ELLA European Living Lakes Association


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 related biodiversity.



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

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.

Project Measures

  • Founding of a legally constituted European Living Lakes Association (ELLA)
  • Capacity building and knowledge transfer for stakeholders involved in management of lake regions and their catchments
  • Europe-wide capacity building events (six European workshops and one international conference)
  • Motivating and supporting the private sector (businesses and companies) in lake regions to integrate biodiversity into corporate management and decision-making processes.
 Bodensee © Udo Gattenlöhner GNF
 Mindelsee © Udo Gattenlöhner GNF

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 ...




Global Nature Fund (GNF)

International Foundation for Environment and Nature

Dr Thomas Schaefer

Fritz-Reichle-Ring 4

78315 Radolfzell, Germany

Tel.: +49 7732 9995 84

Fax: +49 7732 9995 88

Email: schaefer@globalnature.org

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


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


Project duration:


Project countries:


Project partners:





Main sponsor:

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