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Programme for the environment and climate action (LIFE) (2014-20)

This summary has been archived and will not be updated. See 'Programme for the environment and climate action (LIFE) (2021–2027)' for an updated information about the subject.

Programme for the environment and climate action (LIFE) (2014-20)

This regulation establishes the fifth version of the LIFE programme, the EU’s main funding framework for environmental and climate change policy. It focuses on concrete environmental and climate policy priorities as well as areas for action.


Regulation (EU) No 1293/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the establishment of a programme for the environment and climate action (LIFE) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 614/2007.


The programme for the environment and climate action (LIFE) for 2014 to 2020 aims to contribute to sustainable development and to the achievement of the objectives and targets of the Europe 2020 strategy, the seventh EU environment action programme and other relevant EU environment and climate change initiatives.

The programme has two subprogrammes (environment and climate action). It also introduces integrated projects, which operate on a large scale, starting at regional or multi-city level. These aim to implement environmental and climate change policy by applying plans and strategies based on EU legislation and integrating these policies further into other policy areas. The intention is to mobilise complementary funds, especially EU funds, to do so.

Other new features are two innovative financial instruments for funding projects through loans and equity: the PF4EE (Private for Financing for Energy Efficiency) and the NCFF (Natural Capital Financing Facility), which is co-funded by the Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) on a pilot scale.

Overall, at least 81 % of LIFE resources is to be spent on projects.

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).

National allocations

During the first multiannual work programme (2014-17), national allocations apply only to ‘traditional’ (i.e. best practice, demonstration, pilot or information, awareness and dissemination) projects and the NCFF under the environment subprogramme. As of 2018, the selection of these projects will be exclusively based on merit.

Territorial scope

Non-EU countries may participate in LIFE, based on a specific agreement with the Commission. Programme activities outside the EU are possible under certain circumstances, as is cooperation with international bodies.

The LIFE programme 2014-20 has a total budget of almost €3,456.7 million.

Further information:

European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment website on LIFE and presentation.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1293/2013



OJ L 347 of 20.12.2013


Commission Implementing Decision of 19 March 2014 on the adoption of the LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-17 (2014/203/EU) (OJ L 116 of 17.4.2014).

last update 16.06.2014