1 General Information
This call embodies a joint initiative of the European Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) aimed at concretely exploring the potential of using volunteer work for environmental protection activities, mainly targeted to Natura 2000 sites and species protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive. This initiative will be implemented by means of LIFE preparatory projects and builds on the mobilisation and deployment opportunities of volunteers provided by the European Solidarity Corps1.
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 1293/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 20132.
The LIFE Programme is structured in two sub-programmes: the sub-programme for Environment and the sub-programme for Climate Action. The overall financial envelope for the implementation of the LIFE Programme is 3,456,655,000 Euro, 75% of which is allocated to the sub-programme Environment (2,592,491,250 Euro) and 25% of which is allocated to the sub-programme Climate Action.
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 covering the period 2014-2017 foresees a budget of 1,347.1 Million Euro for the sub-programme for environment and 449.2 Million Euro for the sub-programme for climate action 3.
What is EAFRD?
The EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) is the funding instrument of the EU’s rural development policy. The overall financial envelop of the EAFRD reaches 99.6 billion euro for the 2014-2020 programming period and for the Union as a whole.
The rural development policy, frequently called "the second pillar” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), helps the rural areas of the EU to meet a wide range of economic, environmental and social challenges, in line with the underlying goals of the "Europe 2020" strategy of the Union.
One of the specific six Union priorities for Rural Development concerns the restoration, preservation and enhancement of ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry, including environmental protection activities, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas such as Natura 2000. The rural development (EAFRD) contribution to the present initiative relates to this priority.
What is the European Solidarity Corps?
It was announced by President Juncker during his State of the Union speech on 14 September 2016: "The European Union can also contribute to helping create opportunities for young people. There are many young, socially-minded people in Europe willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity. [...] I am convinced much more solidarity is needed. But I also know that solidarity must be given voluntarily. It must come from the heart. It cannot be forced. [...] In the same spirit, the Commission is proposing today to set up a European Solidarity Corps. Young people across the EU will be able to volunteer their help where it is needed most, to respond to crisis situations, like the refugee crisis or the recent earthquakes in Italy. I want this European Solidarity Corps up and running as soon as possible. And by 2020, to see the first 100,000 young Europeans taking part. By voluntarily joining the European Solidarity Corps, these young people will be able to develop their skills and get not only work but also invaluable human experience."
The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is conceived to offer people under 30 in Europe the chance to support a non-governmental organisation (NGO), local authority or private company active in addressing challenging situations across the European Union – for instance: rebuilding communities following natural disasters; addressing social challenges such as social exclusion, poverty, health and demographic challenges; or working on the reception and integration of refugees.
The Corps will develop its own distinct identity, rooted in the core EU values of engagement and solidarity. By joining the Corps, participants will express their commitment and willingness to devote a period of their lives to helping others. By supporting others, including the most vulnerable in our societies and communities, young people will not only put the core EU value of solidarity into practice, but also acquire skills and experience, including language skills, that can be valuable when looking for a job or considering further education and training.
More information is available at europa.eu/solidarity-corps
1.2 What are LIFE Preparatory projects?
According to the LIFE Regulation, Preparatory projects address specific needs for the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation.
1.3 Scopeof LIFE Preparatory projects
The Commission identified a specific need regarding the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation that could be addressed by Preparatory projects. Before launching the call for proposals, Member States have been consulted.
1.4 How, where and when to submit a proposal?
LIFE applicants must submit their proposals using the forms included in this application guide and attaching all relevant documents. The deadline is Friday 25h August, so the applications must arrive at the following address no later than this day.
LIFE 2017 – Preparatory Projects European Commission
DG ENV – LIFE Unit (BU9 03/006) B-1049 Brussels
Delivery by hand is possible at the following address only:
LIFE 2017– Preparatory Projects 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 proposal arrives on time; any courier or postal service serves as the applicant's agent.
The proposal and all its obligatory annexes must be submitted in an electronic format, accompanied by a signed cover letter. The full title of the proposal should be clearly labelled in an electronic format and on the letter.
