1. Introduction to LIFE
1.1 What is LIFE?
LIFE is the European Programme for the Environment and Climate Action, for the period from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2020. The legal basis for LIFE is Regulation (EU) No 1293/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013,1 (hereinafter "the LIFE Regulation").
The LIFE Programme is structured in two sub-programmes: the sub-programme for environment and the sub-programme for climate action.
The sub-programme for environment covers three priority areas:
LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency
LIFE Nature and Biodiversity
The thematic priorities for each priority area are further described in Annex III to the LIFE Regulation.
The sub-programme for climate action covers three priority areas:
LIFE Climate Change Mitigation
LIFE Climate Change Adaptation
The overall financial envelope for the implementation of the LIFE Programme is EUR 3.457 Billion, 75% of which is allocated to the sub-programme for environment (EUR 2,592,491,250) and 25% of which is allocated to the sub-programme Climate Action (EUR 864,163,750).
According to Article 17(4) of the LIFE Regulation, at least 81% of the total budget shall be allocated to projects supported by way of action grants or, where appropriate, financial instruments. The second LIFE Multiannual Work Programme covering the period 2018-2020 foresees a budget of EUR 413.25 million for the sub-programme for climate action.2
1.2 "Traditional" projects
Article 2 of the LIFE Regulation defines the various types of projects which may be supported by the LIFE 2014-2020 programme.
The "traditional" types of projects are:
"pilot projects" meaning projects that apply a technique or method that has not been applied or tested before, or elsewhere, and that offer potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best practice and that can subsequently be applied on a larger scale to similar situations;
“demonstration projects” meaning projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the specific context of the project, such as the geographical, ecological and socio- economic context, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances;
“best practice projects” meaning projects that apply appropriate, cost-effective, state- of-the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project;
"information, awareness and dissemination projects" meaning projects aimed at supporting communication, dissemination of information and awareness raising in the fields of the sub-programmes Environment and Climate Action.
The following table summarizes which type of project may be submitted to which priority area within the sub-programme for Climate Action:
Types of Action Grant Projects Eligible
Indicative budget Call 2020
Climate Change Mitigation
Best practice, demonstration, and pilot projects
35.9 Mio EUR
Climate Change Adaptation
Best practice, demonstration, and pilot projects
30.2 Mio EUR
Climate Goverance and Information
Information, awareness and dissemination projects
8.0 Mio EUR
The total amount available for co-financing action grants for all types of "traditional" projects under the climate action sub-programme is indicatively set at EUR 74.1 Mio. This allocation is indicative, and subject to the actual number of proposals under each priority area. In the exceptional case, that there would not be a sufficient number of projects passing the quality threshold in one of these three broad categories the allocation of funds would be adjusted accordingly.
Projects financed by the LIFE Programme under one priority area shall avoid undermining environmental or climate objectives in another priority area and, where possible, promote synergies between different objectives as well as the use of green procurement.
1.3 How, where and when to submit a proposal?
Applicants for LIFE funding for action grant projects must submit their proposals using the web tool eProposal available via the LIFE web page.
The application tool contains all administrative (A), technical (B and C) and financial (F) forms required, and functionalities to attach relevant documents (maps, photos, diagrams, graphs, mandatory administrative and financial annexes). For details regarding the application forms, please refer to section 3 of this document. For details regarding the use of the eProposal tool, please refer to Annex 3 of this document.
The proposal can be modified, validated and (re)submitted as many times as needed until the deadline. You are recommended to submit your draft(s) regularly during the entire submission period to avoid last minutes issues with your internet connection or other IT related failures. Each subsequent submission overwrites the previously submitted version (earlier versions are not archived and are therefore not available anymore).
The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) of the European Commission is the Contracting Authority for the proposals covered by these guidelines.
When preparing the proposal, the applicants may wish to consult the relevant LIFE National Contact Point for further information; the complete list of the names and contact addresses of the national/regional authorities for LIFE in the Member States can be found on the LIFE website at
1.4 How will LIFE projects be selected?
The technical methodology for the project selection procedure and the selection and award criteria are described in section 5 of the LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020. For a detailed description of how this procedure will be implemented, please refer to the 'LIFE Climate Action Guidelines for evaluation of project proposals 2020'.
Please note that the e-mail address specified by the applicant as the contact person's e-mail address in form A2 will be used by the Contracting Authority as the single contact point for all correspondence with the applicant during the evaluation procedure. It should therefore correspond to an e-mail account which is valid, active and checked on a daily basis throughout the duration of the evaluation procedure.
The individual grant agreements are expected to be signed by the Contracting Authority in May to June 2021. The earliest possible starting date for projects is 1 July 2021 (detailed timetable in Annex 1).
Applicants must submit their proposals to the Contracting Authority via eProposal before 16:00 Brussels local time on 6 October 2020.
1.5 General Guidance to Applicants
The current chapter replies to some frequently asked questions on how to conceive a LIFE project proposal, applicable to all three priority areas of LIFE Climate Action. For specific guidelines on policy priorities, see section 2; for recommendation on how to fill in the technical and financial forms, please refer to section 3 of this document.
1.5.1 In which language may the proposal be submitted?
The Contracting Authority strongly recommends that applicants fill in the technical part and especially the financial part of the proposal in clear English, although proposals may be submitted in any of the official EU languages, except Irish.
