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Call: Strategic Nature Projects

Acronym LIFE-NAT
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"LIFE - sub-programme “Nature and Biodiversity”"

The sub-programme “Nature and Biodiversity” will aim:

  • to develop, demonstrate, promote and stimulate the scale up of innovative techniques, methods and approaches (including nature-based solutions and ecosystem approaches) for reaching the objectives set out under the Union legislation and policy on or related to nature and biodiversity, and to contribute to the knowledge base and to the application of best practices, including through the support of the Natura 2000 network;
  • to support the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of the relevant Union legislation and policy on or related to nature and biodiversity, including by improving governance at all levels, in particular through enhancing the capacities of public and private actors and the involvement of civil society, also taking into due consideration the possible contributions provided by citizen science;
  • to catalyse the large-scale deployment of successful solutions/approaches for implementing relevant Union legislation and policy on nature and biodiversity, by replicating results, integrating related objectives into other policies and into public and private sector practices, mobilising investment and improving access to finance.

LIFE has been a key tool supporting the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives since 1992 and has been instrumental and, in some cases crucial, to ensure the establishment of the Natura 2000 network.

The Nature Directives' fitness check, the Action plan for nature, people, and the economy as well as the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 20309 underline the need to increase funding for nature and biodiversity.

The sub-programme Nature and Biodiversity will contribute to European Union objectives for the protection, maintenance and restoration of the Union’s natural capital in its marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, as outlined in the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Bern Convention. In particular, it will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, the Regulation on Invasive Alien Species as well as relevant objectives under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Water Framework Directive, and the European strategy for Outermost Regions.

The sub-programme for nature and biodiversity will mainly be implemented through the following types of actions:

  1. a continuation of the traditional bottom-up approach, aimed at implementing practicaland effective measures for the improvement of the conservation status of species and habitats, ecosystems’ health and related services, through the co-funding of StandardAction Projects (SAPs). All SAPs should be designed to achieve, as a direct outcome of their implementation, tangible improvements for species, habitats and ecosystems and related services, to be defined on the basis of specific and measurable (SMART) objectives. The overall focus of SAPs is on the following: (1) area-based conservation and restoration measures (“space for nature”) and (2) additional specific measures targeting species and ecosystems/habitats with measures other than area-based ones (“protecting/safeguarding our species andhabitats”);
  2. a continuation of the integrated approach for supporting the full implementation of national or regional Prioritized Action Frameworks (PAFs) and other EU biodiversity-policy-related planning instruments, through Strategic Nature Projects (SNAPs). SNAPs encompass capacity building and mainstreaming actions, including by mobilising other funding sources for nature and biodiversity. SNAPs may also include specific conservation actions, in particular where these cannot be supported through the mobilisation of additional finance from other EU funding programmes;
  3. a structured approach to support the implementation of specific policy priorities, through dedicated calls under “Other Actions” (OAs);
  4. Technical Assistance projects (TA).

The above types of actions can cover:

  • measures to promote and support area-based conservation and restoration (“space for nature”);
  • additional specific measures targeting species (“safeguarding our species”);
  • governance to facilitate behavioral change and/or change in practices, soil, land and water management, including in marine areas, as well as the conservation of natural resources, including by supporting the implementation of the European Biodiversity Strategy for 203020 and the up-coming European Forestry Strategy to mainstream biodiversity objectives in relevant sectors, to build up the capacity at all levels and to improve the knowledge basis on nature and biodiversity, including for monitoring, accounting and reporting, assessment and ex-post evaluation;
  • Environmental compliance assurance and access to justice.

The actions above will target, among others, the implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directive and the Invasive Alien Species Regulation, the reversing of the decline of pollinators, the restoration of degraded and carbon-rich ecosystems and the improvement of health and resilience of forests.

Link Link to Programme
Strategic Nature Projects
Description of call
"Strategic Nature Projects"


The objective of a SNAP project is to implement:

  • Prioritised Action Frameworks (PAF) pursuant to Article 8 of Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitats Directive) and/or
  • other plans or strategies adopted at international, national, multiregional or regional level by nature and biodiversity authorities, that implement EU nature and/or biodiversity policy or legislation,

through coordination of the available funding and mobilisation of additional funding and with the active engagement of all the relevant stakeholders.

