The European Commission announced a 121 million euros investment into new projects within the LIFE Programme for the Environment and Climate Action. The aim of the funding is to promote the green recovery and help Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia to reach their green targets, through agricultural, structural, regional and research funds, as well as national funds and private sector investment.
The integrated projects – that will be financed from this investment – are going to help the mentioned Member States to comply with EU legislation in six areas: nature, water, air, waste, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation.
“To deliver the European Green Deal, we need to start mobilising the unprecedented resources made available for Europe’s green transition in our long-term budget and recovery fund,” said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission. “These LIFE integrated projects support concrete action to protect the environment, restore nature, and support biodiversity. With this investment, we help countries and regions to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises and build a just and sustainable future.”
Five nature conversations projects will be applied among others, in Latvia and Slovakia: they will help to restore natural ecosystems, in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, by improving the management of the Natura 2000 network and better connecting its protected areas.
In Latvia, the project will help to ensure the favourable conservation status of terrestrial and marine habitats and species, with a focus on protected marine habitats such as reefs and sandbanks. The project team also plans to develop new mechanisms for nature conservation on private land and a centralised data portal for nature conservation. The control of invasive alien species is also a priority.
The Slovakian Ministry of Environment aims to implement the Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) through the LIFE integrated project, which measures needed to run the Natura 2000 network. The Ministry expects the effective improvement of the conservation status of various species and habitats. It will also help the country meet the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 targets.
In connection with the EU Water Framework Directive, a project will be run in Poland, where the Pilica river catchment area is going to be cleaned up through blue and green infrastructure pilot actions and other initiatives.
Within the Climate Change Mitigation framework, a project will concentrate on the reduction of Hungary’s reliance on brown coal: the new LIFE funding will help to decarbonise the Mátra Power Plant – which is responsible for nearly 50 per cent of the energy sector’s CO2 emissions – by replacing lignite-fired power generation units with low-carbon technology solutions, like renewable energy and energy storage as well as natural gas technologies.
Furthermore, in another Polish project, LIFE will also help the Małopolska region to implement its Regional Action Plan for Climate and Energy to guarantee a just transition. The project team will find out how to make the heating appliance market more environmentally friendly and they expect to create green jobs in the process. The team also wants to change negative perceptions of climate action and will therefore run educational campaigns to promote general climate awareness.