The title of the proposal and form B1 ("Summary description of the project") must always be submitted in English. Form B1 may, in addition, also be submitted in the language of the proposal.
Note that the grant agreement, project management, formal reporting, key deliverables and all communication with the Contracting Authority will have to be in English.
1.5.2 Who may submit a proposal?
A proposal may be submitted by any legal person registered in the European Union.
Entities participating in the proposal may fall into three types of beneficiaries: (1) public bodies, (2) private commercial organisations and (3) private non-commercial organisations (including non-governmental organisations, NGOs).
The term "public bodies" is defined as referring to national public authorities, regardless of their form of organisation – central, regional or local structure – or the various bodies under their control, provided these operate on behalf of and under the responsibility of the national public authority concerned. In the case of entities registered as private law bodies wishing to be considered for the purpose of this call as equivalent to "public law bodies", they should provide evidence proving that they comply with all criteria applicable to bodies governed by public law and in the event the organisation stops its activities, its rights and obligations, liability and debts will be transferred to a public body. For a complete definition, please refer to the annex "Public body declaration", which must be completed by all beneficiaries which wish to be considered and treated as a 'public body'. The only exception concerns those central (e.g.: Ministry) and local administrations (e.g.: Provinces, Municipalities, Regions, etc.) whose nature of 'public body' is clear.
Please note that so called 'Sole traders' (i.e. entities owned and run by one individual and where there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business) are considered natural persons and are therefore not eligible to participate as beneficiary or affiliate in this call.
Please refer to the 'LIFE Climate Action Guidelines for evaluation of project proposals 2020' for full details regarding the compulsory administrative documents which are required with the proposal depending on the legal status of the coordinating beneficiary.
Once a proposal has been accepted for co-funding, the applicant will become the coordinating beneficiary who is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the project. The coordinating beneficiary will be the single point of contact for the Contracting Authority and will be the only beneficiary to report directly to the Contracting Authority on the project's technical and financial progress.
The coordinating beneficiary receives the EU financial contribution from the Contracting Authority and ensures its distribution as specified in the partnership agreements established with the associated beneficiaries (if there are any – see below). The coordinating beneficiary must be directly involved in the technical implementation of the project and in the dissemination of the project results.
The coordinating beneficiary must bear part of the project costs and must thus contribute financially to the project budget. It cannot therefore be reimbursed for 100% of the costs that it incurs.
The coordinating beneficiary must show its legal status (by completing application form A2) confirming legal registration in the EU.
In addition to the coordinating beneficiary, a LIFE proposal may also involve one or more associated beneficiaries and/or one or more project co-financers.
An associated beneficiary may be legally registered outside the European Union, provided that the coordinating beneficiary is based in the EU. In order to be considered as associated beneficiary the entity shall be responsible for carrying out actions outside the EU and those actions must be necessary to achieve EU environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply. In other words, the participation of an entity established outside the EU that will only contribute with the know-how or will collaborate to implement actions in the EU will not be considered as sufficient. The associated beneficiary must always contribute technically to the proposal and hence be responsible for the implementation of one or several project actions. An associated beneficiary must also contribute financially to the project. Furthermore, it must provide the beneficiary with all the necessary documents required for the fulfilment of its reporting obligations to the Contracting Authority.
There is no pre-defined number of associated beneficiaries to be involved in a LIFE proposal. A proposal that is submitted without any participant other than the coordinating beneficiary itself is eligible. Beside this, a beneficiary should not hesitate to associate other beneficiaries, if this would bring an added value to the project, such as when the partnership strengthens the feasibility or the demonstration character of the proposal, its European added value, its impacts and/or the transferability of its results and lessons learnt.
Public undertakings whose capital is publicly owned and which are considered an instrument or a technical service of a public administration, and which are subject to the public administration's control, but are in effect separate legal entities, must become beneficiaries if a public administration intends to entrust the implementation of certain project actions to these undertakings.3
All associated beneficiaries must show their legal status (by completing application form A5), and provide full information on the EU Member State or third country in which they are registered. In addition, all beneficiaries whether registered or not in the EU must declare that they are not in any of the situations foreseen under Article 136(1), 136(4) and 141 of the EU Financial Regulation4 (by signing the application form A3 or A4 – see instructions in section 3 of this document).
For private entities, the Contracting Authority may accept that affiliated entities to a beneficiary participate in a project as long as all conditions listed in the Model Grant Agreement and its Annex X (Financial and Administrative Guidelines) are fulfilled. However, the association of entities as affiliates may complicate the project structure and thus have a negative impact on the technical and financial coherence of the project. It is therefore entirely in the Contracting Authority's administrative discretion to accept affiliates, and in no case will affiliated entities be accepted for public entities or entities that do not comply with the description of affiliated entities hereafter.
Affiliated entities need to comply with the eligibility and exclusion criteria applying to applicants and should have a structural link with the beneficiary concerned (i.e. a legal or capital link) that is neither limited to the project nor established for the sole purpose of the project implementation (so the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the project).
As affiliated entities could be accepted those directly controlled by the beneficiary (i.e. daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries), entities controlling the beneficiary (mother company) OR in case of Memberships, the beneficiary has to be legally defined as a network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities participate. However, if several beneficiaries want to work with the same 'affiliate', the 'affiliate' should be proposed as 'beneficiary' instead.
