To submit your comments and suggestions click here.
LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 4306 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate. Read more >>
13 March 2017 This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the LIFE programme and of the EU Habitats Directive, both approved on 21 May 1992. To recognise their major contribution to the preservation of Europe’s natural heritage, the European Commission together with the European Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions will proclaim 21 May 2017 as ‘European Natura 2000 day’ at a special event in Brussels.
LIFE Nature projects are also invited to take part in the celebrations by organising a project open day on or near to Sunday, 21 May 2017. This invitation applies to completed as well as current projects.
10 March 2017 Applicants busy designing projects for potential new LIFE funding should highlight the following date in their agendas: 31 May 2017. This is when the European Commission will host an information and networking event on the 2017 LIFE funding opportunities.
Representatives of businesses, industry, NGOs, and local and regional authorities are particularly invited to join the event on Wednesday, 31 May 2017, between 10:00 - 16:00 in Brussels. Would-be participants should note that registration for the LIFE call 2017 information and networking event is on a first come, first serve basis.
24 March 2017 In a first for Slovakia, the LIFE Energy project (LIFE13 NAT/SK/001272) is taking the innovative step of planting trees to protect birds across the country.
LIFE Energy has already planted some 550 trees in areas where birds regularly die due to collisions with power lines. The project is thus increasing vegetation around the dangerous power lines to ensure birds register the natural barrier and fly over the electric wires. The trees not only protect birds they also have the added benefit of increasing biodiversity. By planting different species of trees, the project ensures that various animal species are attracted to the area and use the vegetation for nesting, a source of food and shelter.
23 March 2017 This edition of LIFEnews focuses on the first LIFE platform meeting dedicated to Integrated Projects (LIFE IPs). These are projects designed to implement environmental and climate legislation and goals on a wider scale than traditional LIFE projects, in particular by mobilising complementary funding from EU and national sources and the private sector.
The lead article reveals what has been learned about complementary funding in the first year of LIFE IPs, including contributions from the LIFE Unit, the Finnish National Contact Point and two projects. The second article showcases the nine new Integrated Projects funded in the 2015 LIFE call.
21 March 2017 On 16 March 2017, LIFE TRiFOCAL London (LIFE15 GIE/UK/000867) announced at The London Conference the names of the nine London boroughs and the seven EU cities where it will demonstrate its innovative food valuing programme.
LIFE TRiFOCAL London aims to encourage people to reduce food waste through changes in shopping, storage, and meal planning and preparation behaviours; to promote healthy and sustainable eating by changing purchasing and preparation practices; and to increase the recycling of unavoidable food waste. The nine pioneering London boroughs where it will focus this integrated initiative over the next two years are: Bexley, Croydon, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Sutton and Tower Hamlets. Successes within these nine London boroughs will be shared across other London boroughs to amplify their impact.
20 March 2017 Further to the European Commission's request, the European Committee of the Regions has published its opinion on the Mid-term evaluation of the Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) 2014-2020, as foreseen under Article 27 (2) of Regulation (EC) No 1293/2013 ('LIFE Regulation'), the implementing act adopting the second LIFE Multiannual Work Programme (MAWP) 2018-2020 (Article 24 (4) of the LIFE Regulation), and the development of the next LIFE programme under the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2020-2027.
The European Committee of the Regions opinion comprises policy recommendations that cover changes to expenditure eligibility, the complementarity of funding and implementation systems among EU -financed programmes and the building of public consensus and strengthening of regional and cross-regional partnerships.
16 March 2017 Ecosystems provide countless and essential benefits to humanity, such as food, clean water and clean air. Assigning financial values to ecosystem services - and incorporating them into land management and conservation decision-making - can complement traditional approaches to preventing biodiversity loss.
The European Commission's LIFE programme unit and the Baltic Environmental Forum are organising with the support of the Neemo EEIG External Team a LIFE platform meeting on ecosystem services in Tallinn (Estonia) on 10-12 May 2017 that will showcase a variety of restoration techniques, innovative approaches to improving our knowledge and understanding of ecosystem services, new management initiatives and governance challenges.
15 March 2017 The Italian NCP for the LIFE programme is organising a LIFE platform meeting on ceramic and brick manufacturing, in collaboration with EASME, the Neemo EEIG External Team and the Italian industry associations Confindustria Ceramica and ANDIL.
The platform meeting will be held in the Sassuolo ceramic manufacturing district on 11 April 2017. The event will profile the achievements of LIFE projects focused on reducing emissions and consumption of water and energy in the manufacturing process of ceramics and bricks. At Italian level, the initiative provides a first opportunity for an exchange of best practices in these sectors.
14 March 2017 The Greek parliament has passed a transboundary agreement to protect Prespa Park, an important area of biodiversity that has been the target of a number of LIFE projects. The agreement recognises the need for the three countries bordering the national park – Albania, Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – to work together for the sustainable development and prosperity of the area.