The proposal itself must be submitted as one "black and white only" pdf document, including all technical forms (i.e. A, B and C forms) and all financial forms (F forms). These forms should be scanned and submitted as a single pdf file of the original, printed, completed and signed (where applicable) A4 size paper forms. The paper forms should be retained by the applicants. 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).
The proposal must be printable on a black-and-white printer, and in an A4 format. Where proposal forms are signed, beneficiaries are strongly advised to check whether the signatures are still identifiable on a printout of the form.
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.
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 electronic format.
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 Commission 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.
1.5 Administrative and financial information to be provided
Beneficiaries may include: (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 – and the various bodies, including public institutions, 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 applying to bodies governed by public law and in the event the entity stops its activities, its rights and obligations, liability and debts will be transferred to a public body. For a complete definition, please refer to form A3b ("Public body declaration"). All beneficiaries which want to be considered and treated as a public body must complete form A3b.
All coordinating beneficiaries which do not want to be treated as a public body must complete the simplified financial statement, which is provided in a separate excel file in the application package.
All applicants and associated beneficiaries must show their legal status (by completing application forms A2 or A5), and provide full information on the Member State in which they are registered. In addition all beneficiaries must declare that they are not in any of the situations foreseen under art. 106(1) and 107 of the EU Financial Regulation4 (by signing the application form A3 or A4 – instructions for this are given in section 3 of these Guidelines).
Please refer to section 4.6 of this document for full details regarding the compulsory administrative documents which are required with the proposal depending on the legal status of the coordinating beneficiary.
1.6 How will LIFE Preparatory projects be selected?
The European Commission is responsible for the evaluation procedure. The project selection procedure will be organised as follows:
Evaluation of proposals: The Commission will verify the compliance of each proposal with the eligibility and selection criteria, and will evaluate them against the award criteria. Proposals will be ranked on the basis of the score obtained in relation to the award criteria.
After a review phase, successful projects will be proposed for funding, within the available budget.
Details of the evaluation procedure are described in section 4 of this document.
The current chapter replies to some frequently asked questions on how to conceive a LIFE project proposal.
1.7.1 In which language may the proposal be submitted?
LIFE proposals may be submitted in any of the official EU languages, except Irish or Maltese. The Commission nevertheless strongly recommends that applicants fill in the technical part of the proposal in clear English.
Form B1 ("Summary description of the project") must always be submitted in English. It may in addition also be submitted in the language of the proposal.
1.7.2 Who may submit a proposal for a Preparatory Project?
LIFE is open to public or private bodies, actors or institutions registered in the European Union. Project proposals can either be submitted by a single applicant or by a partnership which includes a coordinating beneficiary (the applicant) and one or several associated beneficiaries.
Applicants 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 in section 1.5 of this document. The applicant must show its legal status (by completing application form A2) confirming legal registration in the EU.
1.7.3 Who may participate in a project?
Once a proposal has been accepted for co-funding, the applicant will become the coordinating beneficiary legally and financially responsible for the implementation of the project. The coordinating beneficiary will be the single point of contact for the Commission and will be the only beneficiary to report directly to the Commission on the project's technical and financial progress.
The coordinating beneficiary receives the EU financial contribution from the Commission and ensures its distribution as specified in the partnership agreements established with the associated beneficiaries (if any). The coordinating beneficiary must be directly involved in the technical implementation of the project and in the dissemination of the project results.
Section 1.5 also provides more details regarding the compulsory administrative documents which are required with the proposal depending on the legal status of the coordinating beneficiary.
In addition to the coordinating beneficiary, a LIFE proposal may also involve one or more associated beneficiaries and/or one or more project co-financers.
An associated beneficiary has to be legally registered in the European Union. An associated beneficiary must always contribute technically to the proposal and hence be responsible for the implementation of one or several project actions. An associated beneficiary must also contribute financially to the project. It must provide the beneficiary with all the necessary documents required for the fulfilment of its reporting obligations to the Commission.
