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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article7 June 2023European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency4 min read

Nature, environment and climate action all winners in 2023 LIFE Awards

Re-wilding forests with Eurasian lynx, boosting farming with hi-tech bio-stimulants and helping one of Europe’s biggest cities adapt to climate change are among the winning projects announced at the EU’s prestigious annual LIFE Awards.

LIFE Awards 2023 finalists
© European Commission, 2023

The award winners were selected from hundreds of LIFE projects across the EU supporting the European Green Deal that ended during the last two years. They mark outstanding achievements in three categories: nature protection, environment and climate action.

At the hybrid awards ceremony, held as part of European Green Week, Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, congratulated all nine projects who made it to the final.

“The breadth and quality of LIFE projects underline the commitment of citizens in all EU Member States to the Green Deal,” he said. “The LIFE programme is more essential than ever, given our increasing focus on the need for energy self-sufficiency. If we invest in nature, we invest in our future food and energy security. This year’s inspiring finalists show what can be done to protect nature and the environment, and to take climate action.”

"LIFE brings citizens together to work for our climate and the environment,” added Commissioner Sinkevičius. “With more than €600 million available in 2023 alone, there are plenty of opportunities for people to get involved. Whether you’re interested in the clean energy transition, protecting nature, taking climate action or creating a local circular economy, LIFE is for you.”

Presenting the LIFE Citizens’ Award, Acting-Director of CINEA Paloma Aba said,

“LIFE brings citizens together to work for our climate and the environment. It’s all about people – we call it ‘the people’s programme’. Every day, they are busy working for a cleaner environment and taking climate action at local level. Everyone who has contributed to the success of the LIFE Programme can be proud of their contribution. Without the support of the people, LIFE would never be the success story it is today.”

This year’s winners:

  • The LIFE Award for Environment went to LIFE Plants for Plants which developed new plant-based ‘bio-stimulants’ for conventional agriculture. Working across six European countries, the team produced and tested three new bio-stimulants which save water, reduce fungicide and phosphorous, and make crops more resilient to climate change and disease.
  • The LIFE Award for Nature went to LIFE Luchs Pfälzerwald for the reintroduction of Eurasian lynxes in the Palatinate Forest Biosphere Reserve. The project established a thriving lynx population in southwest Germany, three centuries after they disappeared from the area.
  • The LIFE Award for Climate Action went to LIFE METRO ADAPT for enhancing climate change adaptation strategies and measures in Milan, Italy’s second-largest city, using water management and nature-based solutions to implement sustainable drainage systems and prevent flood risk in urban areas.
  • The LIFE Citizens’ Prize, awarded by public vote on the LIFE Awards website went to  LIFE TECMINE, which, initiated in Spain, focuses on improving restoration practices in mining areas of the Mediterranean from the perspective of environmental, technical and social sustainability.

The 2023 LIFE Awards were judged by a jury of experts comprising Mihhail Kõlvart, Mayor of Tallinn (European Green Capital 2023); Eleonora de Sabata, marine journalist and photographer, and communications manager Clean Sea Life, double 2022 LIFE Awards winner); and Tony Rinaudo - aka “The Forest Maker” - agriculturalist and natural resources advisor at World Vision Australia.

The jury commended all three winning projects for their outstanding contribution to environmental, economic and social progress and for demonstrating excellence in impact, replicability, policy relevance, cross-border cooperation and cost-effectiveness.

Also honoured at the Awards ceremony were five other finalists:


  • LIFE IAS Free Habitats: improving and maintaining the conservation status of three of Bulgaria's rarest and most vulnerable natural forest and grassland habitat types.
  • LIFE Lech: conserving the natural dynamics of the Lech river system and surrounding riparian landscapes in Austria and Germany.


  • LIFE-FOODWASTEPREV: changing attitudes to food waste in Hungary through a food waste prevention campaign.


  • LIFE Peat Restore: reducing CO2 emissions by restoring degraded peatlands in Northern European lowlands.
  • U-MOB LIFE: creating a European Network for Sustainable Mobility at Universities, with 85 members from 11 countries. 


Notes for editors

About the LIFE programme

The LIFE Programme is the EU's funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It has been running since 1992 and has co-financed almost 6 000 projects across the EU and in third countries. The European Commission has increased LIFE programme funding by almost 60 percent for the 2021 - 2027 period, now standing at EUR 5.4 billion. LIFE has four new sub-programmes: nature and biodiversity, circular economy and quality of life, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and clean energy transition. Applications are now open for EUR 611 million worth of funding for LIFE projects in 2023. The LIFE Programme has been managed by CINEA, the European Climate Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency, since 1 April 2021.

See here for further information about the 2023 LIFE Awards.

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