Climate Funding Opportunities in Europe

by Sofia Shabafrouz and Julia Weibel, GIZ/EUKI

The EUKI is one of many funding instruments for climate action in Europe. Here we give you an overview of other financing opportunities for your next climate action project.

Published: 30 May 2023
Teamwork, ©Freepik

LIFE Programme

The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for climate action and the environment. It provides finance and annual operating grants to support European non-profit entities. To be eligible for funding, NGOs must have members in at least three EU Member States that contribute to EU environmental and climate policies or serve as catalysts between citizens and the EU institutions. A total of EUR 5.4 billion in funding is available for the period from 2021-2027. Calls are published regularly on the European Commission’s website, with the next call, for the 2025-2027 funding period, set to be issued in 2024. Watch a short introduction video here.

Horizon Europe

As the EU’s key funding tool for research and innovation, Horizon Europe is the successor programme to Horizon 2020. It targets climate change as well as other global challenges. In one of its clusters, Horizon Europe focusses on climate, energy and mobilisation. It invites legal entities from the EU to contribute to Europe’s industrial competitiveness in the fields of climate change adaptation and societal transformation. Calls for project proposals are listed by topic and deadline. Horizon EU has a budget of EUR 95.5 billion for the period from 2021 to 2027, with 35 per cent of this budget earmarked for climate action. Watch Horizon Europe introduce itself here:


Interreg is one of the main instruments of the EU for supporting “European Territorial Cooperation” through project funding. Its EUR 10.1 billion budget comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is invested in cross-border, transnational and interregional programmes in fields such as health, environment, education, transport and sustainable energy. A wide range of organisations are eligible to apply, including associations and authorities from local up to federal-state level; micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; education and training centres; research institutions; public services, and non-governmental and non-profit organisations. Current calls for projects are displayed on the main website as well as on the regional secretariat websites of Interreg. Interreg explained in one minute:


Similar to EUKI, but with a focus on environmental protection, the EURopean ENvironment Initiative (EURENI) was initiated by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) and is implemented by the federal company Zukunft-Umwelt-Gesellschaft (ZUG). With a total annual funding programme of up to EUR 2.6 million, the initiative supports non-governmental organisations, universities and research institutes, along with non-profit entities based in EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states, to foster closer cooperation across European borders. This is achieved through dialogue, knowledge-sharing and mutual learning, factors that play an important role in the successful implementation of environmental policies.

ICLEI Action Fund

Originally founded as the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI) in 1990, ICLEI now operates under the name ‘Local Governments for Sustainability’. With the support of, ICLEI Europe runs the granting scheme ICLEI Action Fund to foster data-driven environment and climate action at grassroots level. Since 2020, the programme has financed 13 data-driven projects delivered by non-profit organisations and academic institutions in four European countries, with a budget of EUR 9.5 million. ICLEI Europe also hosts two annual awards: the Transformative Action Award (presented for outstanding transformations in communities facilitated by a city, region or civil-society organisation) and the Procura+ Award (recognising sustainable, circular and innovative public procurement processes). Find the ICLEI Action Fund in motion picture here:

International Climate Initiative (IKI)

While EUKI supports intra-European cooperation on climate action, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) funds climate and biodiversity projects in approximately 150 partner countries worldwide to the tune of EUR 5 billion in total. Like EUKI, IKI is an important part of the German Government’s international climate finance commitment. A small percentage of IKI funding (around eight per cent) goes to European countries that are on the DAC List of ODA-recipients. Regional, national and local organisations based in ODA countries can apply for small grants of between EUR 60,000 and EUR 200,000 for local or regional climate and biodiversity projects. The current call is open until 15 March 2023. Learn more about IKI here:

DEAR – Development, Education and Awareness Raising

The EU programme Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR) supports the development of an inclusive European society that is sensitised for the interconnectedness of local and global challenges. With budgets ranging from EUR 3 – 10 million, it finances projects of civil society organisations (CSO) and local authorities from EU member and candidate states that raise a global understanding and promotesustainable development as well as climate projects on a local level in a minimum of four countries. Every few years it opens new calls for proposals which are listed here. Learn more about the programme in their explainer video:

Visegrad Fund

The International Visegrad Fund was established in 2000 by the governments of the four Visegrad countries Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to support the regional cooperation of civil society organisations. With an annual budget of EUR 10 million, it gives out four different grants three times a year. The Visegrad Grants cover seven different objectives, one of them focussing on regional development, sustainable infrastructure, tourism and climate change mitigation. Each project must be implemented by organisations from at least three of the four Visegrad countries and run a maximum of 18 months.

EUCF – European City Facility

The aim of the European City Facility (EUCF) is to establish sustainable energy investment projects across municipalities all over Europe. It supports local authorities, municipalities and local public entities in European Member States as well as Iceland and Ukraine to invest in activities according to their climate and/or energy action plans. Applicants therefore are required to have ready a form of “Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan” in addition to a letter of support signed by a political representative. Each project receives a fixed budget of EUR 60.000 meant for conducting studies and analyses for the development of such investment concepts. The 5th call is open until 30 June 2023.

Do you know other programmes that finance climate action in Europe? We are looking forward to your suggestions via