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Traditional projects - Environmental Governance & Information
Deadline: 14 Sep 2017   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono LIFE Programme

 Biodiversity
 Environment
 Waste Management
 Environmental protection
 Water Resource Management
 Climate Sciences

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 first LIFE Multiannual Work Programme covering the period 2014-2017 foresees a budget of EUR 1,347.1 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 207,880,100

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 2014-2017 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 2014-2017) and target a 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 2017 for further details on scoring of proposals.

Please note that, in order to be considered as matching one of the project topics, a project should comply with each of the elements of the given topic and the project actions should clearly focus on this topic. For example a project for a regional awareness raising campaign will not be considered as matching the topic "National campaigns to raise awareness ...". Similarly a demonstration project aimed at applying a method to improve the collection of municipal waste which is not considered new or unknown in the specific context of the project will not match the topic "Projects using innovative methods ....for waste prevention, reuse and separate collection of municipal waste"

1.4 How, where and when to submit a proposal?

Applicants for LIFE funding for "traditional" projects must submit their proposals using the web tool eProposal available via the LIFE web page.

The application tool contains all administrative (A), technical (B and C) and financial (F) forms required, and functionalities to attach relevant documents (maps, photos, diagrams, graphs, mandatory administrative and financial annexes). For 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 must submit their proposals to the Contracting Authority via eProposal before 16:00 Brussels local time on 12 September 2017.

 

The proposal can be modified, validated and (re)submitted as many times as needed until 12 September 2017 (16:00 Brussels 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).

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 2014-2017. For a detailed description of how this procedure will be implemented, please refer to the 'Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2017'.

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 in May-June 2018 (for a detailed timetable, see Annex 1).

The earliest possible starting date for projects is 1 July 2018.

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 proposal be submitted?

The Contracting Authority strongly recommends that applicants fill in the technical part and especially the financial part of the proposal in clear English 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 2017 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.

An associated beneficiary may be legally registered outside the European Union, provided that the coordinating beneficiary is based in the EU. In order to be considered as associated beneficiary the entity shall be responsible for carrying out actions outside the EU and those actions must be necessary to achieve EU environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply. In other words, the participation of an entity established outside the EU that will only contribute with the know-how or will collaborate to implement actions in the EU will not be considered as sufficient. The associated beneficiary must always contribute technically to the proposal and hence be responsible for the implementation of one or several project actions. An associated beneficiary must also contribute financially to the project. Furthermore, it must provide the beneficiary with all the necessary documents required for the fulfilment of its reporting obligations to the Contracting Authority.

There is no pre-defined number of associated beneficiaries to be involved in a LIFE proposal. A proposal that is submitted without any participant other than the coordinating beneficiary itself is eligible. 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 transferability of its results and lessons learnt.

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

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.

However, 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 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.

When preparing a project budget, applicants should also take into account the indicative national allocations per Member State for projects financed under the sub-programme for environment applicable for the period 2014-2017. A project proposal that requests an EU financial contribution higher than the total indicative national allocation5 for the applicant's Member State will have a reduced probability of being selected for LIFE co-funding. .

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

For the duration of the first LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017, the maximum EU co-financing rate for "traditional" LIFE projects is 60% of the total eligible project costs.

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 2017 projects will be May-June 2018. The earliest possible starting date for these projects is 1 July 2018. 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. Most projects last for 2–5 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

5 The national allocations can be found in section 5 of the LIFE multiannual work-programme for 2014-2017 and in the 'Guide for the evaluation LIFE of project proposals 2017' 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.

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

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 a sub-contractor under the coordinating beneficiary's direct control. Any other arrangements for the project management would have to be adequately explained and justified. 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 7, 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 7.

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 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. 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 after the end of the project. This should be built into the proposal. This aspect will be carefully checked during the evaluation process, particularly under Award criterion 1.

More advice and instructions specific for each priority area are available in section 2.

1.6.14 Replicability and transferability

Replicability and transferability is the potential of the project to be replicated and transferred during and after its implementation. Successful replicability and transferability 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 techniques, methods or strategies developed or applied in the project into practice elsewhere.

