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Integrated projects - Under the sub-programme for Climate Action
Deadline: 26 Apr 2017   CALL EXPIRED

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1. INTRODUCTION

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 20131 (hereinafter referred to as "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

  •   LIFE Environmental Governance and Information

    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

  •   LIFE Climate Governance and Information

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 first LIFE Multiannual Work Programme (MAWP) covering the period 2014-2017 foresees a budget of EUR 1,347.1 Million for the sub-programme for Environment and EUR 449.2 million for the sub-programme for Climate Action2.

During the period 2014-2020 period, the Contracting Authority will launch one call for LIFE project proposals per year.

1.2 What are Integrated Projects?

Definition

Integrated Projects (hereinafter 'IPs') are defined in Article 2 of the LIFE Regulation and are further specified in the MAWP:

Integrated Projects are projects implementing on a large territorial scale, in particular, regional, multi-regional, national or trans-national scale, environmental or climate plans or strategies required by specific Union environmental or climate 

legislation, developed pursuant to other Union acts or developed by Member States' authorities, while ensuring involvement of stakeholders and promoting the coordination with and mobilisation of at least one other relevant Union, national or private funding source.

For the sub-programme for environment, the LIFE MAWP for 2014-2017 defines for each of the areas nature, water, air, and waste the specific related plans required under Union environmental law, which are to be implemented through Integrated Projects.

Integrated Projects shall aim towards the full implementation of the targeted plan or strategy. This does not mean that the IP will cover all actions foreseen in the plan or that the plan will be fully implemented during the lifetime of the IP. However, the IP shall include strategic actions to catalyse a process and mobilise supplementary commitments and funding that will lead, in due time, to the full implementation of the plan or strategy. The IP should therefore be designed in a way to address this long term objective.

The actual full implementation of the given plan or strategy would then happen through complementary measures or actions financed outside of the Integrated Project, using other available funding (Union, national or private). Some of these complementary measures or actions are expected to be linked to the IP implementation, while others might be carried out after its end. It is in general expected that beneficiaries of grants for LIFE Integrated Projects – together with other relevant actors in charge of the complementary actions – commit to implement the targeted plan and in particular that the relevant actors undertake to implement at least those complementary actions that are foreseen in the IP proposal as actions closely linked to the IP itself.

Integrated Projects shall promote the coordination with and mobilisation of other relevant Union, national or private funding sources for the implementation of the complementary measures or actions outside of the Integrated Project in the framework of the targeted plan or strategy giving preference to Union funding. Within the IP itself, however, co-funding may not come from other Union funding sources.

Integrated Projects are expected to demonstrate effective and well-coordinated implementation of a plan or strategy in a given geographical area to realise Union environmental objectives, and provide examples of how to replicate success in other geographical areas within that Member State or in other Member States.

Integrated Projects should include a high quality multi-purpose delivery mechanism (e.g. aiming at environmental and climate benefits and capacity-building) that make it possible to achieve results in other policy areas3, to create synergies with these policies and to integrate environmental and climate action objectives into them.

Integrated Projects shall ensure that the main stakeholders are actively involved in the design and implementation of the given project. This involvement is expected to be achieved by including them - where possible and reasonable - as associated beneficiaries of the IP, or through their active participation in the implementation of the IP itself and/or of the complementary actions.

The design of IPs and the composition of the project partnership is again expected to facilitate and result in the building up of strategic capacities among the competent authorities and stakeholders to ensure a long term sustainability of project results and 

actions, and to ensure that they will be able to function as co-deliverers of the targeted plan or strategy after the end of the IP.

1.3 Scope of Integrated Projects for the period 2014-2017

1.3.1 General

In line with the priorities laid down in the LIFE Regulation, the LIFE MAWP for 2014- 2017 specifies that Integrated Projects under the sub-programme for Environment shall aim at co-funding actions with the main purpose of helping Member States and regional/local authorities in the implementation of the following specific set of strategic environmental plans or strategies:

- Nature IPs: should aim at the implementation of Prioritised Action Frameworks (PAF) elaborated pursuant to Article 8 of the Habitats Directive4;

- Water IPs: should aim at the implementation of River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) that have been developed in the Member States pursuant to the Water Framework Directive5;

- Waste IPs: should aim at the implementation of Waste Management Plans (WMP) as required by article 28 of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 (WFD) and/or Waste Prevention Programmes (WPP) as required by article 29 of the Waste Framework Directive; and

- Air IPs: should aim at the implementation and monitoring of Air Quality Plans (AQP) as defined by Directive 2008/50/EC with the ultimate goal of contributing to the National Air Pollution Reduction Programmes6.

Projects financed by the LIFE Programme under one priority area shall avoid undermining environmental or climate objectives in another priority area and shall promote synergies between different objectives, improving the functioning of ecosystems and provision of their services as well as the use of green public procurement.

1.3.2 Multi-purpose mechanism, synergies and integration:

In order to fulfil the requirement for IPs to include high quality multi-purpose delivery mechanisms, IP proposals should present comprehensive projects that will deliver on their core objective (increased biodiversity, better air quality, good water status, better managed waste ) and do so in a way that also delivers benefits for other environmental and climate objectives7. In this respect the following aspects may be relevant:

- for Nature IPs dealing with the implementation of PAFs for Natura 2000, their contribution to other targets of the EU biodiversity strategy as well as the achievement of 

‘good environmental status’ under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), and for achieving Water Framework Directive objectives like the:

  •   evaluation, assessment and restoration of ecosystems and their services,

  •   increase of the contribution of agriculture and forestry to biodiversity,

  •   reduction of the impact of fisheries and of other uses of marine and coastal

    natural resources on biodiversity,

  •   monitoring, prevention, eradication and control Invasive Alien Species

- for Water IPs dealing with the implementation of River Basin Management Plans and their proposed actions such as targeted afforestation, wetland creation, re-instatement of floodplains, their contribution towards good status of inland waters, carbon sequestration, reduction of nutrient flows to marine waters, reduction to flood risk and support for improvements in terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.

- for Waste IPs dealing with the implementation of Waste Management Plans and/or Waste Prevention Programmes, their contribution to the objectives set in the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe (COM(2011) 571), the Communication on the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan (COM/2008/0397) and the Communication on the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (COM(2012) 82) and its Strategic Implementation Plan adopted on 25/09/2013 (1). Where relevant, specific attention should also be given to marine litter.

- for Air IPs dealing with the implementation of Air Quality Plans, their contribution to multiple requirements of the EU Air Quality Strategy (including contributions to National Air Pollution Reduction Programmes), to the urban dimension, to energy consumption, transport and to agricultural practice through e.g. :

  •   contribution to decreasing concentrations of multiple pollutants (PM, NO2, O3, NH3) at the same time,

  •   contribution to reaching limit values in regional air quality plans under Directive 2008/50/EC as well as to reducing emission for reaching compliance with the new National Emission Ceilings Reduction Commitments at national level at the same time,

  •   reduction of noise problems by linking them to or integrating them into a Sustainable Urban Mobility strategy and/or noise plan,

  •   encouragement of innovative local and regional energy projects addressing air quality PM hotspots in areas with continued high use of coal and biomass burning heating applications,

  •   promotion of innovative and high quality biomass burning applications and their proper use,

  •   reduction of energy consumption by being linked to or integrated in the national Energy Efficiency Action Plans mentioned in Directive 2012/27/EU,

  •   support to the implementation of the UNECE code of Good Practice for reducing emissions from agriculture which should also contribute to minimising the losses of agricultural emissions to water.

Also, projects showing synergies with actions financed or submitted for financing under the LIFE sub-programme for Climate Action will be considered for higher scoring, particularly if these synergies are expected to have a positive effect on biodiversity protection.

 

On the other hand, projects financed under one priority area that might undermine environmental or climate objectives in another priority area will likely receive a lower score unless this impact is clearly explained and justified in the proposal in the context of overall ecosystem service provision and mitigation measures have been correctly foreseen.

Furthermore, all projects will also be evaluated with regard to their contribution to economic and social objectives.

1.3.3 Replicability and transferability:

Replicability and transferability is the potential of the project to be replicated in other regions of the same Member State or in other Member States during and after the implementation of the IP. Successful replication and transferability requires a clear plan at the outset, an evaluation strategy, a capacity building strategy (skills, communication, funding) and a legacy strategy that will reach 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 techniques, methods or strategies developed or applied in the project into practice elsewhere. It may be achieved by implementing some of the IP actions only within a limited part of the IP project area (eg. in the case of Air IPs only in 1 of the 5 cities participating in the overall IP) and replicating those via complementary actions in the entire area covered by the IP (eg. all 5 cities) and by the plan (eg. the entire region or country). For water IPs, having trialled a range of river restoration measures on a large scale in the IP, the most successful measures (that deliver widest ecosystem and societal benefits) would be included into other RBMPs through the most relevant EU or national funds in other regions in the next planning cycle.

1.4 Funding of Integrated Projects

Budget

There is no fixed minimum size for IP budgets. Beneficiaries should, however, be aware that considering their scale, the proposals for IPs are expected to be large and ambitious with a substantial budget that well exceeds the average LIFE grant size awarded to LIFE "traditional projects".

It is foreseen that the LIFE programme would contribute – on average – EUR 10 million to each IP (i.e. the total project budget could be around EUR 17 million).

Applicants should be aware that based on the availability of funds for the given budgetary year, and considering the number of proposals eligible for funding, the requested contribution under the LIFE programme may have to be decreased. This can especially be the case when that request is beyond the above mentioned average LIFE contribution.

