On this page you can find information about the DG Environment programme for operating grants to European environmental NGOs. The legal base for the programme is the LIFE+ Regulation which provides for funding of "operational activities of NGOs that are primarily active in protecting and enhancing the environment at European level and involved in the development and implementation of Community policy and legislation" (Annex 1 to the Regulation).
For development and implementation of EU environmental policy there needs to be an open and wide-ranging dialogue with all stakeholders. It is important that NGOs are able to take part in such a dialogue since they have a good understanding of public concerns on the environment. Their presence is important to provide a sound balance in relation to the interests of other actors.
European NGOs are for example valuable in co-ordinating and channelling the views of national organisations and citizens as input to the decision making process. For the development and implementation of policy, they also participate in preparatory work and expert groups and conduct research and studies. Another example of an area where NGOs play an important role is awareness raising and environmental education.
Organisations that wish to apply for funding under this programme must be non-profit making and independent environmental non-governmental organisations. They must also be active at a European level (have activities and members in at least three EU Member States). National NGOs are not targeted by this programme.
The operating grants are awarded on a yearly basis. Calls for proposals are published once a year on the DG Environment web page. The next application round for grants for 2013 is planned to be published in autumn 2012. The applications are evaluated and ranked according to a number of award criteria. These criteria relate to the extent to which the organisations can contribute to EU policy development and implementation in the priority areas of the 6th Environmental Action Plan. These areas are climate change, nature and biodiversity, environment and health, natural resources and waste and horizontal issues. The evaluation is made by DG Environment experts in these fields. Some other aspects are also taken into account, for example the potential for the organisation to develop and improve thanks to the funding provided.
The number of NGOs funded each year varies depending on the quality of the applications, the amounts applied for and the total budget available. In general, around 30 organisations are selected for funding each year. Lists of NGOs funded since 1997 are available under "Lists of funded NGOs 1997-2012".