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LIFE Environment - Preparatory Projects
Deadline: 20 Sep 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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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 "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).

According to Article 17(4) of the LIFE Regulation, at least 81% of the total budget shall be allocated to projects supported by way of action grants or, where appropriate, financial instruments. The second LIFE Multiannual Work Programme covering the period 2018-2020 foresees a budget of EUR 1,243.81 Million for the sub-programme for environment2.

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

1.2 "Traditional" Projects

Article 2 of the LIFE Regulation defines the various types of projects which may be supported by the LIFE 2014-2020 programme. While some of the project types (eg 'integrated projects' and 'capacity building projects') are new to LIFE, other project types are similar to those already supported by LIFE+ and previous LIFE programmes.

These "traditional" types of projects are:

  •   "pilot projects" means projects that apply a technique or method that has not been applied or tested before, or elsewhere, and that offer potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best practice and that can subsequently be applied on a larger scale to similar situations;

  •   “demonstration projects” means projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the specific context of the project, such as the geographical, ecological, socio-economic context, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances;

  •   “best practice projects” means projects that apply appropriate, cost-effective, state-of- the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project;

  •   "information, awareness and dissemination projects" means projects aimed at supporting communication, dissemination of information and awareness raising in the fields of the sub-programmes for Environment and Climate Action.

In order for a project to be considered pilot/demonstrative, the overall character of its core actions must be pilot/demonstrative. Although some best practice actions might be included in the project proposal, the overall approach must clearly have a pilot/demonstrative character and this should be justified in detail in the proposal.

The following table shows which type of project may be submitted to which priority area:

 

Sub-Programme
Priority Area
Types of Traditional Projects Eligible

 

Environment
Environment and Resource Efficiency
Demonstration and pilot projects

Environment
Nature and Biodiversity
Best practice, demonstration, and pilot projects

Environment
Environmental Governance and Information
Information, awareness and dissemination projects

Climate Action
Climate Change Mitigation
Best practice, demonstration, and pilot projects

Climate Action
Climate Change Adaptation
Best practice, demonstration, and pilot projects

Climate Action
Climate Governance and Information
Information, awareness and dissemination projects

 

The amount available for co-financing action grants for all types of "traditional" projects under the Environment sub-programme is indicatively set at EUR 217 000 000

Projects financed by the LIFE Programme under one priority area shall avoid undermining environmental or climate objectives in another priority area and, where possible, promote synergies between different objectives as well as the use of green procurement.

1.3 Role of project topics

The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020 defines project topics implementing the thematic priorities for the sub-programme for environment listed in Annex III to the LIFE Regulation for pilot, demonstration, best practice and information, awareness and dissemination projects ("traditional" projects). They reflect the priorities on which projects should focus during the relevant period. Eligible proposals that reach or pass the minimum pass scores (see section 5.1.1 of the LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020) and target a relevant project topic will be given priority over projects of comparable quality that do not fall under one of the project topics. See also the Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2018 for further details on scoring of proposals.

1.4 How, where and when to submit a proposal?

Project submission procedure will be organised in two stages:

  Stage 1: Concept note

  Stage 2: Full proposal

 

Stage 1: Concept Note

Concept notes should be submitted through the online tool eProposal, available via the LIFE web page. The application tool contains all administrative (A), technical (B) and financial (F) forms required to submit a Concept Note.

For complete details regarding the application forms relevant at Stage 1, please refer to section 3 of this document. For complete details regarding the use of the eProposal tool, please refer to Annex 3 of this document.

Applicants must submit their concept notes to the Contracting Authority via eProposal before

12/06/2018, 16:00 Brussels local time.

The concept note can be modified, validated and (re)submitted as many times as needed until 12/06/2018, 16:00 Brussels local time. You are recommended to submit your draft(s) regularly during the entire submission period to avoid last minutes issues with your internet connection of other IT related failures. Each subsequent submission overwrites the previously submitted version (earlier versions are not archived and are therefore not available anymore).

 

Stage 2: Full proposal

The applicants with the best ranked concept notes will be invited (in 10/2018) to submit a full proposal using the web tool eProposal available via the LIFE web page.

The application tool contains all administrative (A), technical (B and C) and financial (F) forms required, and functionalities to attach relevant documents (maps, photos, diagrams, graphs, mandatory administrative and financial annexes). For complete details regarding the application forms, please refer to section 3 of this document. For complete details regarding the use of the eProposal tool, please refer to Annex 3 of this document.

 

Applicants invited to submit their full proposals to the Contracting Authority via eProposal will have to do it by January (submission deadline will be confirmed with Stage 2 invitation letter).