Please note that the total indicative budget available for IPs in 2017 is about EUR 86 million.

Co-financing rate for Integrated Projects

The maximum co-financing rate from LIFE for the Integrated Projects is 60% of the total eligible project costs. The remaining 40% of the cost shall be covered fully by the own contributions of the project beneficiaries or supplemented by co-financers. In order to avoid any potential double-funding of projects using EU funds, no other EU funds may be used to contribute to these 40%. This means that the specific actions

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targeted and co-financed by LIFE funds cannot receive co-financing from any other EU fund.

N.B.: Financial obligations resulting from application of the "polluter-pays-principle", such as fines or obligatory compensation payments for damage to the environment, will under no circumstances be co-funded under LIFE.

Mobilisation of and complementarity with funds other than LIFE

One of the fundamental characteristics of Integrated Projects is that they have to

mobilise other (EU, national or private) funds for the financing of complementary measures or actions within the targeted plan or strategy, but outside of the Integrated Project itself. Financing from other EU funds can - and is in fact expected - to be used for this purpose.

The proposal for an Integrated Project should therefore not only identify the funds that will contribute to the project itself, but should also provide a summary description of the complementary actions that will be carried out during the Integrated Project period by using funding sources mobilised in addition to the LIFE project.

Please remember that an IP must be able to mobilize at least one relevant Union, national or private funding source other than LIFE to finance complementary actions needed for the implementation of the targeted plan or strategy.

The general concept of an Integrated Project is illustrated in the following schematic diagram:

 

(DIAGRAM NOT AVAILABLE)

 

Accordingly, applicants should design the LIFE Integrated Projects by selecting from the targeted plan or strategy a coherent set of measures or actions for which LIFE is the most appropriate funding source. Other complementary measures or actions should be financed using other (Union, national or private) funding sources and should be implemented in complement to the LIFE interventions.

In particular, the LIFE Programme should be complementary to other major Union funding programmes, including the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, INTERREG, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and Horizon 2020 (the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation). At the same time other financial instruments such as JESSICA, Natural Capital Financing Facility8 (NCFF), etc.

 

can also provide complementary funding, even though NCFF – being supported by LIFE – will not be considered as a mobilised fund.

In addition to these EU funding sources, international (e.g. EFTA, UNESCO funds, etc.), national or private donors will be equally considered. Please note that international, national, and private funds can also contribute co-financing to the 40% of the eligible costs of the Integrated Project itself, which have to be provided by its beneficiary/ies.

Complementary actions shall always implement the same large scale plan or strategy that the Integrated Project is targeting. This complementarity could take the form of:

 Actions similar to those financed by the LIFE Integrated Project, but implemented on a different geographical area. Activities implemented in the framework of the Integrated Project would thus be replicated at a larger scale. This would allow solving a given set of critical issues possibly in the entire area covered by the plan. (e.g. ensuring removal of all barriers to fish migration from source to sea in a river basin or sub-catchment).

 Actions different from but complementary to those implemented in the framework of the LIFE Integrated Project, implemented in the same geographical area as the Integrated Project. This would allow the implementation of a broader range of actions foreseen in the plan/strategy in this area (e.g. to restore rivers, 10 m buffers could be established through rural development programmes, fish barriers removed through fisheries funds and restoration of floodplains could be implemented in certain locations through LIFE funding.)

In most cases, in order to ensure the largest possible impact by the LIFE IP and complementary actions, a combination of the previously described two forms of complementarity is expected.

The quality of the coordination with other funding mechanism(s) and the level of mobilisation of complementary funds as well as the likelihood of their actual mobilisation and their functional link to the plan to be implemented will have an impact on the evaluation of the EU added value of the IP.

It is therefore important to highlight that for the purposes of Integrated Projects, complementary funding can only be considered to be "mobilised" if such funding:

- has not been granted to or spent by one of the beneficiaries of the IP before the launch of this 2017 call for applications. In exceptional cases and having explicit justifications from the applicants, funds granted before that date can also be accepted but under no circumstances will funds granted or spent before the launch of the LIFE2015 call (1 June 2015) be accepted; and

- has been committed/confirmed by the relevant funding source by the time of the submission of the full proposal and evidenced by a formal letter of intent (i.e A8 form) signed by the competent body representing the funding source clearly confirming the availability or the actual commitment of the complementary funding; or

- in the absence of an actual commitment/confirmation by the time of the full proposal, a formal letter of intent has been signed by the competent body representing the funding source referred to by the applicant, confirming the potential eligibility of the actions proposed by the applicant for funding from this source and indicating the timing and likelihood of a future funding commitment

 

If, for objective reasons, such as the timing of application periods of other funds, these general requirements for a "mobilisation of additional funding sources" are not met, the applicants must provide – at the latest with their full proposal – an appropriate justification for the lack of a formal commitment or letter of intent regarding the funds concerned.

In any case, for the application to be eligible, at least one letter of intent clearly confirming the availability or the actual commitment of the complementary funding to be mobilised has to be submitted with the full proposal."

While fulfilling the requirement for mobilisation of funding for complementary actions, applicants must comply with the provisions of Article 8 of the LIFE Regulation. Accordingly, "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."

It is essential therefore that, prior to submitting their IP Concept Note and full proposal, beneficiaries check thoroughly whether the actions proposed within the IP itself are already or could be more appropriately funded through other EU funds.

In addition, at the project revision stage, the relevant national authority may also be required to indicate the steps it has taken to ensure the coordination of LIFE funding with and complementarity to other EU funding programmes.

Examples

The concept of an Integrated Project and complementary actions and funding is demonstrated in the following schematic diagrams that give examples of the implementation of a Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) and a River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) using LIFE funds and mobilising other funding sources for the implementation of the actions foreseen in the plan for a given period.

 

Diagram 1: Implementation of a Prioritised Action Framework

The competent body responsible for the implementation of the PAF submits an IP proposal under LIFE covering specific activities of the PAF. The proposal also shows how other funds (at least 1) will be used to finance complementary activities.

 

(DIAGRAM NOT AVAILABLE)

 

This diagram only details the involvement and mobilisation of various EU funds, but national or private programs and funds could also finance these or other complementary interventions in order to implement the given plan or strategy at regional or national level.

An IP and its complementary activities are only a step of an evolutionary process that has already started before and will continue afterwards through subsequent iterations of planning and implementation activities. The final goal of this process for a Nature IP is the favourable conservation status for all habitats and species. The same logic applies to any IP even though the final objectives may differ.

 

Diagram 2: Implementation of a River Basin Management Plan

Competent body responsible for the implementation of a RBMP submits an IP proposal under LIFE covering specific activities of the RBMP. Proposal also shows how other funds (at least 1) will be used to finance complementary activities.

 

(DIAGRAM NOT AVAILABLE)

 

 

1.5 What is the application process for Integrated Projects?

The submission and selection process for Integrated Projects has been designed based on a two stage procedure as foreseen in the LIFE Regulation. The details of this process as well as the specific eligibility and award criteria are defined in the LIFE Multiannual Work Programme for 2014-2017 (MAWP). The process should facilitate the work of potential applicants and ensure that they receive the best possible guidance from the Commission during the process and thus optimise the quality of the projects that will eventually receive LIFE finance. The workflow is structured in a way to accompany the progressive development and fine-tuning of each proposal.

Stage 1 - Submission of a Concept Note:
The applicant shall submit a Concept Note for the project that should:

  •   summarize the context and indicate the geographical location(s) of the project;

  •   present the main objectives of the project;

 

  •   describe the main actions and means foreseen for the implementation of the Integrated Project itself together with their overall costs (so not an itemized budget) for the whole project period;

  •   summarise the related complementary actions (implemented outside of the Integrated Project and for which complementary funding is foreseen);

  •   outline the expected contribution to the implementation of the plan/strategy;

  •   describe the qualitative and quantitative expected results (main outputs and

    achievements);

  •   indicate the potential beneficiaries and stakeholders expected to be involved;

  •   provide summary information on the long term sustainability (including capacity building) aspects;

  •   describe expected major constraints and risks. The following should be attached to the Concept Note:

    A full copy of the relevant plan or strategy required by specific Union legislation the Integrated Project aims to implement. The plan or strategy should have been formally adopted by the competent authority by the time of the submission of the Concept Note and be considered by the Commission as being of acceptable quality. In case formal adoption has not yet taken place, the applicant has to provide a note explaining the status of adoption, the expected date of adoption. In such a case the adoption must happen before the deadline for the submission of the full Integrated Project proposal. When no formal adoption is foreseen, the applicant should demonstrate that the plan has completed all procedural steps foreseen in the legal base for it to be considered as final. In case of Nature IPs, the PAF officially submitted to the Commission is considered as the relevant plan.

    A financial plan (according to form CNf) describing the overall financing of the project and demonstrating the mobilisation of funds (other than LIFE) for the implementation of measures or actions complementary to the Integrated Project within the targeted plan or strategy. The financial plan, where appropriate, shall take into account the financing arrangements foreseen in the plan or strategy being implemented.

    Section 3.2 of the current guide contains information on how to fill in the forms for the Concept Note (CN forms). Other supporting documents beyond the plan/strategy and financial plan - such as maps, photos, diagrams, graphs, etc. - may also be submitted as deemed necessary by the applicant.

    Stage 2 – Submission of the full Integrated Project proposal

    If the Concept Note is retained by the Contracting Authority, the applicants concerned will be invited to submit a full proposal including all forms duly completed as foreseen in Section 3 of this guide. Following the issuance of invitations to submit full proposals, there will be a written question and answer phase to allow applicants to clarify doubts, with the resulting information made available to all invited applicants.

