Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Cyprus, France and Slovenia to benefit from EU funds to protect the environment

Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, February 22nd 2022 à 10:40 | Read 598 times

EU. After a call for proposals in 2020 from the Life Programme, the European Commission decided, on Thursday 17 February 2022, to invest €110 million in integrated environmental and climate protection projects.

They cover eleven countries*, including three Mediterranean countries: Cyprus, France and Slovenia (see below). "These projects contribute to the green recovery in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and support the objectives of climate neutrality and zero pollution by 2050 set out in the Green Pact for Europe. These are concrete examples of actions that will help achieve the main objectives of the Green Pact for Europe in the context of the EU's 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and the EU's Circular Economy Action Plan," the European Commission said in a statement.

Integrated projects allow Member States to tap into other sources of funding, such as agricultural, structural, regional and research funds, as well as national funds, but also to tap into private sector investment. According to the European Commission, they could raise more than €10bn in additional funds.

"There is no time to lose on the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises. The LIFE programme provides direct support to projects across the EU and enables entire regions and countries to protect and restore nature. Nature is our greatest ally and we need to take care of it so that it can take care of us," comments Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President, responsible for the Green Pact for Europe. For Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, the selected dossiers "are one of the main tools to make the green transition a reality by bringing targeted changes on the ground. Through these projects, Member States can green their economies, restore nature and biodiversity and improve their resilience. I look forward to seeing the benefits that these investments will bring in the eleven countries involved and beyond their borders."

​Three pilot forest areas in France

Biodiv'Est aims to reverse the decline of biodiversity in the Grand Est region (photo: AMHiste Région Grand Est)
Biodiv'Est aims to reverse the decline of biodiversity in the Grand Est region (photo: AMHiste Région Grand Est)
In France, an integrated LIFE Environment project, Biodiv'Est (€26.47 million over ten years from 2021 to 2030), plans to implement measures to halt and reverse the decline in biodiversity in the Grand Est region. Several programmes, coordinated by the Regional Council and linked to the Natura 2000 priority action plan, are planned in natural areas to combat the threat of ecosystem fragmentation, water and air pollution, and the spread of invasive alien species.

The Biodiv'Est team aims to strengthen local governance in natural areas, raise awareness of biodiversity among civil society, and improve field actions with a skilled workforce. It will identify innovative solutions to protect biodiversity.

This global action (102 initiatives with 337 actors involved) will be accompanied by the planting of 128 km of hedges, the creation of ten new nature reserves and three pilot forest areas to test silvicultural measures and to develop seed mixes in grassland areas resilient to climate change. It will also include the announcement of new and innovative financial means to reward the provision of environmental services.

60% waste reduction in Slovenia

Cyprus has one of the highest levels of municipal waste per capita in the EU. Less than 20% of it is recycled. The government attributes this to a lack of infrastructure and collection of recyclable and biodegradable waste. The LIFE-IP CYzero WASTE project, led by the Environment Department of the Cypriot Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, aims to install separate collection of biowaste in fifty rural, semi-rural and urban areas. It also aims to improve the collection of dry recyclables, such as paper and cans, through the installation of twenty green kiosks. Seven towns on the Mediterranean island will host reuse/repair centres and a network of reuse shops. In addition, some "pay-as-you-throw" schemes will be tested in parallel with the introduction of a landfill tax. Both of these tools are expected to support the shift towards a more circular economy.

Through its LIFE IP RESTART project, Slovenia is working towards a higher recycling rate of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste. The lack of coherent legislation, insufficient recycling capacity and low social acceptance of recycling processes and the resulting products are all handicaps identified by the Slovenian government.
Its Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning will deploy a set of complementary technical, digital, environmental and circular solutions to achieve maximum material self-sufficiency and increased circularity in the waste recovery sector.

Six circular solutions for problematic and bulky waste streams will be promoted to ensure wide adoption of solutions to achieve coherent and integrated implementation of national waste management and prevention targets. Slovenia has high ambitions to reduce waste by 60% through recycling by 2030. And to reach a recycling rate of 50% for non-hazardous construction and demolition waste (70% for municipal waste). Improving waste collection, treatment and disposal activities, as well as material recovery, could also reduce CO2 emissions by 20%.

* Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic.


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