ELLA European Living Lakes Association

European Living Lakes Association (ELLA) 

Asociación Europea de Lagos Vivos (AELV)/Association européenne des lacs vivants (AELV)

Constituting a European Living Lakes Association (ELLA) empowering Civil Society Organizations to enhance and support the protection and sustainable use of aquatic ecosystems and their biodiversity.


Click to access the => ELLA Website


Background EU ELLA

Water ecosystems in Europe are immensely threatened. Climate change, (plastic) pollution, water abstraction, and land use change require joint actions and holistic approaches. As adopted in the EU Green Deal, the member states of the EU are committed to restore damaged ecosystems and improve their ecological status. To this objective, we need a strong collaboration between experts, companies, environmentalists and other interest groups.


European member organizations of the international Living Lakes network, founded by the GNF in 1998, already work together to protect and restore European water bodies. Yet, the overarching collaboration to implement technologies and measures in European lake region is still in its infancies. In particular because Europe lacks an institutionalized alliance that advances protection of wetlands on the political or civil society level jointly, quickly and effectively.


THE EU LIFE project ELLA catches up on this shortcoming. With the project, the GNF and its European partners formalize the European Living Lakes Network by creating a registered membership association. The European Living Lakes Association (ELLA) targets all stakeholders in lake regions, from local and regional authorities, businesses to civil society organizations and scientific institutions.

Project Goals EU ELLA

ELLA, the European-centered association on the protection of lakes and wetlands, actively promotes, advances and advocates nature conservation, landscape management, climate change mitigation and coastal and flood protection at the European level. In this context, rural development, sustainable agriculture and the protection of biodiversity are of central importance, addressing different legislation aspects.


The partners in this project hold series of climate and biodiversity related events and actions. We bring together experts, scientists, decision makers, as well as national and regional government representatives through workshops, seminars and conference in order to establish an intensive dialogue and knowledge transfer.

Hintergrund und Historie

  • The Living Lakes Network was founded in 1998 as an informal network of lake organizations. Living Lakes is not a legal entity. The network is supported by the Global Nature Fund (GNF).

  • The EU project ELLA (reference number LIFE20 NGO4GD/DE/000028) is a project funded by the EU Commission (LIFE 2020 Call for Proposals from NGOs on the European Green Deal (LIFE 2020 NGO4GD)). The duration of this project is from November 1, 2021 to October 31, 2023. The project includes three different work packages with different tasks. One of the activities is the "Establishment of a legally constituted European Living Lakes Association (ELLA) of NGOs".

  • The legal entity "ELLA - European Living Lakes Association" (Organization ID: E10331428) is a newly established legal entity.

  • ELLA Association was founded in a constituent meeting of the General Assembly on May 4, 2022.

  • ELLA e.V. was registered/accredited as an association under German (and European, as there is no EU regulation on registering associations) law at the Freiburg Local Court (Registergericht, Holzmarkt 2, 79098 Freiburg, Germany) on December 7, 2022.

  • ELLA e.V. was formally granted non-profit status on December 27, 2022.

 Bodensee © Udo Gattenlöhner GNF
 Mindelsee © Udo Gattenlöhner GNF
 Bodensee (Photo: Udo Gattenlöhner)
 Bodensee (Photo: Udo Gattenlöhner)
 Cardinal Butterfly (Photo: Udo Gattenlöhner)

Project Measures EU ELLA

  • Founding of a legally constituted European Living Lakes Association (ELLA);
  • Capacity building for stakeholders involved in management of lake regions;
  • Europe-wide capacity building events, i.e. workshops and international conferences;
  • Motivating and supporting the private sector in lake regions to integrate biodiversity into corporate management.
 Burnt-Tip Orchid (Photo: Udo Gattenlöhner)

Partner Organisations

Deutsche Umwelthilfe e. V. (DUH)

Further information ...

Fundacion Global Nature Spain

Further information ...

Peipsi CTC Estonia

Further information ...

Lake Constance Foundation

Further information ...

LBDCA Balaton, Hungary

Further information ...

 Wild Bee (Photo: Udo Gattenlöhner)
 Bodensee (Photo: Udo Gattenlöhner)

Considering a Memberhip? Need more information on events and activities of ELLA?



ELLA e.V. - European Living Lakes Association
c/o Global Nature Fund (GNF) - International Foundation for Environment and Nature 

Contact: Dr. Thomas Schaefer

Fritz-Reichle-Ring 4

78315 Radolfzell, Germany

Tel.: +49 7732 9995 84

Fax: +49 7732 9995 88

E-Mail: ella@globalnature.org; schaefer@globalnature.org 

Website: www.globalnature.org/ella; www.globalnature.org/Netzwerk-Deutschland



Project duration:


Project countries:


Project partners:





Main supporter:

November 2021 - October 2023


Germany, Estonia, Spain, Hungary


Global Nature Fund

Lake Constance Foundation

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation

Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency LBDCA




ELLA´s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):