LIFE Programme: Celebrating 25 Years of Support for the European Nature

LIFE Programme, News

Brussels – The EU celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the LIFE Programme and of the Habitats Directive with events held throughout the months of May and June. All ongoing LIFE-funded projects were invited to host an open day where to communicate the importance of both instruments, raise awareness about the EU nature legal measures and programmes and celebrate achievements in protecting Europe’s wildlife. Past and forthcoming events can be explored on the ‘25 Years LIFE 1992-2017’ website: http://life-25.eu/ and followed via social media using #LIFE25NATURA.

Both the programme and the directive were approved on 21st May 1992 and since then, more than 4,300 projects aiming to preserve the uniqueness of Europe’s nature were co-funded within LIFE. Among the successfully financed projects are two by WWF-Austria and partners: Sustainable protection of lower Danube sturgeons by preventing and counteracting poaching and illegal wildlife tradе (LIFE for Danube Sturgeons, 2016-2020), as well as Joint actions to raise awareness on overexploitation of Danube sturgeons in Romania and Bulgaria that ran from 2012 to 2015.

The ‘LIFE for Danube Sturgeons’ project is still in its early stage – it only started in the end of 2016. So no special event oriented towards the general public was planned out. However, Project Manager Jutta Jahrl took on the European Commission’s invitation to present the model of the project structure at a high-profile EU Green Week event in Brussels on the 31 May 2017. The amazing story of sturgeons was re-told in front of more than 500 delegates through the prism of how to write a project proposal with the participation of EU and non-EU partners and bring it to a successful end. During her presentation and later quoted by the organiсers from the EC, Mrs Jahrl said, ‘The LIFE programme gives you the chance – and resources – to do what you have always considered crucial to do in nature conservation.’

LIFE is one of the EU’s financial instruments that provides financial support to projects focused on environmental, conservation and climate action activities in Europe. The Habitats Directive in conjunction with the Birds Directive compliments the programme by creating the EU’s Natura 2000 network of protected sites. Natura 2000 is considered to be one of the EU’s biggest achievements in nature conservation as it includes more than 27,000 areas. For those who would be interested to get involved in protecting the Europe’s natural world, the LIFE Programme launched its new call for proposals for 2017. Project proposals that plan to tackle climate change would be of particular interest because over €82 million of the projected funding is coming from the sub-programme for Climate Action.