    The full proposal should in particular:

  •   provide details on the context and specify the geographical location(s) of the IP;

  •   specify the associated beneficiaries and the stakeholders expected to be involved, including the roles they will play in delivery of the project;

  •   present the objectives of the project;
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  •   describe the actions and means foreseen for the implementation of the Integrated Project itself together with their budgeted costs;

  •   describe the qualitative and quantitative expected results (outputs and achievements) of the IP;

  •   provide a summary of the above listed aspects also for the related complementary actions (implemented outside of the Integrated Project and for which complementary funding is foreseen);

  •   provide detailed information on the long term sustainability of the project, including capacity building aspects.

In order to demonstrate the availability of funds intended to be mobilised by the applicants for financing of complementary actions, letters of intent (A8 forms) signed by the managing authority/entity of the relevant funding source must be submitted with the full proposal. The letters of intent must indicate the status of the financial commitment by clearly confirming the availability or the actual commitment of the complementary funding, or by confirming the eligibility of the (potential) funding request and the likelihood of it being granted, as well as the expected (and if applicable maximum) amount to be granted and indicating the timing and likelihood of a future funding commitment

NOTE that in order for the application to be eligible at least one letter of intent clearly confirming the availability or the actual commitment of the complementary funding has to be submitted with the full proposal.

While the full proposal should in principle be a detailed follow-up of the Concept Note, for the purposes of improvement it may differ in content, including the duration of the project or the partnership structure.

The applicants must resubmit the underlying plan/strategy with the full proposal only in case a new updated version has been adopted since the submission of the Concept Note. In such a case, re-submission is compulsory.

In case the underlying plan/strategy was not adopted at the time of the Concept Note it must be formally adopted prior to the submission of the full proposal and be attached to it.

When preparing the proposal, the applicants may wish to consult the relevant LIFE National Contact Point; the complete list of the names and contact addresses can be found on the LIFE website at

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/contact/nationalcontact/index.htm

The individual grant agreements are expected to be signed not earlier than September 2018 (for a detailed timetable, see Annex 1).

The earliest possible starting date for projects is indicatively foreseen to be on 2 October 2018. The definitive date will be fixed in the invitation to submit the full proposal.

1.6 Who may submit a Concept Note and/or a proposal for an Integrated Project?

While other LIFE project proposals may be submitted by any legal person registered in the European Union, in the case of Integrated Projects, it is strongly recommended that the competent authority or entity responsible for the implementation of the plan or strategy targeted by the Integrated Project submit both the Concept Note and the full proposal. In any case, the competent authority must take part in the project as a beneficiary (coordinating or associated). If the grant is awarded, the organisation submitting the Concept Note and/or the proposal for an Integrated Project would become the coordinating beneficiary.

In exceptional and well justified cases, the applicant submitting the full proposal may be different from the one that submitted the Concept Note (i.e. in the case of restructuring of the public administration in the given country/region; or if during the evaluation process of the Concept Note, a more appropriate authority/entity to lead the project is identified).

Applicants may fall under one of the following three categories: (1) public bodies, (2) private commercial organisations and (3) private non-commercial organisations (including 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 "Public body declaration" (form A3a).

The applicant must demonstrate its legal status (by completing application form A2) confirming a legal registration in the EU.

Please refer to the 'Guide for the Evaluation of LIFE Integrated Project proposals 2017' for full details regarding the compulsory administrative documents that are required with the proposal depending on the legal status of the coordinating beneficiary.

1.7 Who may participate in an Integrated Project?

Once a proposal has been accepted for LIFE co-funding, the applicant will become the coordinating beneficiary which will be the single point of contact for the Contracting Authority and 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. 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.

In addition to the coordinating beneficiary, in view of the requirement to actively involve the key stakeholders, an Integrated Project proposal has to include one or more associated beneficiaries in order to be eligible. The nature and range of beneficiaries should bring an added value to the project, strengthen the feasibility or the demonstration character of the proposal, its European added value and/or the transferability of its results and lessons learnt. The composition of the project partnership (beneficiaries) should also take into account the long term sustainability of the project results and activities as well as the requirement for capacity building ensuring the eventual implementation of the entire plan/strategy.

 

While keeping in mind this expectation, the project applicants should avoid exceeding a reasonable number of beneficiaries so as to ensure that the activities of the project can still be efficiently managed. In case the number of stakeholders is found to be beyond this reasonable level, a form of involvement other than as associated beneficiary needs to be sought. The coordinating beneficiary, when preparing the full proposal, may decide to change the composition or list of associated beneficiaries compared to the foreseen in the Concept Note.

Each associated beneficiary must 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 coordinating beneficiary with all the necessary documents required for the fulfilment of its reporting obligations to the Contracting Authority.

Public undertakings whose capital is publicly owned and that are considered an instrument or a technical service of a public administration, and 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. .

For private beneficiaries, 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 Authorities administrative discretion to accept affiliates, and in no case will affiliated entities be accepted for public beneficiaries.

An associated beneficiary may be legally registered outside the EU, provided that the coordinating beneficiary is based within the EU. Any activities to be carried out outside the EU 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. To this end the proposal should include detailed and tangible evidence showing that the actions foreseen outside the EU are indeed necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the work done in the EU. Only if such evidence is provided will work outside the EU be considered eligible.

All associated beneficiaries must show their legal status (by completing application form A5) and provide full information on the 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 106(1) and 107 of the EU Financial Regulation9 (by signing the application form A3 or A4 – see instructions in section 3 of this document).

Besides associated beneficiaries one or more project co-financers may also be involved to cover the cost of the project.

A project co-financer only contributes to the project with financial resources but 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.

 

 

Project proposals involving business-sector co-financing will be favourably considered during the evaluation process where this co-financing contributes to the probable sustainability of the project results.

Free of charge support from entities established in non-EU countries and cooperation with international organisations is also possible provided it is functional to the project objectives.

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 conditions on external assistance set in the Grant Agreement must still be respected.

At the time the coordinating beneficiary submits with the interim reports the proposed planning for the subsequent project period(s), a proposals for a change in the partnership may also be introduced, including adding new partners as associated beneficiaries. Note that, entities which are not associated beneficiaries may not benefit from the LIFE financing.

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 model grant agreement applicable to LIFE Integrated Projects.

1.8 How, where and when to submit a proposal?

LIFE applicants must submit their IP Concept Notes and, if so invited, full IP proposals using the forms included in this application guide and attaching all relevant documents.

Concept Notes must arrive at the following address no later than on 26 September, 2017.

The deadline for the submission of the full proposal will be specified in the relevant invitation but, indicatively it is foreseen to be on 2 April 2018.

Postal address:

LIFE 2017 – Integrated Projects – Environment Subprogramme European Commission
DG ENV – LIFE unit (BU9 03/006)
B-1049 Brussels

Belgium

Delivery by hand is possible at the following address only:

LIFE 2017 – Integrated Projects – Environment Subprogramme European Commission

DG ENV – LIFE unit (BU9 03/006) Avenue du Bourget 1
B-1140 Brussels (Evere)

Belgium

 

 

Note that it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the Concept Note and/or full proposal arrives on time; any courier or postal service serves as the applicant's agent.

Confirmation of receipt of the Concept Note and of the possible full proposal will be sent by e-mail to the applicants indicating also the allocated LIFE reference number.

The Concept Note as well as the full proposal and all their obligatory annexes must be

submitted on CD-ROM or DVD, in an electronic format, accompanied by a signed cover letter. The full title of the proposal should be clearly labelled on the CD- ROM/DVD and on the letter.

With regards to the full copy of the plan or strategy, in view of its volume and complexity, this document may also be submitted by simply providing in the proposal an internet link where the plan/strategy may be viewed. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the provided internet link is operational and that the plan is fully accessible for an external user. If access to the plan is restricted, the applicant shall provide the necessary access rights to the Contracting Authority, including a clear set of instructions on how to access it in the cover letter accompanying the proposal. Please take into account the provisions of 1.5 above regarding the requirements for the adoption status of the plan.

The Concept Note or full proposal itself must be submitted as one "black and white only" pdf document, including all technical forms (i.e. CN forms for the Concept Note; A, B and C forms for the full proposal) and all financial forms (Financial plan for the Concept Note; F forms for the full proposal). Prior to submission, the proposal must be printable on a black-and-white printer, and in an A4 format. These forms should then be scanned and submitted as a single pdf file of the original, printed, completed and signed (where applicable) paper forms. Applicants should ensure that the corresponding pdf file is of a readable quality (at a maximum resolution of 300 dpi - applicants must avoid sending files scanned at a higher resolution in order to keep file sizes manageable). Where proposal forms are signed, beneficiaries are strongly advised to check whether the signatures are still identifiable on a printout of the form.

The Concept Note does not have to be resubmitted with the full proposal.

The financial forms (F forms) of the full proposal should also be submitted in Excel format for validation purposes.

Note that applicants should retain the original, signed Word and Excel files containing all of these forms, for possible use in preparation of the final grant agreements.

Very important: Please note that the e-mail address specified by the applicant as the contact person's e-mail address in forms CNb and A2 will be used by the Contracting Authority as the single contact point for all correspondence with the applicant during any given stage of the evaluation procedure. It should therefore correspond to an e-mail account that is valid, active and checked on a daily basis throughout the duration of the evaluation procedure.