The proposal can be modified, validated and (re)submitted as many times as needed until the Stage 2 submission deadline. You are recommended to submit your draft(s) regularly during the entire submission period to avoid last minutes issues with your internet connection of other IT related failures. Each subsequent submission overwrites the previously submitted version (earlier versions are not archived and are therefore not available anymore).

For the proposals covered by these guidelines the Contracting Authority is the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).

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 of the national/regional authorities for LIFE in the Member States can be found on the LIFE website at

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

 

1.5 How will LIFE projects be selected?

The technical methodology for the project selection procedure and the selection and award criteria are described in section 5 of the LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020. For a detailed description of how this procedure will be implemented, please refer to the 'Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2018'.

 

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

The individual grant agreements are expected to be signed by the Contracting Authority starting from July 2019 (for an indicative timetable, see Annex 1).

The earliest possible starting date for projects is 15 July 2019.

1.6 General Guidance to Applicants

The current chapter replies to some frequently asked questions on how to conceive a LIFE project proposal. For specific guidelines, see section 2; for recommendation on how to fill in the technical and financial forms, please refer to section 3 of this document.

1.6.1 In which language may the concept note/full proposal be submitted?

The concept note must be submitted in English.

As for the full proposal, the Contracting Authority strongly recommends that applicants fill in the technical part and especially the financial part of the proposal in clear English only, although they may also be submitted in any of the official EU languages, except Irish or Maltese.

Note that the grant agreement, project management, formal reporting, key deliverables and all communication with the Contracting Authority will have to be in English.

The title of the proposal and form B1 ("Summary description of the project") must always be submitted in clear English. Form B1 may in addition also be submitted in the language of the proposal.

1.6.2 Who may submit a proposal?

A proposal may be submitted by any legal person registered in the European Union.

Entities participating in the proposal may fall into three types of beneficiaries: (1) public bodies, (2) private commercial organisations and (3) private non-commercial organisations (including NGOs).

The term "public bodies" is defined as referring to national public authorities, regardless of their form of organisation – central, regional or local structure – or the various bodies under their control, provided these operate on behalf of and under the responsibility of the national public authority concerned. In the case of entities registered as private law bodies wishing to be considered for the purpose of this call as equivalent to "public law bodies", they should provide evidence proving that they comply with all criteria applicable to bodies governed by public law and in the event the organisation stops its activities, its rights and obligations, liability and debts will be transferred to a public body. For a complete definition, please refer to the annex "Public body declaration", which must be completed by all beneficiaries which wish to be considered and treated as a 'public body'. The only exception concerns those central (e.g.: Ministry) and local administrations (e.g.: Provinces, Municipalities, Regions etc.) whose nature of 'public body' is clear.

Please note that so called 'Sole traders' (i.e. entities owned and run by one individual and where there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business) are considered natural persons and are therefore not eligible to participate as beneficiary or affiliate in this call.

Please refer to the 'Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2018 of Environment Sub-programme' for full details regarding the compulsory administrative documents which are required with the proposal depending on the legal status of the coordinating beneficiary.

Once a proposal has been accepted for co-funding, the applicant will become the coordinating beneficiary who is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the project. The coordinating beneficiary will be the single point of contact for the Contracting Authority and will be the only beneficiary to report directly to the Contracting Authority on the project's technical and financial progress.

The coordinating beneficiary receives the EU financial contribution from the Contracting Authority and ensures its distribution as specified in the partnership agreements established with the associated beneficiaries (if there are any – see below). The coordinating beneficiary must be directly involved in the technical implementation of the project and in the dissemination of the project results.

The coordinating beneficiary must bear part of the project costs and must thus contribute financially to the project budget. It cannot therefore be reimbursed for 100% of the costs that it incurs.

The coordinating beneficiary must show its legal status (by completing application form A2) confirming legal registration in the EU.

In addition to the coordinating beneficiary, a LIFE proposal may also involve one or more associated beneficiaries and/or one or more project co-financiers.

The associated beneficiary must always contribute technically and financially to the proposal and hence be responsible for the implementation of one or several project actions. Furthermore, it must provide the coordinator beneficiary with all the necessary documents required for the fulfilment of its reporting obligations to the Contracting Authority.

There is no pre-defined number of associated beneficiaries to be involved in a LIFE proposal. A proposal that is submitted without any participant other than the coordinating beneficiary itself is eligible. On the other hand, a beneficiary should not hesitate to associate other beneficiaries, if this would bring an added value to the project, such as when the partnership strengthens the feasibility or the demonstration character of the proposal, its European added value, its impact and/or the transfer of its results and lessons learnt.

Public undertakings whose capital is publicly owned and which are considered an instrument or a technical service of a public administration, and which are subject to the public administration's control, but are in effect separate legal entities, must become beneficiaries if a public administration intends to entrust the implementation of certain project actions to these undertakings3.

