Eleven Member States of the European Union, including the Central and Eastern region’s Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia will receive 110 million euro funding from the European Commission’s LIFE programme for integrated projects in environmental and climate protection.
The selected projects in areas such as nature conservation, clean air, waste management, climate change mitigation and adaptation will help to deliver key European Green Deal objectives under the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan.
“We have no time to waste when it comes to the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises. The LIFE programme provides direct support to projects across the EU and enables entire countries and regions to protect and restore nature. Nature is our biggest ally and we need to take care of it so it can take care of us”, said Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans as he congratulated selected projects.
Integrated projects allow Member States to pool additional EU funding sources, including agricultural, structural, regional and research funds, as well as national funding and private sector investment. Altogether, the 11 projects are expected to attract more than 10 billion euros of complementary funds and deliver targeted changes on the ground.
“Through these projects, Member States can green their economies, bring back nature and biodiversity and improve their resilience. I am looking forward to seeing the benefits that this investment will bring in the 11 countries and beyond their borders”, noted Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius.
For example, a project in Poland will implement measures to improve overall air quality in the region of Silesia where air pollution is among the most severe in Europe, by replacing small-scale solid-fuel domestic heating devices with less polluting alternatives. In Latvia, the focus will be on improving separate waste collection and reuse of municipal waste, while a project in Slovenia will aim to achieve a better recycling rate of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste, among other actions. LIFE funding will also help Lithuania reach the objectives set out in its national energy and climate plan (NECP) including more efficient buildings, climate-friendly mobility, an energy-saving industry and enhanced green public procurement. A project in the Moravian-Silesian Region in Czechia will increase the region’s climate resilience, improve the quality of the environment for inhabitants and support sustainable development.
The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The Commission has increased LIFE programme funding by almost 60 per cent for the 2021–2027 period. It now stands at 5.4 billion euros.