Replicability and transferability go beyond dissemination and concern activities and approaches, integrated in all relevant project actions, which aim to facilitate the replication and/or transfer of the project's results and experiences beyond the project, including in other sectors, entities, regions or countries.

More advice and instructions specific for each priority area are available in section 2.

1.6.15 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.

1.6.16 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 would lead to double financing.

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

Please note that this is an area of growing concern, evidence shows that an increasing number of similar or same proposals are submitted to various programmes. Increasingly severe checks and cross-checks are carried out by the contracting 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.

1.6.17 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.

 

1.6.18 Quantification of environmental benefits

The improved performances/advantages introduced by the proposed solution must be quantified in terms of the expected environmental benefits. This must be done by clearly indicating what the chosen baseline is. Environmental benefits must be presented in a life- cycle approach where relevant and shall be clear, substantial, ambitious, as well as credible. In this regard, consistency shall be ensured between environmental benefits described in the relevant forms of the proposal and values reported in the table on Performance Indicators.

More advice and instructions are available in section 2.

1.6.19 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. 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 Reducing project's "carbon footprint" and Green Procurement

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

All LIFE projects are expected to apply "Green Procurement" when outsourcing services and supplies. Proposals including a clear and detailed mechanism for an extensive use of Green Procurement by most or all the beneficiaries will be granted an extra bonus under award criterion 7.

1.8 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. LIFE Environmental Governance and Information

2.1 What is LIFE Environmental Governance and Information?

LIFE Environmental Governance and Information

LIFE Environmental Governance and Information aims specifically at contributing to the development and implementation of EU environmental policy and legislation. Projects financed must have a European added value and be complementary to actions that can be financed under other EU funds during the period 2014-2020.

Note: the geographical scope of awareness information, communication and awareness- raising campaigns will be taken into account in the assessment of the European added value of proposed projects.

The specific objectives of the priority area LIFE Environmental Governance and Information are:

  • -  to promote awareness raising on environmental matters, including generating public and stakeholder support of Union policy-making in the field of the environment, and to promote knowledge on sustainable development and new patterns for sustainable consumption;

  • -  to support communication, management, and dissemination of information in the field of the environment, and to facilitate knowledge sharing on successful environmental solutions and practice, including by developing cooperation platforms among stakeholders and training;

  • -  to promote and contribute to more effective compliance with and enforcement of Union environmental legislation, in particular by promoting the development and dissemination of best practices and policy approaches;

  • -  to promote better environmental governance by broadening stakeholder involvement, including NGOs, in consultation on and implementation of policy.

    Annex III of the LIFE Regulation describes the thematic priorities for LIFE Environmental Governance and Information as follows:

  1. a)  information, communication and awareness raising campaigns in line with the priorities of the 7th Environment Action Programme;

  2. b)  activities in support of effective control process as well as measures to promote compliance in relation to Union environmental legislation, and in support of information systems and information tools on the implementation of Union environmental legislation.

 

2.2 Thematic Priorities and project topics for LIFE Environmental Governance and Information

In this section applicants will find the project thematic priorities and topics to which priority will be given. This does not exclude the possibility of submitting proposals for project topics and thematic priorities that are not listed here, in accordance with Annex III of the LIFE Regulation. Applicants should clearly explain whether and how their proposal falls under one or more of these project topics. In this regard, In this regard, please note that points under award criterion 4 'Contribution to the project topics' will be awarded only to proposals that clearly and fully comply with the project topics listed below (for further details on criterion 4, please see the Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2017). Applicants must choose maximum two project topics in eProposal and must clearly explain whether and why their proposal falls under the selected project topics. Only compliance with topics indicated by the applicant will be examined. By not choosing a project topic, the applicant declares that the proposal does not fulfil any of the project topics and acknowledges that no points can be awarded to the project under criterion 4.

The thematic priorities for LIFE Environmental Governance and Information are implemented through the project topics defined in the LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-17 (MAWP), which are the following:

2.2.1. Thematic priority for Information, communication and awareness raising campaigns - LIFE Regulation, Annex III, section C, point (a):

Project topics

Water

  1. Awareness-raising on Water Framework Directive obligations and opportunities, targeting authorities and other actors who can contribute to identifying cost effective solutions to be included in River Basin Management Plans and regarding flood protection, sediment management, hydropower, navigation, transport, spatial planning, chemical industry, and agriculture.

