The Environment sub-programme of LIFE 2014-2020 is the main EU funding mechanism for projects in the area of the environment. The sub-programme focuses on the priority areas of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity and environmental governance and information.
The European Commission’s Proposal for a regulation on the establishment of a Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) was published on 12 December 2011 (COME (2011) 874 final.
The LIFE 2014-2020 Regulation (EC) No 1293/2013 was published in the Official Journal L 347/185 of 20 December 2013.
LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been four phases of the programme – LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999; LIFE III: 2000-2006; LIFE+ 2007-2013.
The most common legal basis for environmental and climate legislation is Article 192 of the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) which empowers the European Parliament and the Council to decide what action should be taken by the Union in order to achieve the environmental objectives which are set out in Article 191 of TFEU. The Lisbon Treaty in particular strengthened the emphasis on climate action by making combating climate change an explicit part of the environmental objectives.
Article 11 of TFEU lays down the obligation to integrate environmental protection requirements into the definition and implementation of the Union policies and activities, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development.
Article 8 of the Habitats Directive explicitly links the delivery of conservation measures to the provision of Union co-financing.
Objectives of Fund
The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It is intended to be complementary to other EU funding programmes, including the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and Horizon 2020. In particular, the LIFE Programme will encourage the uptake of environmental and climate-related research and innovation results of Horizon 2020.The objective of the Programme is to be a catalyst for promoting implementation and integration of environmental and climate objectives in other policies and in Member State practice.
The general objectives of the LIFE Programme are to:
- Contribute to the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, to the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment and to halting and reversing biodiversity loss, including the support of the Natura 2000 network and tackling the degradation of ecosystems.
- Improve the development, implementation and enforcement of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation, and to act as a catalyst for, and promote, the integration and mainstreaming of environmental and climate objectives into other EU policies and public and private sector practice, including by increasing the public and private sector’s capacity.
- Support better environmental and climate governance at all levels, including better involvement of civil society, NGOs and local actors.
- Support the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme.
The Sub-programme for Environment covers the priority areas of:
- Environment and Resource Efficiency
- Nature and Biodiversity
- Environmental Governance and Information
The LIFE Programme for Climate Action (2014-2020) is reported separately.
March 2014 – Multiannual Work Programme adopted
The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017 was adopted by a Commission Decision on 19 March 2014.
The work programme sets the framework for the next four years for the management of the new LIFE Programme 2014-2020. It 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 project funding will also be provided through innovative financial instruments. For example, the LIFE Environment sub-programme will contribute to the pilot Natural Capital Financing (NCFF) financial instrument, which falls under the Nature and Biodiversity project area and will help finance biodiversity projects.
The work programme also features an indicative timetable for the Calls for Proposals for action and operating grants as well as for the two pilot financial instruments covered by it. The first calls are scheduled for May/June 2014.
There is a proposed allocation of €3.4 billion for the LIFE Programme over the period 2014-2020. This will be divided as follows:
- Environment – €2.6 billion
- Climate Action – €800 million
The sub-programme Environment has a budget of €1.3 billion for the period 2014-2017. The allocation for each priority area is as follows:
- Environment and Resource Efficiency – €495.85 million
- Nature and Biodiversity – €610.07 million
- Environmental Governance and Information – €163 million
At least 55% of funding allocated to action grants will be earmarked for projects supporting the conservation of nature and biodiversity, with a clear emphasis on Natura 2000.
Up to 60% of eligible costs are available for all projects in the first four years of the Programme, and up to 55% for all projects the final three years of the Programme with the following exceptions:
- Up to 60% of eligible costs for integrated projects, technical assistance projects and preparatory projects for the entire duration of the programme.
- Up to 75% of eligible costs are available for projects funded under the Environment sub-programme priority area Nature and Biodiversity that concern priority habitats or species for the implementation of Directive 92/43/EEC or the species of birds considered as a priority for funding by the Committee for Adaptation to Technical and Scientific Progress set up pursuant to Article 16 of Directive 2009/147/EC when necessary to achieve the conservation objective.
- Up to 100% of funding for capacity building projects.
Match Funding Restrictions
Generally, match funding of 40% will be required.
Who Can Apply
Eligible applicants are likely to include:
- National, regional and local authorities
- International organisations
- Non-governmental organisations active in the field environment and/or climate action
- Private bodies including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Member States of the European Union – exceptionally outside of the EU or international in scope
PRIORITIES AND THEMES
Nature and Biodiversity
Priority under this thematic area will generally be given to pilot and demonstrative projects, unless otherwise stated. The specific objective of this priority area is ‘to contribute to the development and implementation of EU policy and legislation in the area of nature and biodiversity, including the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, and Directives 92/43/EEC and 2009/147/EC, in particular by applying, developing, testing and demonstrating approaches, best practices and solutions’.
LIFE Nature and Biodiversity will focus on Natura 2000 to ensure full delivery of the commitments concerning target 1 of the Biodiversity strategy. At the same time, it will promote Biodiversity projects mostly aimed at testing and demonstrating new ways to address wider biodiversity concerns.
The thematic priorities are:
- Nature: activities for the implementation of Directives 92/43/EEC and 2009/147/EC, in particular:
- Activities aimed at improving the conservation status of habitats and species, including marine habitats and species, and bird species, of EU interest.
- Activities in support of the Natura 2000 network bio-geographical seminars.
- Integrated approaches for the implementation of prioritised action frameworks.