There is no obligation to involve associated beneficiaries in a LIFE proposal. A proposal that is submitted without any other participant other than the coordinating beneficiary itself is perfectly eligible. On the other hand, a beneficiary should not hesitate to associate other beneficiaries if this would bring an added value to the project. A meaningful collaboration can be expected, for instance, when the partnership strengthens the European added value of the project and/or the transferability of its results and lessons learnt.
Each beneficiary (coordinating or associated) must bear part of the project costs and must thus contribute financially to the project budget. Furthermore no beneficiary may act, in the context of the project, as a sub-contractor to another beneficiary.
The costs of an affiliated entity to a private beneficiary may also be eligible project costs, but only if the role of the affiliated entity is clearly described in the project application.
Costs of an affiliated entity to a public beneficiary are not eligible; the affiliated entity should become an associated beneficiary in order to participate in the project. Thus, public undertakings whose capital is publicly owned, that are considered an instrument or a technical service of a public administration, and are subject to the administration 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 the undertaking. This is the case for example in Spain for "empresas públicas" such as TRAGSA, or EGMASA and in Greece for regional development agencies.
A project co-financer only contributes to the project with financial resources, has no technical responsibilities, and cannot benefit from the EU financial contribution. Furthermore, it cannot act, in the context of the project, as a sub-contractor to any of the project's beneficiaries.
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.
For specific tasks of a fixed duration, a proposal may also foresee the use of subcontractors. Subcontractors cannot act as beneficiaries or vice-versa. Subcontractors provide external services to the project beneficiaries who fully pay for the services provided. Sub-contractors should not be identified by name in the proposal unless they are considered an affiliated entity to a project beneficiary. (Note that affiliated entities to public beneficiaries MUST become associated beneficiaries to the project.)
For a more detailed description of the respective rules related to the coordinating beneficiary, associated beneficiaries and subcontractors, please refer to articles II.1, II.2, II.9 and II.10 of the General Conditions of the LIFE Model Grant Agreement.
1.7.4 What is the optimal budget for a Preparatory project?
There is no fixed minimum or maximum size for project budgets. For LIFE Preparatory Projects, maximum budget envelopes are established for each specific need. See section 2.1 for details.
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under LIFE preparatory projects to support the deployment of European Solidarity Corps is estimated at EUR €3.300.000, out of which 2.000.000 EUR are financed by the LIFE programme and 1.800.000 EUR originate from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.
1.7.5 What is the maximum rate of EU co-financing under LIFE?
The maximum EU co-financing rate for LIFE Preparatory projects is 60% of the eligible project costs. However, the reimbursement of the individual and organisational support for volunteers and their travel costs will be co-financed with a rate of up to 75% and will be based on unit cost rates. These unit costs have been established in Commission Decision C(2013)8550 for funding of volunteers under the "Erasmus+" Programme. The unit costs include already a non-EU co-funding of minimum 20 %. As a result, unit costs co-financed by 75 % will respect the maximum 60 % co-financing rate foreseen by the LIFE regulation. The use of unit-costs will ensure the respect of the principle of equal treatment for all participants of the Solidarity Corps across different EU programmes. Travel and support ceilings can be found in section 'Forms F6'.
1.7.6 How much should project beneficiaries contribute to the project budget?
The coordinating beneficiary and each associated beneficiary 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 may not be submitted if the financial contribution of any of the beneficiaries to the proposal budget is 0 Euro.
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 the General Conditions of the LIFE Model Grant Agreement.
1.7.7 What is the optimal starting date and duration for a project?
The earliest possible starting date for projects is not before the 1st of December 2017. Any costs incurred before the project's starting date will not be considered eligible and cannot be included in the project budget.
The activities of each volunteer should last between 2 (min. 42 working days) and 12 months depending on volunteers' individual preferences.
