LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects through the EU. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing pilot or demonstration projects with European added value.
LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been five phases of the programme (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999, LIFE III: 2000-2006, LIFE+: 2007-2013 and LIFE+ 2014 – 2020).In the first four phases, LIFE has co-financed some 3,954 projects across the EU, contributing approximately €3.1 billion to the protection of the environment.
The adoption of the Single European Act in 1986, which for the first time gave EU environmental policy a firm treaty basis, along with the Fifth Environment Action Programme, approved in 1993, really opened the door for the LIFE funding mechanism. These two developments set the pace of environmental reform for the next decade and the LIFE programme was one of the EU’s essential environmental tools.
The Living Bog (LIFE14 NAT/IE/000032) is part of the fifth phase of funding. The LIFE 2014-2020 Regulation (EC) No 1293/2013 was published in the Official Journal L 347/185 of 20 December 2013. The Regulation establishes the Environment and Climate Action sub-programmes of the LIFE Programme for the funding period, 2014–2020. The budget for the period is set at €3.4 billion.
The LIFE programme will contribute to sustainable development and to the achievement of the objectives and targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the 7th Union Environmental Action Programme and other relevant EU environment and climate strategies and plans.
The ‘Environment’ strand of the new programme covers three priority areas: environment and resource efficiency; nature and biodiversity; and environmental governance and information. The ‘Climate Action’ strand covers climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; and climate governance and information.
The programme also consists of a new category of projects, jointly funded integrated projects, which will operate on a large territorial scale. These projects will aim to implement environmental and climate policy and to better integrate such policy aims into other policy areas.
The new regulation also establishes eligibility and the criteria for awards as well as a basis for selecting projects. The programme is open to the participation of third countries and provides for activities outside the EU. It also provides a framework for cooperation with international organisations.
In June 2017, the European Commission will carry out an external and independent mid-term evaluation report and by December 2023 it will complete an ex-post evaluation report covering the implementation and results of the LIFE Programme.
LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity co-finances best practice or demonstration projects that contribute to the implementation of the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and the Natura 2000 network. It also co-finances innovative or demonstration projects contributing to the implementation of the objective of Commission Communication (COM (2006) 216 final) on “Halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 – and beyond”
Natura 2000 is a European network of important ecological sites. It is an EU wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated under the 1979 Birds Directive (79/409/EEC). The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. The establishment of this network of protected areas also fulfills a Community obligation under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Living Bog project sites are all SAC’s and Natura 2000 sites.
A selection of other LIFE Projects in Ireland:
Details of all LIFE Programme projects in Ireland and elsewhere can be found at: www.ec.europa.eu