Section 3 of this guide contains detailed information and instructions on how to fill in the Concept Note (CN) forms and the administrative (A), technical (B and C) and financial (F) forms of the full proposal. Other supporting documents - such as maps, photos, diagrams, graphs, etc. - may be submitted with the full proposal as deemed necessary by the applicant. Additional documents/annexes, other than those required, submitted by applicants (e.g. brochures, CVs, additional information etc) will not be evaluated and therefore applicants must not include any such material in the CD-ROM/DVD.

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When preparing their Concept Note or full proposal, applicants are invited to consult the “Frequently Asked Questions” from the 2014-2016 calls as well as the one that will be prepared for 2017 and made available on the LIFE website at:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/lifeIPs2017/faq.htm

1.9 How will LIFE Integrated Projects be selected?

The Commission is responsible for conducting the evaluation process.

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 2014-2017. For a detailed description on how this procedure will be implemented, please refer to the 'Guide for the evaluation of LIFE Integrated Project proposals 2017 – Environment sub-programme'.

1.10 Specific issues

The current chapter replies to some frequently asked questions on how to conceive a Concept Note and a full Integrated Project proposal. For specific guidance, see sections 3 and 4 of this document.

1.10.1. In which language may I submit the Concept Note and full proposal for an Integrated Project?

The Summary description of the project (form CNd and form B1) must be submitted in English. Applicants are encouraged to also complete all other forms for both stages in English, although they may also be submitted in any of the official EU languages, except Irish or Maltese.

The detailed strategies or plans accompanying the Concept Note may be submitted in any of the official EU languages.

1.10.2. Is there a national allocation for Integrated Projects?

Contrary to traditional projects, national allocations are not foreseen for IPs in financial terms. However, in order to ensure a geographical balance and an equal access to funding for these projects, indicatively maximum 2 Integrated Projects per Member State could be financed during the first programming period 2014-2017.

It should be noted that at least 55% of the total budget for IPs under the environment sub-program should be allocated to Nature IPs.

Note that if an IP includes associated beneficiaries from other Member State(s), the above referred minimum of 2 Integrated Projects per Member State is applied only considering the applicant entity's nationality and does not count towards the country of the associated beneficiaries.

1.10.3 How much should beneficiaries contribute to the Integrated Project budget?

The coordinating beneficiary and the associated beneficiaries are each 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.

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A proposal cannot be submitted if the financial contribution of any of the beneficiaries to the proposal budget is 0 EUR.

Moreover, where public bodies are involved as coordinating and/or associated beneficiaries in a project, the sum of the financial contributions of all public bodies to the project budget must exceed (by at least 2%) the sum of the salary costs charged to the project for personnel who are not considered 'additional'. In this respect, their contribution cannot be replaced by co-financers. For details, please refer to section 3.4 of this document.

1.10.4. What is the optimal starting date and duration of an Integrated Project?

When preparing the project's time planning, beneficiaries should be aware that the expected earliest date of the signature of the grant agreements for the LIFE 2017 Integrated Projects will be in September 2018. Therefore, the earliest possible starting date for these projects is expected to be 2 October 2018. A definitive date will be fixed in the invitation to submit the full proposal. 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 Integrated Project. However, considering the project's direct link with long term plans and strategies most Integrated Projects are expected to last between 6 and 10 years.

The experience of the previous LIFE programme 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 (e.g. 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.

1.10.5. Where can a LIFE Integrated Project take place?

LIFE projects shall in general 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 territories (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 environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply (e.g. actions supporting migratory birds or actions implemented on a transboundary river). Note that the Treaties do not apply to the OCTs.

For example, a project targeting a migratory bird species that has conservation actions in one of the Member States as well as conservation actions in an overseas country and/or an OCT could be eligible. Any action that takes place entirely outside the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply, ie entirely in overseas countries and/or OCTs and is not necessary to ensure the effectiveness of a related action inside the EU, will not be eligible.

The eligibility criteria formulated in European Commission notice Nr.2013/C-205/05 (OJ EU C-205 of 19/07/2013, pp. 9-11), concerning the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards, shall apply for all actions under this call for proposals, including with respect to third parties referred to in article 137 of the EU's Financial Regulation.

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1.10.6. Who should manage an Integrated Project?

The competent authority or entity responsible for the implementation of the plan or strategy targeted by the IP is normally expected to submit both the Concept Note and the full proposal, and thus become the coordinating beneficiary of the Integrated 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 direct control of the coordinating beneficiary. Any other arrangements for the project management would have to be adequately explained and justified. It is also strongly advised that each project has a full-time project manager.

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).

1.10.7. Is outsourcing of project activities possible?

The beneficiaries should have 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.

In line with Article 19 of the LIFE 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.

1.10.8. May I give financial support to third parties as part of a LIFE IP?

Under specific conditions laid down in the Grant Agreement the beneficiaries of the LIFE IP may provide financial support to third parties in order to finance specific actions that for objective reasons cannot be implemented by one of the beneficiaries of the IP but are considered instrumental for the implementation of the targeted plan. Such actions should be aimed, in particular, at supporting local initiatives by e.g. non-profit organisations, local authorities or citizens groups.

These costs are eligible only if:

a) This type of support is foreseen in the project – the different types of activities that may receive such financial support should be listed in the project proposal (in particular they should be clearly identified in the C forms);

b) The Contracting Authority is informed about the allocation procedure and gives its prior approval;

c) The criteria for allocation and financial support are transparent, non-discriminatory and clearly documented;

d) The support is provided to private, non-profit, educational/research or public local entities and regulated by specific contracts or agreement based on a model agreed by the contracting authority;

e) The maximum amount allocated to any third party involved may not exceed EUR 15,000 and the total amount of such costs overall may not exceed EUR 100,000 during the lifetime of the IP.

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1.10.9. Are transnational Integrated Projects favored?

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 environmental or nature protection.

A transnational proposal should therefore be submitted only if the project proposal provides sufficient arguments 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.

1.10.10. How will a LIFE Integrated Project work in practice?

An IP will usually last several years and involve a rather ambitious budget. It will also deal with a complex task: the implementation of a plan or a strategy. The IP will cover a large geographical area and will involve several stakeholders and many complementary activities funded by different funds.

This complexity requires an adaptive approach in the design of the implementing mechanism. For this reason, IPs will be implemented based on a revolving programming mechanism structured in phases (i.e. Phase 1, Phase 2, etc.).

Each phase should normally last between 1.5 and 2.5 years. The duration of each phase should be determined in view of the total duration of the IP and, each phase should, as far as possible, be of the same duration.

How will this work in practice?

Let's assume our IP will last 10 years and that each phase will cover 2.5 years. This means that our IP will be organized in four phases.

The applicant will be asked to provide full technical and financial details concerning all actions foreseen during phase 1. For the following phases, the applicant will have to provide more concise information that is still sufficient to demonstrate the technical and financial coherence of the project as well as the EU added value..

Three months before the end of phase 1, the beneficiary will submit an amendment request with a new detailed planning for phase 2 (including the necessary adaptations for the summary information on the remaining two phases). The new plan for phase 2 will be checked and once agreed an amendment to the grant agreement will be signed. This will form the reference base for the work during the following 2.5 years.

At the latest 3 months after the end of phase 1, the beneficiary must submit a mid-term report together with a request for a further pre-financing payment (see also Article I.4.9 of the model Grant agreement) and The Contracting Authority will evaluate the report and request for payment and, if accepted, will release the payment.

In most cases the amendment request submitted before the end of phase 1 is expected to be accompanied by a draft of the mid-term report in order to demonstrate the project progress and substantiate the changes requested for the upcoming phases. The definitive interim report will then be an update of this draft, especially as regards financial reporting.

This mechanism will be repeated for each phase until the end of the last one when the final report and cost claim will be submitted. In this way a beneficiary will be able to adapt the IP to a constantly changing reality while providing sufficient information to allow the Contracting Authority to carry out its monitoring and verification functions.

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Note, that in the case of projects where the original application and thus the signed grant agreement included full technical and financial details for the entire project period there may be no need for an overarching amendment at the end of each phase.

1.10.11. How voluminous should a LIFE Integrated Project proposal be?

Differentiation has to be made between a Concept Note and a full Integrated Project proposal.

a) The descriptive part of the Concept Note (CNd form), depending on the scope and timescale of the project, should not be longer than 10 pages. Similarly, the financial plan (CNf form) should be brief and concise (maximum 3 pages). The accompanying plan (eg. PAF) or strategy should be the full document as prepared in line with the requirements of the relevant legislation. In order to provide adequate information and details, a Concept Note will have to make precise references to the relevant points/chapters of the plans/strategies being implemented.

b) The full project proposal will be longer than the Concept Note, but still should be as concise and clear as possible. Applicants should avoid voluminous proposals and should not provide excessively detailed descriptions of project areas, environmental technologies, lists of species, etc. To this effect, while they should provide clear and detailed descriptions for all project actions, they may do so by making precise references to the relevant points/chapters of the plans/strategies being implemented. Maps should be annexed wherever this would be useful to clarify the location of the proposed actions (note that they are obligatory in some cases).

Applicants should take note of the different requirements - described in section 3.3.2 of this guide - regarding the level of details in the description of actions to be implemented during the first phase of the project and beyond.

Brochures, CVs and similar documents should not be submitted and will always be ignored even if provided.

1.10.12. Can the Integrated Project include 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. Applicants should provide explanation and justification why such actions would be considered "significantly different".

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.

1.10.13. Can the Integrated Project include recurring activities?

A recurrent management action is an action that needs to be carried out periodically (at least annually) in order to maintain eg. the conservation status of a species, habitat, or ecosystem.

