The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing pilot or demonstration projects with European added value.
LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been three complete phases of the programme (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999 and LIFE III: 2000-2006). During this period, LIFE has co-financed some 3104 projects across the EU, contributing approximately €2.2 billion to the protection of the environment.
LIFE+ (2007 – 2013)
The, LIFE+ programme runs from 2007-2013 and has a budget of €2.143 billion. The legal basis for LIFE+ is the Regulation (EC) No 614/2007. LIFE+ covers both the operational expenditure of DG Environment and the co-financing of projects. According to Article 6 of the LIFE+ Regulation, at least 78 percent of the LIFE+ budgetary resources must be used for project action grants (i.e. LIFE+ projects).
During the period 2007-2013, the European Commission will launch one call for LIFE+ project proposals per year. Proposals must be eligible under one of the programme’s three components: LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance, and LIFE+ Information and Communication.
LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity
The Nature & Biodiversity component continues and extends the former LIFE Nature programme. It will co-finance best practice or demonstration projects that contribute to the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Natura 2000 network. In addition, it will co-finance innovative or demonstration projects that contribute to the implementation of the objectives of Commission Communication (COM (2006) 216 final) on “Halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 – and beyond”. At least 50percent of the LIFE+ budget for project co-financing must be dedicated to LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity projects.
LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governance
The Environment Policy & Governance component continues and extends the former LIFE Environment programme. It will co-finance innovative or pilot projects that contribute to the implementation of European environmental policy and the development of innovative policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments. It will also help monitor pressures (including the long-term monitoring of forests and environmental interactions) on our environment.
LIFE+ Information & Communication
This new component will co-finance projects relating to communication and awareness raising campaigns on environmental, nature protection or biodiversity conservation issues, as well as projects related to forest fire prevention (awareness raising, special training).
The full text of the LIFE+ Regulation and information for each LIFE+ component – including how to apply for funding, project selection criteria and application forms – can be found on the funding section of the LIFE website.
The LIFE homepage also contains information on the LIFE III programme and projects, including a user-friendly database of all LIFE projects funded since 1992.