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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article17 May 2024European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency2 min read

Happy birthday! LIFE celebrates 32 years of green impact and innovation.

It’s an exciting week for LIFE, the EU’s flagship initiative for funding environmental and climate actions, which this week celebrates 32 years of funding more than 6,000 ground-breaking projects for a cleaner, greener and more sustainable Europe.

LIFE is 32 Happy Birthday

As it celebrates its 32-year legacy, LIFE also pays tribute to the thousands of businesses, academic and research institutions, government departments, local communities and individuals across the EU who are committed to the Programme’s success. Together, they have had an extraordinarily positive impact on nature and biodiversity; the circular economy and quality of life; climate change mitigation and adaptation; and the clean energy transition across Europe.

Seven LIFE projects have been nominated for the prestigious European Natura 2000 Awards, which marks its tenth anniversary this year. The winner will be chosen from 27 finalists in five categories and announced at a live ceremony in Brussels on 29 May, as part of European Green Week. Just 24 hours later, the winners of the LIFE Awards 2024 in three categories - nature, circular economy and quality of life, and climate action - will be honoured at a special awards ceremony in Brussels, together with the LIFE Citizens’ Prize, awarded by public vote.

The LIFE Programme encourages innovative and impactful demonstration projects which can then be scaled up and replicated elsewhere. In 2023 alone, 171 new LIFE projects and eight strategic projects were approved across Europe, worth a total of €512 million.

27,000 reasons to celebrate!

Besides the European Natura 200 Awards and the LIFE Awards being held in Brussels, there are opportunities for EU citizens to get involved before, during and after European Green Week. European Natura Day 2024 on 21 May kicks off with a celebration of Natura 2000 - the world’s largest network of protected areas with more than 27,000 protected sites. Tens of thousands of citizens will take part in dozens of ‘bioblitzes’ - citizen-led nature observations coordinated by, a Netherlands-based platform for biodiversity, citizen science and monitoring.

Last year, the Natura Day bioblitzes covered 19 Natura 2000 sites across the EU, resulting in nearly 3000 observations. More than 50 events have already been registered for 2024, with more being added daily. Bioblitzes focus on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time - this year, most of the Natura 2000 bioblitzes run from May 18 to 26, but some continue over the summer. Anyone wanting to take part in this year’s bioblitzes can download a free app which guides the user on how to record species, identify them and upload them to a central database.


Together, the LIFE Awards and the European Natura 2000 Awards highlight outstanding projects that contribute to nature conservation, climate action and environmental innovation across the European Union.

The LIFE Programme and Natura 2000 were both established in 1992 through two key EU laws - the Habitats Directive and the LIFE Regulation. Since 1992, the EU has co-financed more than 6,000 projects and increased LIFE Programme funding by almost 60 percent to €5.4 billion.

The #LIFEis32 anniversary on 21 May promises a day of celebration, supported by a social media toolkit tailored for LIFE projects. It’s a great opportunity not only to extend birthday wishes to the Programme, but also to spotlight the part your project has played in advancing the European Green Deal’s climate, energy and environmental objectives. The hashtags #LIFEis32 and #Natura2000Day will provide updates on regional activities, keeping everyone informed about the day's events.

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