In line with the general rule about ongoing actions, ongoing recurrent actions are generally ineligible. For example, any site surveillance, periodic mowing or long-term monitoring actions, which were ongoing already before the start of the project, is generally ineligible.

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New recurrent actions are, in principle, eligible for funding in LIFE IPs. In particular recurring actions with a clear pilot demonstration value may be considered as eligible for funding.

However, projects foreseeing recurring actions must sufficiently demonstrate the long term sustainability and European added value of the proposed action. The applicant must therefore explicitly undertake that the project beneficiaries will continue after its end any recurrent actions started and carried out during the project, and explain how this continuation will be financed. The implementation of this commitment will be checked at the time of the final payment, when the Contracting Authority will verify that the recurring actions are still being undertaken at the required periodicity, or that all administrative and budgetary conditions are fulfilled to ensure their continuation at the appropriate time. If there is no such assurance that the recurrent action will be continued after the end of the project, all related costs will be ineligible.

1.10.14. Is the long term sustainability of the Integrated Project and its actions important?

Integrated Projects represent a considerable investment, and the European Union attaches great importance to the long term sustainability of these investments. 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 after the end of the project.

While an IP normally cannot achieve during its lifetime the full implementation of the targeted plan or strategy, it shall facilitate the capacity building at the competent authority and other main stakeholders to catalyse a process towards the full implementation of that plan. To this effect actions aiming at the satisfactory coordination of the implementation of the activities foreseen in the targeted plan or strategy (whether funded by LIFE or not) and the use of various funds should also be foreseen.

These considerations should be built into the Concept Note and the possible full proposal and will be carefully checked during the evaluation process.

1.10.15. Can the Integrated Project include research activities?

Whereas EU funding for research activities is provided under Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014–2020)10, 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 and intrinsically related to the project's objectives and 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. In such a case, scientific publications are considered important deliverables of the project.

However, as IPs are implementing existing plans or strategies, in most cases no need for such research activities is expected.

1.10.16. Can the Integrated Project include construction of large infrastructure?

The target plan or strategy may include the establishment of infrastructure, however, 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 500,000€. A "single item of infrastructures" means all elements that are physically bound to ensure the functionality of the infrastructural investment (e.g. for an eco-duct: the bridge, barriers, signposting, 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 10 or 11 of the LIFE Regulation.

1.10.17 Efforts for reducing the project's "carbon footprint"

Applicants must explain in their full proposal how they intend to ensure that the "carbon footprint" of the project remains as low as it is reasonably possible. Details of efforts to be made to reduce CO2 emissions during a project's life shall be included in the description of the project. However, they should be aware that expenses for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions will not be considered as eligible costs.

1.11 Personal Data Protection Clause

The personal data supplied with the proposal, notably the name, address and other contact information of the beneficiaries and co-financers, will be placed in a database called BUTLER, which will be made available to the EU Institutions and agencies and to an external monitoring team who are bound by a confidentiality agreement. BUTLER is used exclusively to manage LIFE projects.

A summary of each project, including the name and contact information of the coordinating beneficiary, will be placed on the LIFE website and made available to the general public. At a certain point the coordinating beneficiary will be invited to check the accuracy of this summary.

The list of successful beneficiaries and the relative amounts awarded to successful proposals will also be published in a public database called the Financial Transparency System11.

The Contracting Authority, or its contractors, may also use the personal data of unsuccessful applicants for follow up actions in connection with future applications.

Throughout this process, Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data will be respected by the Contracting Authority and its sub- contractors. Applicants will notably have the right to access data concerning them in our possession and to request corrections.

Submission of a proposal implies that the applicant accepts that the personal data contained in the proposal is made available as described above. It will not be used in any other way or for any other purposes than those described above.

 

2. LIFE INTEGRATED PROJECTS

2.1 What are LIFE Integrated Projects versus traditional LIFE projects? Which one to choose?

When applying for LIFE funding, applicants shall choose the appropriate project category. A project application may only be submitted under one LIFE project category.

The following table provides a summary comparison highlighting the major differences between LIFE "traditional projects" and LIFE Integrated Projects under the LIFE Environment sub-programme:

 

(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)

 

2.2 What type of actions can be included in Integrated Projects?

Due to their possible complexity, IPs normally do not fall into any of the specifications seen under LIFE "traditional" projects but rather combine elements of those.

It is expected that IPs address and resolve environmental problems at a larger scale. Most IPs would therefore implement actions that apply mostly best practices. At the same time, there will probably also be actions of demonstrative or innovative/pilot nature if those are needed in order to find the best solution to a problem that has not been resolved so far at a given scale or under the given conditions or no solutions exist at all. A capacity building element to allow an efficient and well-co-ordinated implementation of the targeted plan or strategy is mandatory in all Integrated Projects.

IPs are expected to be set up in such a way as to ensure replicability or transferability of the core project actions. IPs are expected to pave the way for the actual replication and transfer of the core project actions at the latest right after the end of the project. The replicable/transferable actions are to be identified and would need to be foreseen in the Concept Note and in particular in the full proposal.

"Best practice elements": "best practice actions" apply appropriate, cost-effective and state-of-the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project.

It is foreseen that Integrated Projects in all four environmental sectors will aim at the implementation of measures and actions foreseen in the relevant plan or strategy, using in most cases previously tested and confirmed methods and techniques.

“Demonstration elements”: put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the project's specific context, such as geographical, ecological, socio-economic, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances;

"Pilot elements": 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;

IPs should facilitate the building up of capacities of the beneficiaries and stakeholders with special regard to competent authority(s) in order to ensure the implementation of the complementary actions and of the entire plan or strategy targeted by the project as well as the sustainability of the investments made by the IP. The actions targeting capacity building can include the strengthening of human resources by hiring staff for the beneficiaries or training staff and stakeholders to improve their technical capacities and knowledge. They can also include the strengthening of the technical capacities of the entities or systems involved eg. via the establishment of monitoring systems or other technical facilities. In this respect, actions aiming at the efficient coordination of the use of various funds should also be foreseen. This may also entail the set-up of specific coordination groups or structures, the adoption of administrative or legal instruments, etc.

While an IP normally cannot achieve a full implementation of the targeted plan or strategy, it shall include strategic capacity building actions to catalyse a process towards the full implementation of that plan. IPs should therefore facilitate the building up of capacity for a more efficient implementation of the relevant plan or strategy including an enhanced absorption capacity for available funds.

 

 

2.3 Areas of intervention of Integrated Projects

2.3.1 Climate change adaptation Integrated Projects14

Climate change adaptation Integrated Projects shall support the implementation of adaptation strategies or action plans, including strategies or plans addressing specific climate change vulnerabilities in the priority areas identified in the Adaptation Strategy, namely:

- cross-border management of floods; - trans-boundary coastal management;

- mainstreaming adaptation into urban land use planning, building layouts and natural resources management;

- sustainable and resilient agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors;
- sustainable management of water; combating desertification and forest fires in

drought-prone areas.

Such strategies or plans may include green infrastructure and ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and promote innovative adaptation solutions.

Integrated Projects are expected to implement a chosen set of actions in the corresponding adaptation strategy or plan to be financed by LIFE. Measures funded via

14 Note: specific urban adaptation plans are included under section 2.3.3 30

the LIFE programme should complement measures funded from national sources or measures funded from other relevant Union funding programmes in order to implement an overarching adaptation strategy or plan.

The applicants should demonstrate how the project aims at the implementation of the strategy, plan or roadmap. To this effect the project should include actions that may facilitate the mobilisation and use of other complementary funds that can finance the implementation of actions or measures beyond those supported by the LIFE integrated project – both as regards scope and timeframe. This means in practice that the application/ integrated project shall include

(1) a combination of actions that contribute directly to the implementation of measures – and achievement of targets – of the integrated project foreseen to be financed by LIFE; and

(2) horizontal actions that facilitate the implementation of the overall strategy or plan , such as capacity-building.

The submission of a climate change adaptation Integrated Project Concept Note or full proposal requires that the transnational, national, regional or local adaptation strategy/plan in question is approved/adopted at the appropriate level.

Further to the general objectives of IPs, the proposal should therefore present information on:

  •   the expected level of implementation of the adaptation strategy/ plan as a direct consequence of the actions foreseen in the IP or through the complementary actions financed by other means mobilized in parallel to the IP,

  •   the geographical area covered by measures and the number of citizens reached under the adaptation strategy or action plan,

  •   the expected improvement on climate resilience in a region and economic sectors through actions funded under LIFE and complementary projects

  •   the expected improvement on climate resilience of climate change vulnerabilities identified in the EU Adaptation Strategy

  •   the expected increase in the number of countries/regions/cities applying integrated approaches with support of the IP or replicating the results from the IP

  •   the contribution to strengthening climate change adaptation management and governance, including the level of involvement and commitment of the relevant competent authorities and stakeholders at local, regional and national level,

    Example of an integrated project concerning the implementation of adaptation strategies or plans, such as a National Adaptation Strategy15:

    A national adaptation strategy may contain research, knowledge transfer and communication measures, in addition to further assessing risks and vulnerabilities to climate change. The integrated project funded by LIFE could be used to fund risk or vulnerability assessments, and communication and awareness raising on climate change adaptation. While the LIFE integrated project can include limited research activities, dedicated research actions identified in the adaptation strategy could be covered by complementary actions through national funds or Horizon 2020. Related knowledge transfer activities (e.g. investments in education and training and infrastructure) may also be implemented through complementary actions funded by national funds or European Structural and Investment Funds.

