LIFE is a financial instrument whose purpose is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing  pilot  or demonstration projects. LIFE began in 1992 and to date it has co-financed 4,171 projects.

LIFE Natura
Within the LIFE NATURA instrument, nature conservation measures are those “required to maintain or restore the natural habitats and the populations of species of wild fauna and flora at a favourable status”. In practice, LIFE contributes to the implementation of the EU's Birds (79/409/EEC) and Habitats (92/43/EEC) Directives, and particularly to the establishment of Natura 2000, the EUwide network of nature protection areas, whose aim is to manage and preserve in situ (i.e. in their natural environment) Europe’s most valuable species and habitats.
LIFE NATURA also envisages wide dissemination of projects results, to facilitate reproducibility of the most effective preservation interventions.
LIFE NATURA projects are funded if they concern Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) or Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and species included in the Annexes of the Habitats
and Birds Directives.

The Habitats Directive

The Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) identifies natural and semi-natural habitats as well as species of wild fauna and flora of Community interest, and defines the measures to be carried out for their preservation. On the basis of this Directive, each EU Member State has identified a certain number of Sites of Community Importance (SCIs), which have been subsequently approved by the European Commission and included in the European list of Sites of Community Importance.

The Birds Directive

The Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) identifies bird species of Community interest, including endangered ones. According to the Directive, each Member State establishes Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds preservation; necessary measures for birds protection are also indicated in the Directive.
Information on the LIFE Programme is available at

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