Indicator Assessment

Financing biodiversity management

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-163-en
  Also known as: SEBI 025
Published 21 May 2010 Last modified 11 May 2021
5 min read
This page was archived on 09 Feb 2021 with reason: Other (Discontinued indicator)

This indicator currently has a limited scope and only contains information from EU funding of projects using the LIFE financial instrument for the environment. The amount of the EU contribution per LIFE project varies significantly among Member States. Newer Member States tend to spend less money through the LIFE Nature programme (with a small number of notable exceptions). Further detail is required (e.g. on project size) in order to interpret these figures. The LIFE Nature project represents a very small proportion of the total EU budget.
European funding benefiting biodiversity may also be 'hidden' in budget lines within other policy areas, such as agriculture, rural development and research. Finally, the indicator currently does not show national funding for biodiversity.

This indicator is no longer updated.

Percentage of total EU expenditure on the Life project from 1995 to 2006

Note: How to read the graph: In 2006, EU expenditure on the Life project represented 0.066 % of the total EU budget.

Data source:

Life Nature expenditure. DG Environment of the European Commission, 2008.

Average contribution of LIFE Nature to projects in EU countries, 2000–2006

Note: How to read the graph: the EU Life contribution averaged approximately EUR 1.5 million per year for 18 Austrian projects during the period 2000-2006.

Data source:


The figures are shown for 1995 onwards because that year marked the establishment of the EU-15 and the start of implementing the Habitats Directive. It should be noted that the amounts indicated in Figure 2 represent the EU contribution (from the LIFE Programme) to the projects, not the total cost of the projects in question. LIFE tends to cover 50 - 75 % of total costs, depending on the target species and/or habitats.

Since 2000, LIFE has enjoyed a more stable budget (although there was no call in 2001) and the amount of money allocated for nature has increased under LIFE+. Private or national government spending is not covered by the indicator. Although expenditure on LIFE declined as a proportion of total EU spending between 2000 and 2006 (in part because accessions expanded the total EU budget), this has now levelled out and is set to increase.


Supporting information

Indicator definition

The indicator is a compilation of the value for the specific types of expenditure for biodiversity from the EU budget. Once this value has been obtained, it can then be expressed as a ratio in terms of the overall EU budget, in addition to its expression in absolute terms, which would be calculated in reference to an initial value for the euro to be determined as the baseline expenditure for biodiversity.

Income foregone as a result of any of the above circumstances is also a value that has to be included in the calculation as far as this is compensated from the EU budget.

The EU processes at present do not provide readily/publicly available data which breaks down their expenditure -- so it is, for instance, not possible to find out what proportion of the agri-environment budget has been spent on biodiversity. However, this data can be made available in future, at which point a baseline year can be chosen and accommodation made for the expansion of the EU and associated changes in budget streams.


percentage of total EU expenditure for Life Nature project
average contribution of Life Nature to projects (in euro)


Policy context and targets

Context description

The purpose of the indicator for financing biodiversity management is to obtain a value that embraces both what has been done in favour of biodiversity as well as what that has not been done, the latter in order to avoid damage to biodiversity. Considering what has not been done refers, inter alia, to the legislation that specifically prohibits action, and that subsequently may entail income foregone for a party thus constrained. To simplify, these two categories of action are addressed separately.

Actions to maintain and enhance biodiversity

The expenditure that is normally considered as beneficial for biodiversity should:

1. add to the territory that is reserved for nature conservation;

2. manage the territory that has been set aside for nature conservation;

3. promote conservation measures to maintain and restore nature generally, including research;

4. protect the diurnal or seasonal migration pathways for species;

5. regulate land use, when the corresponding impacts are positive for the state of biodiversity.

Actions to protect and restore biodiversity

The expenditure that is associated with avoiding (continued) harm to biodiversity should:

1. compensate for past or future disruption to the state of natural habitats;

2. reintroduce species in a habitat where their numbers have declined below a satisfactory level for maintaining a viable population or community;

3. forbid certain uses of biodiversity (notably species capture - in all manners - or harvesting);

4. monitor species population levels and area of natural habitat;

5. regulate land use, when the corresponding impacts would have been negative for the state of biodiversity; these include cross-compliance measures applied to agricultural (and forestry) practices.

Income foregone as a result of any of the above circumstances is also a value that has to be included in the calculation, as far as this is compensated from the EU budget.

Within the EU budget, the appropriate budget lines are:

Title 05 -- agriculture
05 04 01 07 -- agri-environment (former system)
05 04 01 08 -- agri-environment (new system)

Title 07 -- environment
07 03 03 01 -- LIFE III (nature protection)
07 03 03 02 -- Natura 2000 preparatory action

Relation of the indicator to the focal area

Biodiversity funding at the EU level is an indication of the relative and absolute degree of resource transfer from the public sector for the benefit of maintaining or enhancing the state of biodiversity, or to avoid damage and disruption to ecological conditions.


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified



Methodology for indicator calculation

The indicator contains information from EU funding of projects using the LIFE financial instrument for the environment.

Methodology for gap filling


Methodology references

No methodology references available.



Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty


  • The indicator presents only EU budget financed activities. National contributions (which are for example in the Netherlands up to 85 % of the total expenditure) are not included. The picture is thus far from complete.
  • The construction of the indicator from elements in the EU budget runs up against the lack of direct relationship between a budget line and the particular aspect of the indicator being investigated. Each of the EU budget lines retained, for instance, may cover several of the aspects of the indicator; conversely, some aspects may be covered in a budget line that is not easily identified for its relevance for biodiversity financing.


No other indicator was available at this stage.

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Response
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • SEBI 025
Frequency of updates
Updates are scheduled every 5 years
EEA Contact Info


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage