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Brussels, 19 October 2006

LIFE-Third Countries 2006: Commission grants €6.5 million to 16 environment projects in neighbouring countries

The European Commission has approved funding for 16 new environment projects in the Mediterranean and Baltic regions, under the LIFE-Third Countries programme 2006. These projects will be implemented in Albania, Algeria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey, including two international projects. They represent a total investment of nearly €10 million - of which over 60% comes from the EU. The projects aim to improve the environment in these countries and support sustainable development by creating or strengthening institutions, policies, monitoring tools, training facilities, networks, and databases. They address major environmental issues, from waste management and air pollution prevention and control, to river basin management and sustainable tourism, as well as promoting harmonisation with EU environmental regulations.

The LIFE programme

LIFE-Third Countries is a component of the LIFE programme. LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU, as well as in some candidate, acceding, and neighbouring countries. Its objective is to contribute to the development and implementation of EU environmental policy by financing specific actions. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 2,750 projects, contributing approximately €1.35 billion to the protection of the environment.

LIFE-Third Countries specifically contributes to establishing capacity and administrative structures, and assisting in the development of environmental policies and action programmes in Third Countries bordering on the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas. The two other components of LIFE, LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Environment, focus respectively on nature conservation, and innovation in environmental protection measures. For projects approved under LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Environment, see press releases IP/06/1428 and IP/06/1430.


The current LIFE III programme finishes at the end of 2006. Thereafter a new programme, "LIFE+”, will run from 2007-2013 with a budget of approximately €2.1 billion. The LIFE+ proposal is currently undergoing its second reading in the European Parliament.

More Information

See the annex for a summary of the 16 new LIFE-Third countries projects.

More detailed information on each project is available at: and


Overview of LIFE-Third Countries Projects by country


Capacity Building for Sustainable Tourism Development

Beneficiary: Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tirana, Albania

LIFE contribution: €504,545

The project aims at incorporating sustainability into tourism development in Albania, mainly through building capacity to meet sustainable development goals. It will facilitate the transfer of know-how in Sustainable Tourism Development, develop, test, and implement environmental management instruments, support the establishment of a new administrative structure dealing with Sustainable Tourism Development issues, and build and disseminate best practices.


Italian-Egyptian Capacity Building in the Integrated Water Supply and Sanitation

Beneficiary: Holding Company for Water and Wastewater

LIFE contribution: €559,900

The project's objective is to contribute to the efficient use and protection from pollution of water resources in Egypt. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of participating Egyptian utilities to manage water resources in a sustainable way and provide high quality services; foster cooperation between key water stakeholders; and support the Egyptian Government in planning the extension of sanitation to rural areas.

Flash floods in Egypt: protection and management

Beneficiary: Water Resources Research Institute - Egypt

LIFE contribution: € 540,000

The project's overall objective is to achieve sustainable management of water resources in the Sinai Peninsula. The project will set up an innovative system for rainfall forecasting and early warning for flash floods in the pilot area of Wadi Watier (South Sinai). The project will develop a master plan for flash flood management and an emergency response plan with the local authorities in the pilot area.


Protecting trans-boundary groundwater sources from pollution: research, training and guidelines for Israeli and Palestinian municipalities

Beneficiary: EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East

LIFE contribution: €279,342

The overall objective is the reduction of groundwater pollution in Israeli and Palestinian municipalities. The project aims to research sources of groundwater pollution from anthropogenic activity; establish guidelines for monitoring, managing, and reducing sources of groundwater pollution in Israeli and Palestinian municipalities; strengthen technical know-how and build a network of Israeli and Palestinian water practitioners at the municipal level; and create commitment within Israeli and Palestinian municipalities to improve environmental performance in their jurisdictions.


Protection of Biodiversity of the Sava River Basin Floodplains

Beneficiary: IUCN – The World Conservation Union

LIFE contribution: € 601,210

The project aims to support Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in protecting and managing the unique landscape and biodiversity along the Sava River, and will design a coherent trans-boundary ecological network. The project will be implemented in line with the EU Water Framework, Birds, and Habitats Directives.

Development of Strategies for Sustainable Tourism Investments in the Mediterranean Nations

Beneficiary: Priority Actions Programme / Regional Activity Centre, a component of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), which forms part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

LIFE contribution: €419,923

The project aims at establishing a continuous planning and management process for sustainable tourism development in coastal areas of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It will introduce decision making tools for an effective management of tourism destinations in three demonstration areas, produce guidelines, strengthen the capacity of tourism investors, and raise awareness and disseminate sustainable tourism practices.


Development of Domestic Solid Waste management Schemes for Small Urban Communities in Morocco

Beneficiary: University of Chouaib Doukkali, Faculty of Sciences, El Jadidia - Morocco

LIFE contribution: €435,750

The project's objective is to develop and establish an integrated system for the national authorities to manage municipal solid waste in a more sustainable way across urban communities in Morocco.