  2. Projects to develop and test water pricing policies based on innovative approaches, where the over-user pays principle is added to the polluter pays principle, defining clear and measurable efficiency targets for each area of activity at the relevant level.

  3. Projects aiming to initiate beach and sea clean-up schemes as a means to increase awareness of the impacts of marine litter, and thereby increasing awareness on issues related to the protection of the marine environment that are targeted by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC).

  4. Awareness-raising on Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) obligations and opportunities (other than marine litter, see point 3 above), targeting authorities and other stakeholders, in particular from within the fisheries and maritime sectors who can contribute to identifying cost effective solutions to be included in Marine Strategies and Programmes of Measures with a view to the achievement of ‘good environmental status’ in line with the 11 Descriptors set out in Annex I to the MSFD.

  5. Projects where stakeholders and authorities collaborate transnationally across borders of national jurisdictions on implementing Sea Basin Strategies.

 

Waste

  1. Awareness-raising and training on phasing out landfilling of recyclable or recoverable waste (so as to limit landfilling to residual i.e. non-recyclable and non- recoverable waste).

  2. Information campaigns raising awareness and encouraging behavioural changes on key waste-related issues with a focus on waste reduction, in particular regarding waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and plastic waste.

Resource Efficiency including soil and forests, and green and circular economy

  1. Awareness raising and development of guidance material for European users of genetic resources, in particular researchers and SMEs, in order to facilitate compliance with the requirements of the Regulation on Access and Benefit Sharing as well as support activities for European collections of genetic resources, for instance to improve the organisation and documenting of samples.

  2. Awareness-raising campaigns promoting sustainable consumption with a focus on food waste and optimal storage of food.

  3. Awareness-raising campaigns promoting sustainable consumption with a focus on the consumption of soil and land resources.

  4. Awareness-raising and active intervention information campaigns (both active interventions and general awareness-raising) on the economic and financial benefits of resource efficiency, including soil.

  5. Capacity building campaigns to allow for coordination and guidance on relevant and EU representative forest and forest fire information. These projects should aim at coordinating national or transnational information forest fire related information regarding forest fire emissions, the valuation of fire damages, including guidance on cost-efficient use of resources for forest fire prevention, and burnt areas, in particular Natura2000 areas. They should also give guidance regarding a common approach at Union level.

Air quality and emissions, including urban environment

  1. Awareness-raising and training on air quality in urban areas and its health effects,

    where people and ecosystems are exposed to high levels of pollutants.

  2. Awareness raising by promoting low cost monitoring and evaluation systems for Air Quality.

  3. Development and demonstration of integrated systems providing easy access to publicly available information on industrial installations, including permits, emission data and inspection reports:

Environment and Health including Chemicals and Noise

  1. Awareness raising of citizens and consumers about hazard information on chemicals

    in articles.

  2. Awareness raising of citizens and consumers about the safe use of chemicals in

    products bearing a safety warning label.

  3. Awareness-raising of companies (importers, manufacturers, downstream users, retailers, including SMEs) about their duties under REACH to notify the presence of substances of very high concern in articles they produce or import and/or companies' duties under the Biocidal Products Regulations with regard to treated articles.

  4. Communication campaigns on environmental noise data and the health effects of noise on the population, as required by the Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC.

 

Nature and Biodiversity

  1. National or transnational awareness raising campaigns with the objective of raising public awareness on Natura 2000. These campaigns should be conceived in a way to ensure a significant change in awareness of the natural values (including ecosystem services) for which Natura 2000 has been set up, and, possibly, lead to positive behavioural changes in a large part of the target public and/or specific social, administrative or economic sectors.

  2. Awareness raising campaigns on large carnivores at the relevant species' population level.

  3. National and transnational information and awareness raising campaigns on the EU Biodiversity Strategy, aimed at increasing the awareness and understanding of citizens and key stakeholders including policy makers, businesses and local, regional or national authorities of the Strategy's aims and objectives.

  4. National and transnational awareness raising campaigns on invasive alien species (IAS) targeting the general public and key stakeholders including policy makers, businesses, and local, regional or national authorities.

