFE Focus: Environment

Though these publications mainly feature examples of LIFE-Environment projects, they sometimes also contain relevant LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Third Countries projects.

Themes featured include:

LIFE and the marine environment

LIFE and the marine environmentClick on image
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2018 - 74 pages

Clean and healthy seas are vital for the wellbeing of our planet. The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) was adopted with the aim of more effectively protecting the marine environment across Europe. The MSFD was amended in 2017, and now includes 11 descriptors for achieving Good Environmental Status (GES) of the EU's marine waters by 2020.

This latest LIFE Focus publication looks at how the LIFE programme is helping EU Member States to achieve GES in their marine waters. LIFE projects have addressed nine of the MSFD descriptors; making important contributions in the areas of biodiversity, sea floor integrity, invasive alien species, marine litter, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, marine contamination, eutrophication, and underwater noise.

'LIFE and the marine environment' shows how LIFE projects have engaged marine stakeholders, including fishermen, tourists, ports and local authorities, to increase the long-term viability of their actions.

LIFE projects have taken an integrated approach to protecting the marine environment, recognising that the land and sea are intrinsically linked. This has created important synergies, especially between the MSFD, the Birds and Habitats Directives, the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Water Framework Directive, and the Plastics Strategy. This policy-integration role is now being reinforced through LIFE Integrated Projects.

Download: LIFE and the marine environment
pdf (~ 9.4 MB)

LIFE greening jobs and growth

LIFE greening jobs and growthClick on image
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2017 - 52 pages

“LIFE is contributing to the spread of green skills and the creation of green jobs in a broad range of sectors.”- Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.

The latest LIFE Focus brochure shows just how the EU’s fund for environment, nature and climate protection is doing this. Produced to coincide with the EU Green Jobs Summit in Brussels, the brochure echoes the theme of Green Week 2017: “Green Jobs for a Greener Future”.

LIFE greening jobs and growth focuses on the people that have found new employment or developed new green skills thanks to LIFE. Their stories bring home the important contribution the LIFE programme has made to green growth.

The brochure shows LIFE’s impact on people working in cities, the countryside, and coastal communities (‘blue growth’). It also highlights green jobs in the water sector, and green jobs of the future (new developments in solar cell technology, sustainable packaging, and the recycling of cars and ships).

Finally, we hear from young people around Europe who have learned important skills for life and work through volunteering on LIFE projects. LIFE will continue to strengthen the  capacity to provide volunteering services for young people across the European Union by funding preparatory projects for the new European Solidarity Corps - covering environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems.

“The skills I gained by learning to build and maintain the green infrastructure on the LIFE project are skills I still use today in my work. I will build on these skills the rest of my life.” – Wayne Essien, participant in the LIFE Housing Landscapes project

Download: LIFE greening jobs and growth
pdf (~ 12.2 MB)
Download: Project list

pdf (~ 200 KB)

LIFE and the Circular economy

LIFE and the Circular economyClick on image
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2017 - 104 pages

LIFE has published a new Focus brochure on one of the greatest environmental, social and economic challenges of the next 30 years – the transition to a circular economy.

In his foreword to the brochure, Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, sets out the challenge ahead: “Europe needs to move away from a ‘linear’ economic model that is resource intensive and unsustainable towards a more ‘circular’ approach, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised.”   

LIFE and the Circular economy highlights what the EU's programme for the environment and climate action has already done to achieve this goal and suggests more ways LIFE can contribute in future. The LIFE programme has invested some €1 billion since 1992 in over 700 circular economy-related projects on reuse, waste prevention and recycling. LIFE has further increased its support for circular economy-related actions in the current multiannual financial framework, helping to invest over €100 million in more than 80 projects since 2014.

The brochure includes expert interviews with Daniel Calleja Crespo from the European Commission, MEP Sirpa Pietkäinen and Jocelyn Blériot from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an organisation that is developing tools to help companies make their products more circular and become more circular as a whole.

This essential new publication covers the full range of thematic areas linked to the circular economy: production, consumption, waste management, the market for secondary raw materials, and the five priority sectors identified in the EU's Circular Economy Action Plan of December 2015: plastics, biomass and bio-based products, critical raw materials, food waste, and construction and demolition waste.

The six chapters feature more than 100 projects that between them have mobilised €270 million of targeted spending. This includes some €110 million of direct funding from the EU. These replicable and marketable projects can be a source of inspiration to anyone working to make our economy more resource efficient, from citizens, to communities, entrepreneurs, major enterprises, public servants and politicians. As Commissioner Vella notes: “There are tremendous opportunities for business development and job creation in a circular economy.”

