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Traditional projects - Nature & Biodiversity
Deadline: 14 Sep 2017   CALL EXPIRED

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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 14 September 2017.

The proposal can be modified, validated and (re)submitted as many times as needed until 14 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.

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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.

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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-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.

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 allocation for the applicant's Member State will have a reduced probability of being selected for LIFE co-funding5.

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.

By way of exception, a co-financing rate of up to 75% of the total eligible costs may be granted to LIFE Nature and Biodiversity proposals that focus on concrete conservation actions for priority species or habitat types of the Birds and Habitats Directives, when actions in the project are necessary to achieve the conservation objective. This higher financing rate will only be applied to projects allocating 50% or more of the total estimated cost for concrete conservation actions, to activities directly benefitting priority habitats or species. The proposal must identify clearly all actions benefitting priority habitats or species and the method used to calculate the corresponding costs (including overheads) must be explained. It is extremely important that the proposal include complete and correct information on the species and habitats targeted by each action.

Priority habitat types and priority species of the Habitats Directive are those marked by an asterisk in Annexes I or II of this Directive. If you have any doubts as to whether a habitat is a priority habitat, you are advised to consult the Interpretation Manual of EU Habitats:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/habitatsdirective/docs/2007_07_im.pdf

Bird species considered as "priority for funding under LIFE" are those that appear in the following list:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/wildbirds/action_plans/docs/list_annex1 .pdf

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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 to 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 to 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

6 Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 laying down the rules for participation and dissemination in "Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)" and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1906/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 81).

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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

7 Actual cost: Full cost of the infrastructure without applying any depreciation. 17

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.

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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 Nature and Biodiversity
2.1 What is LIFE Nature and Biodiversity?

LIFE Nature & Biodiversity aims specifically at contributing to the development and implementation of EU policy and legislation in the area of nature and biodiversity. Projects financed must have a European added value and be complementary to those actions that can be financed under other EU funds during the period 2014–2020.

The priority area LIFE Nature & Biodiversity focuses on:

  • -  contributing to the development and implementation of EU policy and legislation in the area of nature and biodiversity, in the Union Biodiversity Strategy to 20209, and the Birds and Habitats Directives10;

  • -  supporting the further development, implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network; and

  • -  improving the knowledge base for the development, implementation, assessment, monitoring and evaluation of EU nature and biodiversity policy and legislation, and for assessing and monitoring factors, pressures and responses that impact on nature and biodiversity.

There are two distinct sectors of projects which are intended to complement each other: LIFE Nature projects and LIFE Biodiversity projects. A proposed project submitted under the priority area LIFE Nature & Biodiversity must either be a LIFE Nature or a LIFE Biodiversity project.

Annex III of the LIFE Regulation describes the thematic priorities for each of these two sectors as follows:

Thematic priorities for LIFE Nature projects: activities for the implementation of the Birds and/or Habitats Directives in particular:

(i) Activities aimed at improving the conservation status of habitats and species, including marine habitat and species, and bird species, of Union interest;

  1. (ii)  Activities in support of the Natura 2000 network bio-geographical seminars;

  2. (iii)  Integrated approaches for the implementation of prioritised action frameworks.

Thematic priorities for LIFE Biodiversity projects: activities for the implementation of

the Union Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, in particular:

  1. (i)  Activities aimed at contributing to the achievement of Target 211;

  2. (ii)  Activities aimed at contributing to the achievement of Targets 312, 413 and 514.

 

Thus LIFE Nature relates specifically to the objectives of the Birds and Habitats Directives, while LIFE Biodiversity is not restricted to the objectives of the Birds and Habitats Directives, but supports the broader implementation of the Union Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. A nature conservation project that targets exclusively species/habitats of the Birds / Habitats Directives should normally be submitted as a LIFE Nature project. Other projects are more likely to fit better within the requirements of LIFE Biodiversity (N.B. Proposals submitted under NAT or BIO will be evaluated accordingly, no reclassification will be possible).

Notwithstanding the above, it should be noted that the Natura 2000 network of protected areas is still the EU's main contribution in our fight against the loss of biodiversity. Within the classic LIFE Nature projects most of the targets listed in the Union Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 may be effectively addressed in the context of the Natura 2000 network: e.g. control of invasive alien species may be addressed through control and eradication in and around Natura 2000 sites, developing green infrastructure through the connectivity dimension of the

network and maintaining or enhancing ecosystem services (like flood protection, improving water quality etc.) through nature conservation activities resulting in the preservation or enhancement of these functions for a site or for the whole network in a region.

