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Preparatory projects application package 2017
Date de clôture : 20 sept. 2017  

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1. General Information

1.1 What is LIFE?

LIFE is the European Programme for the Environment and Climate Action, for the period from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2020. The legal basis for LIFE is Regulation 1293/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 20131.

The LIFE Programme is structured in two sub-programmes: the sub-programme for Environment and the sub-programme for Climate Action. The overall financial envelope for the implementation of the LIFE Programme is 3,456,655,000 Euro, 75% of which is allocated to the sub-programme Environment (2,592,491,250 Euro) and 25% of which is allocated to the sub-programme Climate Action.

According to Article 17(4) of the LIFE Regulation, at least 81% of the total budget shall be allocated to projects supported by way of action grants or, where appropriate, financial instruments. The first LIFE Multiannual Work Programme covering the period 2014-2017 foresees a budget of 1,347.1 Million Euro for the sub-programme for environment and 449.2 Million Euro for the sub-programme for climate action 2.

During the period 2014-2020, the Commission will launch one call for LIFE project proposals per year.

LIFE is open to public or private bodies, actors or institutions registered in or, exceptionally, outside the European Union. Project proposals can either be submitted by a single applicant or by a partnership which includes a coordinating beneficiary (the applicant) and one or several associated beneficiaries.

1.2 What are LIFE Preparatory projects?

According to the LIFE Regulation, Preparatory projects address specific needs for the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation. According to the Multi-Annual Work Programme, the total budget available for Preparatory projects under the Environment sub-programme over the period 2014-2017 will be indicatively not more than 10.5 million Euro and under the Climate Action sub-programme not more than 1.45 million Euro.


1.3 Scope of LIFE Preparatory projects

Once a year the Commission makes an inventory of specific needs regarding the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation that need to be addressed during the following years and identifies among them the needs that could be addressed by Preparatory projects. Before launching the annual call for proposals, Member States received a draft list of the identified specific needs that could be addressed by preparatory projects and were asked to comment. Based on these comments, the final list was established as described in section 2.1.

1.4 How, where and when to submit a proposal?

LIFE applicants must submit their proposals using the forms included in this application guide and attaching all relevant documents. Applications must arrive at the following address no later than 16:00 Brussels local time on 30 June 2017:

Postal address:

LIFE 2017 – Preparatory Projects European Commission
DG ENV – LIFE Unit (BU9 03/006) B-1049 Brussels


Delivery by hand is possible at the following address only:

LIFE 2017– Preparatory Projects European Commission
DG ENV – LIFE Unit (BU9 03/006) Avenue du Bourget 1

B-1140 Brussels (Evere) Belgium

Note that it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the proposal arrives on time; any courier or postal service serves as the applicant's agent.

The proposal and all its obligatory annexes must be submitted on CD-ROM or DVD, in an electronic format, accompanied by a signed cover letter. The full title of the proposal should be clearly labelled on the CD-ROM/DVD and on the letter.

The proposal itself must be submitted as one "black and white only" pdf document, including all technical forms (i.e. A, B and C forms) and all financial forms (F forms). These forms should be scanned and submitted as a single pdf file of the original, printed, completed and signed (where applicable) A4 size paper forms. The paper forms should be retained by the applicants. Applicants should ensure that the corresponding pdf file is of a readable quality (at a maximum resolution of 300 dpi - applicants must avoid sending files scanned at a higher resolution in order to keep file sizes manageable).


The proposal must be printable on a black-and-white printer, and in an A4 format. Where proposal forms are signed, beneficiaries are strongly advised to check whether the signatures are still identifiable on a printout of the form.

Note that applicants should retain the original, signed Word and Excel files containing all of these forms, for possible use in preparation of the final grant agreements.

Additional documents/annexes, other than those required, submitted by applicants (e.g. brochures, CVs, additional information etc) will not be evaluated and therefore applicants must not include any such material in the CD-ROM/DVD.

Very important: Please note that the e-mail address specified by the applicant as the contact person's e-mail address in form A2 will be used by the Commission as the single contact point for all correspondence with the applicant during the evaluation procedure. It should therefore correspond to an e-mail account which is valid, active and checked on a daily basis throughout the duration of the evaluation procedure.

