SAVING-E Website | About Life
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About Life

LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument to support environmental and nature conservation projects.

About Life

LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument to support environmental and nature conservation projects. It aims to support the development, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and communication of EU environment and climate action legislation and policy, in particular, the priorities of the EU’s Environment Action Programme to 2020. Since its launch in 1992, there have been four complete phases of the programme (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999, LIFE III: 2000-2006 and LIFE+: 2007-2013). During this period, LIFE has co-financed some 3954 projects across the EU, contributing approximately €3.1 billion to the protection of the environment.

The European Commission (DG Environment and DG Climate Action) manages the LIFE programme. The Commission has delegated the implementation of many components of the LIFE programme to the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). External selection, monitoring and communication teams provide assistance to the Commission and EASME. The European Investment Bank will manage the two new financial instruments (NCFF and PF4EE).

The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017 was adopted by a Commission Decision on 19 March 2014, after having received a positive opinion of the Committee for the LIFE Programme for the Environment and Climate Action on 17 February 2014. The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017 contains an indicative budget, explains the selection methodology for projects and for operating grants and establishes outcome indicators for the two LIFE sub-programmes – for Environment and for Climate Action. The total budget for funding projects during the period covered amounts to €1.1 billion under the sub-programme for Environment and €0.36 billion under the sub-programme for Climate Action.

LIFE Environment priority areas

  • ‘Environment and Resource Efficiency’, which is made up of thematic priorities of ‘Water’, ‘Waste’, ‘Resource Efficiency’ (including soil, forests and green and circular economy), ‘Health’ (including chemicals and noise), and ‘Air Quality and Emissions’ (including urban environment)
  • ‘Nature and Biodiversity’, which focuses on the implementation of Directives 92/43/EEC and 2009/147/EC (Habitats and Birds directives, respectively); implementation of the Union Biodiversity Strategy to 2020; information, communication and awareness raising campaigns in line with the 7th Environment Action Programme
  • ‘Environmental Governance and Information’

Climate Action priority areas

  • ‘Climate change mitigation’, which focuses on the reduction of GHG emissions
  • ‘Climate change adaptation’, which supports efforts to increased resilience to climate change
  • ‘Climate change governance and Information, which promotes awareness raising on climate matters and better climate governance, as well as contributing to the enforcement of EU climate legislation

Furthermore, as well as pilot, demonstration, best practice and information and communication projects, the new regulation creates several other types of project:

  • Integrated projects that aim to implement on a large territorial scale plans and strategies required by EU legislation on the areas of nature, water, waste, air and climate mitigation and adaptation. These projects must mobilise at least one other relevant EU, national or private source
  • Technical assistance project that help applicants develop integrated projects
  • Capacity-building project that support capacity building in Member States in order to enable them to participate more effectively in the LIFE Programme
  • Preparatory projects that aim to support specific needs for the development and implementation of EU environmental or climate policy and legislation.