LIFE Biodiversity addresses targets 2 to 5 of the Union Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. The most appropriate LIFE Biodiversity projects use innovation, or explore sectors and processes that have not been the target of classic LIFE Nature projects. This does not exclude projects that are based on best practice approaches, but applicants should carefully read the project topics for LIFE Biodiversity to understand for which themes best practice might be considered a priority.

LIFE Nature and LIFE Biodiversity projects should be primarily focussed on nature conservation and/or on halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services. A project that may have a positive but secondary impact on nature and biodiversity and whose main objective is in relation to another environmental thematic priority (e.g. water) should not be submitted under LIFE Nature and Biodiversity. Please refer to the documents 'LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency, Guidelines for applicants 2017' and 'LIFE Orientation Document'. A project on nature conservation and/or on halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services that essentially consists of targeting awareness raising campaigns should be submitted under LIFE Environmental Governance and Information.

Only wild flora and fauna and natural and semi-natural habitats may be targeted by LIFE Nature & Biodiversity projects. Projects, or actions within projects that target the conservation of domestic species or varieties of plants or animals are not eligible.

12 Target 3: Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to biodiversity
13 Target 4: Ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources
14 Target 5: Combat Invasive Alien Species
15 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/wilderness/pdf/WildernessGuidelines.pdf

While the largest part of Natura 2000 is composed by areas where human activities have heavily shaped nature and landscape, there are still some significant examples of wilderness or close to wilderness areas. The Commission published the Guidelines for management of wilderness in Natura 200015 showing that a special attention should be dedicated to these precious areas. In the European context, and the Natura 2000 network in particular, it is important to notice that there is a spectrum of more or less wild areas according to the intensity of human intervention. In that sense, wilderness is a relative concept which can be measured along a ‘continuum’, with wilderness at one end and marginal used land at the other. Re-wilding is a process to move areas up towards a wilder state, where the final stage is wilderness. This process is based on using natural processes for establishing sustainable and cost-effective management systems of Natura 2000 sites as a way to avoid recurring management activities. Applicants may consider this approach whenever the conditions would indicate this could be the most cost-effective approach to ensure the favourable conservation status of habitats and species. This would clearly not be a substitute to best practices currently used, but could be tested as a complementary way of biodiversity conservation for species and habitats identified in the Habitats and Birds Directives. Where relevant, applicants are invited to consider the guidelines mentioned above when preparing their proposals.

The Contracting Authority welcomes projects submitted by business stakeholders or in which business stakeholders are involved, aimed at integrating biodiversity concerns into their planning and functioning, in line with the requirements of LIFE Nature and Biodiversity.

 

2.2 LIFE Nature
2.2.1 General scope and objectives

LIFE Nature projects aim to support the further development, implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network in particular by applying, developing, testing and demonstrating approaches, best practices and solutions.

Projects should be designed to provide EU added value in terms of coverage, conservation benefit, replicability, transferability and transnational scope.

With an area that is currently covering almost 18% of the terrestrial surface of the EU Member States, plus over 217,000 square kilometres of marine area, Natura 2000 is the central backbone for biodiversity in the European Union. However, even within the Natura 2000 network, a substantial part of flora, fauna and natural habitat types of Union interest, as defined by the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, is still in an unfavourable conservation status. Natura 2000 is also at the heart of Europe's Green Infrastructure, providing benefits through multiple ecosystem services.

For the years to come, projects for improving the management and/or for restoring sites of the Natura 2000 network will therefore remain the first priority for LIFE Nature funding. The species and habitats targeted in LIFE Nature projects must be listed in the annexes of the EU Birds (2009/147/EC) and Habitats Directives (92/43/EEC).

LIFE Nature projects are usually focussed on concrete conservation measures and are result-oriented, i.e. their implementation must lead to direct and sustainable improvements of the conservation status of species and habitats for which sites are proposed or designated.

The eligibility of project actions under the LIFE Nature strand depends on the species and/or habitats targeted and can be distinguished as follows:

 

 

Site-based actions:

  •   Bird species targeted by site-based actions must be listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive or be regularly occurring migratory bird species.

  •   Any habitat types / species other than bird species targeted must be listed in Annexes I or II of the Habitats Directive. Site-based actions for Annex IV species not listed in Annex II may be possible under certain conditions (see section 2.4.3).

    Species-related (i.e. not site-based) actions:

    •   Bird species targeted must be listed in Annex I or II of the Birds Directive or be regularly occurring migratory bird species.

    •   Any species other than bird species targeted must be listed in Annexes II, IV and/or V of the Habitats Directive.

2.2.2 Geographic scope

LIFE Nature projects must take place on the terrestrial and/or marine territory of the EU Member States where the EU Birds and Habitats Directives apply16. However, specific actions outside the Union may be financed as long as the applicant provides full details on why such actions are necessary for the achievement of the EU environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply. Transnational cooperation is encouraged where it improves the effectiveness of EU-added value of the project actions.

