LIFE Programme for Climate Action (2014-2020)

Status: Open to applications
End Date: 31 December 2020
Start Date: 01 January 2014
Application Deadline: 08 June 2018


The Climate Action sub-programme of the LIFE Programme contributes to the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. It has three priorities: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to climate change, and governance and information.


Fund Value: £ 617,600,000

Value Notes

There is a proposed allocation of €3.4 billion over the period 2014-2020. This will be divided as follows:

  • Environment - €2.6 billion
  • Climate Action - €800 million

The allocation for the Climate Action sub-programme will be divided as follows:

  • Climate Change Mitigation - €193.56 million
  • Climate Change Adaptation - €190.39 million
  • Climate Governance and Information - €47.59 million

Co-financing rate

Up to 60% of eligible costs is available for all projects in the first four years of the Programme, and up to 55% for all projects the final three years of the Programme with the following exceptions:

  • Up to 60% of eligible costs for integrated projects, technical assistance projects and preparatory projects for the entire duration of the programme.
  • Up to 75% of eligible costs are available for projects funded under the Environment sub-programme priority area Nature and Biodiversity that concern priority habitats or species for the implementation of Directive 92/43/EEC or the species of birds considered as a priority for funding by the Committee for Adaptation to Technical and Scientific Progress set up pursuant to Article 16 of Directive 2009/147/EC when necessary to achieve the conservation objective.
  • Up to 100% of funding for capacity building projects.

Extended Description

The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It is intended to be complementary to other EU funding programmes, including the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and Horizon 2020. In particular, the LIFE Programme will encourage the uptake of environmental and climate-related research and innovation results of Horizon 2020.The objective of the Programme is to be a catalyst for promoting implementation and integration of environmental and climate objectives in other policies and in Member State practice.
The general objectives of the LIFE Programme are to:
  • Contribute to the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, to the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment and to halting and reversing biodiversity loss, including the support of the Natura 2000 network and tackling the degradation of ecosystems.
  • Improve the development, implementation and enforcement of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation, and to act as a catalyst for, and promote, the integration and mainstreaming of environmental and climate objectives into other EU policies and public and private sector practice, including by increasing the public and private sector's capacity.
  • Support better environmental and climate governance at all levels, including better involvement of civil society, NGOs and local actors.
  • Support the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme.
The Sub-programme for Climate Action will support the implementation of the EU's climate policy. Overall, it will help induce transitional change towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in the EU, strategically underpinning the implementation of the 2020 climate and energy package and the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change, and prepare the EU for the climate action challenges until 2030. It will also support better climate governance at all levels, including better involvement of civil society, NGOs and local actors.
The Climate sub-programme has three priorities:
  1. Climate Change Mitigation
  2. Climate Change Adaptation
  3. Climate Governance and Information
The LIFE Programme for the Environment (2014-2020) is reported separately.

Latest Information

Deadlines vary between individual Calls.

Key Criteria

Eligible applicants include:

  • National, regional and local authorities
  • International organisations
  • Non-governmental organisations active in the field environment and/or climate action
  • Private bodies including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Eligibile Expenditure


There are no set thematic priorities or project topics for action grants under the Climate Action sub-programme. Project priorities will be in line with the general objective of the LIFE Regulation - to improve the development, implementation and enforcement of the EU climate policy and legislation and to provide for the required EU added value.

Projects should be linked with the three priority areas:

  • Climate Change Mitigation
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Climate Governance and Information

The sub-programme will contribute to the transformation of the EU into a low carbon society (a central part of the Europe 2020 climate and energy package).

Emerging climate mitigation technology will be facilitated through extended piloting and integrative demonstration. EU climate policy will be firmly linked to local impulse and initiatives and showcase examples of new and better approaches to implement this transition. The implementation of greenhouse gas accounting and climate change mitigation in the land use sector will also be developed. LIFE will also support the implementation of the EU climate change adaptation strategy so as to contribute to a more climate resilient Europe.

