On April 30th, an Info Day about LIFE programme has been organized at the European Commission. The event has been an opportunity to present the 2019 LIFE Call for project proposals, launched on April 4th, and to networking with fellow participants to share experience, match with potential new partners and meet representatives of the LIFE Programme from the European Commission.

The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action, with an overall budget of €3.4 billion for the current funding period 2014-2020. The general objective 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.

The morning session of the Info Day has been opened by Julien Guerrier, the Director of EASME, the European Executive Agency in charge of the implementation of many components of the LIFE programme. Then, Humberto Delgado Rosa, Commission officer at the DG Environment, and Philip Owen, Commission officer at the DG Climate Action, highlighted the present and the future of the EU policies in this field. In particular, Mr. Owen remembered the EU’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement to reduce by 40% the GHG emissions. Thus, in the recent years the EU has legislated for:

  • 43% reduction in ETS sectors and 30% reduction in non-ETS sectors;
  • Extension of land use accounting;
  • 5% reduction in car emissions by 2030;
  • 30% reduction in truck emissions by 2030;
  • 32% renewables and 32.5 % energy efficiency.

Looking to the future, the EU needs to develop a long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy by 2020, in line with the Paris Agreement. On 24 December 2018, the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action entered into force. The regulation calls on the Commission to present an EU long-term strategy by April 2019, including pathways that achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050 and negative emissions thereafter.

Then, Angelo Salsi and Maja Mikosinska, officers at the EASME, presented the 2019 LIFE call.  The call is opened to all legal persons registered in the EU: public bodies (local authorities, national administrations etc.), private commercial organizations and private non-commercial organisations (NGOs etc.).

The LIFE programme is divided into two sub-programmes, one for environment (representing 75% of the overall financial envelope) and one for climate change (representing 25% of the envelope). Each sub-programme identifies key priority areas: the Environment sub-programme focus on Resource Efficiency, Nature and Biodiversity and Environmental Governance and Information, while the Climate Action sub-programme covers the priority areas of Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Change Adaptation and Climate Change Governance and Information.

Compared to previous year, the 2019 Call presents an increased budget earmarking for the priority area of Biodiversity (from 55 to 60.5%). Thus, for the Environment sub-programme the number of topics reduced (passing from 87 to 42), simplifying the policy priorities framework. Finally, both sub-programmes aim at a more result-oriented approach, introducing the requirement of “measurable effects” under all priority areas. Thus, the 2019 Call encourages a further engagement of private entities by highlighting the advantages of the close-to-market approaches.

The last part of the morning session has been focused on good actions for presenting project proposals, with the intervention of Fabio Leone and Anne Vermaelen. In particular, they stressed the importance of reading carefully some specific documents which can be found on the website of the Programme, such as the LIFE Regulation (in particular the Priority Areas), the guides for the evaluation of the project proposal, the application package and the projects database.

Overall, the Info Day has been a great success. 400 people have attended the event and approximately 470 networking meetings took place, while more than 2000 people virtually assisted to the web streaming session.