Exceptionally an associated beneficiary may be legally registered outside the European Union if the actions outside the EU it is responsible for are (the coordinating beneficiary of the project in any case be based in the EU) necessary to achieve EU environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply. In other words, the participation of an entity established outside the EU that will only contribute with the know-how or will collaborate to implement actions in the EU will not be considered as sufficient.

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 Regulation4 (by signing the application form A3 or A4 – see instructions in section 3 of this document).

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 Authority's administrative discretion to accept affiliates, and in no case will affiliated entities be accepted for public beneficiaries or entities that do not comply with the description of affiliated entities hereafter.

Affiliated entities need to comply with the eligibility and non-exclusion criteria applying to applicants and should have a structural link with the beneficiary concerned (i.e. a legal or capital link) that is neither limited to the project nor established for the sole purpose of the project implementation (so the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the project).

As affiliated entities could be accepted those directly controlled by the beneficiary (i.e. daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries), entities controlling the beneficiary (mother company) OR in case of Memberships, the beneficiary has to be legally defined as a network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities participate. However, if several beneficiaries want to work with the same 'affiliate', the 'affiliate' should be proposed as 'beneficiary' instead.

A project co-financier only contributes to the project with financial resources, has no technical responsibilities, and cannot benefit from the EU financial contribution. Furthermore, it cannot act, in the context of the project, as a sub-contractor to any of the project's beneficiaries.

For specific tasks of a fixed duration, a proposal may foresee the use of sub-contractors. Sub-contractors provide external services to the project beneficiaries who fully pay for the services provided. Beneficiaries (including their affiliated entities) may not act as sub- contractors. Sub-contractors should normally not be identified by name in the proposal; if they are, the General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement must still be respected.

For a more detailed description of the respective rules related to the coordinating beneficiary, associated beneficiaries, affiliates, co-financiers and sub-contractors, please refer to the General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement.

1.6.3 What is the optimal budget for a LIFE project?

There is no fixed minimum size for project budgets. While large ambitious projects (i.e. over 5,000,000 Euro total costs) have been financed several times in the past, small projects (i.e. below 500,000 Euro total costs) have seldom succeeded due to the limited output and consequently the low added value.

 

1.6.4 What is the maximum rate of EU co-financing under LIFE?

For the duration of the second LIFE multiannual work programme for 2018-2020, the maximum EU co-financing rate for "traditional" LIFE projects is 55% of the total eligible project costs. An exception is made for "traditional" LIFE projects in the priority area Nature and Biodiversity under the sub-programme Environment for which the EU co-funding rate can go up to 60%, or 75% in specific cases.5

The payment schedule foreseen is the following:

(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)

 

1.6.5 How much should project beneficiaries contribute to the project budget?

The coordinating beneficiary and any associated beneficiaries are expected to provide a reasonable financial contribution to the project budget. A beneficiary's financial contribution is considered as a proof of its commitment to the implementation of the project objectives – a very low financial contribution may therefore be considered as an absence or lack of commitment.

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

 

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

1.6.6 What is the optimal starting date and duration for a project?

When preparing the project's time planning, beneficiaries should be aware that the expected date of the signature of the grant agreements for the LIFE 2018 projects will be June-July 2019. The earliest possible starting date for these projects is 15 July 2019. Any costs incurred before the project's starting date will not be considered eligible and cannot be included in the project budget. There is no pre-determined project duration for a LIFE project. Generally speaking, the project duration must correspond to what is necessary to complete all of the project's actions and to reach all its objectives. On average projects last for 3–5 years.

Only under exceptional circumstances, the Contracting Authority may decide to grant an extension of the project duration. The experience of the previous LIFE Programmes has shown that many projects had difficulties completing all actions within the proposed project duration, mostly due to unforeseen delays and difficulties encountered during the project. Beneficiaries are therefore strongly advised to build an appropriate safety margin (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.

1.6.7 Where can a LIFE project take place?

LIFE projects shall take place in the territory of the European Union Member States. The LIFE Programme may also finance activities outside the EU and in overseas countries and 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 aimed at the conservation of migratory birds in wintering areas or actions implemented on a trans boundary river). Please note that this is clearly an exception as normally actions should be carried out in the EU. However, when the problem at stake cannot be addressed successfully or efficiently unless actions are carried out also in non-EU countries, this will be possible. Qualitative and quantitative evidence to justify the need for those actions outside the EU must be given in the description of each of these actions in the relevant forms.

The eligibility criteria formulated in European Commission notice Nr.2013/C-205/05 (OJEU 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.

 

1.6.8 Who should manage a LIFE project?

It is expected that the project management is carried out by the staff of the coordinating beneficiary. However, on the basis of an appropriate justification it may be carried out by an associated beneficiary or by sub-contractor under the coordinating beneficiary's direct control. 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).

