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REPORT     
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14 January 1999
PE 227.710/fin. A4-0005/99
on the environment, security and foreign policy
Draftsman: Mr Olsson, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection
(Hughes procedure)
Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy
Rapporteur: Mrs Maj Britt Theorin
At the sitting of 13 July 1995, the President of Parliament announced that he had referred the motion for a resolution tabled pursuant to Rule 45 of the Rules of Procedure by Mrs Rehn Rouva on the potential use of military-related resources for environmental strategies, (B4-0551/95), to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy as the committee responsible and to the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection for its opinion.
 A MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
 B EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 Annex 1
 OPINION

 At the sitting of 13 July 1995, the President of Parliament announced that he had referred the motion for a resolution tabled pursuant to Rule 45 of the Rules of Procedure by Mrs Rehn Rouva on the potential use of military-related resources for environmental strategies, (B4-0551/95), to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy as the committee responsible and to the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection for its opinion.

At the request of the Conference of Committee Chairmen, the President, at the sitting of 15 November 1996, announced that the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy had been authorised to submit a report on the matter.

At its meeting of 19 November 1996 the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy appointed Mrs Maj Britt Theorin rapporteur.

At the sitting of 19 June 1998 the President of Parliament announced that this report would be drawn up, pursuant to the Hughes Procedure, by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection.

The draft report was considered by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy at its meetings of 5 February, 29 June, 21 July, 3, 23 and 28 September, 13, 27 and 29 October 1998 and 4 and 5 January 1999, and by the Subcommittee on Security and Disarmament at its meetings of 5 February and 3 and 23 September 1998.

At the last meeting the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy adopted the motion for a resolution by 28 votes to none with one abstention.

The following took part in the vote: Spencer, chairman; Theorin, rapporteur; Aelvoet, AndréLéonard, Barón-Crespo, Bertens, Bianco, Burenstam Linder, Carnero González, Carrozzo (for Colajanni), Dillen, Dupuis, Gahrton, Goerens (for Cars), Graziani, Günther (for Gomolka), Lalumière, Lambrias, Pack (for Habsburg), Pettinari (for Imbeni pursuant to Rule 138(2), Piha, Rinsche, Sakellariou, Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Schroedter (for M. Cohn-Bendit), Schwaiger (for Mme Lenz), Speciale, Swoboda (for Mme Hoff), Tindemans, Titley and Truscott.

The opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection is attached.

The report was tabled on 14 January 1999.

The deadline for tabling amendments will be indicated in the draft agenda for the relevant partsession.


 A MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION

Resolution on the environment, security and foreign policy

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the motion for a resolution tabled by Mrs Rehn Rouva on the potential use of military-related resources for environmental strategies (B4-0551/95).

- having regard to the UN study 'Charting potential uses of resources allocated to military activities for civilian endeavours to protect the environment', UN (A46/364, 17 September 1991),

- having regard to its resolution of 17 July 1995 on anti-personnel landmines; a murderous impediment to development (A4-0149/95),

- having regard to its previous resolutions on non-proliferation and the testing of nuclear weapons and the Canberra Commission report of August 1996 on the abolition of nuclear weapons,

- having regard to the International Court's unanimous ruling on the obligation of the nuclear weapon states to negotiate for a ban on nuclear weapons (Advisory Opinion No. 96/22 of 8 July 1996),

- having regard to its resolution of 19 April 1996 on the proposal for a Council Decision establishing a Community action programme in the field of civil protection (A4-0100/96),

- having regard to its past resolutions on chemical weapons,

- having regard to the outcome of the UN Conferences in Kyoto in 1997 and Rio de Janeiro in 1992,

- having regard to the hearing on HAARP and Non-lethal Weapons held by the Foreign Affairs Subcommitee on Security and Disarmament in Brussels on 5 February 1998,

- having regard to Rule 148,

- having regard to the report of Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection (A4-0005/99),

A. whereas the end of the Cold War has radically changed the security situation in the world and that the relaxation of military tension has resulted in comprehensive disarmament in the military field in general and in nuclear weapons in particular, releasing substantial military resources,

B. whereas, despite this complete transformation of the geostrategic situation since the end of the Cold War, the risk of catastrophic damage to the integrity and sustainability of the global environment, notably its bio-diversity, has not significantly diminished, whether from the accidental or unauthorised firing of nuclear weapons or the authorised use of nuclear weapons based on a perceived but unfounded threat of impending attack,