1.5 Administrative and financial information to be provided

Beneficiaries may include: (1) public bodies, (2) private commercial organisations and (3) private non-commercial organisations (including NGOs).

The term "public bodies" is defined as referring to national public authorities, regardless of their form of organisation – central, regional or local structure – and the various bodies, including public institutions, under their control, provided these operate on behalf of and under the responsibility of the national public authority concerned. In the case of entities registered as private law bodies wishing to be considered for the purpose of this call as equivalent to "public law bodies", they should provide evidence proving that they comply with all criteria applying to bodies governed by public law and in the event the entity stops its activities, its rights and obligations, liability and debts will be transferred to a public body. For a complete definition, please refer to form A3b ("Public body declaration"). All beneficiaries which want to be considered and treated as a public body must complete form A3b.

All coordinating beneficiaries which do not want to be treated as a public body must complete the simplified financial statement, which is provided in a separate excel file in the application package.

All applicants and associated beneficiaries must show their legal status (by completing application forms A2 or A5), and provide full information on the Member State (or third country) in which they are registered. In addition all beneficiaries must declare that they are not in any of the situations foreseen under art. 106(1) and 107 of the EU Financial


Regulation3 (by signing the application form A3 or A4 – instructions for this are given in section 3 of these Guidelines).

Please refer to section 4.6 of this document for full details regarding the compulsory administrative documents which are required with the proposal depending on the legal status of the coordinating beneficiary.

1.6 How will LIFE Preparatory projects be selected?

The European Commission is responsible for the evaluation procedure.

The project selection procedure will be organised as follows:

  •   Evaluation of proposals : The Commission will verify the compliance of

    each proposal with the eligibility and selection criteria, and will evaluate them against the award criteria. Proposals will be ranking on the basis of the score obtained in relation to the award criteria.

  •   After a review phase, successful projects will be proposed for funding, within the available budget.

  •   Signature of the grant agreement: This is expected to occur in November of 2017.

Details of the evaluation procedure are described in section 4 of this document.

1.7 General Guidance to Applicants

The current chapter replies to some frequently asked questions on how to conceive a LIFE project proposal.

1.7.1 In which language may the proposal be submitted?

LIFE proposals may be submitted in any of the official EU languages, except Irish or Maltese. The Commission nevertheless strongly recommends that applicants fill in the technical part of the proposal in clear English.

Form B1 ("Summary description of the project") must always be submitted in English. It may in addition also be submitted in the language of the proposal.

1.7.2 Who may submit a proposal for a Preparatory Project?
A proposal may be submitted by any legal person registered in the European Union.

Applicants may fall into three types of beneficiaries: (1) public bodies, (2) private commercial organisations and (3) private non-commercial organisations (including NGOs).

3 Regulation (EU, EURATOM) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002, OJEU L 298 of 26.10.2012, p.1.

The term "public bodies" is defined in section 1.5 of this document. The applicant must show its legal status (by completing application form A2) confirming legal registration in the EU.

Once a proposal has been accepted for co-funding, the applicant will become the coordinating beneficiary legally and financially responsible for the implementation of the project. The coordinating beneficiary will be the single point of contact for the Commission and will be the only beneficiary to report directly to the Commission on the project's technical and financial progress.

The coordinating beneficiary receives the EU financial contribution from the Commission and ensures its distribution as specified in the partnership agreements established with the associated beneficiaries (if any). The coordinating beneficiary must be directly involved in the technical implementation of the project and in the dissemination of the project results.

Section 1.5 also provides more details regarding the compulsory administrative documents which are required with the proposal depending on the legal status of the coordinating beneficiary.

1.7.3 Who may participate in a project?

In addition to the coordinating beneficiary, a LIFE proposal may also involve one or more associated beneficiaries and/or one or more project co-financers.

An associated beneficiary may be legally registered outside the European Union, provided that the coordinating beneficiary is based in the EU. Any activities to be carried out outside the EU must be necessary to achieve EU environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply. An associated beneficiary must always contribute technically to the proposal and hence be responsible for the implementation of one or several project actions. An associated beneficiary must also contribute financially to the project. It must provide the beneficiary with all the necessary documents required for the fulfilment of its reporting obligations to the Commission.

