The LIFE programme is the only area of European spending that is dedicated solely to the EU’s environment. A subcomponent of LIFE, LIFE nature and biodiversity, supports projects that contribute to the implementation of the EU's Birds and Habitats Directives (the Natura 2000 Network), the integration of biodiversity into other policy areas, the assessment and monitoring of pressures on biodiversity and its response to those pressures. The LIFE programme represents a major contribution to the EU's goal of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2020 and also plays a key role in maximising the leverage effect of the EU budget.
The projects delivered under the programme have provided value for money, secured and created jobs, have helped to establish innovative projects across the EU and have delivered successful results on the ground despite a tiny investment of only €2.4 billion from 2007-2013, only representing 0.23% of the overall EU budget.
At a time when the value for money of EU policy instruments, and their ability to deliver results on the ground, is under intense scrutiny, the LIFE programme is a shining example of EU action that works, and that should be supported by increasing its budget to 1% of the MFF. This would make at least 1 billion euro/year available for measures on biodiversity and would fund 15-20% of the annual costs of implementing the Natura 2000 network, estimated by the European Commission to be around €6 billion each year.
Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.