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Brussels, 5 September 2003

LIFE-Third Countries: Commission funds 17 environment projects in Third Countries

The European Commission has approved 17 environment projects that will receive funding under the LIFE-Third Countries programme 2003. These new projects, which were selected from 70 proposals, will share a total of €6,567,232. The projects will be implemented in the following 11 countries: Algeria, Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia and Turkey. The co-funding by the Commission will contribute to improving the environment through capacity building and the establishment of administrative structures, as well as the development of environmental policies and action programmes in these countries. The projects will receive this financial support upon their compliance with the administrative and financial provisions.

The selected projects have capacity building as their main objective (development of institutions, policies, monitoring tools, training facilities, networks and data bases) and cover a wide range of themes from water and solid waste management to nature and bio-diversity conservation (wetlands, marine environment etc.). Some projects promote alignment with EU environmental regulations or co-operation at regional or transnational level. The total cost of the projects amounts to €10,716,860 and EU financing represents 62% of this amount.

LIFE-Third Countries

LIFE-Third countries is part of the overall LIFE programme, which is the European Union's scheme providing financial support for environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU, in candidate countries and in bordering regions. The objective of the LIFE-Third Countries programme is to contribute to the establishment of capacity and administrative structures, and the development of environmental policies and action programmes, in third countries bordering the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea (other than the countries of central and eastern Europe which have concluded Association Agreements with the European Community)(1).

The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the development and implementation of EU environmental policy through the financing of specific actions. LIFE has three distinct components: LIFE-Environment, LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Third countries. The total budget for LIFE III, which covers the period 2000-2004, is €640 million(2).

A summary of the 17 selected projects in Third Countries can be found in the annex to this press release.

More detailed information on each of the 17 new projects is available at:


Life third countries 2003 selected projects


Project Title: Setting-up an operational and consultative structure for standards definition and safety protocols to assist with asbestos problems in Algeria

Beneficiary: National Centre of Technical Assistance (CNAT)

LIFE contribution: €454,420 (70% of eligible costs).

In Algeria the problems related to asbestos are serious. There are many polluted sites, remedial work is difficult and asbestos waste disposal or treatment is complex. The project aims to create a dedicated structure to provide both theoretical and practical training to specialised intervention teams, developing intervention techniques for either the neutralisation of the asbestos or the reduction of its harmful effects.


Project Title: Regional Agency for an Integrated Waste Management

Beneficiary: Region of Vlore

LIFE contribution: €270,062 (68% of eligible costs)

The main objectives of the project are to improve management and planning capacity of local administrations dealing with waste management systems; to increase public awareness; to raise financial resources and to set up a regional agency on waste management planning. The project will provide training courses for local staff, a public awareness campaign, establish a monitoring system for waste production, carry out pilot projects on waste recycling and waste separation, elaborate the planning of a waste dumping site and set up a regional agency (to be located in Vlore).

Project Title: Capacity building on conservation of Albanian Wetland Ecosystems (ALWET)

Beneficiary: Environmental Centre for Administration and Technology (ICT)

LIFE contribution: €286,351 (70 % of eligible costs)

The overall objective of the project is to build capacity, transfer know-how and establish the basis for the maintenance of national wetland archives as a prerequisite for wetland conservation in Albania.

The specific projects will assess the situation, determine national needs, establish a basic infrastructure, build the capacity of relevant bodies, disseminate information and raise public awareness.


Project Title: New PET (polyethylene terephthalate) collecting and recycling scheme in Croatia

Beneficiary: Centre of Technology Transfer

LIFE contribution: €479,541 (70% of eligible costs)

This project aims to enhance the collection and recycling of the packaging plastic, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in Croatia, and to build up the general recycling infrastructure that is currently missing in the country.

The specific objectives are:

  • To improve the present collection scheme, introduce new collection systems and connect Croatian PET collectors and recyclers to the European market.

  • To assist the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Physical Planning in implementing and enforcing its new rule book on packaging waste.


Project Title: Development of best management system for high priority waste streams in Cyprus.

Beneficiary: Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment

LIFE contribution: €420,000 (70% of eligible costs)

The project aims to elaborate sustainable and viable management systems for three priority waste streams; end-of-life vehicles, construction and demolition waste, as well as electrical and electronic equipment waste. The overall target is to establish a clear and up to date view of the existing situation and programmes for the most appropriate management of these waste streams.

The project has been considered as a high priority issue in Cyprus.

Project Title: Capacity building to enable the incorporation of urban sustainability parameters in spatial urban development and planning policy practices through the use of indicators in Cyprus (URBANGUARD)

Beneficiary: Department of Town Planning and Housing (Cyprus Ministry of the Interior)

LIFE contribution: € 270,062 (68% of eligible costs)

The main objectives of the project are to:

  • Define local Urban Spatial Development policies and Goals.

