Budget boost for EU’s LIFE programme


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Launched in 1992, the LIFE programme has co-financed more than 4.600 projects in the EU and third countries, being the most valuable funding line for the work of protected areas and Natura 2000 sites. Since its creation, LIFE has been through different funding periods. Recent changes made by the European Commission enabled an increase of the budget allocated to the LIFE Programme and an increase in budget is being negotiated for the period 2021-2027.

LIFE programme: the EU’s funding instrument for environment and climate action.

On 25 October, the European Commission approved a funding package for the LIFE programme. The EUR 243-million budget is part of a total investment of EUR 430.7 million to support 142 projects selected in 2018. According to Mr Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries,

the Life Programme helps many talented Europeans to find solutions to some of today’s greatest environmental concerns – air pollution, water scarcity, plastic waste, biodiversity and resource loss. And it continues to deliver value for money.


The LIFE programme funds projects supporting nature, the environment and quality of life in the EU’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future. Among the main priorities, funding will be allocated in projects to reduce conflicts between people and wildlife, to support the restoration of relevant ecosystems, and to incentivize manufacturers reusing plastics in the automotive, construction and packaging industries as part of the LIFE programme’s support for the European Commission’s European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy.

Life in Numbers

The biggest investment of EUR 196.2 million will be done in the fields of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity, and environmental governance and information. An additional EUR 46.8 million will support climate change mitigation, adaptation, and governance and information projects.

This funding also includes support for Member States to draft their 2030 national climate and energy plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 % compared to 1990 levels.

The themes supported by the LIFE programme include:

  • 55 environment and resource-efficiency projects;
  • 40 nature and biodiversity projects;
  • 15 environmental governance and information projects;
  • 11 climate change mitigation projects; 
  • 17 climate change adaption projects; (including the recent EUROPARC project Life NaturAdapt
  • and 4 climate governance and information projects.

In the current 2014-2020 funding cycle, LIFE will invest EUR 3.4 billion, with some 1 100 projects ongoing at any time.

In the 2021-2027 cycle, the European Commission is proposing to boost funding for LIFE by almost 60 %.

Follow the LIFE Programme page to know about the current call for proposals, and read more about who can apply and how to apply.