How could a Network of National Contact Points support MS participation in the LIFE programme?

Launched in 1992, LIFE is the only EU funding programme dedicated exclusively to the environment and climate action. Its objective is to contribute to the implementation and development of EU environmental and climate policy by co-financing projects with European added value. In order to promote the European-dimension of environmental and climate policy it is important to ensure a balanced participation in the Programme from all Member States. Thus, to increase the impact of the LIFE programme on the national and local level there is a need to conceive a form of support covering all Member States. Currently, National Contact Points (NCPs) act as important links between the EU and national levels and provide information on the LIFE programme in their countries. However, the scope of each NCP’s work and the extent of participation in supporting the Programme is currently at their own discretion.

In order to increase the quantitative and qualitative participation of Member States in the LIFE programme, DG Environment wished to reinforce the action of the NCPs by supporting the creation of a Network. The main objective of this study was to support the Commission in defining the structure of this Network, its activities and its budget with the aim of improving the participation of Member States in the LIFE Programme, particularly in those Member States where the rate of participation is low. This has been achieved through reviewing similar EU initiatives, consulting the NCPs on their needs and scoping of different options among other activities. The project has been conducted by Trinomics in collaboration with Ricardo (lead). The project ran from July to December 2018.

The study has concluded that a centrally coordinated NCP network, either by the Commission or EASME, would be the most preferred and feasible option in the short-term. This option entails that:

  • Funding is provided by the European Commission and the procurement services by an external contractor.
  • The network covers all NCPs, which participate voluntarily.
  • The activities of the network should focus on providing training and networking events in the short-term and the development of an intranet and a project partner database at a later stage.

Finally, it was suggested that the structure of the NCP network in the long-term should continue to be discussed.