  • Coordinate the various competent Government departments to promote a mutually agreed integrated indicator scheme.

  • Select appropriate local urban sustainability indicators applicable in the cities of Cyprus.

  • Establish monitoring and reporting tools and capabilities for sustainability indicators.

  • Carry out pilot projects in selected areas.

  • Document methods and procedures for on-going implementation of the system.

The project will identify suitable indicators for urban sustainability for small cities; obtain agreement on a common set of indicators between competent authorities; establish the geo-reference scale suitable for each indicator; evaluate available tools within the EU for monitoring and reporting and establish compatible monitoring and reporting practices from the various government departments. The ultimate goals will be to produce an integrated indicator information system, design the monitoring and reporting system structure, incorporate baseline land-use data in the system and carry out pilot projects to evaluate indicators and environmental reporting in a selected area in Nicosia.

Project Title: Guidelines to the Cyprus competent authorities for policy formulation for sustainable management of pig farming wastes in compliance with EU practice

Beneficiary: Agricultural Research Institute

LIFE contribution: €36,706 (70% of eligible costs)

The project aims to support the Cypriot competent authorities in designing and implementing a pig waste management and disposal policy in accordance with EU directives, in view of the accession process of Cyprus to the EU.

The main actions of the project are to:

  • Assess the current situation of pig farm operations and waste management.

  • Review and report relevant EU directives and other regulations.

  • Analyse the present practices in Cyprus.

  • Review of best available technologies as carried out elsewhere under similar climatic conditions.

  • Design and operate pilot schemes with most promising waste management techniques.

  • Evaluate economic issues and disseminate the results and experiences to the authorities and farmers.

International (Algeria Morocco-Tunisia)

Project Title: Reinforce the capacity of management of North African Wetlands.

Beneficiary: Ramsar Bureau/MedWet Coordination Unit

LIFE contribution: €638,135 (64.40% of eligible costs)

The general objective is to assist and consolidate the implementation of policies for the management of wetlands in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Reinforce the capacity building of participating countries at a national level, in order to implement policies for the conservation and wise use of their wetlands, while taking into consideration the ecological functions of the site and promoting a trans-regional co-operation about the use of specific tools and methodologies.

  • Reinforce the capacity building at the local level by strengthening the potential socio-economic assets of the site in order to improve the economy of the local communities while taking into consideration the wise use of the natural resources


Project Title: Sakhin Centre as a model for environmental education and international co-operation on advanced wastewater treatment in rural areas.

Beneficiary: Towns Association for Environmental Quality, Agan Beit Natufa LIFE contribution: €433,048 (65.10% of eligible costs)

The Sakhnin Regional Demonstration Centre was the first of its kind in the Arab community of Israel and has several ongoing activities including environmental planning, education and wastewater treatment. The project will support the renewal of the infrastructure in the Waste Water Treatment plant that provides water to about 70% of the local households and to much of the local agriculture. The centre will strengthen its local education activities through the involvement of high school students, teachers and researchers who will undertake studies and research within the Waste Water Treatment Plant. International co-operation with the Turkish Technical University of Istanbul will also take place in order to compare local water issues in different countries and identify similarities and differences.

The main activities will be:

  • Renewal of the Waste Water Plant;

  • Education activities such as visiting students and teachers who will produce small studies and reports;

  • Implement technical and scientific research related to waste water treatment;

  • Annual technical workshops;

  • International co-operation with Istanbul University through visiting professors and two Turkish students who will reside in Sakhnin;

  • Dissemination activities on the Sakhnin Centre and its activities.


Project Title: Stable institutional structure for protected areas management.

Beneficiary: Ministry of Environment

LIFE contribution: €299,686 (67.77% of eligible costs)

The project aims to identify and put in place a stable institutional structure, including management systems, procedures, and funding for protected areas within the Ministry of Environment in Lebanon. The Ministry identified the project to find ways to ensure sustainability to the recently established Protected Areas Unit. The project was identified through a large consultative process at country level and every effort will be made to continue this consultation amongst stakeholders.

The main actions will be:

  • A strategic review of best practice in protected areas management and development, including policy options, legal, administrative and financial implications;

  • Preparation of a Protected Areas Action Plan, including monitoring and evaluation procedures and indicators;

  • A pilot implementation of key elements of the Protected Areas Action Plan, to fine tune and adjust it to local conditions through an adaptive management system;


Project Title: Setting-up the first coastal nature reserve in Malta.

Beneficiary: Nature Trust

LIFE contribution: €211,630 (70 %)

The project aims to set-up the first coastal nature reserve on the Maltese island of Gozo. The targeted area is known as Dwejra, renowned for its unique ecology, geomorphology, palaeontology and archaeology.

More specifically the project will:

  • Develop conservation and management plans for the site, including a framework for environmental management between all key stakeholders.

  • Complete a cycle of restoration of natural and cultural areas.

