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Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the LIFE programme, a new call for proposals opens today 28th April. LIFE funding program was launched in 1992 by the European Union and is aimed to support of activities leading to environment and biodiversity protection as well as sustainable development of urban and rural areas.

The start-up of the LIFE programme reflected the growing concern over the environment, a concern which was reinforced by serious natural disasters occurred during the eighties, such as the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 or the ozone layer depletion, which was discovered in 1985 by the Mexican researcher Mario Molina.

It was launched with a budget of 400 million ECU (the first attempt of common European currency) for its first-phase, covering 1992-1995. Until 2013, four phases of LIFE programmes have been completed, which financed over 3,500 projects. Now, on the LIFE 25th anniversary, the fifth edition is ongoing. It started in 2014 and it has allocated a total budget of €3.5 billion until 2020. LIFE 2014-2020 is divided into two categories: sub-programme for environment and sub-programme for climate action. The latter is devoted to activities for the mitigation and adaptation to the climate change, a new priority area of the programme.

The call opening today and closing in September 2017 includes several types of programmes: Traditional, Preparatory, Integrated and Technical Assistance projects. Throughout the EASME, the Executive Agency for SMEs managing LIFE, the EU is particularly looking for close-to-market projects that receive up to 60% co-financing. Beneficiaries can be private companies, public administrations and private non-commercial organisations (including NGOs).

The aim of this call is to fund diverse approaches such as evaluation of best-practices, demonstrations, pilots execution, or information, awareness-raising and dissemination projects. Examples can be found in the LIFE Projects database.

The 25th anniversary will be celebrated during May and first half of June 2017, where LIFE some of the ongoing projects, as well as completed ones, are invited to organise an open day. A list of the forthcoming events can be consulted here.Besides, the European Commission together with the European Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions will proclaim 21 May 2017 as ‘European Natura 2000 day’ at a special event in Brussels.

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