LIFE Programme is the financing instrument of the European Union for the environment and the action for the climate. The general objective of The LIFE Programme is to contribute to the execution, the updating and the development of the EU’s politic and legislation about environment and climate through the co-financing of projects with a high European added value.
The LIFE Programme finances innovative projects aimed to demonstrate the efficacy of new techniques and methodologies in the environmental field. Next to the so-called “traditional” projects, LIFE puts beside the “integrated” projects that combine the LIFE loan with other sources of financing, to maximise their impact on extended geographical region. Moreover, LIFE projects could give technical assistance, strengthen the development of the capacity building and carry out preparatory activities for the development of an environmental European legislation. Furthermore, LIFE supports the initiative of the European solidarity corps, giving the opportunities to young people to be involved in activities of environmental and social usefulness.
The LIFE Programme is articulated in the two sub-programs Environment and Action for the climate. The sub-program Environment includes the three main sectors Environment and efficient use of the resources, Nature and biodiversity and Governance and information in the environmental field, each of them includes many thematic priorities. The sub-program Action for the climate includes the three main sectors Mitigation of climate changes, Adjustment to climate changes and Governance and information in the climate field.
From its beginning, in 1992, until now four whole cycles of The LIFE Programme have been completed (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999, LIFE III: 2000-2006 AND LIFE +:2007-2013) and the fifth cycle (2014-2020) is currently in progress. During these 25 years, about four thousand projects have been co-financed throughout the European Union, with a contribution of about 3,1 billion of euros for the environmental protection.
The European Commission through the DG Environment and DG Action for climate, has directly managed the whole LIFE program. During the last cycle, the fulfilment of many components of the program has been delegated to the Executive Agency for the Small and Middle Enterprises (EASME) that has the support of external teams for the selection, the monitoring and the communication.