There is no obligation to involve associated beneficiaries in a LIFE proposal. A proposal that is submitted without any other participant other than the coordinating beneficiary itself is perfectly eligible. On the other hand, a beneficiary should not hesitate to associate other beneficiaries if this would bring an added value to the project. A meaningful collaboration can be expected, for instance, when the partnership strengthens the European added value of the project and/or the transferability of its results and lessons learnt.

Each beneficiary (coordinating or associated) must bear part of the project costs and must thus contribute financially to the project budget. (The contribution may exceed the foreseen costs in case a beneficiary also want to act as co-financer.) It cannot therefore be reimbursed for 100% of the project costs that it incurs. Furthermore no beneficiary may act, in the context of the project, as a sub-contractor to another beneficiary.

The costs of an affiliated entity to a private beneficiary may also be eligible project costs, but only if the role of the affiliated entity is clearly described in the project application.


Costs of an affiliated entity to a public beneficiary are not eligible; the affiliated entity should become an associated beneficiary in order to participate in the project. Thus, public undertakings whose capital is publicly owned and that are considered an instrument or a technical service of a public administration, and are subject to the administration control, but are in effect separate legal entities, must become beneficiaries if a public administration intends to entrust the implementation of certain project actions to the undertaking. This is the case for example in Spain for "empresas públicas" such as TRAGSA, or EGMASA and in Greece for regional development agencies.

A project co-financer only contributes to the project with financial resources, has no technical responsibilities, and cannot benefit from the EU financial contribution. Furthermore, it cannot act, in the context of the project, as a sub-contractor to any of the project's beneficiaries.

However, project proposals involving business-sector co-financing will be favourably considered during the evaluation process where this co-financing contributes to the probable sustainability of the project results.

For specific tasks of a fixed duration, a proposal may also foresee the use of subcontractors. Subcontractors cannot act as beneficiaries or vice-versa. Subcontractors provide external services to the project beneficiaries who fully pay for the services provided. Sub-contractors should not be identified by name in the proposal unless they are considered an affiliated entity to a project beneficiary. (Note that affiliated entities to public beneficiaries MUST become associated beneficiaries to the project.)

For a more detailed description of the respective rules related to the coordinating beneficiary, associated beneficiaries and subcontractors, please refer to articles II.1, II.2, II.9 and II.10 of the General Conditions of the LIFE Model Grant Agreement.

1.7.4 What is the optimal budget for a Preparatory project?

There is no fixed minimum size for project budgets. For LIFE Preparatory Projects, maximum budget envelopes are established for each specific need. See section 2.1 for details.

1.7.5 What is the maximum rate of EU co-financing under LIFE?

The maximum EU co-financing rate for LIFE Preparatory projects is 60% of the eligible project costs.

1.7.6 How much should project beneficiaries contribute to the project budget?

The coordinating beneficiary and each associated beneficiary is expected to provide a reasonable financial contribution to the project budget. A beneficiary's financial contribution is considered as a proof of its commitment to the implementation of the project objectives – a very low financial contribution may therefore be considered as an absence or lack of commitment. A proposal may not be submitted if the financial contribution of any of the beneficiaries to the proposal budget is 0 Euro.

Moreover, where public bodies are involved as coordinating and/or associated beneficiaries in a project, the sum of their financial contributions to the project budget must exceed (by at least 2%) the sum of the salary costs charged to the project for personnel who are not considered 'additional'. For details, please refer to the General Conditions of the LIFE Model Grant Agreement.

1.7.7 What is the optimal starting date and duration for a project?

The earliest possible starting date for projects is 1 December 2017. Any costs incurred before the project's starting date will not be considered eligible and cannot be included in the project budget.

There is no pre-determined project duration for a LIFE project. Generally speaking, the project duration must correspond to what is necessary to complete all of the project's actions and to reach all its objectives. A Preparatory project would be expected to last between 2 and 3 years.

The experience of the previous LIFE programme has shown that many projects had difficulties completing all actions within the proposed project duration, mostly due to unforeseen delays and difficulties encountered during the project. Beneficiaries are therefore strongly advised to build an appropriate safety margin (e.g. 6 months) into the timetable of their proposal.