C. whereas this risk could be very considerably reduced within a very short timeframe by the rapid implementation by all nuclear weapons states of the six steps contained in the Canberra Commission"s report concerning, in particular the removal of all nuclear weapons from the present "hair trigger alert” readiness and the progressive transfer of all weapons into strategic reserve,

D. whereas Article VI of the 1968 Treaty on the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) commits all of its parties to undertake "to pursue negotiations in good faith on a treaty on general and complete disarmament” and the Principles and Objectives adopted at the 1995 NPT Conference reaffirmed that the Treaty"s ultimate goal was the complete elimination of nuclear weapons,

E. whereas threats to the environment, the flow of refugees, ethnic tension, terrorism and international crime are new and serious threats to security and that the ability to deal with various forms of conflict is increasing in importance as the security scene changes; whereas as some of the threats to security are non-military it is important that resources allocated to military activities are also used for non-military purposes,

F. whereas the world's resources are being exploited as if they were inexhaustible, which has led to increasingly frequent natural and environmental disasters; whereas such local and regional ecological problems may have considerable impact on international relations; regretting that this has not been more clearly reflected in national foreign, security and defence policies,

G. whereas conflicts throughout the world are predominantly at an intra-state rather than interstate level and, where inter-state conflicts do arise, they are increasingly concerned with access to or the availability of basic vital resources, especially water, food and fuel,

H. whereas the access to and availability of such vital natural resources are inherently connected to environmental degradation and pollution, by both cause and effect, whereas it follows logically therefore that conflict prevention must increasingly focus on these issues,

I. whereas the pressure on land, both fertile and habitable, historically a major cause of tension and conflict, is increasingly caused by environmental degradation, notably climate change and the consequent rise in sea levels,

J. whereas all those factors, which affect the poorest and most vulnerable populations of the world most of all, are constantly increasing the incidence of so-called 'environmental refugees', resulting both in direct pressure on EU immigration and justice policies, on development assistance and spending on humanitarian aid and, indirectly, in increased security problems for the EU in the form of regional instability in other parts of the world,

K. whereas, according to detailed international research collated and published by the Climate Institute in Washington, the number of 'environmental refugees' now exceeds the number of 'traditional refugees' (25 m compared with 22 m) and whereas this figure is expected to double by 2010 and could well rise by substantially more on a worst-case basis,

L. whereas the issue of 'environmental refugees' is merely a symptom of a humanitarian disaster on a much more massive scale in terms of the 1.3 billion people who live in absolute poverty according to the UN definition; whereas over one quarter of these people try to subsist in areas of the world that are extremely vulnerable environmentally and are the main contributors to global environmental problems such as deforestation and desertification,

M. whereas, since the end of the Cold War, although the management of global issues has been largely stripped of the previously dominant ideological context and is now much less determined by the question of military balance, this has yet to be reflected in the UN"s system of global governance by emphasising the coherence and effectiveness of both military and non-military components of security policy,

N. whereas, nonetheless, the emphasis of a growing proportion of the UN"s work on global political and security issues is essentially non-military, and notably related to the relationship between trade, aid, the environment and sustainable development,

O. whereas there is an urgent need to mobilise adequate resources to meet the environmental challenge and whereas very limited resources are available for environmental protection, for which reason a reappraisal of the use of existing resources is called for,

P. whereas as military resources have been released the armed forces have had a unique opportunity and ample capacity to support the civilian efforts to cope with the increasing environmental problems,

Q. whereas military-related resources are by their nature national assets while the environmental challenge is global; whereas ways must therefore be found for international cooperation in the transfer and use of military resources for environmental protection,

R. whereas the short-term costs of environmental protection have to be seen in the light of the long-term cost of doing nothing in this field, and whereas there is an increasing need for a cost benefit analysis of various environmental strategies which should cover possible transfers, reorientation and redeployment of military-related resources,

S. whereas the common goal of restoring the world's damaged ecosystems cannot be achieved in isolation from the question of the fair exploitation of global resources and whereas there is a need to facilitate international technical cooperation and encourage the transfer of appropriate military-related technology,

T. whereas, despite the existing conventions, military research is ongoing on environmental manipulation as a weapon, as demonstrated for example by the Alaska-based HAARP system,

U. whereas the experience of the development and use of nuclear power 'for peaceful purposes" serves as a salutory warning as to how military secrecy can prevent proper assessment and supervision of mixed civilian/military technologies if transparency is in any way compromised,

V. whereas the general disquiet over ecological decline and environmental crises requires the setting of priorities in the national decision-making process and that the individual countries must pool their efforts in response to environmental disasters,

