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In 1992, following two important EU directives, the 79/409 / EEC ("Birds Directive") and 92/43 / EEC ("Habitat" Directive), a Community financial instrument, called LIFE (French acronym for the phrase "L'Instrument Financier pour l'Environnement), was established by the EC Regulation. 1973 in order to contribute in Europe the implementation and development of Community environmental policy and environmental legislation.

It is the only channel of Community funding dedicated specifically and exclusively to the environment, through which hundreds of projects in all European member states were funded with three different EU programs: the Life I from 1992 to 1995, the Life II from 1995 to 2000 and the Life III 2000-2006.

In June 2007 one program called LIFE + was published with a total budget of € 2,143 for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013. The components LIFE+ is divided in are:

  • LIFE + Nature & Biodiversity, which finances projects aimed at the conservation of habitats and species of Community interest, the implementation of policies and legislation in the field of nature and and biodiversity, in particular Directives 79/409 / EEC and 92/43 / EEC, to support the further development and implementation of the Natura 2000 network.
  • LIFE + Environment Policy & Governance, assigned to projects that facilitate the implementation of Community policy on the environment, to contribute to the development and application of strategic approaches, technological, methodological and instrumental innovation, particularly in the priority areas of climate change, environment, health and quality of life, natural resources and waste.
  • LIFE + Information and Communication, which is mainly engaged in information dissemination and awareness of environmental issues, including forest fire prevention. The peculiarity of the LIFE + is to attach special importance to the aspect of awareness, involvement and active participation of interest groups in the development of the various phases of project implementation.

Many projects of the LIFE + program to date are still in progress, but from 2014 began the new LIFE 2014 -2020 with a total budget of 3.46 billion euros, of which 2.59 billion euro of the total budget on sub-program ENVIRONMENT and 0.86 billion on the sub - program CLIMATE ACTION. The new program has some interesting elements of innovation than the previous.

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