On Wednesday, 30 November 2016, Kaspars Gerhards, Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development, awarded five top projects and beneficiaries of the LIFE programme in Latvia.
K. Gerhards outlined in his solemn speech that "Our duty is to preserve clean and safe environment also for the generations to come. To achieve this, it is important for us to be organised; furthermore, it requires constant environmental investments. LIFE projects have always given important benefit — these projects have promoted improvements of life quality for residents of Latvia both in the field of waste management, nature conservation, and climate change mitigation".
The project on the Green Certificate was recognised as the most significant project nationwide. This certificate is still being awarded to rural tourism farms for compliance with the principles of green management, conserving resources, and creating an environment- and local community-friendly tourism offer. The project was implemented by the Latvian Country Tourism Association "Lauku ceļotājs" in 2000.
Prize for the most active applicant was awarded to the submitter of the highest number of LIFE projects supported by the European Commission — foundation "Latvian Fund for Nature". The foundation has implemented seven projects in 15 years.
Prize for financially the most voluminous project was awarded to the project on innovative approaches to monitoring of marine biological diversity and assessment of conservation status of nature values in the Baltic Sea. This was the project, which was implemented by the society "Baltic Environmental Forum" by attracting the European Union’s funding in the amount of 5.8 million euro.
Prize for territorially the broadest project was awarded to the foundation "Latvian Fund for Nature" for the implementation of the project "Restoring floodplains for preservation of species and habitats of the EU priority". The project implementation included 16 various locations.
Prize for the most innovative project was awarded to the Nature Conservation Agency for the projects "Ecosystem Services", Hydroplan, and "Ķemeri Wetlands".
The main objective of the LIFE programme is promotion of the implementation, development, and updating of the environmental and climate policy of the European Union (EU) by co-funding the projects that comply with the objectives of the LIFE programme and by creating a value added. Financial aid of this instrument has been used for implementation of 48 projects in Latvia, attracting the LIFE programme funding in the amount, which exceeds 32 million euro.
Event pictures are available here.