1.6.9 Outsourcing of project activities

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.

The General Conditions of the Model LIFE Grant Agreement must be respected for any external assistance.

In line with Article 19 of the Regulation, beneficiaries (public and private) are strongly advised to use "green" procurement. The European Commission has established a toolkit for this purpose. More information can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/toolkit_en.htm

1.6.10 Under which conditions does LIFE favour transnational projects?

The LIFE Regulation indicates that, while selecting the projects to be co-funded, the Contracting Authority shall have special regard to transnational projects, when transnational cooperation is essential to guarantee environmental or nature protection. On the basis of award criterion 6, additional points will be given to a proposal if there is sufficient evidence for an added value of the transnational approach. If such evidence can be provided, the proposal will be considered for a higher scoring in the project selection process and will therefore have a higher chance of being selected for co-funding.

N.B. The meaning of "transnational" as foreseen in the LIFE Regulation only covers cooperation among Member States as well as cooperation among Member States and third countries participating in the LIFE Programme under article 5 of the LIFE Regulation. Activities outside the Union or in overseas countries and territories, while possible as foreseen under article 6 of the LIFE Regulation, will not entail additional points under award criterion 6.

1.6.11 How voluminous should a LIFE proposal be?

A proposal 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.

Clear and detailed descriptions should, however, be provided for all project actions. 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).

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

1.6.12 Ongoing activities

Actions already ongoing before the start of the project are not eligible.

Where actions to be undertaken in the project are significantly different from previous or ongoing activities in terms of frequency or intensity they are not considered ongoing. The applicant must provide adequate information in the proposal that allows to assess this aspect.

Exceptionally, in case of actions that were undertaken and completed in the past and that are proposed to be repeated at a similar frequency or intensity during the project, the applicant must provide evidence that such actions would not have been carried out in the absence of the LIFE project.

1.6.13 Sustainability of the project and its actions

LIFE projects represent a considerable investment, and the European Union attaches great importance to the long term sustainability of these investments. The sustainability of the project results in the medium and long term is understood as the capacity to maintain them after project implementation, be it by continuation, by replication or by transfer. It is obligatory that throughout the duration of the project, the beneficiaries consider how these investments will be secured, maintained, developed and made use of or replicated/transferred during or after the end of the project. Successful continuation, replication and/or transfer require a strategy including tasks to multiply the impacts of the projects' solutions and mobilise a wider uptake, reaching a critical mass during the project and/or in a short and medium term perspective after the end of the LIFE project. This goes beyond transfer of knowledge and networking, and involves putting the solutions developed and/or applied in the project into practice beyond the project period, elsewhere or for a different purpose.

1.6.14 Research activities and large infrastructure

Whereas EU funding for research activities is provided under Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014–2020)6, limited research aimed to improve and enhance the knowledge data underpinning the project may be carried out within a LIFE project. Research must be strictly limited and intrinsically related to the project's objectives 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.

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 actual cost7 of a "single item of infrastructure" exceeds € 500,000. A "single item of infrastructure" means all elements as described in form F4a 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, 11 or 12 of the LIFE Regulation.

1.6.15 Complementarity with other EU funding programmes

According to Article 8 of the LIFE Regulation, activities supported from the LIFE Programme must ensure consistency and synergies, and avoid overlap with other funding programmes of the Union. In particular, the Contracting Authority and the Member States must ensure coordination with the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and Horizon 2020.

It is thus essential that, prior to submitting their proposal to the Contracting Authority, beneficiaries check thoroughly whether the actions proposed under their project in practice could be, or are, funded through other EU funds.

The beneficiaries must inform the Contracting Authority about any related funding they have received from the EU budget, as well as any related ongoing applications for funding from the EU budget. The beneficiaries must also check that they are not receiving on-going operating grants from LIFE (or other EU programmes) that could lead to double financing.

Failure to signal this in the appropriate form A7 might lead to rejection of the proposal.

Please note that this is an area of growing concern, evidence shows that an increasing number of similar or same proposals are submitted to various programmes. Increasingly severe checks and cross-checks are carried out by the contracting authorities. Failure to declare that the same or a similar proposal has been submitted to another programme (or worst, already even partly financed) may have serious consequences.

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

On the contrary, projects that show synergies with EU policies different than those covered by the LIFE programme and with other EU funding mechanisms, will receive bonus points in the evaluation phase (Award criterion 6) depending on the extent and quality of such synergies. An example of such synergies could be a project aimed at improving waste management that simultaneously increases social integration.

1.6.16 Proposals following or based on previous LIFE projects

If the applicant is proposing a continuation of a previous LIFE project, he should clearly describe in form A7 why a further project phase is needed and how this will complement the results achieved with the previous project. The applicant should also explain when discussing sustainability (form B6), how a further continuation would be ensured with resources other than the LIFE programme. Last, but not least, in the description of every key action (C-forms) the applicant should provide precise information on how this action builds upon and complements the similar action carried out in the previous project phase.