The project will be based on a strategic planning approach incorporating the development of a Geographical Information System for the improved planning and decision making of waste management systems and facilities. It will include a pilot demonstration system in a specific urban area in Morocco and training and dissemination activities.

Wastewater Treatment and reuse for irrigation: demonstration, management and administrative capacity building for sustainable water use and environmental protection

Beneficiary: University Hassan I, Settat - Morocco

LIFE contribution: € 338,151

The project aims to demonstrate the use of best available technologies for wastewater treatment, pollution reduction, water reuse in irrigation, and build administrative capacity for the management of the entire water cycle, in particular in the Settat province. The results will be used to support environmental legislation, improve environmental management, and promote strategies for sustainable development of agriculture and water resources management.


Integrated Geological Information in City Management to Prevent Environmental Risks

Beneficiary: Committee for Nature Use, Environmental Protection, and Ecological Safety - City of St. Petersburg

LIFE contribution: €327,100

The project aims to protect the environment in the Baltic Sea Region through strengthening the capacity of St. Petersburg authorities at all levels, in the use of geological information for decision making in city planning. It will reduce environmental risks through improved decisions in locating industrial facilities, underground oil and gas reservoirs and other infrastructures; reduce the risks of ground water pollution, through the use of a groundwater flow model in decision making; improve the city’s planning system and facilitate access to geological information for NGOs, the private sector, and the public.

Kaliningrad Air Pollution induced by Traffic: modelling system design, installation, and validation

Beneficiary: Municipal Institution Environmental Centre “ECAT-Kaliningrad”

LIFE contribution: €283,950

The project's objective is to build an operational modelling tool to be used by ECAT-Kaliningrad to study the mechanisms of air pollution induced by traffic in Kaliningrad. The project will help reduce air pollution induced by traffic in the “hot spots” of the City of Kaliningrad, through the application of optimal emission reduction strategies. It will also support the effective control and monitoring of the transport sector’s impact on the environment.


Building Sustainable Municipal Waste Management Plan in Syria

Beneficiary: Syrian Environment Protection Society

LIFE contribution: €246,552

The main objective is to develop a strategy for sustainable solid waste management in Syria. The project aims to assess the solid waste management legislative requirements and recommend institutional strengthening; conduct training in solid waste management of ministerial, regional and local government, NGOs, educational target groups, and civil society; and disseminate the project’s outputs to a number of stakeholders; and recommendations for infrastructure needs.


Network for Water Quality Monitoring

Beneficiary: National Environment Protection Agency (ANPE)

LIFE contribution: € 448,620

The objective of the project is to reinforce the capacity of the National Environment Protection Agency to monitor and control water pollution. It will upgrade monitoring equipment, produce a manual of procedures and implement training and dissemination activities. The project also aims to promote coordination between stakeholders in charge of water monitoring.


Sustainable Management of Istanbul Local E-waste

Beneficiary: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

LIFE contribution: €495,092

The project's objective is to implement a sustainable management system for electronic and electrical equipment waste (WEEE) in Istanbul, in line with the corresponding EU Directive. The project aims to promote the separate collection and handling of used electrical equipment, prevent and reduce the amount of waste produced by the various ΕΕΕ, and contribute to the treatment and the neutralization of hazardous and toxic waste found in WΕΕΕ.

Development of a GIS-based Decision Support System for Urban Air Quality Management in the City of Istanbul

Beneficiary: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

LIFE contribution: €160,295

The project aims to strengthen the capacity of Istanbul municipal staff in monitoring air quality and to implement new air quality management policies. The project will develop an advanced GIS-based decision-support system, including a detailed assessment and mapping of the ambient air quality in Istanbul, a comprehensive emission inventory and mapping of air pollution sources, and an air quality model.

Preservation of thermal water resources and sustainable exploitation for therapeutic tourism

Beneficiary: Municipality of Karahayit

LIFE contribution: € 240,000

The project objective is to preserve the thermal water resources of the area of Karahayit & Pamukalle. The project aims to develop and start implementing fully documented plans to regulate the usage of thermal waters and ensure the sustainability of thermal water resources, and to introduce thermal health facilities and develop therapeutic tourism.

Improvement of Industrial Hazardous Waste management in Turkey

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

LIFE contribution: €579,570

The project's objective is to improve the management of industrial hazardous waste in Turkey and tackle the significant increase in hazardous waste generation and related environmental risks. The project will elaborate a medium term overall concept for hazardous waste management with a particular emphasis on the development of an inventory of hazardous waste. The project will also support capacity building in the identification, management, and monitoring of hazardous waste and define detailed treatment procedures.

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