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Best LIFE Environment Projects 2009

Selecting the 'Best of the Best' (BoB) LIFE Environment Projects has become almost a habit, as it is already the sixth year that these awards have taken place. The aim is to put the focus on those projects that are just that little bit better than the rest and can act as an example to others of what a successful, innovative, well-designed and well-executed project should look like. The same procedure as usual has been applied. Following an initial review carried out by its external monitoring team, the Commission selected the 23 most outstanding LIFE Environment Projects. The Member States then reviewed these projects, using criteria focusing on real environmental benefit, long-term sustainability, transferability and innovativeness. This selection process resulted in a "top five", consisting of projects from diverse sectors, including: wastewater treatment, biogas production, cold storage technology, steel manufacturing, and the introduction of environmentally-friendly technologies in watershed management plans. Together with "trainee" Chloe Besnard, I took up the co-ordination of this selection process, but most of the work has been
done by my participating colleagues from 22 other Member States. Besides their work as National Focal Points they are willing to take up these evaluations and I would like to thank them all. I'm very happy to see that more and more National Focal Points are participating and maintaining their engagement, making the work easier and more valuable. I hope they will stay convinced -as I am -that by reading the actual results of those excellent projects, they can pass on this knowledge to new
applicants, resulting into what LIFE+ is today: a very well managed programme, converting its funding as efficiently as possible into meaningful projects. To shine a spotlight on all 23 Best Projects, the European Commission's LIFE Unit organised a well-attended award presentation session during Green Week in Brussels on 02 June 2010. I would also like to thank the project beneficiaries and their partners for their excellent work in favour of the environment. The higher profile that the Best Projects receive through these awards ensures that more people know about the LIFE+ programme and the projects it sponsors. I hope that these awards continue into the future and continue to grow in stature and range in the coming years.