The project duration must correspond to what is necessary to complete all of the project's actions and to reach all its objectives. The maximum duration of the project must not exceed 36 months.
1.7.8 Where can a LIFE Preparatory project take place?
LIFE projects shall take place in the territory of the European Union Member States. The activities of the volunteer will target mainly Natura 2000 sites, species protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive and ongoing LIFE projects.
1.7.9 Who should be in charge of the project management?
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.
While there is no obligation to include in the proposal budget any costs related to the project management, the proposal should nevertheless 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).
1.7.10 To which extent are salary costs of public staff eligible for LIFE co- funding?
Please refer to section 3.2 'Form F1 – Direct personnel costs'.
1.7.11 How much outsourcing of project activities is allowed?
The beneficiaries should have the financial and operational 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.
If a beneficiary is a public body, any outsourcing must be awarded in accordance with the applicable rules on public tendering and in conformity with EU Directives on public tendering procedures.
For amounts exceeding 130,000 Euro, private beneficiaries must invite competitive tenders from potential subcontractors and award the contract to the bid offering best value for money; in doing so they shall observe the principles of transparency and equal treatment and shall take care to avoid any conflicts of interest.
Furthermore, it should be recalled that all expenditure in LIFE projects must respect the principle of sound financial management.
Green procurement: all beneficiaries (public and private) are strongly invited to carefully consider the possibility to "green" their procurement activities. 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
1.7.12 Can ongoing activities be included in the project?
Actions already ongoing before the start of the project are, in principle, 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 call does not exclude the entities which have experience in deployment of volunteers or have conducted such activities before. However, the actions which started before the beginning of the project are not eligible.
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.
1.7.13 What are the requirements related to long-term 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. Throughout the duration of the project, the beneficiaries should consider how these investments will be secured, maintained, developed and made use of or replicated after the end of the project. This should be built into the proposal.
1.7.14 What are the relationships between LIFE funding and other EU funding programmes?
According to Article 8 of the LIFE Regulation, support from the LIFE Programme should be "complementary to other financial instruments of the Union" and overlap between the LIFE Programme and other Union policies and funding programmes should be avoided. These include, amongst others, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, the European Fisheries Fund, the Horizon 2020 Programme and Erasmus+.
The beneficiaries must inform the Commission 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) which would lead to double financing.
Whereas EU funding for research activities is provided under Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014–2020)5, 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.
1.7.15 Do I need to worry about the project's "carbon footprint"?
You should aim to keep the "carbon footprint" of your project as low as 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, you should be aware that project expenses for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions will not be considered as eligible costs.
The personal data supplied with your proposal, notably the name, address and other contact information of the beneficiaries will be transferred to a database called Butler, which will be made available to the EU Institutions and agencies and to an external monitoring team under contract to the Commission, who are bound by a confidentiality agreement. Butler is used 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. In the future, also the indicator data provided by the projects will be made available to the general public. At a certain point the coordinating beneficiary will be invited to check the accuracy of this summary and to indicate, whether there are any data that are protected and should not be rendered public.
The Commission 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) n° 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 Commission and its 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 this call
Under this call, proposals may be submitted only for actions aimed at the actual deployment of volunteers and the exploration of the potential of using volunteer work for environmental protection activities, mainly targeting Natura 2000 sites, species protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives and ongoing LIFE projects.
Stretching over 18 % of the EU’s land area and almost 6 % of its marine territory, Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. It offers a haven to Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds and Habitats Directive.
The Commission, in close cooperation with Member States and stakeholders, has published guidance documents with regard to the management of Natura 2000 sites and is continuously gathering information on a large variety of approaches and best practices.
This call for proposals is aimed at selecting organisations in Europe which will deploy volunteers for in-country volunteering in environment protection activities in line with the European Solidarity Corps objectives.
The selected organisations could involve the volunteers directly for environmental protection activities they organise or act indirectly through partner organisations. In both cases they will be considered responsible for the respect of the minimum conditions applicable to volunteer work.
