As 2019 draws to a close, we take a look at the highlights from LIFE this year and at what’s in store for 2020, a big year for biodiversity.
A total of 187 grant agreements for new projects and operating grants for NGOs will be signed by the end of year. That’s an investment of around €400 million in the environment and climate action. There are some fascinating new projects among those launched this year.
The most unusual newcomer is LIFE Waste2Protein, which will use black soldier flies to make insect protein. This environmentally friendly alternative can be used for animal feed to replace fish and soy meal. With LIFE funding, the project plans to expand a prototype to reach large-scale production.
The project attracting the most interest on the LIFE website this year was another working on small-scale organisms but with big ideas. SunAlgae has shown that the shells of an algae group called diatoms can improve the efficiency of solar panels. They also block ultraviolet light and so are of great interest for products such as skin care and clothing. A new face cream has just launched containing its revolutionary raw material, which is completely safe for oceans and sea life.
On LIFE social media, news about LIFE AskREACH’s smartphone app proved to be the most popular, reaching more than 32 000 people. The free app, Scan4Chem, helps consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. With it, they can check the potential impacts of products on the environment and on their health. Now available to consumers in Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic, the app is set to launch in other countries next year.
Hitting the headlines
Meanwhile, the 2019 LIFE Awards featured winners from Italy, Spain, Greece and Cyprus. The ceremony saw LIFE WOLFALPS, LIFEAGROINTEGRA, oLIVE-CLIMA and LIFE+ SMARTPV recognised as the most innovative, inspirational and effective projects in the fields of nature protection, environment and climate action this year.
In other major news, an agreement was reached on the future of the LIFE programme for the 2021-2027 period. LIFE is one of the EU funding programmes where the European Commission has proposed the largest proportional increases for this period.
Coming up in 2020
Looking at next year, biodiversity will be a top priority, with the IUCN World Conservation Congress in June and the UN Biodiversity Conference in October. Also in June, the next EU Green Week will be focusing on nature and biodiversity.
Reverting biodiversity loss is a key part of the European Commission’s newly launched European Green Deal, which maps out the path to moving the EU to a clean and circular economy, stopping climate change and cutting pollution.
A new publication on LIFE’s contribution to nature and biodiversity is due out early next year. In addition, the 2020 call for LIFE project proposals will kick off at the beginning of April. Save the date for the EU LIFE information and networking day about this on 30 April.
In the meantime, follow the LIFE communication channels to find out how LIFE-funded projects help protect biodiversity and contribute to Europe’s transition towards climate neutrality.