The LIFE programme is the EU’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 ongoing LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020 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 LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020 was adopted by the European Commission on 12 February 2018, after representatives from EU countries unanimously declared their support for the programme on 22 November 2017. The document specifies how, over the coming years, LIFE will focus its policy objectives, share out its budget, and streamline administrative tasks like applying for funds.
The new multiannual work programme details how the LIFE programme will allocate resources among areas of policy priority in 2018-2020. It clarifies budgets by specifying what kind of projects can receive support within sub-programmes for Environment and Climate Action. In total, €1 243.81 million will be earmarked for work on nature conservation and environmental protection, and a further €413.25 million for climate action. The multiannual work programme for 2018-2020 will also increase LIFE’s budget for nature conservation and biodiversity by 10%. In parallel, the total number of project topics in the sub-programme for Environment has come down from 87 to 42.
The sub-programme for Environment covers the priority areas Environment and Resource Efficiency, Nature and Biodiversity, and Environmental Governance and Information. Each of the priority areas covers several thematic priorities, listed in Annex III to the LIFE Regulation.
The sub-programme for Climate Action covers climate change mitigation, adaptation and governance and communication priority areas (Articles 13-16 of the LIFE Regulation). Each priority area contains a number of policy areas set out in Section 4 below, which are considered of particular interest throughout the period covered by the present multiannual work programme.