2.2.3 Project topics

According to the LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014–2017, the following project topics contributing to Target 1 of the Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 to fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives are given priority:

  1. Projects aimed at improving the conservation status of habitat types or species (including bird species) of Community Interest17, targeting the Natura 2000 sites proposed or designated for these habitat types or species.

  2. Projects aimed at improving the conservation status of habitat types in Natura 2000 sites or species (including bird species) of Community Interest, provided, their status is not “favourable/secure and not declining” or “unknown” according to the most recent overall assessments that Member States have provided at the relevant geographic level according to Article 17 of the Habitats Directive or to the most recent assessments according to Article 12 Birds Directive and EU-level bird assessments.

  3. Projects implementing one or several actions foreseen in the relevant Prioritised Action Framework (PAF), as updated by the Member States or concrete actions identified, recommended or agreed in the framework of the Natura 2000 bio-geographical seminars.

  4. Projects addressing the marine component of the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives and related provisions under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive18

descriptor 1, in particular where such projects focus on one or several of the following actions:

  1. completing and finalising national inventories for setting up the offshore marine Natura 2000 network of sites;

  2. restoration and management of marine Natura 2000 sites, including the preparation and implementation of site management plans;

  3. actions addressing species-, habitat- or site-based conflicts between marine conservation and fishermen or other "marine users",

  4. demonstrative or innovative approaches to assess or monitor the impact of human activities on critical marine habitats and species as a tool to guide active conservation measures.

  1. Projects for improving the conservation status of habitat types or species of Community Interest (including bird species), the actions of which correspond to the actions identified in the relevant national or EU-level species or habitat action plans

  2. Projects targeting invasive alien species, where these are likely to deteriorate the conservation status of species (including birds) or habitat types of Community Interest in support of the Natura 2000 network.

Applicants should clearly explain whether and why their proposal falls under maximum two of these project topics.

This list does not exclude the possibility of submitting proposals for topics that are not listed above, but fall under the general remit and objectives of LIFE Nature. Note however that proposals that do not fall under the above project topics cannot receive points under the award criterion 4 'Contribution to the project topics' and are therefore less likely to be retained and financed than other eligible projects of comparable quality that are covered by one of the project topics. Be aware that in order to be considered as complying with one of the project topics, a proposal has to comply with the full list of requirements of the respective topic. Note that the maximum score (10) under award criterion 4 'Contribution to the project topics' will be awarded only to proposals that clearly and fully comply with at least one of the project topics; the indication of two project topics does not translate into higher scores. It is not possible to choose more than two project topics. By not chosing 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 award criterion 4. Moreover, only the topics the applicant indicates will be considered. Whether or not the project possibly fits under some other topic that has not been marked will not be examined. For further details see the "Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2017".

2.3 LIFE Biodiversity 2.3.1 General scope

LIFE Biodiversity projects must contribute to implementing the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 targets and actions, with a view to achieving the objectives of the 2020 headline target of "halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss", other than those already covered by LIFE Nature.

24

LIFE Biodiversity projects must be compatible with national and/or regional strategies for biodiversity (where these exist).

Projects should be designed to provide EU added value in terms of coverage, conservation benefit, replicability, transferability and transnational scope.

2.3.2 Geographic scope

LIFE Biodiversity projects generally take place on the terrestrial and/or marine territory of the EU Member States. This includes the French Overseas Departments (DOMs). However, actions outside the Union (including OCTs) may be financed as long as the applicant provides full details on why such actions are necessary for the achievement of the EU environmental objectives (e.g. actions to support the EU Biodiversity Strategy) and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply.

2.3.3 Project topics

According to the LIFE Multiannual Work Programme for 2014–2017, the following project topics focusing on the implementation of Targets 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 are given priority:

1. Projects aimed at implementing Target 2 of the Biodiversity Strategy, through the integration of actions to maintain and enhance ecosystems and their services into the activities of the public or private sectors, by establishing Green as well as Blue Infrastructure and restoring degraded ecosystems. These projects should test and apply approaches aimed at:

  1. mapping and assessing (including valuation) of ecosystems and their services19 to contribute to a priority setting for restoration, Green Infrastructure or No Net Loss20; or21

  2. restoring ecosystems and their services by applying the Restoration Priority Framework22; or

  3. developing methodologies for valuation of and payment for ecosystem services23 (including tangible and intangible services); or

  4. innovative management schemes addressing, in particular, water related ecosystem services, which could provide potential funding mechanisms to achieve the Biodiversity Strategy targets and contribute to aims of the Water Framework Directive24 and the Floods Directive25.