15 This example is given for illustrative purposes to show how an IP could take shape and should not be considered as a priority area,

 

 

Most, if not all, adaptation strategies have been developed with a sectoral focus16 , reflecting the need for cross-government and cross-sectoral adaptation working groups to drive implementation. There should therefore be actions to ensure multi-stakeholder involvement. The integrated project funded by LIFE could be used to establish and manage inter-regional or trans-boundary cooperation on a specific action or a shared challenge between stakeholders. Further, the integrated project funded by LIFE should also include capacity-building action and must include monitoring and evaluation actions.

As regards implementing adaptation options, the integrated project funded by LIFE could focus on a number of sectors. Under this example, a project could target agriculture and forestry and water management sectors. While the integrated project funded by LIFE can cover pilot nature-based solutions in flood-prone areas, large-scale flood management actions can be covered by complementary actions funded from ESIF. As regards agriculture, the integrated project funded by LIFE can include actions to establish networks on climate change and agriculture and rural development, as well as pilot projects. Complementary actions such as organic farming, forest conservation, prevention and restoration of damage to forest fires and natural disasters can be funded from European Structural and Investment Funds or national funds.

2.3.2 Climate change mitigation Integrated Projects

Integrated projects falling under the area of climate change mitigation shall support the implementation of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, action plans or low carbon economy roadmaps.

Integrated projects should contribute to the EU ́s climate change mitigation objectives, including contributing towards:

- the implementation of LULUCF Information Action as required by Decision 519/2013;

- the implementation and development of the Regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases 517/2014;

- the implementation of the 2030 climate and energy framework, based on breakthrough solutions and processes, possibly derived from sectoral low-emission roadmaps and strategies as well as the implementation of the 2050 low-carbon economy roadmaps.

Integrated Projects to be financed by LIFE are expected to implement a chosen set of actions in the corresponding greenhouse gas mitigation strategy or low carbon economy roadmap. Measures funded via the LIFE programme should complement measures funded from national sources or measures funded from other relevant Union funding programmes in order to implement an overarching mitigation strategy, plan or roadmap. The applicants should demonstrate how the project aims at the implementation of the strategy, plan or roadmap. To this effect the project should include actions that may facilitate the mobilisation and use of other complementary funds that can finance the implementation of actions or measures beyond those supported by the LIFE integrated  project – both as regards scope and timeframe. This means in practice that the application/ integrated project shall include

(1) a combination of actions that contribute directly to the implementation of measures – and achievement of targets  of the integrated project foreseen to be financed by LIFE; and

(2) horizontal actions that facilitate the implementation of the overall strategy, plan or roadmap, such as capacity-building.

The submission of a climate change mitigation Integrated Project Concept Note or a full proposal requires that the transnational, national, regional or industry/sector strategy/action plan/roadmap in question is approved/adopted at the appropriate level.

Further to the general objectives of IPs, the proposals should therefore address the following aspects:

  •   the expected level of implementation of the mitigation strategy/ plan/ roadmap as a direct consequence of the actions foreseen in the IP or through the complementary actions financed by other means mobilized in parallel to the IP,

  •   the geographical area covered by measures and the number of citizens reached under the mitigation strategy or action plan,

  •   the expected decrease in GHG emissions in a region or economic sector,

  •   the increased number of innovative technologies, systems and instruments

    and/or best practice solutions for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

  •   the expected increase in the number of countries/regions/sectors applying integrated approaches with support of the IP or replicating the results from the

    IP.

  •   the contribution to strengthening climate change mitigation management and

    governance, including the level of involvement and commitment of the relevant competent authorities and stakeholders at local, regional and national level.

    Three examples of integrated projects concerning the implementation of climate change mitigation strategies, action plans or roadmaps are illustrated below18:

    Two examples of integrated projects concerning the implementation of LULUCF Information Action as required by Decision 519/2013:

    1st example: Greenhouse has mitigation strategy for the dairy sector

    Non CO2 emissions from agriculture are subject to the member states' reduction targets under the Effort Sharing Decision. While they have gone down during the past years, further progress can be made in view of the liberalisation of the dairy market.
    In this context, the implementation of the strategy for the dairy sector at local, regional, national or translational level in the context of LULUCF could require a broad range of actions to be funded by different sources available to the potential stakeholders to be involved (sector representatives, dairy farms, grazing land owners/ feed providers, dairy industry, supply chain, advisors, researchers, local or national authorities, managing authorities of EU funds, the National Rural Network, local Action Groups, etc.).

    For example the integrated project funded by LIFE could be used to fund different measures to implement such a dairy sector strategy or roadmap, including capacity building, mandatory monitoring and evaluation actions, preparatory actions such as the

    18 These example are given for illustrative purposes to show how an IP could take shape and should not be considered as a priority area, analysis of the carbon footprint and mitigation potential of the sector and development/testing/implementation of dairy breeding and feeding system, .

Complementary actions in this field could come from other sources such as the Common Agricultural Policy, Horizon 2020, the European Innovation Partnership for agriculture, European Structural and Investment Funds, nationally funded projects, private funds, etc. These actions that would help reduce emissions from the dairy sector could include research, development testing and implementation of dairy breeding and feeding techniques, carbon audit and development of farm level decision making tools taking into account carbon benefits, innovative waste management, short supply chains but also advisory services, vocational training and collective and individual investments needed for the implementation of these complementary actions. Some of these actions could also be included in the integrated project funded by LIFE, if necessary.

The implementation of the whole sectoral strategy is expected.
2nd example: Emission reduction through climate friendly management of

peatland:

In the context of the implementation of LULUCF actions drawn up by Member States as referred to by decision 529/2013 an IP could envisage funding part of the nationally appropriate measures to limit or reduce emissions and to maintain or increase removals from the LULUCF.

If, for example, the LULUCF actions include measures to improve the management of agricultural organic soils, in particular peat lands, the integrated project funded by LIFE could fund the mapping and analysis of peatlands of a region, the elaboration of a climate friendly management plan of these peatlands as well as the implementation structure of this plan, including the mandatory monitoring and evaluation actions.

The potential stakeholders to be involved could include peatland owners and managers, local, regional and national authorities, NGOs, farmers and foresters and other economic actors, managing authorities of EU funds, the National Rural Network, local Action Groups, etc.

Complementary actions could be funded from other funding sources such as European Structural and Investment Funds, Community Led Local Development strategies, Horizon 2020 as appropriate, to research, test, incentivise the most appropriate sustainable paludicultural practices, adapted agricultural practices, such as minimising soil disturbance or extensive practices or measures to prevent drainage and to incentivise rewetting of wetlands. Some of these actions could also be included in the integrated project funded by LIFE, if necessary.

In duly justified cases a partially implementation might be required.

Example on the implementation of the 2050 Roadmaps for competitive low-carbon economy

Industrial sectors have prepared 2050 Roadmaps for competitive low-carbon economy, analysing how particular industries can contribute to reaching EU's 2050 climate action targets19, while maintaining their international competitiveness. These Roadmaps could 

therefore serve as a strategic basis for proposed investments under this LIFE IP priority.

Other strategic documents, with clear contribution to the 2030 climate and energy targets, possibly combined with resource efficiency goals20, can also be considered.

The integrated project funded by LIFE could be used to finance concrete implementation actions such as sector-specific application of advanced resource and energy efficient industrial processes, recycling and equipment. For example, multiple paths for emission reductions could be explored as part of an enhanced process, such as application of alternative fuels, substitution of fuels or raw materials, optimization technologies or higher energy efficiency during the production process. Furthermore, the integrated project funded by LIFE should also include capacity-building and must include monitoring and evaluation actions.

Complementary support for larger infrastructure, research and innovation activities, short supply chains and other services in this field could come from other sources like the European Structural and Investment funds, Horizon 2020, other EU sources, national funds, private funds etc. In addition, financing through development banks (EIB, EBRD, IBRD, or national development banks) could be used.

Potential stakeholders to be involved could include industry associations, companies along the supply chain, research institutions, public authorities, NGOs. Applications for implementation at local, regional, national or transnational level are welcome.

2.3.3 Urban climate change mitigation and/or adaptation Integrated Projects

Integrated projects under this category shall support the targeted implementation of urban action plans pioneering the transition to a low carbon and/or climate resilient society. This type of projects aim to contribute in particular to

- the implementation of urban or local adaptation and/or mitigation strategies and action plans, such as those linked to the 'the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy' and 'Mayors Adapt.' Projects are encouraged to address the following themes: : developing and deploying innovative adaptation solutions in urban areas, including in the water, energy and construction sectors, promoting and developing green infrastructure, contributing to nature conservation and biodiversity objectives in urban areas; and implementing public-private partnerships on climate change resilience.

- the implementation of urban or rural low-emission strategies, including urban transport, energy efficiency of public and private buildings, district heating training, low-emission city lighting.

Urban action plans contributing at the same time to climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives are highly encouraged.

An integrated project under this category must cover several cities and should support the implementation of whole strategy or action plan.

The applicants should demonstrate how the project aims at the implementation of the strategy, plan or roadmap. To this effect the project should include actions that may facilitate the mobilisation and use of other complementary funds that can finance the implementation of actions or measures beyond those supported by the LIFE integrated 

project – both as regards scope and timeframe. This means in practice that the application/ integrated project shall include

(1) a combination of actions that contribute directly to the implementation of measures – and achievement of targets  of the integrated project foreseen to be financed by LIFE; and

(2) horizontal actions that facilitate the implementation of the overall strategy, plan or roadmap, such as capacity-building.

