|Since 1992, the LIFE programme has helped around 5,500 projects flourish across the EU and in third countries. The following is a preview of the new-look EU fund for environment and climate action, which will run until 2027.
To respond to the climate crisis and to help protect Europe's unique ecosystems and biodiversity, the EU has launched several ambitious policies.One of these is the European Green Deal which aims to move to a clean, circular economy while restoring biodiversity and cutting pollution. The new LIFE programme will add to the European Green Deal's objectives by supporting the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, Circular Economy Action Plan and the Renovation Wave Strategy. It will also contribute to the green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The European Commission is increasing LIFE programme funding by almost 60% for the next period. LIFE will also expand into four new sub-programmes - nature and biodiversity, circular economy and quality of life, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and clean energy transition.
Nature and biodiversity - there will be more LIFE projects to help protect Europe’s nature, thereby contributing to sustainable development. New ‘Strategic Nature Projects’ are also foreseen. These will help mainstream nature and biodiversity policies into other areas like agriculture and rural development.
This sub-programme supports the implementation of the EU’s Birds and Habitats Directives, as well as the EU’s Biodiversity strategy for 2030. It will also help develop the Natura 2000 network and contribute to the Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Regulation.
Climate change mitigation and adaptation - cutting greenhouse gas emissions, increasing climate change resilience and boosting awareness of climate change mitigation will remain a top priority.
This sub-programme helps to make the shift towards a sustainable, energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral and resilient economy.
To this end, LIFE projects will support the Commission's Climate Target Plan and its climate neutrality ambitions.
Circular economy and quality of life - LIFE projects will develop technologies and solutions to enhance the circular economy. Projects include the recovery of resources from waste, and others on water, air, noise, soil and chemical management as well as environmental governance. These support the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan.
Also, this sub-programme aims at protecting, restoring and improving the quality of the environment, either through direct interventions or via other policies. And it will continue to implement, monitor and evaluate EU environmental policy and law through Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs).
Clean energy transition - this new addition will fund LIFE projects devoted to energy efficiency and small-scale renewables to support the Clean energy for all Europeans package.
It will ease the transition towards an energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral and resilient economy. And it aims to remove the market barriers that can hamper the socio-economic transition to sustainable energy.
"All of these measures mean that the new and enhanced LIFE programme will promote a greener and more resilient Europe for all of us and for generations to come," commented Angelo Salsi, Head of Unit, LIFE Environment at the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA).
Note: Details of the upcoming LIFE Regulation, multiannual work programme and related calls for proposals are still under discussion and will be published in due course.
Find out more on the new LIFE website here and connect on social media: Twitter @LIFEprogramme, Facebook @LIFE.programme, LinkedIn LIFE Programme and YouTube LIFE programme