  • Strengthen the current administrative and enforcement capacity through technical know-how, training and financial support.

  • Prepare an eco-tourism and environmental education site within the boundary of the new reserve.


Project Title: Scientific information system in the region of Sahel/Doukkala (SADIN)

Beneficiary: Faculté des Sciences - Université Chouaïb Doukkali (FSUCD)

LIFE contribution: €412,882 (70% of eligible costs)

SADIN will enable the evaluation and potential of aquifers and proposals for new groundwater well sites in the Sahel-Doukkala region (Morocco); evaluate the degree of pollution caused by the extraction of groundwater (notably with respect to subterranean infiltration by salt water from the sea); implement an information system for data acquisition, sample collection and multidisciplinary analysis and, finally, collect know-how about managing the environment in an arid, yet increasingly densely populated region of Morocco.


Project Title: Building environmental capacity in municipal enterprises through EMAS implementation.

Beneficiary: ECAT Kaliningrad

LIFE contribution: €424,973 (69.9% of eligible costs)

This project aims to introduce EMAS as a tool for development of environmental policies and action programmes in municipal enterprises. This will be done through the implementation of EMAS in some units of the large water and heat supply companies in Kaliningrad.

The main actions of the project include:

  • Creation of strategic partnership among municipal enterprises in order to promote EMAS implementation and transfer of expertise and knowledge.

  • Implementation of EMAS regulations in Kaliningrad water and heat supply companies.

  • Establish environmental service units in the participating enterprises.

  • Training and demonstration activities for the management and staff of the participating companies and local authorities.

  • Preparation of guidance and good practice examples to be used in other countries.

Project Title: NARVA Underground Water Management Plan

Beneficiary: Department of State Control and Long-Term Development of Nature Protection and Use in North West Russia

LIFE contribution: €503,710 (62% of eligible costs)

This complex project aims to support the sustainable management of the underground water resources on the Russian-Estonian border near the city of Narva.

Specifically the project will:

  • Help to clarify the various administrative responsibilities for the management and protection of underground water resources in the target region with specific emphasis on building the capacity of the Russian administration through training and provision of new technology.

  • Develop an inventory and assessment of past and current pollution sources that threaten water resource quality.

  • Prepare a programme of rehabilitation measures to further protect the quality of the underground water resources.

  • Develop awareness in the general public, business and other administrations of the need for rehabilitation measures of the water resources in the Narva region.


Project Title: Implementation of a Tunisian Ecolabel

Beneficiary: Centre International des Technologies de l'Environnement de Tunis (CITET)

LIFE contribution: €403,032 (70% of eligible costs)

The objective of the project is to develop a Tunisian Ecolabel related to the sectors of textiles, tourism and agriculture. The textile eco-labelling will focus on the environmental problems of pollution (pesticides, colorants, chemicals) and water consumption. The tourism sector will focus on water and energy savings as well as waste recycling. The agriculture sector will focus on the production of quality products for export.


Project Title: Exploitation of agricultural Residues in Turkey

Beneficiary: University of Cukurova, Faculty Of Agriculture

LIFE contribution: €383,787 (70% of eligible costs)

The project aims to strengthen Turkey's capacity to exploit in a sustainable way the potential of agricultural waste residues producing sound environmental, economic and social benefits. The project will identify and propose the best administrative, legislative and institutional mechanisms to deal with agricultural residues in a sustainable way. Support to investors interested in developing activities in this field is also foreseen.

The actions will include:

  • Mapping the distribution in space and time of agricultural residues in the country, including types, quantity, current use, trends etc.;

  • Reviewing available technologies, mainly within the EU, to identify possible solutions for the local environment;

  • Identifying possible legislative, administrative and institutional barriers to the exploitation of agricultural waste;

  • Preparation of an Action Plan for the Ministry of Environment to present practical ways to implement the solutions proposed;

  • Organise training for the personnel involved in the field.

Project Title: Approximation of SEVESO-II Directive in Turkey

Beneficiary: Ministry of Environment and Forest, General Directorate for Environmental Management

LIFE contribution: €276,269 (70% of eligible costs)

The MEDA-report (financed 2002) “Environmental Legislation for Turkey” identified substantial variances between EU and Turkish legislation. It was strongly recommended that a new Turkish regulation be prepared which implements all the requirements of the Seveso Directive. The overall objective of this LIFE project is to complete the transposition of the Seveso Directive. The project will encompass data collection and a review of current practices, development of a strategy, preparation of a preliminary programme for implementation, preparation of a draft Seveso regulation, preparation of the main guidelines and establishment of an appropriate information system.

(1)Eligible countries/territories under LIFE-Third Countries are: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Marocco, Syira, Tunisia, Turkey, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Baltic shoreline of Russia (Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg regions).

(2)47% of the fund is available for each of the LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Environment programs and 6% for the LIFE-Third Countries program

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