  5. Awareness raising campaigns regarding Green Infrastructure targeting key stakeholder groups promoting best practice and/or improving the generation, analysis and dissemination of technical and spatial data for the deployment of Green Infrastructure.

Governance and enforcement

  1. Awareness-raising and training on access to justice in the field of environment, including on how to ensure and measure the efficiency and effectiveness of judicial review procedures, for the judiciary, bodies responsible for the administration of justice, public administrations , and public interest lawyers.

  2. Awareness-raising on the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) for industrial operators, loss adjusters, risk assessment experts, decentralised competent authorities (in Member States where the designation of competent authorities is at local or regional level), and environmental NGOs, with regard to the rights and obligations of each stakeholder group.

  3. Awareness raising and development of guidance material for researchers, SMEs, and public bodies as European users of genetic resources, in order to facilitate compliance with the requirements of the Regulation on Access and Benefit Sharing, as well as support activities for European collections of genetic resources, to improve the organisation and documenting of samples.

2.2.2. Thematic priority for Activities in support of effective control process as well as measures to promote compliance - LIFE Regulation, Annex III, section C, point (b):

Project topics

Enforcement, inspections and surveillance
1. Projects aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of environmental

inspections and surveillance, through:

  •   application of risk criteria in a strategic way with a view to assessing, evaluating and

    mitigating the most serious types of non-compliance with EU environment law;

  •   fostering cooperation and coordination between different inspection and surveillance bodies with a view to streamlining and optimising the use of inspection and surveillance resources;

  •   the creation and use of electronic records of inspection and surveillance work with a view to enabling the efficiency and effectiveness of such work to be more easily measured and evaluated; and/or

  •   optimising the communication and active dissemination to the public of the results of inspection and surveillance work.

2. Projects aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of activities aimed at combating environmental crime through:

  •   fostering the sharing of experience and best practice between public bodies charged with investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating environmental crime;

  •   optimising the sharing of intelligence and other information between public bodies charged with investigating environmental crime, notably crime involving cross-border movements of waste, wildlife and timber trade or chemicals, including training for enforcement officers, financial investigation units, customs officers, police officers dealing with environmental crime, prosecutors and the judiciary.

Sharing of best practice

  1. Projects supporting the exchange of best practice and development of skills of Natura 2000 site managers, following recommendations from the new Natura 2000 bio- geographical seminars.

  2. Projects aimed at developing and supporting the role of networks of volunteers with the aim of ensuring their long term contribution to the active management of the Natura 2000 network.

  3. Projects enhancing science-policy integration through the transfer of results and/or best practices, to provide a solid technical background in support of REACH, the Test Methods Regulation8 or other chemicals legislation, or the Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes9.

  4. Projects promoting the exchange of best practices in relation to air quality legislation focused on monitoring and modelling, emission inventories, management practices, source attribution, information sharing, coordination and support.

  5. Exchange of knowledge and good practice on green public procurement (GPP) between public authorities covering at least two of the following elements: green elements in tender documents; evaluation of verification of green criteria; costs and benefits of green purchase; working with existing suppliers to reduce environmental impact and costs of contracts already awarded; monitoring of GPP activities; market consultation; information on market availability; setting up and functioning of central purchasing bodies with specific GPP competence.

Promoting non-judicial conflict resolution

1. Projects aimed at promoting non-judicial conflict resolution as a means of finding amicable and effective solutions for conflicts in the environmental field, for example by activities and events aimed at training practitioners or sharing best practice and experience in the use of mediation in the field of the environment.

 

2.3 How to prepare a LIFE Environmental Governance and Information project proposal?

2.3.1 Logical steps to conceive a project proposal

1. Identify the problem the proposal aims to address and describe the current situation. Applicants must demonstrate a solid understanding of the problem targeted by describing it and quantifying it in a complete and convincing way in the project proposal (to the extent that this is reasonably possible, depending also on the nature and subject of the project). The description of the problem should include information on the root causes of the problem, the severity and extent of the problem.

Once identified the problem, applicants should check whether the problem targeted is clearly related to EU environmental legislation and policy, in particular the project topics defined in the Multiannual Work Programme and in Chapter 2.2 of this Guidelines. Furthermore, information, communication and awareness-raising campaign proposals must be in line with the priorities of the 7th Environment Action Programme.