The agreement establishes the Prespa Park Management Committee, which is a “radical new multi-participatory approach,” according to Myrsini Malakou, managing director of the Society for the Protection of Prespa, the beneficiary of the LIFE projects whose work has helped lead to this parliament decision. Transboundary management is, “showing that the protection of nature is the best means of achieving co-operation, peace and sustainability in this struggling part of the world,” she added.
09 March 2017 Eight winning projects will pitch their energy innovation ideas in front of a jury of European journalists at the Spark Show, as part of this year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW).
The Spark Show, is a 90-minute session that will be held at the EUSEW’s Networking Village in Brussels, on 21 June 2017. It is designed to generate media coverage of great energy innovation ideas, provide media training and to build relationships with the press.
At the Spark Show - inspired by television shows such as The Voice - the eight energy projects are asked to give punchy, three-minute pitches and the first journalist to ‘buzz’ in will get to report on the project first. The journalists will explain their choices and offer advice.
Pitch slots for the show are open to applications from across the EU. Projects must be innovative, impactful, inspiring and scalable or replicable. Applicants are encouraged to show their projects have already benefited from national and international media coverage. The final selection will be made by the European Commission.
03 March 2017 The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) has returned as a nesting species to the Balkan mountain range and Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria after a 60-year absence. The achievement, a major conservation success and unique in eastern Europe, came thanks to the joint efforts of three LIFE projects - LIFE FOR KRESNA GORGE (LIFE11 NAT/BG/000363), Vultures back to LIFE (LIFE14 NAT/BG/000649) and VULTURES' RETURN (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278).
Vultures provide a vital ecosystem service by disposing of carrion. Outside the Iberian Peninsula, there are only 1 000 pairs of griffon vultures breeding in isolated sites; in many European countries the species is extinct. Until the mid-20th century, the griffon vulture was common in Bulgaria, breeding across the country and occupying all available cliffs. However, the population declined in the following years due to poisoning and was declared extinct in 1971.
27 February 2016 The first sighting in more than half a century of a bearded vulture nest (Gypaetus barbatus) in Picos de Europa – a Spanish national park – has taken place. The nest was observed in an area of high-quality habitat for the species in the central massif of the park.
The reintroduction of this critically endangered species is being initiated by the project Life+ Red Quebrantahuesos (LIFE12 NAT/ES/000322). The project beneficiary, the Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded vulture (FCQ), detected the first signs of species reproduction in November.
Foundation staff noted a range of pre-breeding behaviours in the vultures, such as territorial defensiveness, intraspecific interactions, repeated copulation and collection of nesting material. The breeding pair was then observed in the nest in January.
21 February 2016 The first LIFE platform meeting of 2017 took place in Finland earlier this month. The three-day event was an opportunity for LIFE Integrated Projects (LIFE IP) to discuss common challenges, opportunities and technical requirements, as well as providing a platform for networking.
Around 100 delegates took part in the meeting, including representatives of all 15 LIFE IP funded in the two years since this category of LIFE project has been operational.
The meeting was organised by FRESHABIT LIFE-IP, (LIFE14 IPE/FI/000023) a Finnish project that is working to improve the ecological status, management and sustainable use of freshwater Natura 2000 network sites in eight regions of Finland, by tackling problems at catchment level. Their excellent project video and website explains more.
In the opening address of the platform meeting, Pekka Harju-Autti from the Finnish Ministry of Environment revealed the process by which his country had selected its two Integrated Projects and gave tips for those looking to create a successful LIFE IP. “We saw that the process has to be very open so that organisations feel that they are treated equally,” he said.
20 February 2016 A group of experts within the LIFE external monitoring team (Neemo) has published a report analysing the LIFE programme’s role in creating green jobs and boosting sustainable economic growth across Europe.
The study - LIFE: Contributing to Employment and Economic Growth - explores LIFE project sustainability (i.e. the viability of project outcomes after the end of financing) and replicability (i.e. the degree to which project outcomes are taken up by other entities).
The report first focuses on the statistical and econometric analysis of LIFE projects in terms of sustainability and replicability potential. It then examines the economic impact of selected LIFE projects under different replication scenarios. The third section highlights the hidden economic potential of LIFE Nature projects thanks to the ecosystem services delivered. The final section presents an overview of recent Green Finance initiatives that can help LIFE project replication.
17 February 2016 The oLIVE CLIMA (LIFE11 ENV/GR/000942) LIFE project is actively contributing to the pilot phase for the elaboration of Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) for olive oil. This process will finish late 2017 and its conclusions will be integrated into the European Commission’s policy proposals regarding circular economy actions that are due to be presented mid-2018.
oLIVE CLIMA is highlighting the climate mitigation potential of olive groves. Specifically, the project is testing the efficacy of a number of measures to increase carbon uptake from the atmosphere and storage of a considerable part of it, first in olive wood and then in the soil.
