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The end of LIFE as we know it

European Commission to axe conservation fund

BirdLife International has warned of the disastrous consequences of proposals from the European Commission to axe the EU`s only dedicated fund for nature conservation.The European Commission has announced its intention to axe the LIFE-Nature programme from 2006, as part of sweeping changes to the Union`s environment budget.The loss of LIFE-Nature would put a catalogue of threatened European birds and other fauna, flora and habitats at risk. LIFE-Nature has acted as a lifeline for birds such as Bitterns, Corncrakes, Flamingos, and Great Bustards. Funds have also gone to help save Europe`s only big cat, the Iberian Lynx, and disappearing habitats such as wetlands, heaths and forests.

Dr. Clairie Papazoglou, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife said: It is astonishing that the Commission plans to cut this successful programme while maintaining that nature conservation is a top environmental priority. Alistair Gammell, Director of International at the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) commented: This would not just be a minor setback; the loss of the EU`s only nature conservation fund would pose a direct threat to achieving the EU`s target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 agreed by Heads of State in 2001. It is vital that the Parliament and Council reinstate nature conservation as a top priority for DG Environment spending. The decision contradicts recommendations from experts appointed by the Commission, and those of several prominent Member States.

4th July 2014