LIFE Programme 2021-2027
The LIFE programme for the period 2021-2027 (French acronym for The Financial Instrument for the Environment) supports projects to protect the environment and climate within the European Union. Launched in 1992, the next 7 years' programme has been projected in line with the international agreements and with the goals of the European Green Deal.
Objectives of Programme
The general objective of the LIFE Programme is to contribute to the shift towards a sustainable, circular, energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate neutral and climate change resilient economy. In particular the goal is to protect, restore and improve the quality of the environment, to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems through the implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network.
The specific objectives of the LIFE Programme are:
- developing innovative techniques, methods and approaches to meet the environmental objectives of the EU, including biodiversity, climate action legislation and policies, including those for the transition to renewable energies and increased energy efficiency, and to contribute to the knowledge base and the application of best practice, in particular in relation to nature and biodiversity, including through support for the implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network;
- supporting the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of relevant Union environmental legislation and policies, including those for nature and biodiversity, and on climate action, transition to renewable energies or increased energy efficiency, including by improving governance at all levels, in particular by enhancing the capacities of public and private actors and the participation of civil society;
- acting as a catalyst for the large-scale deployment of technical and policy solutions proven to be effective in implementing relevant Union environmental legislation and policies, including those for nature and biodiversity, and on climate action, transition to renewable energy or increased energy efficiency, by replicating results, integrating their objectives into other policies and public and private sector practice, mobilising investment and improving access to finance.
Sectors and sub-sectors
The LIFE programme is structured as follows:
- The Environment strand which includes: the Nature and Biodiversity sub-programme and
the Circular Economy and Quality of Life sub-programme;
- The Climate Action strand, which includes: the sub-programme Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation and the Clean Energy Transition sub-programme.
Who can access the programme
Legal entities established in one of the following countries or territories:
- EU Member States, overseas countries or territories associated with them;
- Third country associated with the LIFE Programme;
- Third country listed in the Multiannual work programme;
- Legal entities established under Union law or international organisations.
- Natural persons are not eligible.
Legal entities established in a third country not associated to the LIFE Programme shall be eligible where this is necessary to achieve the objectives of a given action in order to ensure the effectiveness of actions carried out in the Union. Legal entities established in a third country that is not associated to the LIFE Programme shall in principle bear the cost of their participation.
The participation of the following third countries is possible:
- members of the European Free Trade Association who are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), in accordance with the conditions established in the European Economic Area Agreement
- acceding, candidate and potential EU candidate countries in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective Framework Agreements and Association Council Decisions or similar agreements, and with the specific conditions laid down in the agreements between the Union and those countries;
- countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective Framework Agreements and Association Council Decisions or similar agreements, and with the specific conditions laid down in the agreements between the Union and those countries;
- other third countries in accordance with the conditions laid down in a specific agreement, provided that such agreement:
(i) ensures a fair balance between contributions and benefits for the third country participating in Union programmes;
(ii) establishes the conditions for participation in programmes, including the calculation of financial contributions to individual programmes, and the respective administrative costs;
(iii) does not confer decision-making powers on the third country in relation to the Union programme;
(iv) guarantees the Union the right to ensure sound financial management and to protect its financial interests.
- strategic nature conservation projects under the Nature and Biodiversity sub-programme;
- strategic integrated projects under the Circular Economy and Quality of Life sub-programme and under the Climate Action sub-programmes;
- technical assistance projects;
- standard action projects;
- other actions necessary to achieve the general objectives of the programme, including coordination and support actions aimed at capacity building, dissemination of information and knowledge, and awareness raising to support the transition to renewable energies and increase energy efficiency.
Forms of co-financing
A co-financing rate of 60% of the eligible costs is envisaged for all projects (excluding other actions necessary to achieve the general objectives of the programme), rising to 75% in the case of projects financed under the Nature and Biodiversity sub-programme, in particular those concerning priority habitats or priority species for the implementation of Directive 92/43/EEC or bird species for which funding is considered a priority by the Committee for Adaptation to Technical and Scientific Progress.
For non-profit organisations, the co-financing rate covers 70% of eligible costs.
For technical assistance projects, maximum co-financing rates do not exceed 95% of eligible costs during the period of the first multiannual work programme; for the second multiannual work programme and subject to confirmation in that work programme, the co-financing rate drops to 75%.
The total budget of the LIFE Programme is 5.432.000000 euros, broken down as follows:
- 3.488.000.000 euros for the Environment strand, of which
- 2.143.000.000 for the Nature and Biodiversity sub-programme (at least 60 % of the budget resources earmarked for action grants under the Environment strand are reserved for grants for projects supporting the Nature and Biodiversity sub-programme);
- 345.000.000 euros for the Circular Economy and Quality of Life sub-programme.
1.944.000.000 euros for the Climate Action, of which
- 947.000.000 for the sub-programme Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
- 997.000.000 for the Clean Energy Transition sub-programme.