The project experts contributed to an important decision taken on 18 November 2016 by the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) of the unit dealing with the PEF . The decision recognises credits in the carbon footprint of olive tree products when it can be proven that carbon is stored for more than 100 years in the wood.
13 February 2016 The IMPROVE LIFE (LIFE13 ENV/ES/000263) project is looking for feedback from underground commuters. The project is currently running a short online questionnaire about underground railway air quality.
Commuting by underground rail is a daily activity for many Europeans. From an environmental perspective, the subway system is relatively clean way of moving large numbers of passengers. However, underground commuters can routinely be exposed to inhalable particulate matter (PM) levels that are higher than the normal legal limits for outdoor air quality in European cities. In fact, PM levels underground are typically much higher than those above ground.
The IMPROVE LIFE project is developing a benchmark study that it hopes will lead to real improvement in subway air quality. The project is being carried out in Barcelona, where the main pollutant sources will be identified in order to inform the prioritisation of cost-effective and low energy air pollution mitigation strategies.
09 February 2016 The official 2017 call is provisionally scheduled to be published on the 28 April 2017.
An indicative planning for the LIFE call 2017 is also now available. Applicants busy designing a potential new LIFE project now have a rough guide to the expected deadlines.
Once ready, application packages and supporting information will also be made available, similar to previous calls.
08 February 2016 LIFE ASAP (LIFE15 GIE/IT/001039) is protecting Italy's biodiversity from the treat of invasive alien species (IAS) and actively supporting the implementation of the EU's Invasive Alien Species Regulation, which came into force on 1 January 2015. The LIFE project has begun in a blaze of publicity, with articles in major daily Italian national and regional newspapers and a feature on the evening news of state broadcaster RAI.
Invasive alien species (IAS) represent a threat to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Scientists estimate that the number of invasive alien species in the EU has grown by 76 per cent in the past 30 years. IAS-related problems are estimated to cost EU taxpayers €12 billion a year. Beyond the financial impact, exotic flora and fauna can cause irreparable damage to natural habitats and rare native species.
07 February 2016 The evaluation of the 2016 proposals is progressing.
EASME foresees the following indicative dates for the next steps:
06 February 2017 The LIFE+ Petrels (LIFE13 BIO/FR/000075) project has discovered a new breeding ground for the endangered Mascarene petrel (Pseudobulweria aterrima) in the French island of La Reunion in the Western Indian Ocean.
The project team has been intensively searching for Mascarene petrel sites since 2015, listening to thousands of hours of audio recordings and exploring the most remote and steepest parts of the island. The breeding ground was finally discovered by tracking the returning birds at night with infra-red equipment and abseiling down steep cliffs.
The project is continuing a 15-year initiative to find the breeding grounds of this rare bird species. Endemic to the island, its numbers have suffered from predation by introduced mammals, such as cats and rats. Light pollution, which causes many immature birds to become disoriented in flight, is another threat. The species was presumed extinct.
01 February 2017 Showing how protecting the environment can be good for businesses and encourage jobs and growth in Europe's economy, Swedish start-up and solar technology company, EXEGER, has announced that it is to recruit skilled staff for a number of recently created green posts.
Supported by the LIFE programme via the Dyemond Solar (LIFE09 ENV/SE/000355) project, EXEGER has demonstrated a new screen-printing method allowing it to produce so-called dye-sensitized solar cells in an eco-friendly and cost-efficient way.
This uptake of new solar technology is a great example of how the LIFE programme incubates ideas and demonstrates new technologies, which with further investment can be scaled-up to marketable solutions with major economic and environmental benefits.
31 January 2017 The FLAW4LIFE (LIFE14 ENV/PT/817) project has produced new guidance on ‘ugly’ (i.e. less than perfect-looking) fruit and vegetables based on their efforts to reduce food waste in Portugal.
The project’s guidelines on sustainable consumption, published in Portuguese and English, present strategies for tackling waste due to food appearance, at local and regional levels, and for raising awareness about how consuming nutritious but imperfect-looking food can promote local economic growth.
FLAW4LIFE is changing food consumption habits by creating markets for fruit and vegetables regardless of their size, colour and shape. The project is replicating nationally an innovative methodology called Fruta Feia (Ugly Fruit), which involves creating local networks of farmers, consumers and coordinators around financially self-sustainable delivery points.
17 January 2017 This issue of LIFEnews looks at climate change and its impacts on urban areas.
The first article features an interview with policy officers from the Climate Action and Energy directorates-general.
The second article spotlights a range of LIFE projects that have helped to address the effects of climate change in urban environments.
11 January 2017 The EU LIFE Programme has been investing in eco-innovation since its very start. LIFE projects - carried out by both SMEs and large companies - test and demonstrate new products and technologies.