If the proposal fully responds to the LIFE requirements, it is advisable to check in the database on the LIFE website to see whether similar projects have been undertaken in the same field. Applicants could identify potential links, build up on existing knowledge and use lessons learnt or solutions from past or/and ongoing project i.e. thematic database or platform of knowledge may have already been developed through LIFE projects, therefore the applicants may use/build up on them instead of creating new ones.

A clear and complete analysis of the current situation (the baseline) in terms of environmental and social challenges should be presented in the project proposal. The description of the situation before the project intervention serves to indicate the starting point of the project. This is the starting point of the project and a crucial step in determining the best actions that could solve the identified problems. The baseline helps to demonstrate the logical links between the identified problems, their causes, the activities and expected results.

The baseline is also instrumental to assess expected impacts and to monitor the project's progress. In this regard, the baseline description should include quantitative and qualitative data indicating the situation before the project intervention i.e. number of with incomplete inventories of dangerous substances; results of a survey indicating the level of awareness of environmental managers of Nature 2000 best practices; number of hospitals adopting green public procurement practices, etc. Where appropriate, the baseline should describe the governance structure (laws and entities involved in governing certain policy areas targeted in the proposal – i.e describe the management structures for collection and recovery of waste of electrical and electronic equipment WEE) at national, regional or local level.

 

 

The baseline should include clear and specific information of past and ongoing projects in the same field led or not by the applicants. In particular, the proposal should indicate what has been achieved by past and/or ongoing interventions and what the added value of the proposal is compared to existing or/and past projects.

In case some information is not available or it's outdated, the applicants can use preparatory actions to complete or/and update the baseline. However, key data – at least qualitative data – should be provided to demonstrate the need and rationale of the project. The source of all baseline data should be provided.

  1. Examples of problems to be addressed by projects:

    1. 1)  Insufficient plastic waste reduction.

    2. 2)  Insufficient cooperation between environmental inspection bodies, which reduces effectiveness.

    3. 3)  High mortality rate of the brown bear due to illegal killings.

    4. 4)  Natura 2000 is either not known at all and/or frequently considered as hindering potential economic development. Lack of citizen awareness contributes to this situation.

  2. Define what is to be achieved as a result of the project in terms of progress towards tackling the problem targeted. Objectives to be achieved need to be clear, specific and measurable. The simple implementation of, e.g., a communication campaign without achieving anything specific and measurable in relation to the identified problem cannot be considered to constitute a project objective and a positive result of a project. Measurable achievements take the form of a measurable impact on attitudes and behaviours and as much as possible on the state of the environment.

    Examples of objectives to be achieved by projects:

    1. Plastic waste generation reduction by 10% after 3 years, as a result of a measurable change of attitude and behaviour regarding plastic waste generation by the target audience.

    2. Improved effectiveness of environmental inspections through increased cooperation between environmental inspection bodies.

    3. Reduction of illegal killings of the brown bear by 30% after 3 years through awareness-raising activities that have a measurable impact on attitudes among the target audience.

    4. Increased citizen awareness of Natura 2000 sites and network, their value, status etc.

  3. Define who will be targeted by the project. Applicants have to reflect carefully on the choice of target audience(s) with respect to the project objectives. The relevance of the target audience(s) for addressing the problem identified as well as the size of this audience are crucial aspects in the design of the strategy and need to be clearly explained. Projects focused only at local level risk obtaining a low score for this aspect unless they can prove that they represent high EU added value.

Examples of target audiences for projects:

5.

  1. The general public, shops, packaging companies and distributors in the target area.

  2. Environmental inspection bodies from X Member States.

  3. Livestock herders active in the brown bear habitats.

  4. The general public and other relevant stakeholders in the target area.

Define the actions that will enable the objectives to be achieved. All actions must be necessary and appropriate to address the problem and must be adapted to the target audience identified. Design a clear strategy linking the individual actions in order to achieve the defined objectives. In this sense, applicants have to demonstrate a solid understanding of the logical links between problem targeted, objectives, actions and results. Applicants should provide a description of activities, identifying what will be done, who will do it, when it will be done (beginning, duration, completion), where it will be done and who will benefit from the activity. For projects designed to increase awareness or understanding among the target audience, applicants have to demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge and understanding of current communication techniques and explain the choice and pertinence of the communication mix retained for the project. The elaboration of a detailed communication strategy/plan as a preparatory action for such projects is also considered to be a necessity, and the key elements of such a strategy should already be presented in the project proposal.

