The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action created in 1992. The current funding period 2014-2020 has a budget of €3.4 billion. The LIFE programme began in 1992 and has to date co-financed more than 5,400 projects. Until 2013, LIFE had contributed approximately €3.1 billion to the protection of the environment.
The European Commission proposes to raise the budget of the LIFE programme to €5.4 billion between 2021 and 2027. The new LIFE programme would have four sub-programmes: nature and biodiversity; circular economy and quality of life; climate change mitigation and adaptation; and clean energy transition.
The environment sub-programme funds nature conservation projects in particular in the areas of biodiversity, habitats and species. It provides action grants for best practice, pilot and demonstration projects that contribute to the implementation of the EU’s directives on birds and habitats, the EU’s biodiversity strategy to 2020, and the development, implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network.
Projects receive a co-funding of up to 60%. The co-financing rate can be up to 75% if at least half of the total estimated project costs are used for actions to improve the conservation status of priority habitats or species listed in the EU’s birds and habitats directives.