Download: LIFE and the Circular economy
pdf (~ 8.2 MB)
Download: Project list

pdf (~ 200 KB)

LIFE and Climate change adaptation

LIFE and Climate change adaptationClick on image
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2015 - 116 pages

The latest LIFE Focus brochure highlights the contribution the LIFE programme has made to the implementation of EU policy on climate change adaptation. Together with last year’s brochure on LIFE and Climate change mitigation, it gives an overview of LIFE’s work to date in the field of climate action. Both brochures are essential reading ahead of COP21 in Paris.

LIFE and Climate change adaptation features a foreword by Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. In it he spells out the importance of taking an integrated approach to climate adaptation, enabling it to be mainstreamed into all relevant sectors.

This integrated approach is reflected in the content of the latest LIFE Focus brochure, with an introduction to policy issues and LIFE’s impact followed by thematic sections covering all the key sectors: strategic planning for adaptation at national and local level; urban resilience; agriculture; forests; water (including water management and flood protection); coastal areas; and biodiversity.

Featuring more than 130 LIFE projects from 24 Member States, the new brochure provides a wealth of examples of ways in which climate change adaptation can be mainstreamed. These practical solutions can help meet the EU’s climate obligations, providing added social and economic value in the process.

Download: LIFE and Climate change adaptation
pdf (~ 8.2 MB)

Download: Project list

pdf (~ 200 KB)

LIFE and Climate change mitigation

LIFE and Climate change mitigationClick on image
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2015 - 92 pages

In anticipation of the award of the first action grants from the LIFE sub-programme for Climate Action, the latest LIFE Environment Focus publication takes an in-depth look at LIFE's work till now in support of climate change mitigation.

The LIFE and Climate change mitigation brochure gives an overview of EU climate policy and provides a host of best practice examples from more than 200 featured projects from across the European Union.

With a foreword by EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, the 88-page publication includes interviews with representatives of DG Climate Action and with NGOs active in the field. These highlight the climate mitigation challenges ahead and LIFE's role in the transition to low-carbon agriculture.

LIFE climate change mitigation project examples are divided by theme, with chapters on strategies and plans at local, regional and national level; energy; transport; agriculture and forestry; the role of peatlands and wetlands as carbon sinks; and projects involving enterprises.

Each of these chapters highlights useful lessons from completed LIFE projects and potential areas of focus for future funding. As such it is essential reading for practitioners, policy-makers and all those with an interest in the work that the European Union is doing to fight climate change.


Download: LIFE and Climate change mitigation
pdf EN PL (~ 6 MB)

Download: Project list

pdf (~ 200 KB)

LIFE and air quality

New publication out! LIFE and Air qualityClick on image
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2014 - 76 pages

The latest LIFE Focus publication highlights the work of the LIFE programme in tackling threats to Europe's air. Titled LIFE and air quality, the 72-page brochure focuses on LIFE's role in helping to effectively and cost-effectively implement the extensive body of EU policy instruments relating to air.  

The publication includes an insightful introduction to the topic, including interviews with an air quality expert from the European Environment Agency and one of the participants in a pioneering pilot exercise designed to help European cities better implement EU air policy.

Thematic chapters look at LIFE's contribution to air quality across a number of key sectors: transport and urban mobility; monitoring and modelling; capacity building; encouraging behavioural change; agriculture; and industry, waste and energy This programme-level analysis is supported by specific project examples from across the EU, including in-depth case studies that can serve as an inspiration to policy-makers and project leaders, farmers and enterprises, organisations and citizens throughout Europe.

Download: LIFE and Air quality
pdf (~ 10 MB)

LIFE and Soil protection

LIFE and Soil protection Click on image
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2014 - 68 pages

With issues such as erosion, soil sealing, carbon capture and contaminated land of growing public concern and policy focus, this brand-new LIFE Focus publication takes a timely look at LIFE and Soil protection.

The 68 page brochure includes an overview of EU soil policy, analysis of LIFE's contribution to its implementation and interviews that link soil science to policy-making to practical action. It also addresses in detail the impact of LIFE actions relating to all the key issues around soil sustainability, including: land take and soil sealing; soil biodiversity; carbon capture; soil monitoring; soil and water protection; sustainable agriculture; and land contamination.

The publication thus provides an opportunity to highlight and assess the LIFE programme's contribution to soil protection to date, including proposals for ways in which project outcomes may be better channelled and have an even greater impact in future.

Download: LIFE and Soil protection
pdf (~ 10 MB)

LIFE creating green jobs and skills

LIFE creating green jobs and skills Click on image
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2013 - 76 pages

The latest LIFE Focus publication highlights the relevance of LIFE Environment project actions in helping to create durable jobs and develop green skills across the EU. As its title suggests, LIFE creating green jobs and skills provides a host of practical examples of project actions that provide a blueprint for the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient economy, as well as illustrating the added social and economic value of the LIFE programme, the EU’s financial instrument for the environment.