 

Applicants should also show that they have taken into consideration other LIFE projects financed that addressed a similar issue. They will need to explain how their proposal builds upon or differs from the others and how it will coordinate with them if those projects are still on-going.

During the evaluation process these aspects will be carefully checked. Failure to provide full details on these aspects will have a negative impact on the final score.

1.6.17 Quantification of environmental benefits

The improved performances/advantages introduced by the proposed solution must be quantified in terms of the expected environmental benefits. They must be concrete, realistic and quantified as far as possible and must be presented in a life-cycle reasoning where relevant. This must be done by clearly comparing them to the state-of-play estimated or measured at the outset of the project. In this regard as far as the full proposal is concerned, consistency shall be ensured between environmental benefits described in the relevant forms and values reported in the table on LIFE Key project level indicators .

1.6.18 Coordination requirements for multiple proposals aimed at the same/similar issue

Evidence shows that an increasing number of proposals aimed at the same or at a similar issue are submitted, often in the same Member State without a clear rational and coordination mechanism. This happens more frequently in the Nature and Biodiversity priority area.

To avoid such situations applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with National Contact Points (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/contact/nationalcontact/) to check whether the topic they are addressing is being addressed also by other applicants. If this is the case, applicants are encouraged to seek cooperation to avoid possible overlaps and increase synergies.

1.7 Personal Data Protection Clause

The personal data supplied with your proposal, notably the name, address and other contact information of the beneficiaries and co-financiers, will be placed in a database named ESAP that will be made available to the EU Institutions and agencies, as well as to a team of external evaluators who are bound by a confidentiality agreement. ESAP is used exclusively to manage the evaluation of LIFE proposals.

The same personal data of successful projects will be transferred to another 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 the projects selected will also be published in a public database called the Financial Transparency System8.

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. You will notably have the right to access data concerning you in our possession and to request corrections.

Submission of a proposal implies that you accept that the personal data contained in your 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. Guidance concerning LIFE 2018 Preparatory Projects

$2.1 Specific Needs Identified for 2018

Under the 2018 call, proposals may be submitted only to address the following specific needs:

1) Grazing for wildfire prevention, ecosystem service provision, nature conservation and landscape management (€ 500,000)

The proposed project:

The project will focus on the potential of grazing, both by domestic and wild/semi-wild herbivores, to help prevent wildfires, optimise the provision of multiple ecosystem services, support landscape and nature conservation, and contribute to climate change adaptation by maintaining long-term stable and resilient ecosystems.

The aim is to identify (a) cost-efficient and effective grazing management strategies and practices that can be readily used or adapted to different national/regional contexts and (b) ways in which the EU could efficiently and effectively promote and support such strategies and measures in Member States and their regions.

Work should include literature reviews and case studies to identify success factors and barriers to existing grazing schemes within their specific regional contexts; a review of their performance (uptake, results, impacts) in relation to the above-mentioned objectives; an assessment of their potential transferability and scalability; and the development of recommendations for targeted EU action (funding, guidance, policy measures) to help optimise results and impacts, in particular for the best performing schemes. Further, the complementary role of natural grazing through wild or semi-wild herbivores should also be understood and adequately promoted.

The specific needs addressed:

The catastrophic 2017 forest fire season was a painful reminder of the growing wildfire risks in the EU. Key driving factors are both climate change and increasing fire-proneness of forested landscapes as a result of land abandonment and unsustainable land management practices leading to the accumulation of vegetation/fuel. The Commission sees a clear need to invest more in disaster prevention4, including through land use and forest management strategies which prevent the outbreak of wildfires and slow down their progression. A potential key element of many such strategies could be the increasing use of a wide range of grazing schemes and practices to reduce fuel load and the speed of fire propagation.

In addition to wildfire prevention, appropriate grazing management strategies and practices also contribute to the conservation and restoration of certain protected habitats and species, thereby supporting the relevant objectives and actions of the EU Biodiversity Strategy5, the Natura 2000 Network, and the EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy6. There is already much knowledge on the contribution of good pastoralism/silvo-pastoralism practices to these objectives. But the ongoing LIFE project 'Montserrat' also shows once more that we must better understand the socio economic conditions leading to the emergence/continued existence of such schemes in different regional contexts, to determine their (trans)national transferability, scalability, and the potential for targeted support.

Finally, the Commission's reflections on the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)7 include the observation that fire risks are already challenging current agricultural and forestry practices and production. Whilst there is a need for a continued Rural Development Policy for rural jobs and growth, it is also clear that any new CAP must have at the same time higher ambitions on resource efficiency, environmental care and climate action. The conservation of permanent pastures, and the maintenance and creation of landscape features, are explicitly mentioned as measures that yield high EU environmental added value.