Beneficiaries should also be aware that a project that has completed all of its actions prior to the expected end date can submit its final report ahead of schedule and receive its final payment before the official project end date mentioned in the grant agreement.

1.7.8 Where can a LIFE Preparatory project take place?

LIFE projects shall take place in the territory of the European Union Member States. The LIFE Programme may also finance activities outside the EU and in overseas countries and territories (OCTs), provided that the coordinating beneficiary is based in the EU and strong evidence is provided that the activities to be carried out outside the EU are necessary to achieve EU environmental objectives and to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Member State territories to which the Treaties apply.

The eligibility criteria formulated in European Commission notice Nr.2013/C-205/05 (OJEU C-205 of 19/07/2013, pp. 9-11), concerning the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards, shall apply for all actions under this call for proposals, including with respect to third parties referred to in Article 137 of the EU's Financial Regulation.


1.7.9 Who should be in charge of the project management?

It is expected that the project management is carried out by the staff of the coordinating beneficiary. However, on the basis of an appropriate justification it may be carried out by a sub-contractor under the direct control of the coordinating beneficiary. Any other arrangements for the project management would have to be adequately explained and justified. It is also strongly advised that each project has a full-time project manager.

While there is no obligation to include in the proposal budget any costs related to the project management, the proposal should nevertheless clearly describe who will be in charge of the project management, how much personnel and time will be devoted to this task and how and by whom decisions on the project will be made during the project period (i.e. how and by whom the project management will be controlled).

1.7.10 To which extent are salary costs of public staff eligible for LIFE co- funding?

Please refer to section 3.2 'Form F1 – Direct personnel costs'.

1.7.11 How much outsourcing of project activities is allowed?

The beneficiaries should have the financial and operational capacity and competency to carry out the proposed project activities. It is therefore expected that the share of the project budget allocated to external assistance should remain below 35%. Higher shares may only be accepted if an adequate justification for this is provided in the project proposal.

If a beneficiary is a public body, any outsourcing must be awarded in accordance with the applicable rules on public tendering and in conformity with EU Directives on public tendering procedures.

For amounts exceeding 130,000 Euro, private beneficiaries must invite competitive tenders from potential subcontractors and award the contract to the bid offering best value for money; in doing so they shall observe the principles of transparency and equal treatment and shall take care to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Furthermore, it should be recalled that all expenditure in LIFE projects must respect the principle of sound financial management.

Green procurement: all beneficiaries (public and private) are strongly invited to carefully consider the possibility to "green" their procurement activities. The European Commission has established a toolkit for this purpose. More information can be found at


1.7.12 Under which conditions does LIFE favour transnational projects?

The LIFE Regulation indicates that, while selecting the projects to be co-funded, the Commission shall have special regard to transnational projects, when transnational cooperation is essential to guarantee environmental or climate protection.

1.7.13 How voluminous should a LIFE proposal be?

A proposal should be as concise and clear as possible. Clear and detailed descriptions should, however, be provided for all project actions. Maps should be annexed wherever this would be useful to clarify the location of the proposed actions.

Brochures, CVs and similar documents should not be submitted and will be ignored if provided.

1.7.14 Can ongoing activities be included in the project?

Actions already ongoing before the start of the project are not eligible.

Where actions to be undertaken in the project are significantly different from previous or ongoing activities in terms of frequency or intensity they are not considered ongoing.

Exceptionally, in case of actions that were undertaken and completed in the past and that are proposed to be repeated at a similar frequency or intensity during the project, the applicant must provide evidence that such actions would not have been carried out in the absence of the LIFE project.

1.7.15 What are the requirements related to long-term sustainability of the project and its actions?

LIFE projects represent a considerable investment, and the European Union attaches great importance to the long term sustainability of these investments. It is obligatory that throughout the duration of the project, the beneficiaries consider how these investments will be secured, maintained, developed and made use of or replicated after the end of the project. This should be built into the proposal.

1.7.16 What is the relationship between LIFE funding and other EU funding programmes?

According to Article 8 of the LIFE Regulation, support from the LIFE Programme should be "complementary to other financial instruments of the Union" and overlap between the LIFE Programme and other Union policies and funding programmes should be avoided. These include, amongst others, the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, the European Fisheries Fund and the Horizon 2020 Programme.


