What is a LIFE project?

The European funding instrument for the environment

Commisione europea

LIFE began in 1992, the same crucial year of the Rio Summit, when the public and governments became conscious of the need to protect the environment. The Chernobyl disaster, the ozone depletion, climate change, the loss of biodiversity gave a decisive push to the elaboration, in a short time, of European policies and institutions specifically dedicated to environmental protection. In the same year the Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitat Directive) was adopted.

Since 1992 to date there have been four complete phases of the LIFE programme that co-financed about 4.000 projects.
The latest LIFE 2014-2020, based on the EU Regulation no. 1293/2013, establishes the Programme for the environment and climate action, which has as its objectives:

  • to contribute to the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy;
  • to contribute to the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment and to halting and reversing the biodiversity loss, also by supporting the Natura 2000 network and by fighting ecosystems degradation;
  • to improve the development, implementation and enforcement of the European Union environmental and climate policy and legislation;
  • to promote the integration and mainstreaming of environmental and climate objectives into other policies and public and private sector practices;
  • to increase the support to environmental and climate governance at all levels;
  • to contribute to the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme "Living well, within the limits of our planet".

Heir of the former LIFE + programme, the new LIFE programme offers a wide range of project types and priority areas to work on.
With a budget of almost three and a half billion Euros, the programme is divided into two sub-programmes: "Environment", with three priority areas (Environment and Resource Efficiency, Nature and Biodiversity, Environmental Governance and Information), and "Climate action", also with three priority areas (Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Change Adaptation, Climate Governance and Information).

    The main new entry of LIFE 2014-2020 is the possibility to present, besides "traditional projects" that essentially reproduce the characteristics of LIFE + 2007-2013 projects, other categories of projects: pilot projects, demonstration projects, best practice projects, integrated projects, technical assistance projects, capacity-building projects, preparatory projects, information, awareness and dissemination projects.

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    last modified 2020-06-04T11:12:20+02:00
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