Further to the general objectives of IPs, the proposal should therefore present information on:

  •   the expected level of implementation of the adaptation and/or mitigation action plan as a direct consequence of the actions foreseen in the IP or through the complementary actions financed by other means mobilized in parallel to the IP,

  •   the geographical area covered by measures and the citizens reached under the adaptation and/or mitigation action plans,

  •   the expected contribution to a shift towards a low emission and climate-resilient economy in the cities/local communities targeted through actions funded under the IP and complementary projects

  •   the expected increase in the number of cities/local communities applying integrated approaches with support of the IP or replicating the results from the IP

  •   the contribution to strengthening climate change adaptation and/or mitigation management and governance, including the level of involvement and commitment of the relevant competent authorities and stakeholders at local, regional and national level,

2.4. How to conceive a LIFE Integrated Project proposal?

An IP project proposal should be clear, coherent, realistic and feasible in terms of actions and timetable. The proposal should be carefully structured in relation to the pre- operational context, the problems and threats, and the priorities as described in the related plan or strategy. Clear links should exist between the problems and threats, the project's objectives, the proposed actions and expected project's results.

The project proposal shall include a clear description of all actions foreseen including how, where, where and by whom each action in the proposal will be undertaken. The time planning must be realistic.

Actions shall follow a logical sequence, and inter-relation between project actions should be specified in the project description. Actions in the IP may be inter-related or dependent on actions outside the IP but necessary for the implementation of the targeted plan or strategy. The design of the IP should be done in a way as to minimize the risk that this interdependence jeopardizes the IP implementation, if the actions outside the IP are not feasible anymore.

To be considered eligible for funding, all actions must meet each of the following conditions:

 The concrete implementation actions (C Actions) must be foreseen in the targeted plan or strategy;

  •   The need of the action has to be well justified in view of the objectives of the project; and

  The long-term sustainability of the results must be guaranteed.
When designing the IP and in particular when preparing your IP proposal, the following

main types of eligible actions must be clearly distinguished:

Preparatory actions (A Actions),
Concrete (/implementation) actions (C Actions),
Monitoring of the impact of the project actions (D Actions), Communication and dissemination actions (E Actions),
Project management and monitoring of project progress (F Actions).

The attention of applicants for IPs is drawn to the required large territorial coverage of the IP. The implementation of the targeted plan or strategy must cover a large territorial area, in particular a regional, multi-regional, national or trans-national. A multi-city approach may also be acceptable for IP under the climate action.

The success of Integrated Projects is dependent on close cooperation between all relevant stakeholders, e.g. public authorities (national, regional, local, as relevant)and non-state actors like associations, NGOs etc.. IPs are aimed at creating the long term capacity to implement the plan or strategy they address. A proposal should therefore provide sufficient details and evidence to show that the necessary capacity building activities are foreseen and that all measures will be in place before the end of the IP to guarantee that the responsible authorities and stakeholders will be able to continue implementing the plan or strategy after the end of the IP. In this respect capacity building actions may be included among the concrete C actions.

IPs require the involvement of key stakeholders. The key stakeholders shall be involved in the implementation of the targeted Union plan or strategy. Applicants shall foresee appropriate actions in the project to allow the involvement of well-identified and appropriate stakeholders in project implementation.

2.4.1 Preparatory actions (A actions)

As a general principle, all preparatory actions must produce practical recommendations and/or information that can be implemented (either during the project or after the project) and be used without requiring further preparatory work. Furthermore, where exceptionally preparatory actions do not lead to direct implementation during the project, the proposal must provide sufficient set of explanations, commitments and guarantees to show that their full implementation after the project is effectively ensured. In fact, most projects include preparatory actions. Projects cannot include preparatory actions that have been fully completed prior to the start of the project.

Preparatory actions should:

  •   be clearly related to the objective(s) of the project;

  •   not be actions targeting the elaboration of the plan or strategy the IPs are actually implementing (or plans that need to be elaborated in any of the four areas of possible IP intervention); however they can include actions targeting the revision of the plan or strategy being implemented if the validity of the present version of the plan submitted with the IP Concept Note or full proposal expires during the IP implementation period; they can also include additional planning activities if these are necessary for the full and effective implementation of the plan;

  •   be significantly shorter than the project duration and should end well before the end of the project;

  •   not be research actions, unless they fall under the exceptions described in point 1.10.15 of this Guide,

    Preparatory actions should thus in general – but with some exceptions be restricted to the preparation of the actual implementation phase of the project.

    Preparatory actions may for example include:

  •   Review of the technical studies on technologies and processes to be implemented in the project;

  •   Data collection and modelling required for the project implementation;

  •   Optimisation of the process to be implemented during the IP;

  •   Setting up of appropriate monitoring systems.

  •   Actions preparatory to the concrete conservation/implementation actions of the project (technical planning, permit procedures, stakeholder consultations, etc.);

2.4.2 Concrete implementation actions (C actions)

These are the core activities of the project proposal and must implement the actions foreseen in the plan or strategy targeted by the IP. They are mostly expected to be best practice but can also be innovative and/or demonstration actions.

Concrete implementation actions must have a tangible and measurable climate benefit. Actions' description must therefore demonstrate a concrete environmental benefit.

For the purposes of Integrated Projects, capacity building actions may be considered to be implementation actions. This may include e.g. the development or improvement of coordination processes, structures and procedures required to better implement the plan.

The actual impact of the concrete implementation actions must be monitored during the project (see Monitoring of the impact of the project actions – D Actions).

There is no specific requirement regarding a minimum level of concrete actions under any type of IPs. However, it is expected that when implementing the targeted plan/strategy, most IPs would allocate a significant share of their budget to concrete actions with tangible results in accordance with the priorities of the plan/strategy. This aspect will be taken into account during the evaluation of the proposals.

Concrete implementation actions must aim to improve (or slow/halt/reverse the decline of) the climate aspects targeted either directly or through an increased capacity to implement the plan or strategy. Their impact must be measurable and must be monitored and evaluated during the project.

The actions may include the establishment of infrastructure, however, 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 500,000€. A "single item of infrastructures" means all elements that are physically bound to ensure the functionality of the infrastructural investment (e.g. for an eco-duct: the bridge, barriers, signposting, 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 10 or 11 of the LIFE Regulation.

The maintenance of the investments made through these actions must be ensured in the long-term after the end of the project. Amongst others, where actions take place on land that does not belong to any of the beneficiaries, they must establish a convention with the owner in which he/she commits not to take any action that would compromise the investments/restoration made by the project. This convention must be for a suitably long period (ideally 30 years or longer). The establishment of these conventions must appear explicitly in the description of the relevant action(s) and in the corresponding "expected results" section.

Land purchase/lease of land and/or compensation payment for use rights

The inclusion of the purchase or lease of land or compensatory payments in the IPs can be eligible in well justified exceptional cases.

This includes:

  •   the purchase of land and associated costs (e.g. notary expenses, taxes, etc.);

  •   the long-term lease of land and associated costs;

  •   one-off land use compensation payments and associated costs.

    (Note: Short term lease and/or compensation payments can only be eligible for funding if they serve for demonstration of pilot actions – see below)

    Any land purchase payments, compensation payments or lease payments to public bodies are not eligible, with the exception of compensation or short-term lease payments to local authorities (i.e. municipalities or similar).

    It is recommended that local authorities re-invest the income from such payments into conservation or public awareness-raising measures. Those proposals that include a commitment from the local authorities in question to do so will be considered for a higher scoring on EU added value in the project evaluation process and may therefore have a higher chance of being selected for co-funding.

a) Land purchase

The eligibility of any costs for land purchase is subject to the conditions listed below. The applicant must address each of these conditions in his full proposal, explaining how each condition is met or will be met during the project.

  1. The land purchase must be clearly related to the objectives of the project.

  2. The land purchased must contribute to improving, maintaining or restoring the integrity of the Natura 2000 network.

  3. The purchase is the only or most cost-effective way of achieving the desired conservation outcome.

 

The land purchased is reserved in the long-term for uses consistent with the objectives set out in Article 11, 14 or 15 of the LIFE Regulation, through the most appropriate form of legal protection.

The beneficiaries must ensure that the sales contract / notary act and/or entry in the land register includes a guarantee that the land is assigned definitively (without time limitation) to nature conservation purposes. Where both possibilities exist (sales contract and land registry entry), the beneficiaries must use the option that offers the strongest long-term protection. Note that with the final report, the beneficiaries will have to submit a copy of the sales contract and/or entry in the land register including the above mentioned guarantee. Should they fail to provide such documents, the corresponding land purchase costs and associated costs will be considered ineligible. For countries where it would be illegal to include such a guarantee in both the land register and in the sale contract, the Contracting Authority may accept an equivalent guarantee, provided it offers the same legal level of protection in the long term.

The land must be purchased by one of the project beneficiaries who is either a well-established private organisation (e.g. nature conservation NGO or other) or a public body with nature conservation responsibility, and must remain in its ownership after the end of the project.

The proposal must demonstrate that each beneficiary that will carry out land purchase has the necessary competence and experience in land purchase for nature conservation, and that the planned target is realistic within the time framework of the project,

If the purchasing body is a private organisation, its statutes must include a provision that, in case of dissolution, the land will be transferred to another legal body primarily active in the field of nature conservation (e.g. another conservation NGO or appropriate public body).

Evidence must be provided in the proposal that the purchase price is consistent with the current market prices for the type of land and the region concerned.

Evidence must be provided that the land purchased was not owned by a public authority prior to the project starting date. Purchase of land that has recently been transferred from public to private ownership will not be eligible.