Support will be available for the following areas:

  • Support for implementation of adaptation strategies. This would include specific vulnerability assessments at regional or cross-border levels focusing on highly vulnerable areas as identified in the EU Adaptation Strategy such as urban, coastal, mountainous and islands areas, marine ecosystems, drought-prone areas or river-basins as well as implementing innovative adaptation approaches, preparation of specific investment plans.
  • Support for pioneering a post carbon society. Pioneers and role-models are important to guide the transitory process to low carbon economies and societies. Many technologies, life styles or governance models are piloted in social groups, small communities and by innovators before they become mainstreamed. Support to the deployment of new approaches (model cities or regions) for producing, consuming and governing with a transformational impact, should reflect fully the objectives of the EU climate and energy package or the Roadmap 2050 targets. To succeed, existing low carbon technology should also be examined with regards to non-technology barriers which prevent market penetration.
  • Demonstration at regional or sub-regional level of low carbon strategies or land use management plans. This would include mainstreaming of a range of emission reduction and resource efficiency measures across sectors and by using a range of measures to incentivise behavioural change. Support to the development of land management practices which have an impact on emissions and removals of emissions, eg as supplementary measures to ones supported under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).


Traditional Projects - projects which are similar to those under the previous LIFE+ Programme Nature, Biodiversity, Environment and Information projects, including best practice, pilot, and demonstration projects, and information, awareness and dissemination projects.

Pilot projects - projects that apply a technique or method that has not been applied or tested before, or elsewhere, and that offer potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best practice.

Demonstration projects - projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the project's specific context, such as geographical, ecological, socio-economic, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances.

Best practice projects - projects that apply appropriate, cost-effective, state-of-the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project.

Information, awareness and dissemination projects - projects aimed at supporting communication, dissemination of information and awareness raising.

Integrated projects - projects implementing in a sustainable manner, on a large territorial scale, in particular, regional, multi-regional or national scale, environmental or climate strategies or action plans required by specific environmental or climate Union legislation, pursuant to other Union acts or developed by Member States' authorities.

Technical assistance projects - projects aimed at supporting the preparation of integrated projects.

Preparatory projects - projects in support of specific needs for the implementation and development of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation.

Capacity-building projects - projects providing support to the activities required to build the capacity of Member States, including LIFE national or regional contact points, with a view to enabling Member States to participate more effectively in the LIFE Programme.

Match Funding Restrictions

Generally, match funding of 40% will be required.

Further Information

LIFE Information Day 2018

The European Commission is organising an Information and Networking Day on the 2018 LIFE Call for project proposals.

The event will take place in Brussels on 4 May 2018 and will be open to potential applicants presenting project proposals on green technology, nature protection and climate action. There will be an information session on the 2018 LIFE call in the morning, covering significant changes to the programme compared to previous years. The afternoon will be dedicated to networking to share experience, match with potential new partners and meet representatives of the LIFE programme from the European Commission.

Compulsory registration for the event is open until 2 May 2018.

The Information Day will take place at the European Commission's Charlemagne Building on rue de la Loi 170, 1000 Brussels.

Brexit Update

Following the decision by the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, all EU primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK from the withdrawal date and the UK will then become a third country.

Until the UK leaves the EU, EU law continues to apply to and within the UK, when it comes to rights and obligations. This includes the eligibility of UK legal entities to participate fully and receive funding under the LIFE programme. However, the eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant.

If the UK withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring, in particular, that UK applicants continue to be eligible, UK participants will cease to be eligible to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of the relevant Articles of the grant agreement.

Application Procedure

Applicants for LIFE funding action grant traditional projects must submit their proposals using the web tool eProposal available via the LIFE web page.

Technical Assistance and Integrated Projects applications are made by paper to EASME.

Full details of how to apply are given in the Call documents, once the Call is open.


Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download on their website.
Contact details:
Monica Westeren
Directorate General for Environment 
DG Environment 
B - 1049 Brussels 
+32 2 299 18 30