LIFE + is the only financial instrument of the European Union focused exclusively on co-financing projects in the field of environmental protection. Its main objective is to support the implementation of EU’s environmental law, implementation of environmental policy and identification and promotion of new solutions to environmental problems.
In particular, LIFE + supports the implementation of the Sixth Environment Action Programme of the European Community 2002- 2012 , including its thematic strategies, and provides financial support for measures and projects that enable for added value in the field of environmental protection of EU Member States. This program will be implemented in the years 2007 – 2013 and is a continuation of the LIFE program, implemented in the years 1992 – 2006.
LIFE + financial instrument is a very demanding, covering a variety of topics ranging from nature conservation and biodiversity, by climate change, protection of air, soil and water protection, noise prevention, health protection to the activities increasing public awareness of the environment.
LIFE + comprises three thematic components:
- Component I LIFE + Nature and Biodiversity
The first component focuses on the implementation of the EU directives on the conservation of habitats and of wild birds, as well as further strengthening the knowledge needed for developing, assessing, monitoring and evaluating EU nature and biodiversity policy and legislation; with particular emphasis on areas of NATURA 2000.
Subcomponent Nature focuses on the implementation of two EU directives: No 79/409/EC on the protection of birds, the so-called “Bird directive” and No 92/43/EEC on the protection of habitats, so called. “Habitat directive”. Subcomponent Biodiversity finance innovative and demonstration projects that contribute to achieving the objective set out in Commission Communication COM (2006) 216, “HALTING THE LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY BY 2010 — AND BEYOND. Sustaining ecosystem services for human well–being”.
- Component II LIFE + Environment Policy and Governance
The second component finance innovative and demonstration projects related to the broad understanding of environmental protection, in particular, tackling climate change, health care and improve quality of life, water protection, air protection, soil protection, noise protection, forest monitoring and fire protection, sustainable management of natural resources and waste, as well as the development, implementation and evaluation of policies and EU law on environmental protection.
- Component III LIFE+ Information and Communication
Supports information dissemination and awareness raising activities, communication actions and campaigns, and organization of conferences and trainings.
Reversal of negative trends that takes place in the environment requires not only systemic changes, harmonizing social and economic development with environmental opportunities, but also the commitment of both institutions and society to change individual behaviors so as to minimize their negative impact on the environment. Thus, under the third component funds are provided for projects concerned with information and communication campaign to increase public awareness and exchange of best experiences and practices.
Promoting Innovation for the Environment
An important feature of the LIFE + instrument is a promotion of innovative solutions in the field of environmental protection. Hence the requirement that the projects prepared for funding under Component II and Component I, Subcomponent Biodiversity, were demonstrational or innovative. In this respect the LIFE + aims to transfer pro-environmental solutions developed by scientists on “practical grounds”.
A very common problem for our researchers is the lack of resources to test in wider scope solutions that have worked in a laboratory scale. LIFE + helps in such cases, but on condition that the developed ideas add to the environment protection. One of the possibilities offered by LIFE + for innovative solutions is that it finances prototypes in 100%.
LIFE + Implementation Rules
The program is managed by the European Commission, which annually announces the call for proposals. Calls are addressed to the Commission through the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, which since September 2008, serves as the National Focal Point of LIFE +. Deadline for submitting LIFE + proposals to the National Fund is indicated in the Calendar.
Funding under LIFE + might be receive by units, entities and public or private institutions registered in any country within the European Community. Beneficiaries can form partnerships to implement individual projects.
Applications for funding under the LIFE + Financial Instrument are published in a special application packages for each component, both on the website of the European Commission and the National Fund.