Europe and Central Asia

BirdLife Europe & Central Asia Press Release - 23 May 2018

Investing where it counts: Over 200 organisations demand the EU to invest 1% in LIFE

More than 200 organisations led by BirdLife Europe and WWF, call on the EU to increase the funding for the LIFE programme to 1% of its next budget. LIFE is the only EU programme fully dedicated to support and fund environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects across Europe. The declaration was handed over to Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, at the European Commission’s Green Week 2018.  

The LIFE programme currently accounts for a mere 0.3% of the EU budget. Nevertheless, research shows that LIFE not only has a positive, significant impact on environmental work, but is highly successful in creating jobs. Between 2009 and 2015, LIFE created 74,500 jobs, and an economic growth of 9.3 billion Euros. The value of the results achieved through nature projects alone is estimated to be 43 billion Euros. The value of saving nature and improving the life of Europeans is, of course, priceless.

In its proposal on the MFF, the European Commission suggests increasing the funding for LIFE to 0.42%, falling well short of the 1% needed. The statement is supported by over 200 organisations across Europe, and represent stakeholders from research institutes, universities, local and national authorities, NGOs, as well as businesses.

Barbara Herrero, EU Nature Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe:

Right now, investments in nature are inadequate on all fronts. We’re asking the EU to invest 1% of its budget into innovative ideas to protect the environment. Given the success of the LIFE programme, this should be a no brainer. The LIFE programme is a great seed fund for innovative ideas that should then be replicated through other funding sources. The scale this needs to be done on needs hard ring-fencing for biodiversity from the CAP budget.

Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer & Coordinator EU Budget, WWF-European Policy Office:

“LIFE has been tremendously successful, and helped create innovative and long-lasting solutions for nature protection and climate action. Addressing the increasing threats to our environment must be a priority of the next EU budget. 1% of the budget would translate into 1 cent per day for each EU citizen – this sounds like a small amount, but it will make a big difference!”


For more information contact:

Barbara Herrero, EU Nature Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe
+32 (0)2 541 0780

Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer & Coordinator EU Budget, WWF European Policy Office
+32 2 740 09 22



BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a partnership of 48 national conservation organisations and a leader in bird conservation. Our unique local to global approach enables us to deliver high impact and long term conservation for the benefit of nature and people. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional secretariats that compose BirdLife International. Based in Brussels, it supports the European and Central Asian Partnership and is present in 47 countries including all EU Member States. With more than 4100 staff in Europe, two million members and tens of thousands of skilled volunteers, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, together with its national partners, owns or manages more than 6000 nature sites totalling 320,000 hectares.