Each organisation will have to arrange the placement for at least 100 volunteers in countries of their residence (in-country volunteering 6 ) on activities focused on environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems (mainly Natura 2000 sites and species protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive) at all levels. Please note that the organisations that aim at engaging a larger number of volunteers will have a greater chance of being selected.
Each volunteer will have to undertake activities of an overall duration between 2 and 12 months7. The activities could be discontinuous (i.e. during the weekends and the summer holidays) if needed according to the will of the volunteer and the needs on the ground.
As soon as the Grant Agreement is signed, the beneficiary will receive the information necessary to obtain access to the European Solidarity Corps portal and to the database of
available volunteers. Before getting access to the portal and database, the beneficiary has to agree with the rules of European Solidarity Corps charter (see Annex IV) and the rules of data protection of volunteers' personal data.
The selected organisations will have to:
after having been awarded with the grant, register in the European Solidarity Corps portal (See Annex II for Accreditations requirements and obligation);
assess the needs and opportunities for volunteer tasks and define the basic features of each placement in close collaboration with the organisation involved in the environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems (mainly management of the Natura 2000 sites and species protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive) as well as the organizations that identify the priorities and the conservation measures for the site and the species;
select the volunteers only among the ones registered in the database of the European Solidarity Corps having expressed their wish to volunteer for the kind of activities the organisation is looking for;
The participation in an activity must be free of charge for volunteers. The essential costs for volunteers' participation in the activity are covered by the LIFE grant or through other means afforded by the participating organisations.
The following activities are not considered as a European Solidarity Corps activities suitable under this call: occasional and unstructured volunteering; a work placement in an enterprise; a paid job; a recreation or tourist activity; a language course; exploitation of a cheap workforce; a period of study or vocational training;
discuss the scope and the features of the assignment with the volunteer and sign a contract (see the contract in Annex I) specifying each aspect of the assignment (duration, timetable, individual support, travel costs, accommodation arrangements (if needed), payment schedule, etc..);
provide each volunteer with a minimum package which must include:
the individual support/allowance in its entirety as defined in form 6B 'individual
support' OR the organizational support as defined in form 6B 'organisational
the travel costs, as defined in forms F6B (if necessary),
accommodation (if necessary),
The insurance must cover: accident, life, 3rd party liability. Regarding the coverage period:
- The coverage is throughout the volunteer services
- It includes travel to/from place of residence and in-country travel(s)8 linked to the assignment.
The insurance must complement the coverage by the European Health Insurance Card9 and/or national social security systems.
on site mentoring services,
tasks and activities for volunteers that respect the qualitative principles of the European Solidarity corps, as described in the ESC Charter (see Annex III and Annex IV),
on-going task-related, personal and administrative support throughout the duration of the activity, with the help of a mentor for the participants, involving
– where suitable - the Associated Partner(s).
Complementary services foreseen may include: carrying out dissemination and information activities, awareness raising, coaching etc.
provide each volunteer with all other services considered suitable in view to ensure the successful accomplishment of the tasks devoted to the volunteer (such as for example training, tools, etc.);
monitor all the work conditions and provide each volunteer with a certificate mentioning the tasks accomplished, an evaluation sheet to be filled in by the volunteer etc. on the basis of the model provided by the European Commission;
report directly to the Commission after one year from the project start on the number and timing of the volunteers mobilised to date, the activities undertaken by the organisation, the results obtained in terms of contribution of the volunteers to the environmental protection, the level of satisfaction of the volunteers and of the organisation involved in the management of the Natura 2000 sites and species protected under the Birds and Habitats Directive as well as in the definition of the priorities and the conservation measures for the related sites, the lessons learned and a detailed plan for the activities of the following year.