The beneficiaries must inform the Commission about any related funding they have received from the EU budget, as well as any related ongoing applications for funding from the EU budget. The beneficiaries must also check that they are not receiving on-going operating grants from LIFE (or other EU programmes) which would lead to double financing.

Research activities

Whereas EU funding for research activities is provided under Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014–2020)4, limited research aimed to improve and enhance the knowledge data underpinning the project may be carried out within a LIFE project. Research must be strictly limited and intrinsically related to the project's objectives and the applicant shall explain in detail how the proper implementation of the project relies on these research activities, showing that the existing scientific basis is insufficient, and how the additional knowledge will be used to implement the project actions. In such a case, scientific publications are considered important deliverables of the project.

1.7.17 Do I need to worry about the project's "carbon footprint"?

You should aim to keep the "carbon footprint" of your project as low as is reasonably possible. Details of efforts to be made to reduce CO2 emissions during a project's life shall be included in the description of the project. However, you should be aware that project expenses for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions will not be considered as eligible costs.

1.8 Personal Data Protection Clause

The personal data supplied with your proposal, notably the name, address and other contact information of the beneficiaries will be transferred to a database called Butler, which will be made available to the EU Institutions and agencies and to an external monitoring team under contract to the Commission, who are bound by a confidentiality agreement. Butler is used exclusively to manage LIFE projects.

A summary of each project, including the name and contact information of the coordinating beneficiary, will be placed on the LIFE website and made available to the general public. At a certain point the coordinating beneficiary will be invited to check the accuracy of this summary.

The Commission, or its contractors may also use the personal data of unsuccessful applicants for follow up actions in connection with future applications.

Throughout this process, Regulation (EC) n° 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 "on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data" will be respected by the Commission and its contractors. You will notably have the right to access data concerning you in our possession and to request corrections.

4 Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 laying down the rules for participation and dissemination in "Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)" and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1906/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 81).


Submission of a proposal implies that you accept that the personal data contained in your proposal is made available as described above. It will not be used in any other way or for any other purposes than those described above.

1.9 Useful links
LIFE Regulation: Regulation (EU) No 1293/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of

11 December 2013 published in the Official Journal L 347/185 OF 20 December 2013:

LIFE Multi-annual Workprogramme 2014-2017:

Financial Regulation:



2. Guidance concerning LIFE 2017 Preparatory Projects


2.1 Specific Needs Identified for 2017

Under the 2017 call, proposals may be submitted only to address the following specific needs:

1) Priority Objective: "Halting and reversing biodiversity loss

(total 1,250 000 €)
1.1 Providing support for Integrating Ecosystem Services and their assessment with LIFE and other EU funding projects

The proposed project: The project would aim at applying the analytical framework for mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services in LIFE projects as well as in projects funded under Cohesion and Rural Development funds and gaining lessons learnt from these developments in LIFE and Cohesion projects, and under relevant Rural Development measures. Work should be based on the methodological reports delivered by the MAES Working Group under Action 5 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and related work.

The specific needs addressed: A key aspect of the EU Biodiversity Strategy is to maintain, enhance and restore ecosystems and their services. The Commission is assisting EU Member States in mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems and their services within the MAES Working Group, which is overseen by the Coordination Group on Biodiversity and Nature (CGBN) Work is also underway on the development of natural capital accounting system at EU level, building on and contributing to international activities on Natural Capital accounting. There is a need to apply and improve this work also in connection with LIFE Nature and Biodiversity projects contributing directly or indirectly to the protection of ecosystems and the multiple services they provide by testing the methodology "on the ground". Local experiences from LIFE and other projects can also provide important information and feed into the further refinement of the methodology at the macro level. This project would then address the need of "bridging the gap", "building synergies" and "assuring the applicability" between work being developed by MAES and INCA on the one hand and with LIFE and Cohesion projects, and Rural Development measures on the other hand. This would be in particular relevant to: applying approaches to project cycles and reporting objectives (indicators), approaches to the evaluation of ecosystem condition, approaches to quantifying ecosystem services, approaches for the estimation of values of ecosystem services either in monetary (exchange and welfare values) or in nonmonetary terms. Also of importance is the development of lessons learnt from of how such information can help guide decision making at local level, while also be relevant for the regional, national or EU scale.


