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NATO AND THE ENVIRONMENT

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NATO has appointed officers to implement environmental protection, on strategic, operational and tactical level. In 2004, ACO has appointed environmental manager at the Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers of Europe. This officer is responsible for providing environmental advice and expertise to commanders and headquarters officers involved in NATO’s military activities, and counseling for policy development. In order to train personnel in this area, NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany, provides training for environmental protection at the operational level, while the Military Engineering Centre of Excellence includes environmental protection in their courses at the tactical level.
Based on the broad definition of security that recognizes the importance of political, economic, social and environmental factors, NATO is considering the security challenges arising from the environment. This includes extreme weather conditions, impoverishment of natural resources, pollution and others factors that can lead to disaster, regional tensions and violence.
Alliance seeks how best to respond to environmental threats to security in general, and also to those that directly affect military activities. For example, environmental factors can affect the energy supply of the population and military operations, that energy security is a major topic of concern. Thus NATO helps partner countries to clear dangerous stocks of weapons, ammunition and explosive remainders of wars posing a risk to humans and the environment.3
Since 1969, NATO Science and Security Programme supports activities dealing with environmental issues, including those related to the defense of NATO countries. In some certain workshops issues related to safety and the environment are worked out. For example, in April 2010 a NATO workshop in Moscow for environmental safety and ecoterrorism was organized, and the Cairo workshop on food safety and security against terrorist threats and natural disasters.
First international response to environmental security is in 2004, when NATO with five other international agencies formed the Environment and Security Initiative  ENVSEC).
The initiative included UNEP, OSCE, UNECE I REC (Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe).
Increased participation of the military as a “first response to natural disasters” is expected with the increase of the impact of the climate changes. This was underlined by the NATO Secretary General on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. In order to resolve environmental issues and sustainability related to military activities, in October 2009 Expert Group on Defense and Environment was formed.



3 http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_49216.htm accesses 15.11.2012



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