2) Support for Air Quality Plans under Directive 2008/50/EC (€ 1, 000,000)

The proposed project:

The project will provide background information, practical guidelines and support tools related to urban ecosystems and vegetation as sinks and sources of air pollution for the competent authorities and others responsible for developing and implementing Air Quality Plans and Operational Programmes under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

This project will assess the effects (positive and negative) of urban ecosystems and vegetation on urban air quality and urban temperature, assess the impact using monitoring and modelling in relation to replicability and dissemination, provide suggestions for Green Infrastructure Strategies in relation to Air Quality Plans and future Operational Programmes under ESIF, and provide an information platform for the competent authorities. The project should focus on PM10 and O3, but also include the role of and relation with other air pollutants such as NO2 if relevant.

The specific needs addressed:

In Operational Programmes under the Structural Funds and in Air Quality Plans all over Europe hundreds of millions of euros are being spent on urban vegetation to improve air quality. Research has been done on some effects of urban green (e.g. in iSCAPE under Horizon 2020), but this tends to focus on physical characteristics of the vegetation and on PM and NO2 and on how urban green can help reduce concentrations of these pollutants. However, some important elements have not yet been properly addressed, such as the effects of the various vegetation species and the biogenic emissions from vegetation that can contribute to ozone formation in cities, especially in EU countries with a warm climate where ozone is a major problem in summer time (see e.g. https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/air-quality-in-europe-2017 ). Another missing element is the translation of scientific research on urban vegetation into practical guidelines  and support tools for developing and implementing Air Quality Plans under Directive 2008/50/EC, notably those addressing PM and ozone.

The expected results in the period of three years should be:

- establishing an inventory of initiatives and projects done so far and the lessons learnt related to urban ecosystems/vegetation and air pollution, notably (but not exclusively) for PM10 and O3;

- mapping of air pollution characteristics (e.g. impact on natural ventilation patterns; adsorption, transformation, emission of air pollutants) of ecosystems and/or vegetation types most common in urban centres prone to O3 exceedances, including variables such as location (e.g. park, garden, street, ...);

- assessing biogenic emissions in in at least two urban centres prone to O3 exceedances in time and space as a function of meteorological conditions and biological/ecosystem characteristics (including monitoring/modelling);

- assessing the role of ecosystems in urban heating and cooling patterns and the relation with air pollution;

- assessing the impact of urban ecosystems/vegetation on health and ecosystem risks due to their effect on air pollution;

- establishing close contact with JRC/FAIRMODE and relevant EU (co-)funded projects, especially those addressing air pollution in areas with O3 and PM exceedances (e.g. PREPAIR);

- providing an information platform, guidelines and support tools for the authorities competent for Air Quality Plans and the Managing Authorities of Operational Programmes under ESIF;

- providing information to and raising awareness of stakeholders at urban, regional, national and European level;

introducing actions for the data/tools to be used in governance practices (e.g. revision of an Air Quality Plan or some sort of urban planning with Green Infrastructure Strategies, setting up and implementing a work plan, adapting the developed approaches to the local context, quantifying/estimating results -to the extent possible- to demonstrate in practice the usefulness of the developed approaches, providing tips and tricks for use of the tools elsewhere).

3) Better ‘support to the transition to circular economy’ in networks engaging innovation, regional and environmental agencies, philanthropy and financial market actors

(3 projects, each with max. EU contribution €350,000) The specific needs addressed:

New business models in the circular economy have benefits for the environment and for competiveness and they provide opportunities to address social challenges (like job market integration). Incomplete accounting of environmental and social effects of investment projects for the circular economy blur the case for public support – and undermine their appeal for both impact oriented and commercial investors.

The European Environmental Agency observes, in its report ‘Circular by design’8 (July 2017) that public research and innovation support provides hardly any financing for the development of business models for reuse, repair and remanufacturing while financing for ‘recycling technologies’ is abundant. The annex of the revised waste regulation [which will shortly be published in the Official Journal of the EU9] provides a list of financial and non- financial incentives authorities can provide to avoid waste and make material streams circular. Encouraging eco-design and systematically applying green public procurement are two product related options, alongside a numerous options in act in the waste stream.

The proposed projects:

The proposed projects shall be implemented in 3 different geographical locations of the EU Member States. They shall design and test services that engage the private and public sector and the citizen in the development of new circular economy business models that simultaneously create environmental, social and economic impact. The projects shall aim at calculating the total economic value of these circular economy projects and prepare larger projects for different types of investors (impact or finance oriented).