The Commission expects to award at most ONE grant in this area, with a maximum EU contribution of 250,000 Euro.

1.2 Providing support to improve knowledge and capacity amongst Natura 2000 site mangers across the EU

The proposed project: The project would support the development of a targeted set of mechanism amongst public and private Natura 2000 site managers across the European Union territory, aimed at improving their capacities and competencies in terms of management Natura 2000 sites. It will avail of innovative approaches, including use of digital technologies. It is addressed to organisations representing or federating Natura 2000 site managers at national or supra-national level within the European Union. Such organisations are uniquely placed to initiate, organise and implement the necessary measures, given their prior experience in setting up capacity building, training and exchange networks for site managers.

The specific need addressed: The Natura 2000 network of sites established under the EU Nature Directives covers ca. 18% of the land area of the Member States, and almost 6% of their marine territories. Taking into account that the network of sites is now largely completed, the attention is increasingly focussing on effective management of the sites, to ensure their contribution towards maintaining or restoring favourable conservation status of the species and habitats for which the sites are designated as well as to promoting their multiple benefits to society. Effectively managing Natura 2000 sites requires dedicated management structures with a large range of specific competencies and management capacities (technical, administrative, scientific, social, etc.), all of which are essential to deliver the objectives of the EU Nature Directives. The degree to which effective site management structures are currently in place is however variable across different parts of the EU, both in terms of stability of financial and institutional resources, and in terms of experience and knowledge of site managers. Several recent processes at EU level (in particular in the frame of the Fitness Check of the EU Nature directives and through exchanges in the Biogeographic seminars) identified a significant need for further improving knowledge, sharing of expertise and good practice as well and strengthening the capacity of site managers. Possible mechanism for achieving these objectives include focused training and capacity building activities, e.g. through training centres in or across Member States, structural exchanges and set-up of information networks for site managers, twinning programmes, etc. There are increasing opportunities to use innovative approaches, including new digital technologies, to achieve these objectives.

The Commission expects to award at most ONE grant in this area, with a maximum EU contribution of 500.000 Euro.

1.3 Providing support for tailoring innovative private land conservation tools to the national and regional contexts in the EU Member States

The proposed project: The project would be addressed to organisations representing private landowner interests. Such organisations are uniquely placed to initiate the necessary measures, given their high level of credibility, relevance and legitimacy amongst their constituencies. The final output of the project, which would need to be based on an intensive consultative process involving both landowners and national authorities, should be the development of tailor-made and ready-to-use tools for private land conservation, adapted to the specific context of at least half of the 28 EU Member States.

Applicants are explicitly encouraged to insert project actions ensuring a close collaboration and networking with similar projects, as well as an inclusion of pilot or demonstration measures on individual land properties or groups of properties.

The specific need addressed: The Natura 2000 network of sites established under the EU Nature Directives, covering ca. 18% of the land area of the Member States, provides a good setting for land stewardship activities. The regulatory requirements linked to Natura 2000, linked to the need for avoiding deterioration and maintaining or restore species and habitats to a favourable conservation status, are considered essential to achieve the objectives of the network, but can also conflict with competing land use interests on private lands. According to several recent Commission studies, the wider use of certain innovative tools for private land conservation (e.g. safe harbour agreements, covenants, conservation easements, private protected areas, fiscal benefits, land swaps, etc.) would have great potential to further reduce such conflicts, and help to accomplish the EU biodiversity conservation objectives on private lands. There is also increasing evidence that, compared to the more traditional regulatory or direct compensation approaches which are widely being used, such tools would have a higher acceptance amongst private landowner constituencies.

However, many of these new tools are not yet widely known within the EU Member States and amongst landowners. Furthermore, considering the large variety of legal frameworks and socio-economic and cultural settings throughout the Member States, these tools might still require further adaptations to specific national or regional contexts, before they can be applied. There would be an obvious value in an early and pro-active involvement of private landowners and public authorities in the necessary dissemination, adaptation and testing processes.

