Following a thorough evaluation of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the European Commission has adopted the Action Plan for nature, people and the economy. The action plan is designed to improve implementation of the directives and thus boost their contribution to the attainment of the EU's biodiversity targets for 2020.
The plan focuses on 4 priority areas and comprises 15 actions to be carried out between now and 2019. Its publication follows on from the recent Birds and Habitats Directives fitness check, which highlighted the strategic role that the LIFE programme plays in supporting the implementation of the Directives.
LIFE Nature and Biodiversity projects deliver high value for money and can support a much wider range of measures for both management and restoration of Natura 2000 network sites than other EU funding instruments, including communication and outreach activities. As such, LIFE has significant capacity to develop partnerships for effective and efficient implementation. Furthermore, the LIFE Regulation for 2014-2020 provides funding possibilities regarding the management of the Natura 2000 network and for more coherence through integrated projects on condition that they implement the PAFs.
The new action plan will enable the percentage of the LIFE programme budget for action grants for LIFE Nature and Biodiversity to be increased by up to 10%. This proposal will increase the LIFE budget dedicated to projects supporting the conservation of nature and biodiversity, while keeping the overall budgetary envelope of the LIFE programme unchanged. As well as driving forward the implementation of the nature directives through the co-funding of LIFE Nature projects, the additional funding will help develop LIFE Integrated Projects in Member States, strengthening their capacity for larger scale territorial action.
In addition, the action plan foresees support for additional pilot projects specifically targeted at landowners' organisations and their constituency, who contribute significantly to testing the applicability of tools for private land conservation in Natura 2000 network sites under the LIFE programme (2017-2019).
The action plan also foresees other LIFE funded actions such as the LIFE preparatory projects for the European Solidarity Corps call.
The action plan will be presented in detail at a conference on 6 June 2017 in Brussels jointly hosted by the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the Maltese Presidency.
Source: © European Union, 1995-2017