If you consider using young volunteers for specific actions, please consider applying for the European Solidarity Corps calls. The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is conceived to offer young people between 18 and 30 in Europe the chance to support a non-governmental organisation (NGO), local authority or private company active in addressing challenging situations across the European Union. For further information:
A project co-financer only contributes to the project with financial resources, has no technical responsibilities, and cannot benefit from the EU financial contribution. Furthermore, it cannot act, in the context of the project, as a sub-contractor to any of the project's beneficiaries.
For specific tasks of a fixed duration, a proposal may foresee the use of sub-contractors. Sub-contractors provide external services to the project beneficiaries who fully pay for the services provided. Beneficiaries (including their affiliated entities) may not act as sub- contractors. Sub-contractors should normally not be identified by name in the proposal; if they are, the General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement must still be respected.
For a more detailed description of the respective rules related to the coordinating beneficiary, associated beneficiaries affiliates, co-financers and sub-contractors, please refer to the General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement.
For UK applicants:
Please be aware that following the entry into force of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement5 on 1 February 2020 and in particular Articles 127(6), 137 and 138, the references to legal persons established in a Member State of the European Union are to be understood as including legal persons established in the United Kingdom.
UK legal persons are therefore eligible to participate under this call.
1.5.3 What is the optimal budget for a LIFE project?
There is no fixed minimum size for project budgets. While large ambitious projects (i.e. over EUR 5 million total costs) have been financed several times in the past, small projects (i.e. below EUR 500,000 total costs) have seldom succeeded due to the limited output and consequently the low added value.
Applicants for Climate Action Information and Governance projects are advised that the scale (and the budget) of the proposed actions is sufficiently large to ensure that the project achieves meaningful results with a significant EU added value.
1.5.4 What is the maximum rate of EU co-financing under LIFE?
For the duration of the second LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020, the maximum EU co-financing rate for 'traditional' LIFE projects is 55% of the total eligible project costs.
The payment schedule foreseen is the following:
1st pre- financing
Further pre- financing(s)
No Mid-term report (for projects with a duration of 24 months or less and where the Union contribution is less than or equal to EUR 300,000)
One Mid-term report (for projects with a duration exceeding 24 months or where the Union contribution exceeds EUR 300,000)
Two Mid-term reports (Upon request of the coordinating beneficiary and only in case of projects with a duration of 48 months and where the Union contribution exceeds EUR 4,000,000)
1.5.5 How much should project beneficiaries contribute to the project budget?
The coordinating beneficiary and any associated beneficiaries are expected to provide a reasonable financial contribution to the project budget. A beneficiary's financial contribution is considered as a proof of its commitment to the implementation of the project objectives – a very low financial contribution may therefore be considered as an absence or lack of commitment.
A proposal will be rejected if the financial contribution of any of the beneficiaries to the proposal budget is EUR 0.
Moreover, where public bodies are involved as coordinating and/or associated beneficiaries in a project, the sum of their financial contributions to the project budget must exceed (by at least 2%) the sum of their salary costs charged to the project for personnel who are not considered 'additional'. For details, please refer to section 3.4 of this document.
1.5.6 What is the optimal starting date and duration for a project?
When preparing the project's time planning, beneficiaries should be aware that the expected date of the signature of the grant agreements for the LIFE 2020 projects will be during May and June 2021. The earliest possible starting date for these projects is 1 July 2021. Any costs incurred before the project's starting date will not be considered eligible and cannot be included in the project budget.
There is no pre-determined project duration for a LIFE project. The project duration must correspond to what is necessary to complete all of the project's actions and to reach all its objectives. Most projects last between 2 and 5 years.
Only under exceptional circumstances, the Contracting Authority may decide to grant an extension of the project duration. The experience of the previous LIFE Programmes has shown that many projects had difficulties completing all actions within the proposed project duration, mostly due to unforeseen delays and difficulties encountered during the project. Beneficiaries are therefore strongly advised to build an appropriate safety margin (for example 6 months) into the timetable of their proposal.
Beneficiaries should also be aware that a project that has completed all of its actions prior to the expected end date can submit its final report ahead of schedule and receive its final payment before the official project end date mentioned in the grant agreement.
1.5.7 Where can a LIFE project take place?
LIFE projects shall take place in the territory of the European Union Member States. The LIFE Programme may also finance activities outside the EU and in overseas countries and territories6 (OCTs), provided that the coordinating beneficiary is based in the EU, and strong evidence is provided that the activities to be carried out outside the EU are necessary to achieve EU climate objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply (for example, actions implemented on a transboundary river). Please note that this is clearly an exception, as normally actions should be carried out in the EU. However, when the problem at stake cannot be addressed successfully or efficiently unless actions are carried out also in non-EU countries, this will be possible. Qualitative and quantitative evidence to justify the need for those actions outside the EU must be given in the description of each of these actions in the relevant forms.
1.5.8 Who should manage a LIFE project?
It is expected that the project management is carried out by the staff of the coordinating beneficiary. However, on the basis of an appropriate justification it may be carried out by a sub-contractor under the coordinating beneficiary's direct control. Any other arrangements for the project management would have to be adequately explained and justified. Very often a proper project management implies the involvement of a full-time project manager for a smooth coordination and implementation of the project.
The proposal should clearly describe who will be in charge of the project management, how much personnel and time will be devoted to this task and how and by whom decisions on the project will be made during the project period (i.e. how and by whom the project management will be controlled).