The Commission expects to award at most ONE grant in this area, with a maximum EU contribution of 500,000 Euro.

2) Priority Objective "Contributing to a greener and more resource efficient economy and to the development and implementation of Union environmental policy and legislation" (total 400 000)

2.1Providing support to foster innovative approaches to policy implementation

The proposed project

The project aims at reviewing and informing different approaches to implementation of EU environmental law and policy at different levels of governance. The project will pay particular attention on how policy integration issues can be addressed being one of the main hurdles regarding the implementation of environmental legislation.

First, the project would seek to inform the process initiated by the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) by collection information on different practices involving civil society and other stakeholders to promote better implementation. On this basis, the project will include an assessment of the efficiency of the different practices identified, taking into account the varying contexts in EU Member States as regards their geographical, political, administrative or economic situation.

Second, the project would seek to inform NGOs active at grass-root level in the Member States about the EIR findings and good practice across the EU with a view to steer and equip them to participate in debates at national and local level aimed at finding tailor-made solutions to fill in the implementation gaps.

The specific need addressed

The EIR is a new approach to closing the implementation gap of EU environmental legislation and policy and there is a need to ensure that this process is informed by existing concrete experiences with implementation and enforcement in order to come to informed conclusions about structural problems and structural solutions. It is essential for the EIR that implementation discussions are inclusive. In line with Better Regulation principles, the specific need addressed by this project is to know which approaches to improve implementation civil society organisations and other stakeholders consider the best ways forward, in different Member States, and what constraints they have experienced in becoming involved in improving implementation and more specifically, in being part of the EIR process. It should inter alia look at how such different approaches can help bring the EU closer to its citizens by upholding citizens’ fundamental right to a clean environment and the EU’s strong track record in setting and implementing high standards. It will provide steer and information to local NGOs so that they can engage in discussions with the national (regional/local) authorities to address the outstanding implementation gaps, building up on positive experiences of other authorities in the EU.


The Commission expects to award at most ONE grant in this area, with a maximum EU contribution of 400,000 Euro.

2.2 How to conceive a LIFE Preparatory project proposal?

A proposal for a LIFE Preparatory project must be designed to respond to one of the specific needs described in the previous section. Actions must be clearly related to the objective(s) of the project, and be completed within the duration of the project. Furthermore, the long- term sustainability of the investments must be guaranteed. As a general principle, all actions included in the project must be new and additional to the work undertaken by the applicant prior to the projects.

Actions may not include (this is not an exhaustive list):

  •   land purchase or lease

  •   activities that overlap with ongoing LIFE projects or any other projects co-financed by

    the EU budget.

  •   large infrastructure

When preparing your proposal, the following main types of actions must be clearly distinguished:

  1. Implementation actions (obligatory),

  2. Communication and dissemination actions (obligatory),

  3. Project management and monitoring of project progress (obligatory).

2.2.1 Implementation actions (A actions - obligatory)

These are the core actions of the proposals. They may not include preparatory actions that have been completed prior to the start of the project.

All actions should:

  •   be clearly related to the objective(s) of the project;

  •   not be research actions, unless they fall under the exceptions described in point 1.7.16 of this Guide,

The impact of these actions must be monitored during the project.


2.2.2 Communication and dissemination actions (B actions - obligatory)

Note that certain communication actions are obligatory for preparatory projects and should therefore be explicitly foreseen in the proposal as separate actions. These include establishment and maintenance of a project web site and use of the LIFE logo, and Natura 2000 logo if relevant.

In addition projects will typically include:

  •   information activities to the general public and stakeholders aimed at facilitating the implementation of the project;

  public awareness and dissemination actions aimed at publicising the project and its results both to the general public and to other stakeholders that could usefully benefit from the project's experience;

The range of possible actions for both types of communication actions is large (media work, organisation of events for the local community, didactic work with local schools, seminars, workshops, brochures, leaflets, newsletters, DVDs, technical publications, ...), and those proposed should form a coherent package. Each communication and dissemination action must clearly define and justify its target audience, and should be expected to have a significant impact. To be effective, these actions should in general begin early on in the project. The organisation of large and costly scientific meetings or the financing of large- scale visitor infrastructures is not eligible.

