Eurosite participates in targeted consultation on future of LIFE Programme
The LIFE Programme is the only EU fund dedicated to the environment and climate. During the next programming period (2021-2027) LIFE will help Europe deliver nature and climate ambitions, by contributing to:
- The shift towards a circular, energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral and resilient economy;
- The protection and improvement of the quality of the environment;
- Halting and reversing biodiversity loss and tackling the degradation of ecosystems.
As part of the preparations for the next programming period of the LIFE Programme (2021-2024), the European Commission organised a consultation on the future of the LIFE programme. Taking into account that LIFE is one of the main resources available to fund conservation measures for many of our members, we made sure to raise the voice of site managers and land conservation practitioners in this discussion. Below, we present the summary of Eurosite’s input, based on the feedback we received from Eurosite members:
Eurosite suggests the following to ensure the adequacy and efficiency of Life Programme in the next programming period (2021-2024):
- We support the idea that the “Nature and Biodiversity” component might include a new element, namely small grants. There is a need to provide such small grants all over the European Union. The size of these grants should be limited to 100.000 EUR, with higher co-financing rates than traditional projects. In our opinion small grants should give more priority to civic initiatives (non-statutory organisations and individuals).
- It is very important to keep the present structure and approach within “Nature and Biodiversity”- not to lose one the last chances to support real, on-ground Nature conservation in Natura 2000 sites.
- The projects should also be available to novel approaches in biodiversity monitoring, particularly remote sensing and data automation. Presently applicants are advised to limit actions focused on nature inventories and monitoring (except results of active conservation) and it is very important to use on-ground projects to increase knowledge on ecological process in Natura 2000 sites.
- It should be noted that in some countries, due to governmental pressure on civil society, NGOs have very limited access to cofunding so they are in fact excluded from applying. Better cofunding solutions or the enlargement of Life contribution to 80 or even 100% (particularly in smaller grants) could solve this issue.
- Maintenance of the two-step procedure is important in view of NGO’s and site manager’s capacity. It enables a focus on the content of the proposal and not on administrative issues at the first stage of project preparation.
- A stronger link should be created between Nature and Biodiversity and Climate Change components. This can be done through cross-cutting, innovative projects. In addition, we suggest that funding should be allocated to support more actions to improve biodiversity as nature-based solution to adaptation and mitigation of climate change.