The publication highlights the policy agenda and challenges involved in greening the EU job market, and analyses the lessons that can be learned from more than 20 years of LIFE. The focus is on the main projects that have had an impact on durable job creation and green skills development, with 23 case studies from 11 Member States, divided into six thematic areas: waste; capacity building; business and industry; packaging; energy production and agriculture.

LIFE creating green jobs and skills is an important and timely reminder of the LIFE programme’s ability to contribute to the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.


Download: LIFE creating green jobs and skills (click on thumbnail to view as flippinbook)
pdf (~ 5 MB)

LIFE's Blueprint for water resources

LIFE's blueprint for water resourcesClick on image
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2012 - 80 pages

The latest LIFE Focus publication highlights the relevance of LIFE Environment project actions in helping to implement EU water policy. As its title suggests, LIFE's Blueprint for water resources is a practical companion piece to the recent European Commission Communication, 'The Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources'.

As well as an introduction to the policy agenda and an overview of LIFE's role with regard to Europe's water resources, this LIFE Focus publication takes an in-depth look at projects targeting five key areas, each of which ties in with the recommendations of the 'Water Blueprint', namely water quality and quantity; water-related green infrastructure; increasing water efficiency; water re-use; and management tools for effective water use.

Featuring more than 100 projects in total, there are a host of practical examples of ways in which water-related policy can be implemented, not only to achieve the desired environmental goals, but also to provide added social and economic value across the EU.

LIFE and coastal management

LIFE and coastal management

2012 - 96 pages

Coastal zones are a key source of raw materials and ecosystems services, sustaining the transport, trade, tourism and leisure sectors while at the same time supporting important natural habitats. A high proportion of EU citizens live by the coast and the well being of these habitats is thus vital to local economies and local health. As a result, it is essential to make use of long-term management tools, such as Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). The LIFE programme has played an important role in the development of ICZM through a Demonstration Programme (1996 to 1999) and is continuing to fund a wide range of coastal projects.

This LIFE focus publication highlights those projects that have developed best practices on such issues as dealing with coastal erosion, encouraging sustainable tourism, developing technology to tackle oil spills and integrating urban and rural communities with coastal habitats. Such LIFE projects and many others have demonstrated how policy has fed into practice for the benefit of Europe's coastal regions.

Download: LIFE and coastal management
pdf (~ 9 MB)

LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

LIFE and resource efficiency: Decoupling growth from resource use

2011 - 72 pages

The 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.

LIFE and local authorities

Water for life – LIFE for water

2010 - 60 pages

Local and regional authorities (LRAs) have an indispensable role to play in implementing EU environmental legislation and making eco-innovations and environmental best practices better known to a wider audience. Europe's LRAs have been key participants in the LIFE programme, leading more than 350 LIFE Environment projects and partnering with NGOs and private sector beneficiaries in hundreds more. The new LIFE Focus publication, 'LIFE and local authorities: Helping regions and municipalities tackle environmental challenges', highlights many of the most successful of these projects, initiatives that have been at the forefront of implementing environmental innovations that provide solutions to some of the greatest demands facing LRAs today.

As well as an introduction to the policy challenges facing local and regional authorities and how the LIFE programme can help them, the publication, which has been produced in co-operation with the Council for European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), features extensive case studies and examples of best practice across a number of sectors: from sustainable transport to waste and water management, the threat of climate change to spatial planning.

Download: LIFE and local authorities
pdf pdf pdf pdf pdf(~ 8 MB)

Download: LIFE and local authorities teaser
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Water for life – LIFE for water

Water for life – LIFE for water

2010 - 66 pages

Issues of water quantity and quality are of concern to many European citizens and transcend national boundaries. The contents of this LIFE Focus publication are drawn from the proceedings of the first LIFE Environment thematic conference, ‘Water for life – LIFE for water’, which took place in Brussels in October 2009. The aim of the event was to examine the role of LIFE Environment as an instrument to support the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, alongside other EU water-related legislation and policy. In addition to this general aim, the conference included thematic sessions (with LIFE project case studies) on four specific topics of interest: water scarcity and climate change; hydromorphological alterations; implementation of marine strategy; and eutrophication. The highlights of a poster session are also included.

Download: Water for life – LIFE for water
pdf(~6,8 MB)

LIFE among the olives: good practice in improving environmental performance in the olive oil sector

LIFE among the olives

2010 - 58 pages

The EU is a global leader in olive production, accounting for almost 70% of total world output. The olive sector is particularly important in southern countries, where it represents a significant share of the agricultural economy. But the economic benefits of olive production come at a cost. Olive farming has become more intensive in recent decades and olive processing now produces significant and growing volumes of waste. This brochure examines how the LIFE programme is helping both olive growers and olive processors to improve their environmental performance, highlighting good practices and approaches emerging from LIFE projects that could be adopted more widely within the sector.

