The European Commission announced funding of EUR 101.2 million under the EU's LIFE programme Monday for new projects to support 10 major environment and climate projects in nine Member States.
The projects, which are aimed at boosting Europe's transition to a sustainable economy and climate neutrality, are located in Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Slovakia, Czechia and Spain.
"LIFE integrated projects enable Member States' authorities to make a real difference to the environment and people's lives, " said Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius: "The projects will help Member States to conserve nature, improve air and water quality, and make the economy greener. This will improve our resilience to the changing climate."
Integrated projects are designed to improve citizens' quality of life by helping Member States comply with EU legislation in six areas: nature, water, air, waste, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. They support implementation of environmental and climate legislation in a coordinated manner and on a large territorial scale, leveraging funding from other EU sources, national and regional actors and private investors.
The LIFE investment is set to mobilise over EUR 6.5 billion of complementary funds, as Member States can also make use of other EU funding sources, including agricultural, regional and structural funds, Horizon 2020, as well as national funds and private sector investment.
The large-scale projects will support the European Green Deal and the EU's ambition of becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. They will help to restore and conserve ecosystems and species we all depend on, move towards a circular economy, improve air and water quality, boost sustainable finance and increase climate resilience in Europe.
Impact on the ground
- Nature conservation: Integrated projects in Estonia, Ireland and Cyprus will help to conserve Europe's nature and improve the management of the EU Natura 2000 network of protected areas. Many important habitats and species will benefit, from forests, farmlands, grasslands, coastal areas and peatlands to pollinators. These habitats also serve as valuable carbon sinks.
- Waste management: A project in Greece will promote waste prevention and re-use, reducing the amount of municipal waste going to landfill. New waste indicators and standards will be developed to help build the circular economy.
- Air quality: LIFE funding will assist Slovakia in complying with EU directives on air quality, reducing the population's exposure to harmful air pollutants. Neighbouring Czechia, affected by similar air quality problems, will also benefit.
- Water: Integrated projects working at river basin-scale will protect and improve water quality in Ireland and Latvia's rivers and lakes, enabling the countries to meet their obligations under the EU Water Framework Directive.
- Climate change adaptation: LIFE funding will also support increased resilience to climate change. Projects will integrate climate change adaptation into planning and other policy areas in Spain as well as building adaptation capacity in France using nature-based solutions.
Sustainable finance: Also in France, an integrated project will help bridge significant knowledge gaps in this area and bring green financial products into the mainstream.