The projects shall be led by national, regional or municipal administrations or public agencies mentioned under points 1 – 3 below, acting on their behalf. The projects shall engage the following stakeholders & communities, bridge between them and engage them in the provision of ‘better support for the transition to a circular economy’, which aims at realising environmental and social impact and strengthen competitiveness and cohesion:

  1. (1)  Innovation agencies focusing on entrepreneurs, start-ups and individual enterprises bringing them into contact with applied science.

  2. (2)  Regional development agencies having a wider mandate to engage in the planning and financing of infrastructures, like industrial parks or incubators.

  3. (3)  Environmental agencies and philanthropic (public and private) institutions that act as funders in projects with direct environmental (and social) impact.

  4. (4)  Financial market actors, notably public promotional banks, (green) commercial banks, funds and the consulting sector which have experience in developing the bankability of investment proposals.

  5. (5)  The citizen and civil society organisations.

4) Providing support for Biodiversity Action in the EU's Outermost Regions (BEST) (€ 1,800,000)

The proposed project:

The proposed project would aim to continue, build on and upscale the BEST RUP programme10. It would allow unlocking the local potential for biodiversity action in the EU's Outermost Regions located in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Amazon and Macronesian Regions, which constitute biodiversity hotspots of global importance. The specific objective is to empower and strengthen local authorities and civil society organisations in ORs which are committed in local development and biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services, including ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation, in the EU's ORs. The project would contribute to prepare the ground for a sustainable funding mechanism for biodiversity action in the EU's ORs and OCTs post 2020 following up to the successfully implemented BEST Preparatory Action (BEST PA 2011-2017)11.

The specific needs addressed:

A key aspect of the EU Biodiversity Strategy is to help stop the loss of global biodiversity. The EU's Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) host a very rich biodiversity and at the same time are amongst the countries and territories which are most vulnerable to climate change. In the frame of BEST RUP a call for swift small grants12 in the 3 Regions where the French ORs are located (Amazonia – Caribbean – Indian Ocean) was carried out. The demand largely out-competed the available budget. BEST RUP follows the modalities of the successful BEST 2.0 Programme for small and medium grants for biodiversity action in OCTs. For the short term, the European Commission is currently considering the possibility of providing limited additional funding to enable the continuation of the calls for proposals for the BEST 2.0 grants for OCTs (through the Development Cooperation Instrument DCI). The proposed preparatory project LIFE will allow continuing the financial support to this successful initiative in the short term (2018-2020) through enabling the organisation of further calls for proposals for swift small grants for biodiversity action in the EU's Outermost Regions located in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Amazon and Macaronesian Regions in 2018 and 2019. This will contribute to prepare the transition to a sustainable mechanism and allow to maintain the positive momentum and mobilisation until the longer term perspective for providing specific support for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of ecosystem services, including for climate adaptation, in the outermost regions and overseas countries and territories in the new EU programmes' as stated in the Commission Communication 'A stronger and renewed partnership with the EU's outermost regions'13 will set in including in the context of the next multi-annual financial framework.

For more information see:

http://ec.europa.eu/best

http://www.bestrup.org/

 

5) Capacity building for SME support organizations helping them to boost their services to SMEs on circular economy, resource efficiency and eco-innovation (€500,000)

The proposed project:

This project would provide capacity building for selected SME support organisations in EU Member States such as industry associations, chambers of commerce, innovation agencies, etc. The capacity building will include training, guidance, advice, skills development, tools, and network creation in the field of circular economy, resource efficiency and eco-innovation. The project will include three steps:

  1. 1)  Selection of the SME support organisations that will directly participate in the activities through a call for expression of interest.

  2. 2)  Development of the design of the capacity building activities and of the capacity building materials.

  3. 3)  Implementation of the actual capacity building activities, dissemination of the capacity building materials and follow-up on service delivery by the SME support organisations.

The specific needs addressed:

The direct objective is to strengthen the ability of SME support organisations to help SMEs in their transition and participation in the circular economy, eco-innovation and green markets. This, in turn, will help to reach objectives of turning the European economy more circular, resource efficient and innovative.

This project is based on the recognition that the most effective way for the European Commission to influence SMEs in these areas is to engage with SME support organisations. Given the limited capacity, wide scope, large number and broad diversity of SMEs we need to reach them through these organisations that can act useful multipliers and interlocutors.

In order to fulfil this role, SME support organisations need to gain and improve their knowledge of circular economy, resource efficiency, eco-innovation and green markets and increase their capacity to extend the scope of service provisions offered to SMEs.

Through contacts with these organisations we already detected a strong interest to newly establish or strengthen related services, but, at the same time, we also identified a low/insufficient knowledge base and capacity. This indicates a strong demand for the activities offered by this project. For example, an ongoing EP financed pilot project that delivers a similar type of action (one-off training for SMEs support organisations on the circular economy) attracted almost 300 applications for the 40 available places.

