Environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects to be supported with nearly 450 million euros

06. April 2020 | 11:47

As of 2 April, the 2020 application round of the LIFE programme will be opened to allocate nearly 450 million euros to environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects this year. The LIFE programme is the European Union’s funding instrument specifically directed at the environment, which has been used to support the development of environmental policy and the implementation thereof since 1992.

According to the Project Manager at the Budget and Strategy Department of the Ministry of the Environment Triin Kommer, the LIFE programme supports innovative pilot and test projects. “We await environmental and climate action projects with the aim to test out or further develop technologies, techniques and methods that contribute to environmental protection. Nature conservation projects should focus on the best practices, as well as on new and innovative methods that help to improve the protection status or habitat condition of protected and endangered species. Funds can also be applied for increasing the awareness of people about environmental issues and dangers,” Kommer explained.

All projects must contribute to the implementation of a European Union Directive or strategy. Projects with a larger impact that are innovative and ambitious, are preferred. At the same time, the activities and expected results must be realistic, and all activities, incl. the budget, must be well-reasoned and explained in detail. It is recommended to already organise all environmental permits, land or technology use rights, agreements between partners, etc., that are required for the implementation of the project, before submitting the application. 

“Previously, the LIFE programme has supported projects in Estonia for the protection of biota in the oxbow lakes of the River Emajõgi in the Alam-Pedja Natura 2000 protection area; for researching the application possibilities of oil shale ash in road construction; for organising the protection of black storks and spotted eagles, and for promoting the network of Natura 2000 areas,” said EIC’s LIFE project manager Gady Künnapuu, providing some examples. “In 25 years, 34 Estonian projects have received support from the programme in a total amount of 21 million euros. In addition, Estonian institutions have participated as a partner in 22 projects,” said Künnapuu, adding that even though few applications have previously been submitted from Estonia, they have usually been well-prepared, and a whole 42% of applications submitted from Estonia were financed in the previous funding period.

All legal persons registered in the European Union, i.e., non-profit associations, companies, universities, and public law agencies, are eligible to apply. Self-employed persons are not eligible to apply for the grant. This is a direct grant mediated by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EASME), and the application process takes place in the e-application system eProposal.

Deadlines for applications in 2020

  • The environment and resource efficiency (pre-application 14 July 2020)
  • Nature and biodiversity (pre-application 16 July 2020)
  • Climate action projects (full application 6 October 2020)
  • Environmental management and awareness (pre-application 16 July 2020)
  • Integrated projects (pre-application 6 October 2020)

If you have any questions, please contact the LIFE programme contact persons working at the Ministry of the Environment and the EIC, who are ready to provide you with advice and recommendations.

The virtual information day on the application round is currently planned to be held on Monday, 4 May 2020. Additional information and registration on the Estonian website of the LIFE programme.

The LIFE programme is not used to support large-scale construction of infrastructure (with a cost exceeding 0.5 million euros) or scientific research, and it is also not intended for supporting rural and regional development.

LIFE is a programme of the European Commission that is used to fund environmental and climate action projects. The Ministry of the Environment and the EIC help to make the LIFE programme more visible, increase the awareness of applicants about the possibilities of the project, help improve the quality of project applications, and find suitable partners.

Additional information: LIFE Project Managers Gady Künnapuu (gady.kynnapuu [at] kik.ee, 6 274 126) and Triin Kommer (triin.kommer [at] envir.ee, 56 905 299)