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EU financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects

Programme Type
Funding programme
European (European)
European Union
STRIA Roadmaps
Low-emission alternative energy for transport (ALT)


Background & Policy context

The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.

LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been four complete phases of the programme (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999, LIFE III: 2000-2006 and LIFE+: 2007-2013). Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 4306 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate.

Strategic Objectives

LIFE’s main objectives include:

  • use as a catalyst for changes in policymaking on environment and climate action;
  • promoting implementation and integration of environment and climate objectives in other policies and EU countries’ practice;
  • better governance;
  • specific link to EU priorities: resource efficiency, biodiversity loss and climate adaptation and mitigation.

The environment subprogramme (75 % of the budget) has three priority areas:

  • environment and resource efficiency;
  • nature and biodiversity (55 % of the budget for action grants under the environment subprogramme);
  • environmental governance and information.

These priorities cover seven thematic priorities: nature and biodiversity; water, including the marine environment; waste; resource efficiency, including soil and forests and green and circular economy; environment and health, including chemicals and noise; air quality and emissions, including the urban environment; and information and governance.

The climate action subprogramme (25 % of the budget) has three priority areas:

  • mitigation (contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions);
  • adaptation (supports efforts to increase the resilience to climate change);
  • LIFE climate governance and information (e.g. raising awareness of climate matters).


Institution Type
Institution Name
European Union
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME)

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