1.5.9 Outsourcing of project activities
The beneficiaries should demonstrate the technical and financial capacity and competency to carry out the proposed project activities. It is therefore expected that the share of the project budget allocated to external assistance should remain below 35%. Higher shares may only be accepted if an adequate justification for this is provided in the project proposal.
The General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement must be respected for any external assistance.
In line with Article 19(3) of the Regulation, beneficiaries (public and private) are strongly advised to use "green" procurement. The European Commission has established a toolkit for this purpose. More information can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/toolkit_en.htm.
1.5.10 Under which conditions does LIFE favour transnational projects?
The LIFE Regulation indicates that, while selecting the projects to be co-funded, the Contracting Authority shall have special regard to transnational projects, when transnational cooperation is essential to guarantee climate objectives. On the basis of award criterion 6, additional points will be given to a proposal if there is sufficient evidence for an added value of the transnational approach. If such evidence can be provided, the proposal will be considered for a higher scoring in the project selection process and will therefore have a higher chance of being selected for co-funding.
N.B.: The meaning of "transnational" as foreseen in the LIFE Regulation only covers cooperation among Member States as well as cooperation among Member States and third countries participating in the LIFE Programme under article 5 of the LIFE Regulation. Activities outside the Union or in overseas countries and territories, while possible as foreseen under article 6 of the LIFE Regulation, will not entail additional points under award criterion 6.
1.5.11 How elaborated should a LIFE proposal be?
A proposal should be as concise and clear as possible. Applicants should avoid voluminous proposals.
Clear and detailed descriptions should be provided for all project actions. Maps should be annexed wherever this would be useful to clarify the location of the proposed actions.
Brochures, CVs and similar documents should not be submitted and will be ignored if provided.
1.5.12 Ongoing activities
Actions already ongoing before the start of the project are not eligible.
Where actions to be undertaken in the project are significantly different from previous or ongoing activities in terms of frequency or intensity they are not considered ongoing. The applicant must provide adequate information in the proposal that allows assessing this aspect.
Exceptionally, in case of actions that were undertaken and completed in the past and that are proposed to be repeated at a similar frequency or intensity during the project, the applicant must provide evidence that such actions would not have been carried out in the absence of the LIFE project.
1.5.13 Sustainability of the project and its actions
LIFE projects represent a considerable investment, and the European Union attaches great importance to the long term sustainability of these investments. The sustainability of the project results in the medium and long term is understood as the capacity to maintain them after project implementation, be it by continuation, by replication or by transfer. It is obligatory that throughout the duration of the project, the beneficiaries consider how these investments will be secured, maintained, developed and made use of or replicated/transferred during or after the end of the project. Successful continuation, replication and/or transfer require a strategy including tasks to multiply the impacts of the projects' solutions and mobilise a wider uptake, reaching a critical mass during the project and/or in a short and medium term perspective after the end of the LIFE project. This goes beyond transfer of knowledge and networking, and involves putting the solutions developed and/or applied in the project into practice beyond the project period, elsewhere or for a different purpose.
All proposals, including those submitted by public authorities, non-profit organisation and research and development agencies, should include a thorough replication and transferability strategy with respective activities and deliverables. The chosen technical scale and foreseen output should clearly allow the implementation and/or continuation of the proposed solution in order to deliver clear, substantial, ambitious and credible climate action related benefits already during the implementation of the project and further 3/5 years after it. Typical projects will have to develop a compulsory replication and transfer plan.
LIFE finances "close-to-market projects
LIFE has financed close-to-market projects since its start in 1992, and many of those are today best available technologies or normal products available for producers and consumers.
Hence, proposals aiming at piloting or demonstrating technical solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or adapting to climate change through eco-innovation, bio- economy, circular economy, innovative technologies and other means are encouraged to present "close-to-market" projects. Such proposals should build on best available technologies and advance the technology readiness levels towards industrial and commercial scale. Industrialisation and commercialisation can already start during the LIFE project, and it should be supported by a credible business strategy, including, for example, market analyses, economic feasibility, a business model, market positioning and competitors, distribution channels, and potential investment. . The development of a credible business plan as well as a replication and transferability plan are compulsory deliverables for close-to- market projects.
For further guidance or for examples of typical activities of close-to-market projects, please see Chapter 2.3.1 of the "Guidelines for applicants 2020: LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency".
1.5.14 Research activities and large infrastructure
Whereas EU funding for research activities is provided under Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014–2020)7, limited research aimed to improve and enhance the knowledge data underpinning the project may be carried out within a LIFE project. Research must be strictly limited and intrinsically related to the project's objectives. The applicant shall explain in detail how the proper implementation of the project relies on these research activities, showing that the existing scientific basis is insufficient, and how the additional knowledge will be used to implement the project actions and reach the objectives. In such a case, scientific publications are considered important deliverables of the project.
Projects dedicated to the construction of large infrastructure do not fall within the scope of the LIFE Programme and are therefore not eligible. A project is considered to be dedicated to the construction of large infrastructure if the cost of a "single item of infrastructure" exceeds EUR 500,000. A "single item of infrastructures" means all elements as described in form F4a that are physically bound to ensure the functionality of the infrastructural investment (e.g. pipes, foundations, or earth movements for blue-green infrastructure8, building to host technical equipment, etc.). Such amount may be exceptionally exceeded if full technical justification is provided in the proposal demonstrating the necessity of the infrastructure for ensuring an effective contribution to the objectives of Articles 14, 15 or 16 of the LIFE Regulation.