Include a 'put into practice' component in the project. Project should not only be limited to developing tools and methodologies but they should also include a realistic strategy with concrete activities enabling uptake and effective use of these tools by the relevant actors during the duration of the project and possibly after the project ends.

Involve relevant stakeholders in the design and implementation of the project to facilitate synergies, multiplying effects and uptake of project results. This may include national or local authorities in charge of the implementation of relevant issues, i.e. Ministry of Environment department in charge of Green public procurement, managers of Natura 2000 sites etc.

Define indicators for monitoring the expected results of the project. These indicators should be closely linked to the objectives of the project, providing relevant information of what is expected to be achieved by the project. They should inform on the impacts on the state of environment, whenever possible, as well as the impacts on the attitude and practices of the target audience. The project impact is normally measured in comparison with the baseline situation identified before the start of the project. Indicators measuring progress of the project (completion of tasks/outputs) are not sufficient to assess the impacts of project. In the proposal, applicants have to explain the appropriateness of the impact monitoring indicators selected and the impact monitoring regime (e.g. frequency) retained.

Example of impact indicators:
1) % change in level of awareness compared to baseline measured by surveys

2) % change in level of behavioural change compared to baseline (e.g. market shares of environmental friendlier products, increase of separate collection of waste, rates of environmental products purchased by public bodies etc.)

3) change in governance performance/practices compared to baseline (quantitative and qualitative) (e.g. environmental friendly regulations/solutions/protocols adopted, prosecutions for environmental crimes brought forward, reinforced cooperation of institutional actors etc.)

4) change in environmental status (e.g. quality of air/water/soil, halt of biodiversity loss, decrease of marine litter in a given area, etc.)

Applicants are encouraged to develop a set of specific impact indicators that are most appropriate to their project to be added to the mandatory LIFE performance indicator table. Even if the contribution of the project to the achievement of these indicators is only indirect or partial, such indicators provide an indication of the level of ambition and capacity to contribute to a remedy of the identified problem.

  1. Define a realistic strategy to assure that project results will be maintained or improved and actions will continue beyond the project duration. It is advised to plan actions to ensure funding of such activities after the project ends.

  2. Include substantive actions to replicate the approach/results of the projects in similar contexts in other regions, countries, sectors. Replication activities should go beyond dissemination of results and networking. In this context, identify and set up relevant contacts, build up a replication action plan including assessment of possible adaptations needed and funding opportunities, conduct specific actions to concretely put the techniques/approaches developed in the project into practice elsewhere.

2.3.2 Some lessons from past calls for proposals

Applicants are invited to pay particular attention to and reflect upon the following recurring reasons for such proposals failing in the past:

  •   Poor identification and description/presentation of the environmental problem targeted and related awareness and governance issues, with limited or no background information and data. Poor description of the current (baseline) situation in the target area,

  •   Lack or incomplete description of the value added of the project compared to ongoing or past projects led in the same field.

  •   Poor identification and description of the target audience of the project.

  •   Inappropriate target audience with respect to the problem targeted.

  •   Actions not responding to the needs of the identified target audience

  •   No coherent strategy linking individual actions to achieve the defined objective and address the identified problem.

  •   Poor or incomplete identification and involvement of relevant stakeholders in the design and implementation of the project.

  •   Lack of an implementation component including actions to ensure the effective use of developed tools/methodologies by relevant actors

  •   Lack of a realistic strategy/action plan including concrete actions, beyond dissemination of results and networking, to ensure replication of the approach/tools in other contexts (other regions, countries, sectors)

  •   No quantification or poor/limited quantification of expected results.

  •   Indicators not specific/relevant to measure outputs or expected results.

  •   Inadequate monitoring activities and monitoring indicators for monitoring the project's impact and results.

  •   Low value for money.

 

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