The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are co-operating to develop as part of ESA’s Living Planet Programme, the third Earth Explorer Core Mission, EarthCARE, with the fundamental objective of improving the understanding of the processes involving clouds, aerosols and radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere. EarthCARE payload consists of two active and two passive instruments: an ATmospheric LIDar (ATLID), a Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR), a Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI) and a Broad-Band Radiometer (BBR). The four instruments data are processed individually and in a synergetic manner to produce a large range of products, which include vertical profiles of aerosols, liquid water and ice, observations of cloud distribution and vertical motion within clouds, and will allow the retrieval of profiles of atmospheric radiative heating and cooling. Operating in the UV range at 355 nm, ATLID provides atmospheric echoes with a vertical resolution up to 100 m from ground to an altitude of 40 km. Thanks to a high spectral resolution filtering, the lidar is able to separate the relative contribution of aerosol (Mie) and molecular (Rayleigh) scattering, which gives access to aerosol optical depth. Co-polarised and cross-polarised components of the Mie scattering contribution are also separated and measured on dedicated channels. This paper gives an overview of the mission science objective, the satellite configuration with its four instruments and details more specifically the implementation and development status of the Atmospheric Lidar. Manufacturing status and first equipment qualification test results, in particular for what concerns the laser transmitter development are presented.