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Call: Operating grants Framework partnerships

Acronym LIFE
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"LIFE - Programme for the Environment and Climate Action"

The general objective of the LIFE Programme shall be to contribute to the shift towards a sustainable, circular, energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral and - resilient economy, in order to protect, restore and improve the quality of the environment, including the air, water and soil, and to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and to tackle the degradation of ecosystems, including by supporting the implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network, thereby contributing to sustainable development. The LIFE Programme shall also support the implementation of general action programmes adopted in accordance with Article 192(3) TFEU.

Specific objectives of the LIFE Programme are:

  1. to develop, demonstrate and promote innovative techniques, methods and approaches for reaching the objectives of Union legislation and policy on the environment, including nature and biodiversity, and on climate action, including the transition to renewable energy and increased energy efficiency, and to contribute to the knowledge base and to the application of best practice, in particular in relation to nature and biodiversity, including through the support of the Natura 2000 network;
  2. to support the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of relevant Union legislation and policy on the environment, including nature and biodiversity, and on climate action and the transition to renewable energy or increased energy efficiency, including by improving governance at all levels, in particular by enhancing the capacities of public and private actors and the involvement of civil society;
  3. to act as a catalyst for the large-scale deployment of successful technical and policy-related solutions for implementing relevant Union legislation and policy on the environment, including nature and biodiversity, and on climate action and the transition to renewable energy or increased energy efficiency, by replicating results, by integrating related objectives into other policies and into public and private sector practices, by mobilising investment and by improving access to finance.

The LIFE Programme is structured as follows:

  1. the field ' Environment', which includes:
  • the subprogramme ' Nature and Biodiversity';
  • the subprogramme ' Circular Economy and Quality of Life';
  1. the field ' Climate Action', which includes:
  • the subprogramme ' Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation';
  • the subprogramme ' Clean Energy Transition'.
Link Link to Programme
Operating grants Framework partnerships
Description of call
"Operating grants Framework partnerships"

Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) under the LIFE Programme are long-term cooperation instruments that serve as umbrella for regular or recurrent grants to non-profit making entities which are involved in the development, implementation and enforcement of EU legislation and policy and which are primarily active in the field of environment or climate action, including clean energy transition, in line with the objectives of the LIFE Programme. They are a prerequisite for being able to sign annual Specific Operating Grant Agreements (SGAs), but do not create any legitimate expectations or entitlement to get them.

Framework Partnership Agreements that will be concluded following the 2021 Call for Proposals for LIFE Framework Partnership Agreements for Operating Grant will cover the following three financial years of beneficiary organisations (i.e. FY 2022, FY 2023 and FY 2024).

Specific Operating Grant Agreements (SGAs) will be awarded on an annual basis following an invitation to submit a proposal addressed to the framework partners. SGA OG can only be signed if an FPA has been signed, and before the end date of that FPA.

In 2021, due to time constrains, the calls for LIFE Framework Partnership Agreements and the call for LIFE Specific Operating Grant Agreements addressed to framework partners are launched in parallel. Applicants must first complete the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) application, and then use the FPA application reference number in their Specific Operating Grant Agreement application form.


The LIFE Framework Partnership Agreements with non-profit making entities aim to strengthen the participation of civil society in the EU policy dialogue, as well as to support implementation and enforcement of Union environmental and climate objectives by the beneficiaries. The present call for proposals targets framework partnerships aimed at achieving the objectives of the Environment, Nature, Climate and Clean Energy Transition LIFE sub-programmes.


The Framework Partnership Agreements will set out the framework conditions governing grants to partners carrying out activities, on the basis of a 3-year outline action plan and agreed general objectives. This first-level agreement does not however constitute an obligation for the Commission to conclude a Specific Grant Agreement for an annual operating grant.

Operating grants provide general financial support to the successful organisations. They do not support a specific project (like action grants), but the annual operating budget (or part of it) of the organisation. Operating grants follow the same rules for the grant agreements as action grants, but do not differentiate between direct and indirect costs. Operating grants are always mono-beneficiary grants supporting the annual activities of an organisation. Receiving an operating grant may have an impact on the possibility to receive the indirect costs flat-rate in an EU action grant (see EU Grants AGA — Annotated Grant Agreement, art 6.2.E).

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Administration & Governance
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Eligible applicants NGO / NPO
Applicant details

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be non-governmental organisations which are:
    • non-profit making entities
    • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
      • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
      • non-EU countries:
        • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the LIFE Programme (participating countries) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature
    • independent, in particular from government, other public authorities, political parties and commercial interests
    • primarily active in the areas of environment or climate action (including clean energy transition) and have an environmental/climate objective which is aimed at:
      • the public good and/or
      • sustainable development and/or
      • the development, implementation and enforcement of EU environmental and/or climate policy and legislation
      • active at EU level with a structure and activities covering at least three EU Member States
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

In order to be considered for a LIFE operating grant, applicants must submit BOTH proposals by 28 September 2021:

  • One proposal under the LIFE-2021-NGO-OG-FPA (Framework partnership agreement)
  • One proposal under the LIFE-2021-NGO-OG-SGA (Specific grant agreement)

Applicants will have to demonstrate both a structure and activities covering at least three European Union Member States. To this end, partnerships, networks and memberships are considered if they are formally established as legal entities.

Partnerships, networks and memberships must be represented by a management board or any other administrative forum that is mandated by its members to represent them at EU level and is responsible for the activities of the network. So-called "loose co-operations" or temporary partnerships are not eligible under this call.

Memberships comprise exclusively legal entities, i.e. not natural persons. All members must be listed in the application. Nevertheless, members are not eligible for funding. Only the applicant non-profit entity, if selected, will become the single beneficiary of the grant and can claim costs. Entities affiliated to the applicant are not eligible to receive funding under this Call for proposals.

Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:

  • Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
  • Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
  • Part C (to be filled in directly online) containing additional project data
  • mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
    • Statutes of the non-profit entity
    • Applicant’s activity report of previous year – if the applicant is a newly created entity that has less than one year of existence, it is acceptable that the activity report covers less than 12 months
    • Participant information (mandatory template available in the Submission System)
    • A list of the members of the executive board or administration (names and title/function within the applicant organisation)

Page limit - Part B: 90 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details

The total budget is EUR 37,110,000.00, i.e. EUR 12,370,000.00 per year.

Depending on the number and quality of proposals, we expect to sign between 30 and 40 framework partnerships.

The amount of the grant will be defined by applying a maximum co-financing rate of 70% to the eligible costs. The maximum operating grant amount per financial year will be EUR 700,000.00.

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Contact Details

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