1.5.15 Complementarity with other EU funding programmes
According to Article 8 of the LIFE Regulation, activities supported from the LIFE Programme must ensure consistency and synergies, and avoid overlap with other funding programmes of the Union. In particular, the Contracting Authority and the Member States must ensure coordination with the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and Horizon 2020.
The LIFE Programme encourages the uptake of the results of environmental and climate- related research and innovation of Horizon 2020 in projects. Within this context, it offers co- financing opportunities for projects with clear environmental and climate benefits that ensure synergies between the LIFE Programme and Horizon 2020.
It is thus essential that, prior to submitting their proposal to the Contracting Authority, beneficiaries check thoroughly whether the actions proposed under their project in practice could be, or are, funded through other EU funds.
The beneficiaries must inform the Contracting Authority about any related funding they have received from the EU budget, as well as any related ongoing applications for funding from the EU budget. The beneficiaries must also check that they are not receiving on-going operating grants from LIFE (or other EU programmes) that would lead to double financing.
Failure to signal this in the appropriate form A7 might lead to rejection of the proposal.
Please note that this is an area of growing concern, evidence shows that an increasing number of similar or same proposals are submitted to various programmes. Increasingly severe checks and cross-checks are carried out by the contracting authority. Failure to declare that the same or a similar proposal has been submitted to another programme (or worst, already even partly financed) may have serious consequences.
1.5.16 Proposals following or based on previous LIFE projects
If the applicant is proposing a continuation of a previous LIFE project, he should clearly describe in form A7 why a further project phase is needed and how this will complement the results achieved with the previous project. The applicant should also explain when discussing sustainability (form B6), how a further continuation would be ensured with resources other than the LIFE programme. Last, but not least, in the description of every key action (C-forms) the applicant should provide precise information on how this action builds upon and complements the similar action carried out in the previous project phase.
Applicants should also show that they have taken into consideration other LIFE projects financed that addressed a similar issue. They will need to explain how their proposal builds upon or differs from the others and how it will coordinate with them if those projects are still on-going.
During the evaluation process these aspects will be carefully checked.
1.5.17 Quantification of climate benefits
The improved performances/advantages introduced by the proposed solution must be quantified in terms of the expected climate benefits. This must be done by clearly indicating what the chosen baseline is. Climate action benefits must be presented in a life-cycle approach where relevant and shall be clear, substantial, ambitious, as well as credible. In this regard, consistency shall be ensured between climate action benefits described in the relevant forms of the proposal and values reported in the table on LIFE Key project level indicators.
1.5.18 Coordination requirements for multiple proposals aimed at the same/similar issue
Evidence shows that an increasing number of proposals aimed at the same or at a similar issue are submitted, often in the same Member State.
To avoid such situations applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with National Contact Points (https://ec.europa.eu/easme/en/section/life/life-national-contact-points) to check whether the issue that they are targeting is being addressed already by other applicants. If this is the case, applicants are encouraged to seek cooperation to avoid possible overlaps and increase synergies.
1.5.19 May I give financial support to third parties as part of a LIFE traditional project?
Under specific conditions laid down in the Grant Agreement, beneficiaries may provide financial support to third parties in order to assist entities outside the project partnership (e.g. non-profit organisations, local authorities or citizens groups) in the implementation or development of local initiatives that will contribute to the project’s objectives.
Applicants should explain clearly why they wish to provide financial support to third parties, how they will manage the process and provide a list of the different types of activities for which a third party may receive financial support. The proposal must also clearly describe the results to be obtained.
These costs are eligible only if:
a) This type of support is foreseen in the proposal, described and justified as requested above;
b) The criteria for allocation and financial support are transparent, non-discriminatory and clearly documented;
c) The support is provided to legal entities and regulated by specific contracts;
d) The maximum amount allocated to any third party involved may not exceed EUR 20,000 and the total amount of such costs overall may not exceed EUR 100,000 during the lifetime of the project.
2. LIFE Climate Action
2.1 What is LIFE Climate Action?
LIFE Climate Action aims specifically to fulfil the following general objectives as set out in Article 3 of the LIFE programme:
to contribute to the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy;
to improve the development, implementation and enforcement of Union climate policy and legislation;
to act as a catalyst for, and promote, the integration and mainstreaming of climate objectives into other Union policies and public and private sector practice;
to support better climate governance at all levels, including better involvement of civil society, NGOs and local actors.
In December 2019, the European Commission published the European Green Deal Communication, which “resets the Commission’s commitment to tackling climate and environmental-related challenges. The EU has already started to modernise and transform the economy with the aim of climate neutrality. Between 1990 and 2018, it reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 23% while the economy grew by 61%”. The EU’s greenhouse gas emission reductions target for 2030 should be increased to at least 50% and towards 55% compared with 1990 levels in a responsible way.10 Moreover, adaptation to climate change is an essential element of EU climate policy. The current EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change11 will be succeeded in 2020 by a more ambitious new EU Adaptation Strategy.