2. Projects implementing actions targeting Invasive Alien Species (under Target 5 of the Biodiversity Strategy or in view of contributing to reaching the level of protection set out in descriptor 2 - Non-indigenous species of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive) through actions testing and applying approaches aimed at:

  1. preventing the introduction of invasive alien species, in particular by tackling pathways of unintentional introduction;

  2. establishing an early warning and rapid response system, and;26

  3. eradicating or controlling established invasive alien species on an appropriate spatial scale.

    These projects shall address with their actions the three steps (prevention; early warning and rapid response; eradication/control) in a comprehensive framework, or, where one of the steps has already been addressed, their actions shall at least be clearly situated in a broader framework that links all three steps. They should be set up to improve existing – or introduce new – technical, administrative or legal frameworks on the relevant level; they should aim at preventing the broader establishment of IAS within the EU.

Alien species are species introduced outside their natural past or present distribution that might survive and subsequently reproduce. Species migrating through climate change are not considered as alien species. Alien species are considered invasive when their introduction or spread threatens biodiversity and ecosystem services or has other negative consequences. Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are recognised as one of the five major pressures directly causing biodiversity loss. Lost output due to IAS, health impacts and expenditure to repair IAS damage has already cost the EU at least 12 billion EUR / year over the past 20 years. Trade in species and other commodities, as well as travel, are the driving forces behind the introduction of alien species in the EU. As those driving forces are expected to continue their increase, the threat by IAS will similarly increase.

The EU approach to addressing IAS is described in the European Commission Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species (COM(2013) 620 final, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2013:0620:FIN:EN:PDF)

 

3. Projects targeting threatened species that are not included in the annexes of the Habitats Directive but that have a status of "endangered" or worse in the European Red Lists (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/redlist/ index_en.htm) or in the IUCN Red List for those species that are not covered by the European Red Lists (http://www.iucnredlist.org/).

This item opens the possibility to work on additional endangered species not listed in the Habitats Directive. At the same time it limits this possibility to species that are recognised as endangered or worse at European or global level. In other words, a proposal on a species locally threatened, but not listed in the reference lists above is unlikely to receive any funding.

 

 

4. Pilot or demonstration projects using innovative ways of direct or indirect financing (including public and private partnerships, fiscal instruments, biodiversity offsets etc.) for Biodiversity-related activities in the public and private sector.

 

5. Pilot or demonstration projects testing and then implementing Green Infrastructure actions focusing on:

  1. innovative technologies and the development and application of technical standards regarding them;

  2. the preservation or restoration of ecosystems for the benefit of human health; or

  3. cost-efficient technologies and methods that minimise the impact of existing energy and transport infrastructures on biodiversity by strengthening the functionality of spatially linked ecosystems.

Green Infrastructure (GI) is a strategically planned network of natural and semi- d.

natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. It incorporates green spaces (or blue if aquatic ecosystems are concerned) and other physical features in terrestrial (including coastal) and marine areas. On land, GI is present in rural and urban settings. (See COM (2013) 249 Final – Green Infrastructure (GI) – Enhancing Europe's Natural Capital: http://eur- lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2013:0249:FIN:EN:PDF and also http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/index_en.htm)

Applicants should clearly explain whether and why their proposal falls under maximum two of these project topics.

This list does not exclude the possibility of submitting proposals for topics that are not listed above, but falling under the general remit and objectives of LIFE Biodiversity. Note however that proposals that do not fall under these project topics will not receive points under the award criterion 4 'Contribution to the project topics' and are therefore unlikely to receive high overall scores. Be aware that in order to be considered as complying with one of the project topics, a proposal has to comply with the full list of requirements of the respective topic. Note that the maximum score (10) under award criterion 4 'Contribution to the project topics' will be awarded only to proposals that clearly and fully comply with the project topic chosen. It is not possible to choose more than two project topics. By not chosing 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 award criterion 4. Moreover, only the topics the applicant indicates will be considered. Whether or not the project possibly fits under some other topic that has not been marked will not be examined. For details see the "Guide for the evaluation of LIFE project proposals 2017.

In particular, note that projects addressing topics 1 and 2 should 'test and apply' approaches; while this does not imply an obligation to be of a demonstrative nature, the simple application of well-established approaches will not be considered sufficient to comply with this project topic.

Note also that LIFE Biodiversity projects addressing topics 4 and 5 must be clearly demonstration or pilot projects.

All demonstration and pilot projects must have as an integral part of the project the evaluation of the solution proposed and an ambitious replication strategy to multiply the impact of the project and mobilise a wider uptake of the methods proposed, beyond communication and networking (for further information see section 2.4.3).

 

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