With this call the European Commission and DG Environment expect to achieve the following results:
Approximately 2500 European Solidarity Corps volunteers deployed to projects focusing on environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems (mainly Natura 2000 sites and species protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive);
Involvement organisations participating in the projects and engaging min. 100 European Solidarity Corps volunteers each;
Assessment of the potential impact of volunteers in environment protection activities;
Raising awareness about the opportunities offered by the European Solidarity Corps among the organisations managing Natura 2000 sites and species protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive;
Raising awareness and ownership of Natura 2000 sites and species protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive as a common resource for maintaining and restoring biodiversity across Europe;
Building capacity and supporting ongoing LIFE projects
Raising awareness, promoting cooperation and exchanging experience at Union level in the context of rural development support to environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems (including Natura 2000);
2.2 How to conceive a LIFE Preparatory project proposal?
A proposal for a LIFE Preparatory project must be designed to respond to 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 should be guaranteed. As a general principle, all actions included in the project should be new and additional to the work undertaken by the applicant prior to the projects. The call does not exclude the entities which have experience in deployment of volunteers or have conducted such activities before.
When preparing your proposal, the following main types of actions must be covered and clearly distinguished:
2.2.1 Implementation actions (A actions - obligatory)
These are the core – and related supporting - actions of the proposals. They may not include preparatory actions that have been completed prior to the start of the project.
All actions should:
Implementation actions (obligatory),
Communication and awareness raising (obligatory),
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,
Consume the minimum of 40% of the total budget
The impact of these actions must be monitored and reported during the project.
Core actions supported under this call must include:
Engaging in-country volunteers to assist on tasks related to environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems (in particular within the Natura 2000 network and species protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive). This includes selection, placement, preparation and management of volunteers and related communication activities such as: promotion, awareness raising etc.
Activities to support the implementation of the main actions may include:
Capacity building of hosting organisations and existing LIFE projects e.g. supporting existing LIFE projects with the work of volunteers;
Training courses for volunteers;
2.2.2 Communication and awareness raising (B actions - obligatory Activities within communication and awareness raising may include:
Seminars and workshops
Note that certain communication actions are obligatory for preparatory projects and should therefore be explicitly foreseen in the proposal as separate actions. These include advertising and use of the LIFE logo, Natura 2000 logo and European Solidarity Corps logo and mentioning of the rural development policy (EAFRD).
In addition projects will typically include:
information activities to the general public and stakeholders aimed at facilitating the implementation of the project;
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, films/DVDs, technical publications, ...), and those proposed should form a coherent package and be in line with the objectives of the project. 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 should assess the range of related projects and include, if possible, 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 should include visits, meetings, exchange of information, and/or other such networking activities with an appropriate number of other relevant LIFE projects (ongoing or completed). The project shall also disseminate relevant descriptive information, implementation updates and results to the rural development networks such as National Rural Networks (NRNs) and the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD)
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.
2.2.3 Project management and monitoring of project progress (C actions - obligatory)
Activities within project management and monitoring of project progress may include:
Coordination of volunteers and cooperation activities with the participating organisations
The call brings together three EU level policy tools in order to boost the practice of using volunteer work. Based on the common environmental protection objectives as regards Natura 2000 sites, LIFE and the EAFRD provide financial resources, while LIFE and the European Solidarity Corps provide the delivery mechanisms. Consequently, all communication, awareness raising, project monitoring and reporting on results activities should clearly refer to all of these three EU policy tools and all materials should bear the respective logos and funding acknowledgements.
Every project proposal must contain an appropriate amount of these actions, which typically involve:
Project management, activities undertaken by the beneficiaries exclusively for the management of the preparatory 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.
All projects have to ensure monitoring of the outputs and outcomes of the project, in particular as regards the indicators identified in the application phase as the environmental objective the project focusses on (e.g. effects on the targeted Natura 2000 sites or species of the Birds and Habitats Directive) and the mandatory indicators related to the awareness raising, capacity building, and socio-economic effects of the project (for further guidance refer to: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/toolkit/pmtools/life2014_2020/documents/160215 _LIFEproject_level_outcome_indicators.pdf pp.1-6).
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 The coordinating beneficiary should 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.