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LIFE Programme

Objectives and goals of the funding programme

The LIFE programme is the EU funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It contributes to these priorities through its four sub-programmes by:

  • Boosting and integrating the implementation of the EU’s policy objectives to halt and reverse the  loss of wildlife habitats,  species and biodiversity across all sectors;
  • Supporting the transition to a circular economy and protecting and improving the quality of the EU’s natural resources, including air, soil and water;
  • Supporting the implementation of the 2030 energy and climate policy framework, the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality objective, and the new  strategy on adaptating to climate change;
  • Building capacity, stimulating investments and supporting the implementation of policies focused on energy efficiency and small-scale renewables.

LIFE is structured in two fields (Environment and Climate Action) and four sub-programmes:

  • Environment field:
    •  Nature and Biodiversity;
    •  Circular Economy and Quality of Life.
  •  Climate Action field:
    •  Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation;
    •  Clean Energy Transition.

Type of Programme

LIFE Programme

Funding type/type of support

Financing (Loans/Guarantees)

Organizational level


Programme Focus

Sustainable tourism

Programme relevant for/ target group

Academic institution, SMEs and micro companies, VET Providers, Other

Geographic area

European Union

LIFE has a total financial envelope of €5.43 billion (in current prices) for the period 2021-2027, with €1.94 billion reserved for the field of climate action. The climate action field, which is the relevant financial envelope for hydrogen-related projects, is subdivided into €947 million for the sub-programme ‘Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation’, and €997 million for the sub-programme ‘Clean Energy Transition’.

The maximum amount of Union Contribution that can be requested by a specific beneficiary is the maximum set in the grant agreement.

You are eligible to submit a proposal under the LIFE Programme, if you are:

  • A public or private legal entity registered in the EU or an overseas country or territory linked to it;
  • A third country associated to the LIFE programme;
  • A legal entity created under Union law or any international organisation.


Natural persons are not eligible to apply.
Legal entities established in a third country which is not associated to the LIFE Programme may exceptionally eligible to participate where this is necessary for the achievement of the objectives of a given action to ensure the effectiveness of interventions carried out in the Union. However, those legal entities shall in principle bear the cost of their participation.

The types of hydrogen projects that can apply for LIFE Programme grants are:

  • Standard Action Projects: projects, other than strategic integrated projects, strategic nature projects or technical assistance projects, that pursue the specific objectives of the LIFE programme;
  • Strategic Integrated Projects (SIP): projects that implement, on a regional, multi-regional, national or transnational scale, climate strategies or action plans developed by EU country authorities, while ensuring that stakeholders are involved and promoting coordination with and mobilisation of at least one other Union, national or private funding source;
  • Technical Assistance Projects: projects that support the development of capacity for participation in other types of LIFE programme projects, as well as for the preparation for accessing other Union financial instruments or other measures necessary for preparing the upscaling or replication of results from other projects funded by the LIFE programme or its predecessor. These projects can also include capacity-building related to the activities of EU country authorities for effective participation in the LIFE programme;
  • Other Action Grants: actions needed for the purpose of achieving the general objective of the LIFE programme, including coordination and support actions aimed at capacity-building, at dissemination of information and of knowledge, and at awareness-raising to support the transition to renewable energy and increased energy efficiency;
  • Operating Grants: grants that support the functioning of non-profit making entities which are involved in the development, implementation and enforcement of Union legislation and policy, and which are primarily active in the area of the environment or climate action, including energy transition, in line with the objectives of the LIFE programme.

The LIFE programme has no specific tourism theme. However, environmentally sustainable projects – especially those mitigating CO2 emissions through energy efficiency or renewable energy – may benefit from funding. Similarly, projects that marry climate adaptation measures with tourism may also be eligible.

In general terms, funding would be provided via ‘standard action projects’ following an annual call for proposals. LIFE does not finance big infrastructure projects. However, it may support investment in green infrastructure by providing services which can include recreational and tourism activities.

The LIFE programme funds projects in environmental and climate action. Tourism activities related to the green transition can benefit from this scheme. In particular, projects supporting the circular economy, energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, as well as climate neutrality may be eligible for funding.

  • Project Title: Life Sustain Huts

The objective of this project is to create and demonstrate sustainable and nearly zero-emission mountain huts. By promoting renewable energy generation, energy independence and sustainability can be ensured. The project’s implementation over a period of 4 years has several phases

Preparatory actions:

  • Monitoring and analysing the existing energy consumption;
  • 7 implementation actions for hybrid renewable energy systems, including life cycle assessment and environmental analysis;
  • 2 monitoring, dissemination and management actions each.

The project involves converting 9 existing mountain huts in Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Spain to achieve a reduction of approximately 5 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year/hut. There are 8 partners: 5 from the private non-commercial sector, 1 private commercial entity, and 2 public bodies.

EU contribution: €1,116,543


  • Project Title: Burren Tourism for Conservation

The Burren Tourism for Conservation project (also called the GeoparkLIFE project) aimed to reconcile tourism development with conserving biodiversity and cultural heritage. Reducing the impact of tourism on the Burren was a way to increase its carrying capacity.

Pilot actions included a resource management programme for about 100 enterprises and improving 4 monuments and 3 natural sites. These lessons were shared, notably through tool kits, offering a valuable ‘tourism for conservation’ methodology to local communities in Europe. 

EU contribution: €1,108,872 (2012-2017)


  • Project Title: Sustainable Cruise

According to the 2008 EU Waste Framework Directive, waste prevention should be the priority in waste management. Given the degree of luxury afforded to their passengers, cruise ships produce a lot of waste. Led by Costa Crociere, one of the largest cruise companies, this project aimed to demonstrate the potential for waste prevention, recovery and recycling on cruise ships.

It assessed the environmental impacts of three waste streams (packaging, biodegradable waste and paper) and the technical/economic viability of large-scale waste management solutions. It also suggested a standardised approach to waste management onboard. Finally, it provided guidelines for an advanced certification scheme and assessed the possibility of converting CO2 emission reductions into tradable carbon credits.

EU contribution: €1,314,623 (2011-2014)


  • Project Title: Information campaign to reduce smoking-related litter on beaches 

Marine litter is a major environmental problem that has adverse economic impacts on tourism, fisheries and other sectors. Cigarette filters are non-biodegradable and contain numerous hazardous chemicals. The goal of this project was to implement an integrated information campaign to reduce smoking-related litter in coastal areas of Greece.

The project also aimed to launch on-site campaigns on coasts to inform the public and provide applicable solutions (e.g., single-use ashtrays). In addition, training activities were carried out at schools to inform students about these issues and create behavioural change. 

EU contribution: €299,709 (2013-2015)