- Biodiversity: activities for the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, in particular:
- Activities aimed at contributing to the achievement of Target 2.
- Activities aimed at contributing to the achievement of Targets 3, 4 and 5.
Environment and Resource Efficiency
All projects under this priority area will be either pilot or demonstrative projects. The specific priority is ‘to develop, test and demonstrate policy or management approaches, best practices and solutions’. This includes the development and demonstration of innovative technologies to environmental challenges which are suitable to be replicated, transferred or mainstreamed.
Priority will be given to projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown EU wide.
The thematic priorities are:
- Water, including the marine environment: activities for the implementation of the specific objectives for water set out in the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th Environment Action Programme, particularly:
- Integrated approaches for the implementation of Directive 2000/60/EC.
- Activities for the implementation of the Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.
- Activities for the implementation of the programme of measures of the Directive 2008/56/EC with a view to achieving good environmental status of marine waters.
- Activities to ensure safe and efficient use of water resources, improving quantitative water management, preserving a high level of water quality and avoiding misuse and deterioration of water resources.
- Waste: activities for the implementation of the specific objectives for waste set out in the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th Environment Action Programme, particularly:
- Integrated approaches for the implementation of waste plans and programmes.
- Activities for the implementation and development of EU waste legislation, with particular emphasis on the first steps of the EU waste hierarchy (prevention, re-use and recycling).
- Activities for resource efficiency and lifecycle impact of products, consumption patterns and dematerialisation of the economy.
- Resource Efficiency, including soil and forests, and green and circular economy: activities for the implementation of the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and of the 7th Environment Action Programme that are not covered by other thematic priorities, particularly:
- Activities for industrial symbiosis and knowledge transfer, and development of new models for the shift towards a circular and green economy.
- Activities for the Soil Thematic Strategy (Commission Communication of 22 September 2006 entitled “Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection”) with special emphasis on mitigation and compensation of soil sealing, and improved land use.
- Activities for forest monitoring and information systems, and to prevent forest fires.
- Environment and Health, including chemicals and noise: support activities for the implementation of the specific objectives for environment and health set out in the 7th Environment Action Programme, in particular:
- Support activities for the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council (REACH) and Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Biocidal Products Regulation) to ensure a safer, more sustainable or economical use of chemicals (including nanomaterials).
- Support activities to facilitate the implementation of Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (Noise Directive) in order to achieve noise levels that do not give rise to significant negative impacts on and risks to human health.
- Support activities for avoiding major accidents in particular facilitating the implementation of Directive 2012/18/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (Seveso III Directive).
- Air quality and emissions, including urban environment: support activities for the implementation of the specific objectives for air and emissions in the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th Environment Action Programme, in particular:
- Integrated approaches to the implementation of Air quality legislation.
- Support activities to facilitate compliance with EU air quality and related air emissions standards including Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and the Council (National Emissions Ceilings Directive).
- Support activities for the enhanced implementation of Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (Industrial Emissions Directive) with a special emphasis on improving BAT definition and implementation process, ensuring easy public access to information and enhancing the contribution of the IED to innovation.
Environmental Governance and Information
The specific objective of this thematic priority is ‘to promote awareness raising on environmental matters, including generating public and stakeholder support of EU policy-making in the field of the environment, and to promote knowledge on sustainable development and new patterns for sustainable consumption’.
The thematic priorities are:
- Environmental Governance and Information:
- Information, communication and awareness raising campaigns in line with the priorities of the 7th Environment Action Programme.
- Activities in support of effective control process as well as measures to promote compliance in relation to EU environmental legislation, and in support of information systems and information tools on implementation of Union environmental legislation.
TYPES OF PROJECTS
Pilot projects – projects that apply a technique or method that has not been applied or tested before, or elsewhere, and that offer potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best practice.
Demonstration projects – projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the project’s specific context, such as geographical, ecological, socio-economic, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances.
Best practice projects – projects that apply appropriate, cost-effective, state-of-the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project.
Integrated projects – projects implementing in a sustainable manner, on a large territorial scale, in particular, regional, multi-regional or national scale, environmental or climate strategies or action plans required by specific environmental or climate Union legislation, pursuant to other Union acts or developed by Member States’ authorities.
Technical assistance projects – projects aimed at supporting the preparation of integrated projects.
Capacity-building projects – projects providing support to the activities required to build the capacity of Member States, including LIFE national or regional contact points, with a view to enabling Member States to participate more effectively in the LIFE Programme.
Preparatory projects – projects in support of specific needs for the implementation and development of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation.
Information, awareness and dissemination projects – projects aimed at supporting communication, dissemination of information and awareness raising in the fields of the sub-programmes for Environment and Climate Action.
How To Apply
2014 Call for Action Grants
- Traditional projects: 16 October 2014
- Preparatory projects: 29 October 2014
- Integrated projects Phase 1 concept note: 10 October 2014
- Technical Assistance projects: 15 September 2014
- Capacity Building projects: rolling basis until 30 September 2015
Link to guidelines: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/life2014/index.htm
Applicants must use the LIFE 2014 application packages (in English only) for the preparation of proposals. Application packages are available to download from the LIFE website and contain full and detailed explanations with regard to eligibility, procedures and all other relevant details.
For “Traditional” projects, applicants must use the eProposal tool to create and submit proposal(s). A link is available on the LIFE website
All other types of projects must use the application forms provided in the corresponding application package. These can be downloaded from the LIFE website
Information taken from Grantfinder, Idox