Advocating for the future of the EU LIFE Programme

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The EU multi-annual financial framework (MFF) is being reviewed by the European Union for the programming period post-2020. Discussions have started, and EUROPARC, together with several NGOs, wants to ensure that adequate funding for nature conservation is kept. 

The LIFE Programme is the main direct instrument that helps implementation on the ground, and over the past 25 years, has been a great support for the protection of Europe’s species and habitats. Recently, the European Commission’s mid‐term evaluation of the LIFE programme confirmed the LIFE programme is delivering in line with set targets.

There is evidence of a positive cost‐benefit ratio when comparing funding to societal gains and LIFE appears to cost less to manage than the other EU funded programmes. It is estimated that projects funded in the 2014 call for proposals will produce a benefit to society of approximately €1.7 billion, more than four times the overall LIFE budget for 2014.

European Protected Areas have widely trusted in the LIFE Programme to implement their conservation activities.  LIFE is also a crucial instrument that can contribute to implementing the EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy, that has been recently published by the European Commission. Therefore,

EUROPARC believes the EU LIFE programme should continue and be strengthened with a focus on supporting better implementation of the nature directives.

To raise EUROPARC’s position and stress the importance of the LIFE Programme, over the last months EUROPARC team in Brussels, President Ignace Schops and Executive Director Carol Ritchie, have organised several meetings with Members of the European Parliament (MEP).

Moreover, EUROPARC and 16 organisations members of the European Habitats Forum sharing the same position regarding the programme, have sent today a joint letter to the European Commission reinforcing the importance of the EU LIFE Programme. The full letter can be downloaded here and below we share with you the main highlights.

The EU LIFE Programme in the next Multi‐annual Financial Framework (MFF)

The above mentioned members of the European Habitats Forum (EHF) have agreed the following position regarding the EU LIFE Programme:

LIFE in the future EU budget:

The LIFE programme should continue in the next MFF as a standalone funding instrument. The European Commission should acknowledge the value for money of the LIFE programme, the high return rates and potential for job creation from green investments and propose a significant increase in the LIFE budget.

  • Funding for LIFE should receive at least 1% of the total EU budget (currently receives only 0,3%)
  • At least 50% of the LIFE budget should be dedicated to the LIFE Nature and Biodiversity sub‐programme
  • The general co‐financing rate should be increased to 75% to overcome financial constraints of applicants
  • The administrative burden should be reduced and a two‐step application procedure introduced

Why LIFE is important:

  •  LIFE promotes the EU and European integration
  • LIFE promotes the values of the EU
  • LIFE saves species from extinction
  • LIFE is value for money – The LIFE funds bring jobs and growth. A study estimated that over its seven year duration the LIFE Programme creates 74 500 jobs (FTE), an economic growth of 9,3 billion EUR and the value of the results achieved through Nature projects alone is estimated to be 43 billion EUR.
  • LIFE has lasting results
  • LIFE brings people together
  • LIFE innovates

Download the full letter sent to the European Commission – LIFE Position

LIFE is the only financial instrument under the EU budget wholly dedicated to the environment, nature conservation and climate change. The fund is very small: only 0,3% of the EU budget, with LIFE Nature and Biodiversity Action Grants allocated around 40% of the LIFE budget.