In this way, a SNAP project will support effective mainstreaming of nature and biodiversity objectives and priorities into other policies and financing instruments.


A SNAP will not have to cover all actions foreseen in the strategy/plan or ensure that the strategy/plan will be fully implemented during the lifetime of the SNAP. However, the SNAP shall include strategic actions to catalyse a process and mobilise supplementary commitments and funding that will lead, in due time, to the full implementation of the plan or strategy.

SNAPs shall promote the coordination with and mobilisation of other relevant Union, national or private funding sources for the implementation of the complementary measures or actions outside of the SNAP in the framework of the targeted plan or strategy, giving preference to Union funding. Within the SNAP itself, however, co-funding may not come from other Union funding sources.

SNAPs shall actively involve the main stakeholders necessary for the implementation of the targeted plan or strategy. They should be involved in both the design and implementation of the given project. This involvement is expected to be achieved by including them - where possible and reasonable - as associated beneficiaries of the SNAP, or through their active participation in the implementation of the SNAP itself and/or of the complementary actions.

SNAPs should facilitate and result in the building up of strategic capacities among the competent authorities and stakeholders to ensure a long-term sustainability of project results and actions, and to ensure that they will be able to function as co-deliverers of the targeted plan or strategy after the end of the SNAP.

Depending on the needs of the given Members States (or regions) as identified in their PAFs or in other nature and biodiversity plans (which must be available by the time a SNAP full proposal is submitted), the set of measures to be included in a SNAP programme of actions shall include the following:

  • institutional support and capacity building actions;

  • mobilisation and coordination of additional finance for complementary actions, in particular from other EU funding instruments and programmes.

In addition, SNAPs may also include concrete conservation and restoration measures, in particular where these cannot be supported through other EU funding programmes.

The SNAP complexity requires an adaptive approach in the design of the implementing mechanism. For this reason, SNAPs will be implemented based on a revolving programming mechanism structured in phases (i.e. Phase 1, Phase 2, etc.). Each phase should normally last at least 3 years, to reduce administrative burden, although duration might be shorter if properly justified.

Expected impact:

  • After the project end (3-5 years after): catalysing full implementation of the PAF and/or other eligible plan(s)/strategy(ies)/action plan(s) as per the ones listed in “objectives”.
  • Significant contribution to the favourable conservation status of natural habitats and species of EU importance maintained and/or restored as per measures identified in PAF.
  • Significant contribution to the reduction of pressures on habitats and species and restored degraded ecosystems as per measures identified in other than PAF targeted plan(s)/strategy(ies)/action plan(s).
Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Agriculture & Forestry, Fishery, Food, Urban development, Rural & Peripheral Development
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Education and Training Centres, Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, Other, National Government, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
    • non-EU countries:
      • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the LIFE Programme (participating countries) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature
  • the coordinator must be established in an eligible country

Entities from other countries are exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action (see work programme).

Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons34.

EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0537). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Proposals must be submitted by:

for all topics of this Call:

  • minimum 2 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities)
  • the national authority responsible for the plan/strategy/action plan should be in principle participating in the consortium as coordinator. In well justified cases it may participate not as coordinator, but it should in any case be part of the consortium
Project duration min 60 months
Project duration max 120 months
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:

  • Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
  • Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
  • Part C (to be filled in directly online) containing additional project data
  • mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
    • for stage 1:
      • targeted plan/strategy/action plan
      • implementation overview for the plan/strategy/action plan
      • complementary funding plan
    • for stage 2:
      • detailed budget table (mandatory excel template available in the Submission System)
      • participant information
      • targeted plan/strategy/action plan
      • implementation overview for the plan/strategy/action plan
      • complementary funding plan
      • complementary funding declarations (at least one)

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages at stage 1 and 200 pages at stage 2

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details

Topic budget: EUR 70,000,000.00

Indicative range of project budgets: EUR 15.00 - 50.00 Mio

Estimated number of projects to be funded: 2 - 7 projects

Funding rate: maximum 60%

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Contact Details

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