Each proposal must assess the range of related projects and include an action entitled "Networking with other LIFE and/or non-LIFE projects". Where there are related projects that have been financed under LIFE, this action must include visits, meetings, exchange of information, and/or other such networking activities with an appropriate number of other relevant LIFE projects (ongoing or completed). It may also include similar exchanges with other non-LIFE projects and/or participation in information platforms related to the project objectives (including at international level where justified).

See articles II.7 and II.8 of the General Conditions of the LIFE Model grant agreement for full details of communication and dissemination requirements. The LIFE website also contains detailed advice on communication and dissemination actions, in particular LIFE Nature: Communicating with stakeholders and the general public – Best practices examples for Natura 2000 and the guidelines on how to design a LIFE web-site.

2.2.3 Project management and monitoring of project progress (C actions - obligatory)

Every project proposal must contain an appropriate amount of these actions, which typically involve:

 Project management, activities undertaken by the beneficiaries for the management of the project (administrative, technical and financial aspects) and for meeting the LIFE reporting obligations. The technical project management may be partially outsourced. Outsourcing of project management is possible, provided the coordinating beneficiary retains full and day to day control of the project. The proposal should clearly describe how this control will be guaranteed. The project management structure must be clearly presented (including an organigramme and details of the responsibilities of each person and organisation involved). It is strongly recommended that the project management staff has previous experience in project management. If a coordinator or project manager also directly contributes to the implementation of certain actions, an appropriate part of his/her salary costs should be attributed to the estimated costs of those actions.

  •   Specific training relevant to the project, workshops and meetings for the beneficiaries' staff, where these are required for the achievement of the project objectives.

  •   Indicators (obligatory action): A distinct C-action must be included concerning the compilation of information needed to complete the indicator tables (quantitative and qualitative) to be submitted with the first Progress and Final Reports. These indicators will contribute to evaluating the impact of the LIFE project in view of the overall objectives of the LIFE Programme, in line with the Regulation and the Multiannual Work Programme for 2014-2017. Templates of the tables will be made available in due course.

    The project proposal will therefore have to foresee monitoring actions that will enable this reporting, establishing baselines and monitoring the progress and results of all actions. All projects will have to include impact monitoring actions in addition to routine monitoring of the project progress.

    Information and guidance on indicators can be found on the LIFE web site at

  •   In addition, if relevant to the specific need targeted, each proposal must include an action aimed to assess the socio-economic impact of the project actions on the local economy and population. This can take the form of a study consolidating the data and results over the project lifetime, to be delivered with the Final Report. Projects should aim to increase social awareness and acceptance of the benefits of protecting the environment or climate. Examples of positive effects of the project are: direct or indirect employment growth, enhancement of other activities (e.g. ecotourism) aimed to develop supplementary income sources, offsetting social and economic isolation.

  •   After-LIFE Plan (obligatory action): The coordinating beneficiary must produce an “After-LIFE Plan” as a separate chapter of the final report. This plan shall set out how the actions initiated in your LIFE project will continue and develop in the years that follow the end of the project. It should give details regarding what actions will be carried out, when, by whom, and using what sources of finance. A separate C-action for this plan should be added to the proposal and the plan must be added to the list of deliverables.



3. Completing the Application

There are 4 sets of application forms: A, B, C (technical forms) and F (financial forms). The financial forms are in a separate Excel file.

Whenever several copies of one form 2017-XY need to be produced, please use the following naming convention per page: 2017-XY/1; 2017-XY/2 etc.

3.1 Technical application forms

The technical part of the LIFE Preparatory Project application file consists of 3 parts (A, B and C) available for download as a single Word file.

While filling in the technical forms A – C, please respect the standard A4 format. All forms are mandatory and must be fully completed, except:

  •   if there are no associated beneficiaries, the associated beneficiary declaration (form A4) and profile (form A5);

  •   if there are no cofinancers, form A6.

    Where forms are not obligatory or where you have no specific information to put on certain parts of obligatory forms (e.g. for "who will use equipment after the end of the project"), you are strongly advised to indicate "not applicable" or "no relevant information" or an equivalent indication.


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