The European Commission has recently approved funding for 225 new projects under the LIFE+ programme, the European Union's environment fund. The projects selected were submitted by beneficiaries in all 28 Member States and cover actions in the fields of nature conservation, climate change, environmental policy and information and communication on environmental issues across the EU. Overall, they represent a total investment of some €589.3M, of which the EU will provide €282.6M.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “In the final year of the current programming period, the LIFE+ programme once again demonstrates its ability to deliver essential financial support for environmental and nature conservation projects with significant added value for the EU. These latest projects will make a vital contribution to the preservation, conservation and enhancement of Europe’s natural capital, as well as helping to achieve sustainable growth through investment in a low carbon and resource efficient economy. The widely acknowledged success of LIFE+ and its projects has ensured the recent adoption of a new LIFE Regulation for Environment and Climate Action, with an increased budget, for the period 2014-2020”
Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said: "I am happy to see so many innovative projects also this year. And to make them happen, we will contribute with more than €41.2M, with a total budget of €109.4M. An ever rising share of LIFE projects is contributing to climate action. And we want to improve this even more: The new LIFE programme from 2014 to 2020 will foresee over 850 million Euros dedicated to climate action. This will roughly triple the amount which is spent on climate action."
The Commission received 1 468 applications in response to its latest call for proposals, which closed in June 2013. Of these, 225 were selected for co-funding through the programme’s three components: LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance and LIFE+ Information and Communication.
1) LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity projects improve the conservation status of endangered species and habitats. Of the 342 proposals received, the Commission selected 92 projects for funding from partnerships of conservation bodies, government authorities and other parties. Led by project beneficiaries in 25 Member States, they represent a total investment of €262.5M, of which the EU will provide some €147.9M. The majority (79) are Nature projects, contributing to the implementation of the Birds and/or Habitats Directives and the Natura 2000 network. The other 13 are Biodiversity projects, a LIFE+ project category for pilot schemes that tackle wider biodiversity issues.
2) LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governance projects are pilot projects that contribute to the development of innovative policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments. Of the 961 proposals received, the Commission selected 125 projects for funding from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. The winning projects, led by project beneficiaries in 22 Member States, represent a total investment of €318.5M, of which the EU will provide some €130.8M.
Under this component, the Commission will contribute more than €41.2 million to 33 projects directly tackling climate change, with a total budget of €109.4 million. The selected projects, situated in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, are highlighted in the annex to this press release. In addition, many other projects focusing on other issues will also have an indirect impact on greenhouse emissions.
Other important areas of focus include waste and natural resources, innovation, water, and chemicals.
3) LIFE+ Information and Communication projects disseminate information and raise the profile of environmental issues. Of the 165 proposals received, the Commission selected for funding eight (8) projects from a range of public and private sector nature and/or environment organisations. The projects are based in six Member States - Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Romania - and represent a total investment of €8.3M, of which the EU will provide some €3.9 M.
Half of the eight projects are concerned with EU environmental policy campaigns, three aim to raise awareness about nature and biodiversity matters and the remaining one is focused on forest fire prevention.
SOURCE: The European Commission