What is the Environmental Department and the European Commission LIFE programme?12 October 2016
The Environmental Department is one of over forty departments and services in the European Commission. Often called the Environment DG, the goal of this department is to protect, preserve and improve the environment for the present and future generations. To achieve this, it proposes policies that ensure a high level of protection of the environment in the European Union and preserve the quality of life enjoyed by EU inhabitants.
This department makes sure that Member States correctly implement EU environmental legislation. When they do this, they make inquiries about complaints filed by citizens and non-governmental associations and can take legal action, should they feel that legislation has not been respected. In some cases, the Environmental Department represents the European Union for environmental concerns in international meetings such as the United Nations’ Convention on Biodiversity.
The Environmental Department also funds projects that contribute to protecting the environment in the EU. Since 1992, some 4,000 projects obtained LIFE funding, the EU’s financial instrument for the environment.
In fact, the European Commission funds, by the intermediary of its LIFE programme, projects aiming to protect the environment and nature. Projects targeting biodiversity, such as the LIFE ALISTER Project, have the goal of improving the preservation of threatened species and habitats. They aim to implement the Birds and Habitats Directives. These are pilot programmes working towards the EU’s goal of slowing down the loss of biodiversity.
The project’s authors must announce the actions (LIFE Alister actions) that they are planning to roll out, their conditions and expected outcome. They regularly update the Commission on results using reports and “deliverables”*
Each LIFE project includes a follow-up visit by the European Commission with an update on a progress report for actions, their progression, difficulties and partial results. This is an opportunity for representatives of the Commission to speak directly to project leaders as well as checking on the ground what actions have been rolled out and if funds are being used correctly (for example, procurement of agricultural machines for the LIFE Alister project).
*A deliverable: a document resulting from the end of all or a part of an action or a project