The project would directly contribute to the implementation of three action plans of the European Commission: the Green Action Plan for SMEs, the Eco-innovation Action Plan (Eco AP) and the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP)
For a long term perspective, the proposed project would give further indications how to design and implement action on a much larger scale in helping SMEs in the circular economy and eco-innovation.

SMEs are a special constituency for environmental policy for two reasons.. First they play a crucial role in Europe’s economies by providing jobs and offering valuable products and services. Second they have negative considerable externalities related to resource use and the generation of waste streams.

However, most SMEs still find difficulties in fully benefiting from resource efficiency, circular economy, eco-innovation and green markets policies. In comparison to larger corporations, SMEs have relatively smaller capacity and less availability of knowledge and financial resources. This makes it relatively more difficult for SMEs to change their operations, product design, or the sourcing of raw materials.

On the other hand: once SMEs are convinced that they should and can change their business model, they are more flexible and can change more easily than big corporate, and thus initiate a movement towards a new circular economy. This is the rationale for any investment in knowledge transfer to SMEs.

2.2 How to conceive a LIFE Preparatory project proposal?

A proposal for a LIFE Preparatory project must be designed to respond to one of the specific needs described in the previous section. Actions must be clearly related to the objective(s) of the project, and be completed within the duration of the project. Furthermore, the long- term sustainability of the investments must be guaranteed. As a general principle, all actions included in the project must be new and additional to the work undertaken by the applicant prior to the projects.

Actions may not include (this is not an exhaustive list):

  •   land purchase or lease

  •   activities that overlap with ongoing LIFE projects or any other projects co-financed by the EU budget.

  •   large infrastructure

When preparing your proposal, the following main types of actions must be clearly distinguished:

2.2.1 Implementation actions (A actions - obligatory)

These are the core actions of the proposals. They may not include preparatory actions that have been completed prior to the start of the project.

All actions should:

  1. Implementation actions (obligatory),

  2. Communication and dissemination actions (obligatory),

  3. Project management and monitoring of project progress (obligatory).

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

  •   not be research actions, unless they fall under the exceptions described in point 1.7.16 of this Guide,

The impact of these actions must be monitored during the project.
2.2.2 Communication and dissemination actions (B actions - obligatory)

Note that certain communication actions are obligatory for preparatory projects and should therefore be explicitly foreseen in the proposal as separate actions. These include establishment and maintenance of a project web site and use of the LIFE logo, and Natura 2000 logo if relevant.

In addition projects will typically include:

  •   information activities to the general public and stakeholders aimed 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;

The range of possible actions for both types of communication actions is large (media work, organisation of events for the local community, didactic work with local 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. 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 infrastructures is not eligible.

Each proposal must assess the range of related projects and include an action entitled "Networking with other LIFE and/or non-LIFE projects". Where there are related projects that have been financed under LIFE, this action 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).

See articles II.7 and II.8 of the General Conditions of the LIFE Model grant agreement for full details of communication and dissemination requirements. The LIFE website http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/toolkit/comtools/index.htm also contains detailed advice on communication and dissemination actions, in particular LIFE Nature: Communicating with stakeholders and the general public – Best practices examples for Natura 2000 and the guidelines on how to design a LIFE web-site.

2.2.3 Project management and monitoring of project progress (C actions - obligatory)

Every project proposal must contain an appropriate amount of these actions, which typically involve:

  •  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. The technical project management may be partially outsourced. Outsourcing of project management is possible, 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 organigramme and details of the responsibilities of each person and organisation involved). It is strongly recommended that the project management staff has 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.
  •   Specific training relevant to the project, workshops and meetings for the beneficiaries' staff, where these are required for the achievement of the project objectives.

  •   Indicators (obligatory action): A distinct C-action must be included concerning the compilation of information needed to complete the indicator tables (quantitative and qualitative) to 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 2018-2020. Templates of the tables will be made available in due course.

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. All projects will have to include impact monitoring actions in addition to routine monitoring of the project progress.

Information and guidance on indicators can be found on the LIFE web site at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/toolkit/pmtools/life2014_2020/monitoring.htm.

  •   In addition, if relevant to the specific need targeted, each proposal must include an action aimed to assess the socio-economic impact of the project actions on the local economy and population. This can take the form of a study 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 protecting the environment or climate. Examples of positive effects of the 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.

  •   After-LIFE Plan (obligatory action): The coordinating beneficiary must produce an “After-LIFE Plan” as a separate chapter of the final report. This plan shall set out how the actions initiated in your LIFE project will continue and develop in the years that follow the end of the project. It should give details regarding what actions will be carried out, when, by whom, and using what sources of finance. A separate C-action for this plan should be added to the proposal and the plan must be added to the list of deliverables.



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