International environmental protection event kicks off in Finland

Press release 2017-02-03 at 12:33

Finland has been exceptionally successful in securing funding for two extensive environmental protection projects by applying for the new type of financing provided through the EU’s LIFE fund. Between 7 and 9 February, Finland will host an international LIFE event, attended by nearly 100 participants from all over Europe.

In the current financing period (2014–2020), LIFE, which is the traditional financial instrument intended for the EU’s environmental protection projects, was supplemented with a more extensive form of financing for the first time. The new scheme is called LIFE Integrated Projects. The purpose of the integrated projects is to implement comprehensive EU-wide goals regarding resource efficiency (sustainable use of natural resources and energy), climate, waste management, biodiversity and the management of water bodies.

Finland did exceptionally well in the first two application rounds (2014–2015) compared to other EU countries. Among all EU Member States, Finland has obtained the largest amount of LIFE IP funding – nearly 18%. The FRESHABIT LIFE IP project, which aims to improve the diversity of inland water systems, began in 2016 and will run until the autumn of 2022. The project is run by Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland. This year will see the initiation of CIRCWASTE-FINLAND LIFE IP, which is a project coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute and aimed at realising the goals of the national waste plan and the circular economy.

The LIFE event, which will be held in Helsinki, Lohja and at select locations near the Karjaanjoki river, will be attended by representatives of all successfully funded LIFE IP projects across Europe. The idea is to exchange experiences regarding the new form of financing and the practical implementation of projects, and discuss matters with representatives of the European Commission’s LIFE funding department.

Wide-ranging cooperation can lead to comprehensive results

The LIFE financing scheme has been used to fund Finnish environmental projects in the amount of over €200 million since 1995. In addition to EU financing, the LIFE projects have received funds from numerous research bodies, companies, municipalities, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, and the state.

“Applying international experiences to the maintenance of our inland water bodies is an integral part of implementing the LIFE IP projects. For example, we all operate under the same nature and water framework directives, which focus on the maintenance of biodiversity and water systems, but their implementation varies between countries,” explains Pauliina Louhi, Project Manager of the FRESHABIT LIFE IP project at Metsähallitus.

The LIFE IP funding provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen and streamline the cooperation between the EU and our national environmental financiers.

“Many financiers have made independent efforts to promote circular economy in Finland, for example. Through successful cooperation between a variety of funding bodies, CIRCWASTE LIFE IP has created a comprehensive national circular economy project, which takes the related operations throughout the country to an entirely new level. The project has already garnered a great deal of attention in other EU countries,” says Pekka Harju-Autti, who is in charge of LIFE cooperation at the Ministry of the Environment.

The LIFE IP event in February will be organised by the Ministry of the Environment and the FRESHABIT LIFE IP project coordinated by Metsähallitus.

Media representatives are welcome to participate in the event at Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja on Wednesday or the hike in the Karjaanjoki area on Thursday. To enrol in the events or if you have any enquiries, please contact Project Manager Pauliina Louhi at Metsähallitus (contact information below).

Photos for the media on the FRESHABIT project:

Enquiries:

Ministry of the Environment, Ministerial Adviser Pekka Harju-Autti, tel. +358 (0)29 525 0339, firstname.lastname@ym.fi (LIFE IP event and LIFE financial instrument)

Metsähallitus, Project Manager Pauliina Louhi, tel. +358 (0)40 632 5253, firstname.lastname@metsa.fi (LIFE IP event and FRESHABITproject). Project website: http://www.metsa.fi/freshabit

Finnish Environment Institute, Head of Unit Tuuli Myllymaa, tel. +358 (0)29 5251 437, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi (CIRCWASTE project)

The Association for Water and Environment of Western Uusimaa, Project Manager Juha-Pekka Vähä, tel. +358 45 7750 7727, firstname.lastname@luvy.fi, (FRESHABIT LIFE IP by the Karjaanjoki river area)

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