The transition to a climate-neutral society is about people and their daily lives: how we produce, consume, move, heat or cool our houses, work and live together. Alongside government policies and regulation, all sectors of society and economy have a part to play in the transition. Therefore, the European Green Deal also announced a new European Climate Pact, a broad initiative to give citizens and stakeholders a voice and role in designing new climate actions, sharing information, launching grassroots activities, fostering behavioural change and showcasing solutions that others can follow. The European Climate Pact aims to inform, inspire and foster cooperation between people and organisations ranging from national, regional and local authorities to businesses, unions, civil society organisations, educational institutions, research and innovation organisations, consumer groups and individuals. The European Climate Pact will build on and amplify existing activities, trigger and embrace new ones, offering opportunities for learning, exchange, co- creation and collaboration. In addition, improved governance, in particular through incentives to behavioural changes, awareness raising, capacity building and stakeholders' involvement, is essential to deliver climate objectives.
Projects under this call for proposals should support the implementation of the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality and adaptation objectives, the European Green Deal’s climate and the related policies and measures, including the European Climate Pact.
10 The European Green Deal - COM(2019) 640 final
As indicated in the EU Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of the LIFE Programme12 "specific approaches are required to deal with uneven integration of their objectives into Member States' practices, uneven and inadequate implementation of the legislation in the Member States, and insufficient dissemination of information about, and promotion of, policy goals.”
Therefore, the sub-programme for Climate Action requires projects to contribute to one of the following three priority areas:
Climate Change Mitigation,
Climate Change Adaptation and
Climate Governance and Information.
Projects must choose which priority area they contribute to and indicate this in the application form in eProposal. It is encouraged, where relevant, for projects to contribute to more than one of those priority areas.13
With a view to optimising the use of LIFE Programme resources, links between actions under the LIFE sub-programme for Environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures under the LIFE sub-programme for Climate Action should be fostered14 (for example, climate change adaptation and biodiversity should be promoted, wherever relevant; for forests and soil, water scarcity and droughts, as well as management of flood risks; greenhouse gas reductions and air quality; etc.).
The LIFE Regulation and the EU Adaptation Strategy highlight ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation. As this approach clearly results in multiple benefits, applicants should determine whether the proposal is geared, from its initial conception and design, towards adaptation to climate change or towards nature conservation, and thus apply for the relevant sub-programme of the LIFE Programme. Examples of this may include proposals concerning peatland restoration, coastal realignment or river floodplain restoration.
Projects in urban areas can also promote benefits on both climate change adaptation and mitigation, in addition to environmental policies. Examples of this may include proposals concerning thermal insulation of buildings, green infrastructure and water savings, as well as climate governance through initiatives such as the EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.
Solutions, methods and approaches developed by projects under the LIFE sub-programme for Climate Action should be suitable to be scaled up and supported by private investments, other Union or national funding programmes, as well as financial instruments, where applicable.
Projects in one priority area that might undermine environmental or climate objectives in another priority area will not be funded unless this impact is clearly explained and justified in the proposal and the possible alternatives and mitigation and adaptation measures have been correctly planned if appropriate.
12 13 14
Recital (3) of Reg. No. 1293/2013
Recital (18) of Reg. No. 1293/2013
Recital (16) and (17) of Reg. No. 1293/2013
The experience of past LIFE programmes has highlighted the need to focus efforts on concrete environmental and climate policy priorities and areas for action. Those thematic priorities should not be exhaustive to allow applicants to submit proposals in other areas and to incorporate new ideas to react to new challenges.15 In line with the general objective of the LIFE Regulation, the project applications are especially encouraged to address specific climate challenges in each of the three priority areas, which are outlined below in the form of EU policy areas and work areas.
2.2 What are Climate Action projects?
According to the LIFE Regulation, LIFE Climate Change Mitigation and Climate Change Adaptation projects must be pilot, demonstration or best practice projects:
1) Pilot project means projects that apply a technique or method that has not been applied or tested before, or elsewhere, that offers potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best practice and that can subsequently be applied on a larger scale to similar situations. These projects aim to assess the effectiveness of the method, to inform other stakeholders of the results and to encourage them where appropriate to use the techniques and methods successfully tested in the project.
Note that the application of an established solution action/methodology in a particular geographical region where it has not been applied before is not considered to be a "pilot" activity but a "demonstration" activity.
2) Demonstration project means projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the specific context of the project, such as the geographical, ecological, socio-economic context, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances. In order to achieve the required EU added value, they must be designed to demonstrate whether or not the target techniques and methods work in the project's context. A successful demonstration project is available to all potential stakeholders and aims to encourage other stakeholders to use the techniques and methods demonstrated in the project. Demonstration projects may have a higher EU added value if they take place on a national or transnational level, rather than on a local scale.
As regards the demonstration scale, the project should be implemented on a technical scale that allows the evaluation of the technical and economic viability of the proposed pilot on a larger scale. The proposal must justify the choice of scale for the project in the light of the above. In particular, for projects developing decision support systems, planning tools or the like, there has to be a specific project action implementing the tool to demonstrate its technical and economic viability and to enable a comparison with the baseline situation.
Note that the application of an established best practice action/methodology in a particular geographical region where it has not been applied before is considered to be a "best practice" activity.
Recital (36) of Reg. No. 1293/2013
3) Best practice project means projects that apply appropriate, cost-effective and state-of-the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project. They are available to all potential stakeholders to adopt and illustrate how this can be done.
According to the LIFE Regulation, LIFE Climate Governance and Information are:
4) Information, awareness and dissemination projects aiming at supporting communication, dissemination of information and awareness raising in the fields of the sub-programmes for Environment and Climate Action. They must especially serve one or more of the general objectives of the Climate Governance and Information priority area, in accordance with Article 16 of the LIFE regulation. Projects aiming to enhance climate governance and capacity building are strongly encouraged.
