The LIFE Programme started in 1992 and it is the only EU fund dedicated entirely to environmental and climate objectives. It supports the implementation of relevant EU legislation and the development of key policy priorities by co-financing projects with the European added value. In June 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a new LIFE Regulation as part of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) with a financial envelope of EUR 5.5 billion.
The LIFE Programme focuses on projects that test and demonstrate environmental solutions or bridge the gap between the EU research and innovation programmes and those that fund large-scale deployment. LIFE’s main impact is indirect, through its catalytic role in supporting small-scale projects, facilitating their development and mobilizing funding from other sources.
The current LIFE Programme is divided into two:
- One for climate action;
- One for the environment: this programme is subdivided into
- Environment and resource efficiency
- Environmental governance and information
- Nature and biodiversity.
The environment programme finances nature conservation projects, particularly in areas of biodiversity, endangered habitats and endangered species. It provides action grants for best practices, pilot and demonstration projects that contribute to the implementation of the EU Habitats Directive, the EU Birds Directive, the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 and the development, implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network.
Species such as the brown bear, wolf, and various species of birds are among the species that have benefited the most from LIFE projects. More than 400, which is more than one-third, of endangered species listed in the Birds and Habitats Directives, are the subject of at least one LIFE project. LIFE funds also financed more than 1,000 management plans in the Natura 2000 network. This is an essential step in the fight against the loss of biodiversity. Other projects created ecological corridors and urban habitats for wildlife species, introduced climate change adaptation measures, supported ecosystem services, and raised awareness of the importance of biodiversity. More than 100 LIFE projects have helped tackle the problem of invasive alien species.
The LIFE Programme is currently one of the most important funding sources for biodiversity projects for the Member States of the European Union. Other countries that are not the Member States are a part of projects financed by the LIFE Programme as partners or through cross-border collaboration.
More information on the official page of the LIFE Program of the European Commission