LIFE+ & Natura 2000
LIFE+ (2007 – 2013)
LIFE, the financial instrument of the European Commission for the environment introduced in 1992, is one of the spearheads of the European Union's environmental policy. The current phase of the programme, LIFE+, runs from 2007-2013 and has a budget of €2.143 billion. The legal basis for LIFE+ is the Regulation (EC) No 614/2007. LIFE+ covers both the operational expenditure of DG Environment and the co-financing of projects.
The specific objective of LIFE-Nature is to contribute to the implementation of Community nature protection legislation: the "Birds" Directive (79/409/EEC) and the "Habitats" Directive (92/43/EEC), and in particular, the establishment of the "Natura 2000" network for the in situ management and conservation of Europe's most remarkable fauna, flora and habitats.
The Natura 2000 network came into existence in 1992 through the adoption of the Habitats Directive, which, together with the Birds Directive adopted in 1979, forms the cornerstone of the EU’s nature conservation policy. Together with the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated under the Birds Directive, the areas designated under the Habitats Directive as Sites of Community Importance (SCI) constitute a network of protected areas across the EU called Natura 2000, sheltering species and habitats, which are rare or endangered at European level. This network is one of the principal means for implementing the commitment made by the Union’s Heads of State and Government at the Göteborg summit in June 2001 to ‘halt the loss of biodiversity by the year 2010’.
It is the EU’s tool to fulfil its obligations under international conventions such as the Bern Convention and the Rio de Janeiro process.
For the first time, all member states are working together towards the same conservation goal and within the same legislative framework (the two directives) to protect and manage vulnerable species and habitats across their natural range, irrespective of political boundaries.