All projects need to contribute to the general objectives of the LIFE programme according to Article 1 of the LIFE Regulation. This means that the climate advantages demonstrated by the project need to have a clear intended application and a potential impact towards achieving a low emission and climate resilient society and/or the integration of climate objectives into the public and private sector.
In order to achieve the required EU added value, the monitoring, evaluation and active dissemination of the main project results16 and/or lessons learnt should be an integral part of the project and its follow up.
16 Including through the European Climate Pact, where relevant. 24
2.3 Priority Area: Climate Change Mitigation
2.3.1 General scope and objectives
The LIFE Regulation states that to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions the priority area of Climate Change Mitigation has in particular the following specific objectives17:
to contribute to the implementation and development of Union policy and legislation on climate change mitigation, including mainstreaming across policy areas, in particular by developing, testing and demonstrating policy or management approaches, best practices and solutions for climate change mitigation;
to improve the knowledge base for the development, assessment, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of effective climate change mitigation actions and measures and to enhance the capacity to apply that knowledge in practice;
to facilitate the development and implementation of integrated approaches, such as for climate change mitigation strategies and action plans, at local, regional or national level;
2.3.2 Link to EU climate policy objectives
Projects under the Climate Change Mitigation Priority Area should contribute to the socially just and sustainable transition towards a climate neutral economy by 2050 and to reaching the EU emission reduction target for 2030, expected to be increased to at least 50% and towards 55% compared with 1990 levels.
Union climate policy and legislation aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions focuses in particular on:
the emissions trading system,
energy and greenhouse gas intensive industrial production,
land use, agriculture and forestry,
conservation and enhancement of natural carbon sinks,
transport and fuels,
fluorinated gases and ozone depleting substances,
carbon capture and use,
carbon capture and storage18,
efforts by all sectors of society and economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (public bodies or private commercial or non-commercial organisations such as national, regional and local authorities, businesses, unions, civil society organisations, educational institutions, consumer groups),
behavioural change, and
greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting.
2.3.3 EU policy areas and related work areas for the 2020 call
According to the LIFE Programme Multiannual Work Programme 2018-202019, the EU policy areas are the following:
Member States' and regional/ local authorities' efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the sectors not covered in the EU Emissions Trading System but covered by the Effort Sharing Decision (EU) 406/2009 and subsequent legislation20: transport and fuels, agriculture, construction (e.g. energy efficiency in buildings), land use, land-use change and forestry;
The development and implementation of greenhouse gas accounting and climate change mitigation in the land use sector;
The development of land management practices which have an impact on emissions and removals of emissions;
Actions which enhance the functioning of the emissions trading system and which have an impact on energy and greenhouse gas intensive industrial production;
Fluorinated gases and ozone – depleting substances;
Greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting by authorities.
Policy areas number 1, 2 and 3 and related work areas:
Projects submitted by private entities supporting the public bodies’ efforts are encouraged.
The development and implementation of greenhouse gas accounting and climate change mitigation in the land use sector;
The development of land management practices which have an impact on emissions and removals of emissions
The Council and the European Parliament have adopted in 2018 the climate legislation setting out how the EU will achieve its Paris Agreement commitment of a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 in the non-ETS sectors. This legislation will be in force as of 2021. The agricultural sector is directly covered by the Effort Sharing Regulation (EU) 2018/842 and the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation (EU) 2018/841. The ESR sets Member States targets for emissions reduction in non-ETS sectors, including transport and fuels, buildings and agriculture. This legislation covers methane and nitrous oxide emissions that are a consequence of agricultural activities (fertiliser use, livestock, manure management and more). Besides, the LULUCF Regulation requires Member States to ensure that the amount of greenhouse gas absorbed by the LULUCF sector is at least equivalent to that emitted. Moreover, the proposal for the future Common Agricultural Policy adopted by the European Commission in 2018 underlines as one of its main objectives the contribution to the EU's environmental and climate goals.
A key challenge for the land use sector is to incentivise measures ensuring that EU activities on landscapes (forests, soils and agriculture) contribute to the Paris Agreement goals. These measures should be implemented in a manner that does not threaten food production, and should aim to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions and removals by 2050, while conserving and enhancing both terrestrial sinks (carbon capture) and reservoirs (carbon storage). For this purpose, innovative solutions need to be tested and implemented taking particular account of their potential replication and transfer across regions and Member States.
The LIFE programme will furthermore support projects enhancing the mitigation role of wetlands and peatlands and tackling the climate change problems posed by soil degradation in its various forms. Finally, actions promoting the cascading use of wood materials may also be included as part of a project, to exploit the importance of harvested wood products both as carbon storage and as substitutes of more polluting fossil-based materials (bio-economy). Such land use measures would contribute to building a low-carbon economy.
Proposals should include good practices that can be replicated and transferred across regions and Member States, and are focused on synergies between environmental and climate actions associated with agriculture, forests and soils including their monitoring.
Proposals should set-up and activate Carbon Farming Programs to address key emission sources and carbon sinks in agriculture. In essence, carbon farming is about setting the right financial incentives for action at the level of the farmer or forester.
