The LIFE Programme and its objectives

The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. LIFE Programme contributes to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and laws by co-financing projects with a high European added value.

The LIFE Programme finances innovative projects demonstrating the effectiveness of new techniques and methodologies in the environmental sector. Besides the so-called “traditional” projects, LIFE also finances “integrated” projects combining LIFE funds with other sources of support to maximise their impact over large areas. LIFE projects can also provide technical assistance, strengthen capacity building and carry out preparatory activities for the development of the European legislation in the environment sector. Moreover, LIFE supports the “European solidarity corps” initiative, offering young people opportunities to be involved in environmental and social activities.

The LIFE Programme is divided into two sub-programmes, Environment and Climate action. The sub-programme Environment includes the three main sectors Environment and resource efficiency, Nature and biodiversity, and Environmental governance and information; each of the sub-programmes includes different thematic priorities. The sub-programme Climate action includes the three main sectors Climate change mitigation, Climate change adaptation, and Climate governance and information.

Since its creation in 1992, four whole cycles of the LIFE Programme have been completed (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999, LIFE III: 2000-2006 AND LIFE+: 2007-2013), and the fifth cycle (2014-2020) is currently in progress. During these 25 years, about four thousand projects have been co-financed across the European Union, contributing to environmental protection with about 3.1 billion euros.

The current funding period 2014-2020 has a budget of € 3.4 billion.

The European Commission, through the DG Environment and DG Climate Action, has directly managed the whole LIFE programme. During the last cycle, the implementation of many components of the programme has been delegated to the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), supported by external teams for the selection, monitoring and communication activities.

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