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News article1 April 2022Directorate-General for Environment

Commission to open negotiations for Ukraine's participation in LIFE programme for climate and environment

The Commission is starting negotiations with Ukraine to offer the country the possibility to join the LIFE programme for climate and environment. The LIFE programme aims notably to contribute to the shift towards a sustainable economy, to protect the environment, to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. By joining the LIFE programme, Ukraine will be able to benefit from financing to help restore its environment after the destruction brought about by the Russian invasion, be it pollution, destruction of ecosystems, or other long-term effects. The decision was conveyed today by Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, to his Ukrainian counterpart, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ruslan Strilets.

Commissioner for Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius said:

The Commission has completed all the prerequisites to start negotiations on joining LIFE programme, thus there are no reasons to delay the process. The Russian aggression on Ukraine and its impact on climate and environment made this partnership even more important and we are ready to support Ukraine in joining the LIFE Programme.

In the short term, the LIFE programme could support the reconstructions efforts through the needs analysis as well as the mobilisation and capacity building of different actors to tackle soil and water decontamination through nature-based solutions. In the medium and long term, as in other countries participating in LIFE, projects can aim to:

  • Develop and demonstrate eco-innovative techniques and approaches
  • Promote best practices and behavioural changes
  • Support the development, monitoring and enforcement of legislations similar to the ones in EU as well as plans and strategies that can contribute to implement these legislations
  • Catalyse the large-scale deployment of successful solutions

The next LIFE calls will be open in May. Ukrainian applicants will already be able to present proposals. In order for a project to be eligible, Ukraine will need to ratify the association agreement before the signature of the relevant grants.


Ukraine is reporting nuclear and radiation safety threats, sustained damage to water bodies, water supply and sewerage systems, long-lasting damage to valuable ecosystems, biodiversity and marine sites. The repercussions for human health could last a very long time. Military equipment and toxic chemicals in water, soil and the air could persist for decades. And after the pollution and destruction, the reconstruction will be highly resource-intensive, in terms of energy, construction materials and so on.

The LIFE programme is the EU's funding instrument for the environment and climate action running since 1992. It has co-financed more than 5,500 projects across the EU and beyond and has a funding of €5.4 billion. It occupies a niche between EU programmes for research and innovation and large-scale financing programmes. As such, LIFE bridges the gap between research and policy implementation, addressing the external factors related to environmental and climate innovations by testing and demonstrating practical solutions. The new LIFE Programme 2021-2027 allows non-European countries to join the program through bilaterally negotiated association agreements.


Publication date
1 April 2022
Directorate-General for Environment

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