LIFE is a financial instrument with the objective of contributing to the implementation, development and updating of the European Commission’s environmental policy and legislation through the co-financing of pilot projects or demonstration projects. LIFE was founded in 1992 and has since co-financed around 4500 projects.
The LIFE Nature programme
The LIFE Nature instrument defines nature conservation initiatives as those “necessary to maintain or restore natural habitats and populations of wild fauna and flora species to a sustainable level”. In practice, LIFE Nature must contribute to the implementation of the “Birds” (79/409/EEC) and “Habitats” (92/43/EEC) community directives and, in particular, to the establishment of the European network for protected areas – NATURA 2000 – aimed at the “in situ” management and conservation of fauna and flora species (i.e. in their natural environment) and the most precious habitats in the European Union.
The LIFE Nature programme also calls for the results of the projects to be widely publicised in order to promote reproducibility of the most effective conservation actions in other areas.
LIFE Nature projects are financed if they effect Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and Special Protection Areas (SPA) for birdlife, and concern species included in the annexes of the Habitats and Birds Directives.
Information on the LIFE programme is available here: qui
The Habitats Directive
The Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) identifies natural and semi-natural habitats and species of wild fauna and flora of community interest and establishes initiatives to implement for their conservation. On the basis of this directive, every state of the European Union identified a number of Sites of Community Importance (SCI), which were then approved by the European Commission and included on a special list. The SCIs in which conservation and protection measures are being activated, and in which management plans for protecting the habitats and/or species for which they were established are being developed, are designated Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).
The Birds Directive
The Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) identifies bird species of community interest, including those at risk of extinction. It insists that each state establishes Special Protection Areas (SPA) for birdlife designated for their conservation and indicates, moreover, the required initiatives for protection.
In particular, Decree No. 187 issued on 17 October 2007 by the Ministry of Environment to implement the Birds Directive defines specific measures to conserve the habitats frequented by the species and to ensure the peacefulness of nesting sites.