A new video highlights the multiplier effect of the LIFE Programme's funding on the economy and job creation.
11 January 2017 Having spent its launch year reviewing sites needing to be restored, the Finnish LIFE Nature Integrated Project (IP) FRESHABIT (LIFE14 IPE/FI/000023) has now kick-started a number of measures aimed at improving the state of inland waters and biodiversity across Finland.
In its start-up phase, the project, which was launched at the beginning of 2016, focused mainly on bird counting, exploratory fishing, surveying underwater nature and cultural heritage, analysing bottom sediment compositions and geology, taking water samples and mapping habitats.
09 January 2017 A LIFE project pioneering new approaches to the circular economy has published its latest case study, which demonstrates how universities can contribute to a more sustainable use of materials by selling surplus scientific instruments.
LIFE REBus (LIFE12 ENV/UK/000608) helps businesses to develop resource-efficient business models (REBMs) to reduce raw material consumption, promote reuse and recycling and dramatically cut waste.
LIFE REBus has produced several in-depth case studies on businesses that have benefited from its know-how and strategic vision, the latest of which – UniGreenScheme – focuses on unused scientific equipment in universities.
05 January 2017 The Swedish government has designated a huge marine Natura 2000 network site for the Baltic Sea harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) based on the results of the LIFE project SAMBAH (LIFE08 NAT/S/000261).
With more than a million hectares, the site is the largest marine area ever proposed by Sweden as a Natura 2000 site. It includes the majority of the species' most important breeding ground, which falls mainly within Sweden's Exclusive Economic Zone.
22 December 2016The Lesser Kestrel Recovery (LIFE11 NAT/BG/000360) project, coordinated by Green Balkans, was a 2016 National Winner in Moto-Pfohe’s Donor Programme for Preserving Natural and Cultural Heritage in Bulgaria. The project received the honour at an award ceremony held at the National History Museum in Sofia on 8 December 2016.
21 December 2016The Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina), which has been the focus of four LIFE projects since 1994, has had its conservation status improved from endangered to vulnerable in the recently updated IUCN Red List. The species, along with the St Helena plover (Charadrius sanctaehelenae) and Seychelles white-eye (Zosterops modestus), is one of several endemic island bird species to be moved to lesser categories of risk.
20 December 2016Solar technology developed during the DYEMOND SOLAR (LIFE09 ENV/SE/000355) project has attracted a key investor - the Finnish clean energy company Fortum. The LIFE project demonstrated a new screen-printing method for the cost-effective manufacture of Dye-Sensitised Cells (DSCs) and the investment will enable the project beneficiary, the Swedish solar technology company Exeger, to upscale the pilot line to achieve full-scale commercial production.
This issue of LIFEnews focuses on the mid-term evaluation of the LIFE Programme and two events that were recently held in Brussels at EU institutions – the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) – that will shortly report to the European Commission their recommendations for the future development of the programme.
19 December 2016In addition to being a direct threat to marine habitats and species, marine litter is also an indicator of a resource-inefficient economy. The most efficient solutions to the environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problems posed by marine litter are to prevent waste generation and to promote the recycling and reuse of waste materials.
A number of LIFE projects address marine litter. They have helped Member States achieve Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD: 2008/56/EC) requirements for Good Environmental Status (GES) for their marine waters by 2020; for which one of the descriptors concerns marine litter.
16 December 2016A LIFE project in Hungary aiming to deliver a big reduction in the amount of food that goes to waste in the country has launched its activities with a successful opening conference.
LIFE-FOODWASTEPREV (LIFE15 GIE/HU/001048) focuses on changing attitudes to food waste in Hungary, where almost 400 000 tonnes of food waste is generated each year at the domestic household level alone, of which 30% is avoidable waste.
15 December 2016This new publication from the LIFE programme, the EU’s fund for the environment and climate action, highlights the achievements and value for money of the most outstanding Nature, Biodiversity and Information and Communication projects with a nature focus that were completed before the end of last year.
Six projects received the ultimate accolade (‘Best of the Best’ project), including a LIFE Information and Communication (INF) project in Poland that ran a far-reaching education campaign about biodiversity in the Natura 2000 network. This included a television series viewed by more than 8 million people.
15 December 2016This new publication from the LIFE programme, the EU’s fund for the environment and climate action, highlights the achievements and value for money of the most outstanding Environment projects completed before the end of 2015.
The 25 featured projects – which are drawn from nine EU Member States – showcase examples of replicable and marketable solutions to help deliver environmental policy. Many of these demonstrate resource efficient solutions that help us move towards a circular economy, including projects on industrial symbiosis, reducing food and other organic waste, repairing bulky waste, reusing upcycled materials in production processes and establishing markets for secondary raw materials.
By sending us an E-mail