Land purchased must be the subject, during the project, of specific restoration and/or active management or restrictions of use that go beyond legal obligations and existing restrictions that could not be imposed without purchasing the land. The purchase of land that is in excellent conservation status (i.e. that requires no restoration or specific management or restrictions of use) is only eligible if strategic to the objectives of the project.

 

b) payments

Long-term land lease, purchase of rights and one-off compensation

The same conditions listed above apply, as and where appropriate, to these types of payments. The applicant must address each of these conditions in the proposal, explaining how each condition is met or will be met during the project. The duration of a lease must be sufficient to guarantee the durability of the conservation investment (e.g. 30 years).

 

 

c) Short term land lease or temporary compensation payments

Land lease or compensation payments with a limited duration, within the project period, will only be eligible insofar as they are necessary for the demonstration of pilot actions favourable to the conservation status of the species, habitats or ecosystem targeted. Note that appropriate justification for the cost-effectiveness of short term lease payments (consistency with current market prices for the type of land and the region concerned) will have to be provided with the project's final report

2.4.3 Monitoring of the impact of project actions (obligatory D Actions)

The proposal should identify specific indicators to be used to measure the impacts of the project (or foresee an action to do so). These indicators should be coherent with the plan being implemented and its objectives, with the problems addressed in the IP and with the type of activities planned. The initial situation from which the project starts should be assessed (baseline) and progress should be regularly evaluated against it.

The monitoring of the project impact on the implementation of the targeted plan, on the particular climate and environmental problems addressed and on the capacities being built up, should allow the project management either to confirm the adequacy of the developed means to address the specific problems and threats, or to question these means and alternatively develop new ones. At the end of the project, the beneficiaries should be able to quantify the progress achieved, in terms of impact on the implementation of the targeted plan.

Monitoring of the IP effects should take place throughout the project and its results should be evaluated on a regular basis. In this regard, every project proposal must contain an appropriate amount of monitoring activities in order to measure the project's impact. All projects will therefore have to include monitoring actions. These activities are distinct from the monitoring of the project progress (see F actions).

Monitoring of the project's contribution to the implementation of the targeted plan or strategy

IP project actions, and in particular the concrete implementation actions (C actions) must lead to a measurable increase in the rate of implementation of the targeted plan or strategy.

Particular attention should also be paid to the monitoring of the capacity building impacts of the project for an efficient well-coordinated implementation of the plan or strategy, as well as to the direct or indirect impact on mobilisation of other funds for project continuation.

Monitoring of the project's e impact on climate objectives (increased climate resilience and/or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions)

IPs must have a tangible and measurable impact on climate objectives. Concrete indicators should be established in order to evaluate the project's impact, during its implementation, and at final stage, and their assessment against the baseline. Separate actions for the monitoring of the climate impact should be set.

Climate change indicators should be coherent with the targeted plan or strategy being implemented and its climate-related objectives, with the climate change problems addressed in the IP and with the type of activities planned.

 

Monitoring of the project's socio-economic impact

In addition, each proposal must include – as applicable – separate actions aimed to assess the socio-economic impact of the project actions on the local economy and population, and to assess the IP's impact on the ecosystem functions, as relevant. This can take the form of a study or studies consolidating the data and results over the project lifetime, to be delivered with the Final Report. Projects should aim to increase social awareness and acceptance of the benefits of adapting to and limiting climate change. Examples of positive effects of a project are: direct or indirect employment growth, enhancement of other activities (e.g. ecotourism) aimed to develop supplementary income sources, offsetting social and economic isolation, raising the profile of the area/region, resulting in increasing the viability of the local community (especially in rural areas). The impact of project actions aimed at restoring multi- functional ecosystems such as rivers, floodplains, forests, peatlands or mires should be assessed as far as possible in economic terms (monetary terms or if this is not possible there should be a qualitative estimation). All these should be consistent in so far as possible with the methodology on Mapping and Assessing Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) agreed at European level within action 5 of the Biodiversity Strategy.

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/knowledge/ecosystem_assessment/index_en.htm

Furthermore, IPs having pilot/demonstration elements must have a clear set of actions for evaluating the main project findings and outcomes, including the cost-efficient replication and transfer of the actions and results and the measures taken to ensure the actual replication or transfer of successful pilot/demonstration actions. Proposals that are insufficient in these aspects will not be considered to have a pilot/demonstration value.

Each project will also have to report on its outcomes and impact taking into account the outcome indicators relevant for IPs as listed in section 7.1 of the LIFE Multiannual Work Programme for 2014-2017. Accordingly, the indicator table will have to be completed latest during the first phase of the project. However, already when designing these monitoring actions please take note of the guidance, including mandatory and complementary indicators to be used, that is available on the LIFE website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/toolkit/pmtools/life2014_2020/monitoring.htm The project proposal will therefore have to foresee monitoring actions that will enable this reporting, establishing baselines and monitoring the progress and results of all actions aimed at the implementation of the targeted plan (see also point 2.4.5).

2.4.4 Communication and dissemination actions (obligatory – E actions)

LIFE IPs are expected to aim at the eventual full implementation of the targeted plan, in particular by building up capacities and facilitating the mobilization of other funds. IPs shall provide examples of good practice for an efficient and well-coordinated implementation of Union climate policies in Member States and regions.

The IPs shall include actions to ensure project's replicability and transferability during and after its implementation. Successful replication and transfer require including tasks to multiply the impacts of the project's 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 IP.

 

Therefore, IPs must include a significant set of actions to disseminate the results of the project so that the knowledge gained e.g. through the demonstrative elements  is actively communicated to those targeted stakeholders that may best make use of it and apply the lessons from the project. A crucial element is active networking with, and dissemination to, other stakeholders that could apply the results, including at EU level. Proposals that are insufficient in this respect will not be considered favourably.

Certain communication actions are obligatory for IPs (project web site, notice boards, use of LIFE logo) and should therefore be explicitly foreseen in the proposal as separate actions. In addition, each proposal must include an action entitled "Networking with other LIFE and/or non-LIFE projects". This must include visits, meetings, exchange of information, and/or other such networking activities with an appropriate number of other relevant LIFE projects (ongoing or completed). It may also include similar exchanges with other non-LIFE projects and/or participation in information platforms related to the project objectives (including at international level where justified).

Communication and dissemination actions will include, depending on the nature of the project, the following type of activities:

  •   information and awareness raising activities regarding the project to the general public and stakeholders. These actions should in general begin early on in the project and should aim at facilitating the implementation of the project;

  •   public awareness and dissemination actions aimed at publicising the project and its results both to the general public and to other stakeholders that could usefully benefit from the project's experience;

  •   more technical dissemination actions aimed at transferring the results and lessons learnt from pilot/demonstration actions to those stakeholders that could usefully benefit from the project's experience and implement themselves the actions demonstrated in the project. These actions should in general begin only once the method/technique being tested has been evaluated. They should continue for a sufficiently long period so that the results and lessons learnt are extensively disseminated before the end of the project.

  •   specific awareness raising to reach relevant decision makers at regional, national and European level

    Should the proposal include the creation of small-scale visitor infrastructures, these may not exceed 10% of the budget allocated to concrete/implementation (C) actions in the proposal budget, and must be well-justified and cost effective or else they will be deleted from the proposal during the revision phase.

    The range of possible communication actions serving the dissemination of result of pilot/demonstrative actions is large (media work, organisation of events for the local/regional community, didactic work with stakeholders or with schools, seminars, workshops, brochures, leaflets, newsletters, DVDs, technical publications, ...), and those proposed should form a coherent package. Each communication and dissemination action must clearly define and justify its target audience, and should be expected to have a significant impact, which is to be assessed within the corresponding project actions. To be effective, these actions should in general begin early on in the project.

 

The organisation of large and costly scientific meetings or the financing of large-scale visitor (or other) infrastructures is not eligible.

The LIFE website http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/toolkit/comtools/index.htm also contains detailed advice on communication and dissemination actions and the guidelines on how to design a LIFE web-site.

2.4.5 Project management and monitoring of project progress (obligatory - F actions)

The project's operational and management structures must be well organised and controlled by the coordinating beneficiary. Appropriate means (equipment, personnel etc.) shall allow a high quality implementation of the project.

Every project proposal must therefore contain an appropriate amount of both project management and project progress monitoring actions. This typically involves at least all of the following actions and associated costs:

  •   Project management activities undertaken by the beneficiaries for the management of the project (administrative, technical and financial aspects) and for meeting the LIFE reporting obligations. It is expected that the project management is carried out by the staff of the coordinating beneficiary. However, outsourcing of project management is possible on the basis of an appropriate justification, provided the coordinating beneficiary retains full and day to day control of the project. The proposal should clearly describe how this control will be guaranteed. The project management structure must be clearly presented (including an organigram and details of the responsibilities of each person and organisation involved). It is strongly recommended that the project management staffs have previous experience in project management. If a coordinator or project manager also directly contributes to the implementation of certain actions, an appropriate part of his/her salary costs should be attributed to the estimated costs of those actions.

  •   Training, workshops and meetings for the project beneficiaries' staff, where these are required for the achievement of the project objectives.

     Obligatory action: each proposal must include an action to compile the information needed to complete the indicator tables (quantitative and qualitative) that must be submitted with the first Progress and Final Reports. These indicators will contribute to evaluating the impact of the LIFE project in view of the overall objectives of the LIFE Programme, in line with the Regulation and the Multiannual Work Programme for 2014-2017. Templates of the tables will be made available in due course. Note that during the project implementation, beneficiaries will be required to produce a report on a set of programme indicators based on section 7.1 of the LIFE Multiannual Work Programme for 2014-2017. Further guidance on indicators will be issued by the date of grant signature.

 



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