Earlier this month, the coordinating beneficiary BIO AUSTRIA Niederösterreich & Wien and associated beneficiary European Wilderness Society attended the LIFE19 Welcome Meeting. Usually, this meeting takes place in Brussels, at the headquarters of EASME. This year however, the first 2 days of the meeting took place virtually due to the corona restrictions. This meeting aims to welcome and introduce all newly approved LIFE projects to the programme and its regulations. The second part of this LIFE19 Welcome Meeting will take place mid-November. This is where we will present LIFEstockProtect to other approved LIFE projects in the Nature subprogram.
The LIFE programme, EASME and NEEMO
The LIFE programme is a funding instrument of the EU for projects concerning the environment and climate action. It was created in 1992 and its budget continues to grow with every funding period. The current funding period 2014-2020 has a budget of €3.4 billion. A significant part of this is allocated to the subprogram Nature, where LIFEstockProtect falls under. The European Commission set up the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) to manage on its behalf the LIFE programme. EASME also manages several other EU programmes regarding SME support & innovation, environment, climate action, energy and maritime affairs. At this moment there are approximately 1.000 LIFE projects ongoing. Therefore EASME has an external monitoring team to evaluate the performance of the projects. NEEMO is responsible for this monitoring, and consists of a consortium of international experts from the European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG).
During the LIFE19 Welcome Meeting, Angelo Salsi from EASME and Jan Silva from NEEMO introduced their organisations to the participants. Their colleagues shared more details with the project beneficiaries about financial administration and reporting regulations. Furthermore, we discussed effective ways and best practices to communicate and disseminate information about the project to the general public and important stakeholders. Afterwards there was time for a Q&A session to cover some of the most pressing issues that some beneficiaries are currently facing.
For our project, this was a very useful meeting! Of course it was good to get to know the people behind EASME and NEEMO better. Yet it was also helpful to get more practical tips and advice on how to adhere to the programme’s regulations. We are already looking forward to the second part of the LIFE19 Welcome Meeting, where we will present our project to fellow LIFE19 projects online.