Download: LIFE among the olives
zip EN EL ITES (~8 MB)


Getting more from less: LIFE and sustainable production in the EU

Sustainable production

2009 - 40 pages

The LIFE programme is one of several funding mechanisms driving European Union efforts to develop more sustainable industrial practices. This LIFE Focus publication aims to showcase how LIFE funding has helped to reduce the environmental footprint of production processes in five of Europe’s main industrial sectors: Machinery & equipment; Chemicals & plastic; Metal & non-metallic minerals manufacturing; Food & Beverage; and Wood, pulp, paper & printing. The brochure features successful LIFE initiatives supporting companies that have taken proactive measures to strengthen their environmental performance. The results of these projects can help to reinforce the EU’s action plans on sustainable consumption and production and on sustainable industrial policy.

Breathing LIFE into greener businesses: Demonstrating innovative approaches to improving the environmental performance of European businesses

Breathing LIFE into greener businesses

2008 - 60 pages

Europe’s businesses have an important role to play in ensuring a sustainable future for the EU's environment and the economy. This LIFE-Focus brochure showcases successful LIFE initiatives supporting companies that have taken proactive measures to strengthen their environmental performance. It thereby reinforces the EU's policy perspective that recognises the fact that eco-innovation can be good for business and good for the environment at the same time.

LIFE on the farm: Supporting environmentally sustainable agriculture in Europe

LIFE on the farm

2008 - 60 pages

This LIFE-Focus brochure covers a broad range of innovative solutions co-financed by the LIFE programme to help enhance agriculture’s influence on the environment. Featuring sustainable agriculture projects active in the fields of water and soil protection, biodiversity and waste, EMAS and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as well as the processing of agricultural products, this publication showcases practical examples of ways of dealing with present and future environmental challenges.

Download: LIFE on the farm
pdf(~7,1 MB)

LIFE and waste recycling: Innovative waste management options in Europe

LIFE and waste recycling

2007 - 60 pages

This brochure examines the contribution the LIFE programme has made to promoting innovative waste management in Europe. It sets out the major European waste legislation and provides information on a series of LIFE projects engaged in innovative solutions to waste management through recovery, recycling or reuse.

Download: LIFE and waste recycling
pdf(~6.8 MB)

LIFE and Energy: Innovative solutions for sustainable and efficient energy in Europe

LIFE and Energy

2007 - 60 pages

This brochure explores the contribution the LIFE programme has made to sustainable, competitive and secure energy for Europe. It highlights key EU policy actions and developments in this area and provides information and experiences of innovative ways to meet present and future energy challenges.


Download: LIFE and Energy
pdf(~2.42 MB)

LIFE in the City: Innovative solutions for Europe’s urban environment

LIFE in the City

2006 - 64 pages

This edition looks specifically at urban projects co-financed by the LIFE programme. Spanning a wide range of issues, the 24 projects covered in the publication have tested and validated innovative approaches to sustainable urban development that are both effective and widely applicable.


Download: LIFE in the City
pdf EN PL(~2.35 MB)

The air we breathe: LIFE and the European Union clean air policy

The air we breathe

2004 - 32 pages

This brochure illustrates the way the LIFE-Environment programme actively supports the targets on strengthening efforts to reduce air pollutants, set by the Sixth Environment Action Programme. It features 12 examples of successful LIFE-Environment projects on improving air-quality.


Download: The air we breathe
pdf(~3.4 MB)

A cleaner, greener Europe: LIFE and the European Union waste policy

A cleaner, greener Europe

2004 - 26 pages

The LIFE programme plays a key role in contributing to the development of innovative waste prevention and management projects. This brochure showcases 9 examples of the many innovative LIFE projects dealing with issues related to waste.



Download: A cleaner, greener Europe
pdf(~2.98 MB)

Industrial pollution, European solutions: Clean technologies

Industrial pollution, European solutions

2004 - 32 pages

This brochure illustrates the support of LIFE to the development of clean technologies, particularly under the framework of the Directive on integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC Directive) in industrial plants. Published in English and French.



A sustainable approach for the environment: LIFE and the Community Eco- Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)

A sustainable approach for the environment:

2003 - 32 pages

The brochure presents ten successful experiences selected from among the LIFE projects that have either paved the way for EMAS or that have integrated it in their organisation. Published in English and French.


Water, an essential resource


2002 - 26 pages

The brochure was the first publication in the LIFE Focus series. It presents the framework for the European water policy and includes a selection of successful water projects funded by LIFE-Environment or LIFE-Nature on sustainable use of water resources throughout the European Union. Published in six languages.



Download: Water, an essential resource
pdfEnglish versionEnglish versionFrench versionEnglish versionFrench version(~900 KB)


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