Projects related to one or more policy areas n° 1, 2 or 3 should in particular address the specific EU work areas listed below:
New, innovative and cost-efficient landscape and land management techniques, to improve the implementation of mitigation measures such as:
Integrated landscape mapping, to identify emission/removal hot-spot areas in agriculture, and to address these hot-spots by setting up targeted Carbon Farming Programs for agricultural climate action;
Reduction of CH4 emissions from the livestock sector (e.g. feed additive technologies, precision and multi-phase feeding of livestock, better livestock genomics, welfare planning);
Reduction of N2O emissions from fertiliser use (e.g. supporting the uptake of modern fertilizer techniques, improvement of nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency/application technology, carbon audit tools);
Reduction of CO2 emissions from land use and land use change (e.g. land management techniques such as conservation till or no-till, crop residue management, prevention of soil compaction, solar fodder dryers, carbon audit tools);
Enhancement of CO2 removals from land use and land use change (e.g. crop rotations, catch crops, perennial energy crops, agro-forestry, restoration of degraded lands);
Sustainable Forest Management and cascading use of solid biomass
Policy area number 4 and related work areas
4. Actions which enhance the functioning of the emissions trading system and which have an impact on energy and greenhouse gas intensive industrial production.
In order to reach the targets set out in the EU's 2030 Climate and Energy Framework and to contribute to the transformation towards a climate-neutral economy by 2050, significant investments in industrial innovation and demonstration plants are necessary. In this context, LIFE programme supports the development and implementation of advanced low-carbon manufacturing and processing breakthrough solutions. These are essential to maintain the competitiveness of EU industries while ensuring the climate objectives are reached.
Proposals shall focus and target the specific work areas related to energy-intensive industries (EIIs) and in particular those industries which may be exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage.
Therefore, priority will be given to projects focusing on the development and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective technologies and processes, with the objective of reducing the greenhouse gases (GHG) emission intensity22 of manufacturing and processing industries. Applicants for this type of projects are invited to consider the following key features:
EII proposals should focus on the design, development and implementation of innovative solutions mainly via demonstration programmes with a long-term impact, including in real industrial environments. Projects should deliver economically viable solutions, processes and technologies, new raw-materials or products that allow a significant reduction in specific GHG emission intensity23. The reduction of GHG emissions should not be achieved solely through fuel switching.
Activities are intended to start at Technology Readiness Level 4-5 and target Technology Readiness 8-9. Applicants can propose preparatory work, such as development of strategies and pre-feasibility studies on innovative solutions provided that these are used for the development of concrete activities implemented during the project. The activities are expected to be led by industries with support from partners and technology providers.
The proposals may address a variety of technological solutions and processes with potential widespread applications or combine different technologies and processes across the sectors. Cooperation between industrial sectors is encouraged, and applicants should, whenever possible, seek synergies, including possibilities for funding from relevant national/regional research, innovation or climate programmes and/or cumulative funding.
A dedicated action should address the transferability of the developed technologies processes or products within the sector and possibly to other sectors. It is expected that they transfer solutions and technologies or enhance innovations of suppliers to energy intensive industries.
Projects should boost Europe's industrial leadership in advanced manufacturing and processing and foster employment particularly in the small and medium-sized enterprises and open new market opportunities in this field.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and other fluorinated greenhouse gases do not deplete the ozone layer, but are climate gases with high Global Warming Potential (GWP), therefore their use needs to be drastically reduced. This is why Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases includes a phase-down of HFCs by almost 80% by 2030. In 2016 an agreement was also reached under the Montreal Protocol (the "Kigali Amendment") to phase down HFCs at global level. Therefore, in general terms, the projects shall help the implementation of the Kigali Amendment and the EU Regulation on reducing the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases.
For 2020 call, projects under this policy area should, in particular, address the issues of the following work areas:
Demonstration, pilot or best practice projects showing the use of low GWP alternatives to fluorinated gases should be trialled in particular in the following sectors:
MDIs (metered dose inhalers = "asthma sprays");
Air conditioning and refrigeration equipment for high ambient temperatures;
ORCs (Organic Rankine Cycles);
Niche applications where no alternatives to HFCs are readily available;
Improving system design to address flammability/pressure issues to encourage use of natural refrigerants (e.g. hydrocarbons, CO2) for any kind of F-gas using equipment;
SF6 use in electrical switchgear, in particular primary medium voltage, and high voltage;
Fluorinated gases (SF6, NF3, PFCs, etc.) used in manufacturing processes such as in the electronics industry (semiconductors, photovoltaics) and other emissive uses (aircrafts, industrial processes etc.).
Demonstration, pilot or best practice projects should demonstrate how risks of flammable refrigerants, in particular hydrocarbons, are minimized in design, use, servicing and disposal of equipment to maximize refrigerant charge sizes without compromising safety. The minimization of risks should be guided by objective data. The development of additional technical specifications for the installation and operation of flammable alternatives, in particular hydrocarbons, in relevant standards for refrigeration and air conditioning technologies, in support of the on-going standard setting process, are particularly requested. This could involve bringing relevant existing information together with new complementary laboratory and field studies in support of standard setting processes and the work of existing standard committees.
6. Greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting by authorities
Applicants can propose projects that improve the quality and accuracy of greenhouse gas monitoring, in particular that develop or improve measurement instruments and techniques. This can apply for example to improvements to the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions from combustion or processes, or to the determination of the biogenic/fossil fraction of CO2 emissions.
Greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting by local authorities play an important role in the measurement of progress related to climate mitigation and adaptation at a local level. Therefore, actions can also be conceived in the context of the new Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.