1. Calls on the Commission to present to the Council and the Parliament a common strategy, as foreseen by the Amsterdam Treaty, which brings together the CFSP aspects of EU policy with its trade, aid, development and international environmental policies between 2000 and 2010 so as to tackle the following individual issues and the relationships between them:

(a) Agricultural and food production and environmental degradation;

(b) Water shortages and transfrontier water supply;

(c) Deforestation and restoring carbon sinks;

(d) Unemployment, underemployment and absolute poverty;(e) Sustainable development and climate change;

(f) Deforestation, desertification and population growth;

(g) The link between all of the above and global warming and the humanitarian and environmental impact of increasingly extreme weather events;

2. Notes that preventive environmental measures are an important instrument of security policy; calls, therefore, on the Member States to define environmental and health objectives as part of their long-term defence and security assessments, military research and action plans;

3. Recognises the important part played by the armed forces in a democratic society, their national defence role and the fact that peace-keeping and peace-making initiatives can make a substantial contribution to the prevention of environmental damage;

4. Considers that atmospheric and underground nuclear tests have as a result of nuclear radiation fall-out distributed large quantities of radioactive cesium 137, strontium 90 and other cancer inducing isotopes over the whole planet and have caused considerable environmental and health damage in the test areas;

5. Considers that several parts of the world are threatened by the uncontrolled, unsafe and unprofessional storage and dumping of nuclear submarines and surface-vessels, as well as their radioactive fuel and leaking nuclear reactors, considering the high possibility that as a result large regions might soon start to be polluted by the radiation;

6. Considers that still an appropriate solution has to be found to deal with the chemical and conventional weapons which have been dumped after both World Wars in many places in the seas around Europe as an 'easy" solution to get rid of these stocks and that up to today nobody knows what might be the ecological results in the long run, in particular for the fish and for beach-life;

7. Considers that the European Union will have to contribute to find a solution for the problem that, as result of ongoing warfare in whole regions of Africa, human and agricultural structures have been ruined and therefore the lands are now subject to environmental disaster in particular by deforestation and erosion leading to desertification;

8. Calls on the military to end all activities which contribute to damaging the environment and health and to undertake all steps necessary to clean up and decontaminate the polluted areas;

Use of military resources for environmental purposes

9. Considers that the resources available to reverse or stem damage to the environment are inadequate to meet the global challenge; recommends therefore that the Member States seek to utilize military-related resources for environmental protection by:

(a) introducing training for environmental defence troops with a view to establishing a coordinated European environmental protection brigade;

(b) listing their environmental needs and the military resources available for environmental purposes and using those resources in their national environmental planning;

(c) considering which of its military resources it can make available to the United Nations or the European Union on a temporary, long-term or stand-by basis as an instrument for international cooperation in environmental disasters or crises;

(d) drawing up plans for creating national and European protection teams using military personnel, equipment and facilities made available under the Partnership for Peace for use in environmental emergencies;

(e) incorporating objectives for environmental protection and sustainable development in its concepts of security;

(f) ensuring that its armed forces comply with specific environmental rules and that damage caused by them to the environment in the past is made good;

(g) including environmental considerations in its military research and development programmes;

10. Urges the governments of the Member States, since practical experience in the field is limited, to:

(a) establish centres for the exchange of information on current national experience in environmental applications for military resources;

(b) facilitating the global dissemination of environmental data including such data obtained by the use of military satellites and other information-gathering platforms;

11. Calls on the Member States to apply civil environmental legislation to all military activities and for the military defence sector to assume responsibility for, and pay for the investigation, clean-up and decontamination of areas damaged by past military activity, so that such areas can be returned to civil use, this is especially important for the extensive chemical and conventional munition dumps along the coastlines of the EU;

12. Calls on all Member States to formulate environmental and health objectives and action plans so as to enhance the measures taken by their armed forces to protect the environment and health;

13. Calls on the governments of the Member States progressively to improve the protection of the environment by the armed forces by means of training and technical development and by giving all regular and conscript personnel basic training in environmental matters;

14. Calls on the European Union to unite around a new environmental strategy using military resources for the joint protection of the environment;

15. Considers that environmental strategies should be able to include monitoring the world environment, assessing the data thus collected, coordinating scientific work and disseminating information, exploiting relevant data from national observation and monitoring systems to give a continuous and comprehensive picture of the state of the environment;

