The LIFE programme introduced action grants for capacity-building projects for the 2014-2017 funding period. These are projects designed to build Member States' capacity to participate more effectively in the LIFE Programme. Specifically, these projects propose interventions to develop the capacity to submit successful applications for funding for projects under the sub-programmes for Environment and Climate Action. Member States that meet the criteria may each receive funding of up to one million euros for one capacity-building project. Only national level public bodies responsible for implementation of LIFE in an eligible Member State in the European Union may apply for capacity-building projects.
The main objective of the PT CAPACITY BUILDING project was to improve the overall Portuguese capacity for participation in the LIFE Programme, by increasing the number and quality of proposals that are presented each year. The project team expected to overcome the weaknesses they have identified as major obstacles to a better use of the LIFE Programme nationally.
To attain this goal, the project seeked to achieve a set of complimentary targets:
- Strengthening the capacity of public entities involved in the LIFE Programme, by reinforcing technical teams and created a greater regional presence;
- Better communication and networking - regional information sessions, specific web pages, project videos, LIFE magazine, and annual technical meetings (e.g. LIFE week and LIFE weekend with European and national projects);
- Facilitating access to other co-financing sources, in particular private sources, to foster participation of a wider range of potential beneficiaries;
- Supporting tools, such as a project ideas database, to raise awareness and encourage involvement of cofinancers.
- Promoting and establishing a better interaction between potential beneficiaries and national administrations directly related to the LIFE Programme;
- Enhancing the capacity of applicants to design and submit better proposals through learning-by-doing sessions, open desks, response to on-line queries and other types of support; and
- Increasing the dissemination/recognition of the LIFE Programme and projects supported by LIFE through additional communication/dissemination events.
The LIFE PT CAPACITY BUILDING project improved the overall Portuguese capacity for participation in the LIFE programme, by identifying major obstacles to a better use of the programme nationally and taking action to overcome these. The key results achieved were as follows:
- The Portuguese LIFE National Contact Point (NCP) team was reinforced, with more people who are better trained. The NCP is now better prepared to play its role;
- Two technicians recruited by the project were integrated as permanent staff;
- Five different levels of support were made available to potential applicants: national/regional sessions, training workshops, structuring ideas sessions, an open desk and specialised e-support;
- More than 40 events were organised, attended by over 1 100 participants. These events allowed regular communication to be established and the promotion of synergies and networking between beneficiaries (from Portugal and other countries), potential applicants, other funds and, to a much lesser extent, co-financiers;
- The events were held in nine different locations all over the country, including in the two autonomous regions, some for the first time, which allowed a wider geographical promotion of the LIFE programme. New locations are foreseen in the future;
- Greater diversity was seen in the entities that intend to, or have already, submitted LIFE proposals;
- Contacts were established with the Environmental Fund, which now has specific support dedicated to LIFE projects on nature conservation and biodiversity;
- The project website played an active role in regularly disseminating information about the LIFE programme, LIFE events, LIFE calls, etc;
- Based on experience gained during the project and feedback received from events participants, promising plans were developed for sustaining the project results. Activities that proved to be most relevant during the project will continue in the future; and
- A total of 12 LIFE proposals were approved during the project, compared to a goal of 8 and the baseline of 4.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).