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The Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE)

Launched in 1992, LIFE (The Financial Instrument for the Environment) is one of the spearheads of Community environment policy.

LIFE cofinances environmental initiatives in the European Union and certain third countries bordering on the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea, and in those EU candidate countries that have decided to participate.

Essential facts about LIFE

400 million euros were allocated for the first phase (1992-1995), approximately 450 million euros were allocated for the second phase (1996-1999), the third phase, "LIFE III" (2000-2004) had a budget of 640 million euro. LIFE III was extended (2005-2006) by Regulation (EC) No 1682/2004 of 15 September 2004 with a budget of 317 million euro.

LIFE contributes to the implementation, development and enhancement of the Community environmental policy and legislation as well as the integration of the environment into other EU policies. LIFE also supports the development of new solutions to environmental problems facing the EU. LIFE works towards the implementation of Community policy defined by the Sixth Action Programme for the Environment based on a practical approach.

LIFE is open to all 'legal persons'; projects financed by LIFE must meet the following general criteria.

1. Correspond to the priorities established at Community level and contribute to the objectives defined     above;
2. Be submitted by technically and financially sound participants;
3. Be feasible in terms of technical content, timetable and budget and offer good value for money

Thematic approach
LIFE consists of three thematic components: LIFE-Nature, LIFE-Environment and LIFE-Third countries.

Calls for proposals
The last call for proposals under the extension of LIFE III was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on the 21 June 2005 (OJ C 149 of 21.06.2005). Visit the Funding pages on this site for further information about the 2005-2006 call for proposals, however the deadlines for the submission have expired. There will be no further call under the current LIFE III programme.
The new financial support programme for environmental policy, LIFE+, which was proposed by the Commission in September 2004 and for which agreement was reached by the EU environment council meeting in Luxembourg on 27 June 2006, may provide future opportunities for funding. For further information on LIFE+, visit the Future of LIFE page.

Under the first three phases and extension of the LIFE programme, each year call for proposals were published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ). Proposals were sent via the Member States and evaluated by the Commission, which was responsible for the financial control and monitoring of the implementation of LIFE projects. Accompanying measures ensured the on-site monitoring of projects, dissemination of results and, in the case of LIFE-Nature, encourage certain forms of cooperation and exchange of experiences between similar projects (Starter and Co-op measures).

2751 LIFE projects were supported from 1992 to 2006:
-   970 LIFE-Nature projects,
- 1552 LIFE-Environment projects,
-   229 LIFE-Third Countries projects