16. Notes that the drastic fall in military expenditure could result in substantial problems in certain regions and calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to convert military production facilities and technologies to produce civil goods, and for civil applications, using national programmes and Community initiatives such as the KONVER programme;

17. Stresses the importance of stepping up preventive environmental work with a view to combating environmental and natural disasters;

18. Calls on the Commission to conduct a detailed study of security-related threats to the environment in Europe and to draw up a Green Paper on military activities affecting the environment;

19. Calls on the Council to do more to ensure that the USA, Russia, India and China sign the 1997 Ottawa Treaty, banning anti-personnel mines, without delay;

20. Believes that the EU should do more to help the victims of landmines and to support the development of mine clearance techniques, and that the development of mine clearance methods should be accelerated;

21. Believes that the secrecy of military research must be resisted and the right to openness and democratic scrutiny of military research projects be encouraged;

22. Calls on the Member States to develop environmentally-sound technology for the destruction of weapons;

23. Notes that one of the potentially most serious threats that exist on the EU's doorstep lies in the inadequate monitoring of waste from nuclear arms processing and of biological and chemical weapons stores and in the need for decontamination following military activity; stresses that it is important that the Member States actively promote increased international cooperation, for instance within the UN and the Partnership for Peace, with the aim of destroying such weapons in as environment-friendly way as possible;

24. Takes the view that all further negotiations on the reduction and the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons must be based on the principles of mutual and balanced reductions commitments;

25. Takes the view that, given the particularly difficult circumstances afflicting the countries of the former Soviet Union, the threat to the global as well as local environment posed by the degradation of the condition of nuclear weapons and materials still held in those countries makes it an even more urgent priority to reach agreement on the further progressive elimination of nuclear weapons;

Legal aspects of military activities

26. Calls on the European Union to seek to have the new 'non-lethal' weapons technology and the development of new arms strategies also covered and regulated by international conventions;

27. Considers HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project) by virtue of its farreaching impact on the environment to be a global concern and calls for its legal, ecological and ethical implications to be examined by an international independent body before any further research and testing; regrets the repeated refusal of the United States Administration to send anyone in person to give evidence to the public hearing or any subsequent meeting held by its competent committee into the environmental and public risks connected with the high Frequency Active Auroral Research Project (HAARP) programme currently being funded in Alaska;

28. Requests the Scientific and Technological Options Assessment (STOA) Panel to agree to examine the scientific and technical evidence provided in all existing research findings on HAARP to assess the exact nature and degree of risk that HAARP poses both to the local and global environment and to public health generally;

29. Calls on the Commission, in collaboration with the governments of Sweden, Finland, Norway and the Russian Federation, to examine the environmental and public health implications of the HAARP programme for Arctic Europe and to report back to Parliament with its findings;

30. Calls in particular for an international convention for a global ban on all research and development, whether military or civilian, which seeks to apply knowledge of the chemical, electrical, sound vibration or other functioning of the human brain to the development of weapons which might enable any form of manipulation of human beings, including a ban on any actual or possible deployment of such systems;

31. Calls on the European Union and its Member States to work for the establishment of international treaties to protect the environment from unnecessary destruction in the event of war;

32. Calls on the European Union and its Member States to work towards the establishment of international standards for the environmental impact of peacetime military activities;

33. Calls on the Council to play an active part in the implementation of the proposals of the Canberra Commission and Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on nuclear disarmament;

34. Calls on the Council, and the British and French governments in particular, to take the lead within the framework of the NPT and the Conference on Disarmament with regard to the further negotiations towards full implementation of the commitments on nuclear weapons reductions and elimination as rapidly as possible to a level where, in the interim, the global stock of remaining weapons poses no threat to the integrity and sustainability of the global environment;

35. Calls on the Presidency of the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States to advocate the approach taken in this resolution in all further United Nations meetings held under the auspices of or in relation to the NPT and the Conference on Disarmament;

36. Calls on the Presidency of the Council and the Commission, in accordance with Article J.7 of the Treaty on European Union, to report to it on the Union"s position concerning the specific points contained in this Resolution within the context of forthcoming meetings of the United Nations, its agencies and bodies, notably the 1999 Preparatory Committee of the NPT, the Conference on Disarmament and all other relevant international fora;

37. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States of the European Union and to the United Nations.


