The LIFE Programme
The LIFE Programme (French: L’Instrument Financier pour l’Environnement) is the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.
LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been four complete phases of the programme (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999, LIFE III: 2000-2006 and LIFE+: 2007-2013). During this period, LIFE has co-financed some 3954 projects across the EU, contributing approximately €3.1 billion to the protection of the environment.
The European Commission (DG Environment and DG Climate Action) manages the LIFE programme. The Commission has delegated the implementation of many components of the LIFE programme to the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). External selection, monitoring and communication teams provide assistance to the Commission and EASME. The European Investment Bankwill manage the two new financial instruments (NCFF and PF4EE).
LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017
The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017 has been adopted by a Commission Decision on 19 March 2014, after having received a positive opinion of the Committee for the LIFE Programme for the Environment and Climate Action on 17 February 2014. The work programme applies from the date of its adoption and enters into force as of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It will be published in all EU languages with the exception of Irish.
The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017 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.
For the first time LIFE project funding also will be provided through innovative financial instruments. The LIFE Environment sub-programme contributes to one such instrument, the pilot Natural Capital Financing (NCFF) financial instrument, which falls under the Nature and Biodiversity project area and will help finance biodiversity projects, amongst other things. 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.
LIFE 2014-2020 Regulation
The ‘Environment’ strand of the new programme covers three priority areas: environment and resource efficiency; nature and biodiversity; and environmental governance and information. The ‘Climate Action’ strand covers climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; and climate governance and information. The programme also consists of a new category of projects, jointly funded integrated projects, which will operate on a large territorial scale. These projects will aim to implement environmental and climate policy and to better integrate such policy aims into other policy areas. The new regulation also establishes eligibility and the criteria for awards as well as a basis for selecting projects. The programme is open to the participation of third countries and provides for activities outside the EU. It also provides a framework for cooperation with international organisations. In June 2017, the European Commission will carry out an external and independent mid-term evaluation report and by December 2023 it will complete an ex-post evaluation report covering the implementation and results of the LIFE Programme.