 B EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

A defence against environmental threats

The security scenario has undergone considerable change in a relatively short period of time. It is less than 10 years since the Iron Curtain divided a nuclear Europe in half. Europe is now uniting as the European Union enlarges to include former Warsaw Pact countries. The Cold War has ended and a major war in Europe would now seem impossible. At the same time new threats are emerging. Massive displacement of refugees, ethnic conflicts, terrorism and international crime are just some examples of current threats to security. Another serious threat is posed by natural disasters and environmental problems caused by nature itself and the human race's methods of exploiting the earth's resources.

A number of environmental catastrophes have brought the human race new problems, the latest of these being the dam disaster in Spain. The landslides in Italy, the devastation wrought by El Niño and the Chernobyl nuclear accident are other contemporary examples of the devastating consequences of natural and environmental disasters. In certain parts of the world, drought can wipe out several years' harvests bringing starvation, and in many cases death, to much of the population. Mankind's defences against these disasters look very fragile at the present time.

Environmental and natural disasters have tragic consequences for individuals and may have catastrophic repercussions for societies and entire nations. The cost of this type of disaster is huge both in terms of the lives they claim and the cost of repairing the material damage. When such disasters occur, it is obvious that there have not been sufficient resources to detect and/prevent them. The efforts that are made are often far too late. Preventive work must therefore be strengthened. The investment required for this is enormous but the available resources are very limited. A new approach is required to exploit the available resources, while new resources are developed at the same time. It is obvious that a nation alone cannot protect itself against environmental disasters; environmental problems call for international cooperation. The threatening scenarios are global and international cooperation is fundamental.

Local and regional ecological problems can have considerable implications for international relations. Radioactive fallout, floods and drought are not held in check by national frontiers. Environmental refugees cross national boundaries to equally poor or even poorer nations. These new causes of instability and insecurity must be reflected in the content and form of how nations create and maintain peace and security. Since environmental and ecological problems constitute serious threats to peace and security, this fact must also be reflected in foreign, defence and security policy. There is a need to analyse how military resources can be used against this growing threat to security and to eliminate these new sources of instability and unrest. There is an urgent need to mobilise resources to meet the environmental challenge.

The change in the security situation has resulted in military détente, disarmament and confidencebuilding measures between the former enemies, the USA and Russia. This has led to intensive scaling down of military forces, units have been disbanded and military equipment has, therefore, become superfluous. Russia and the USA, above all, have radically reduced their armed forces though military expenditure has also fallen in Europe(1).

The freeing-up of military resources has given the armed forces a unique opportunity and plenty of capacity to deal with the increasing number of environmental problems. The armed forces have a highly efficient organisation and extensive technical resources which can be used for environment enhancement at no great cost by redeploying or rechannelling resources. The European Union can unite around a new environmental strategy in which military resources are used for joint protection of the environment. The European Union can play an important role in furthering a joint global assumption of responsibility for the environment and at the same time promote peace and confidencebuilding measures.

The Member States of the European Union have both the technical and economic wherewithal to take wide-ranging responsibility for the environment. They are also aware of the implications of ignoring the environmental challenge. The destruction of the environment affects the underlying conditions determining growth and economic development but despite that, military expenditure worldwide is three to five times greater than spending on the environment.(2)

The armed forces themselves caused enormous damage to the environment and should, therefore, also take considerably more responsibility for the environment.

Modern security threats

There is a growing international awareness of the extent of environmental problems. This is illustrated in particular by the UN follow-up conferences on water (Mar del Plata), desertification (Nairobi), the environment and development (Rio de Janeiro) and climate change (Kyoto). Environmental problems can lead to such serious difficulties that they endanger the security of both individuals and countries. Environmental problems may also have repercussions in terms of a country's international relations. Air and water know no national boundaries. Specific examples of potential or already-existing environmental threats are:

Limited water resources

As the world's population increases, so does demand for clean water. Fresh water is a very unevenly distributed natural resource, fewer than 10 countries possess 60% of the total fresh water resources on earth(3) and several countries in Europe are dependent on imports of water. In future conflicts, attacks on sources of fresh water may not only be an objective per se but may also be the cause of conflict. Conflicts over water rights may result in increased international tension and local and/or international conflicts. For example, disputes over the river Indus could trigger an armed conflict in the tense relations between India and Pakistan. There is a long list of potential conflicts over fresh water. An estimated 300 rivers, lakes and sources of ground water are located in international border areas.(4) In the Middle East, nine of 14 countries have a shortage of water resources and there is a great risk that the others will also be affected.(5) In 1995, a fifth of the earth's population had no access to clean water and it is estimated that the figure will rise to two thirds by the year 2025.(6)

Climate change

Through an increase in carbon dioxide(7) and other emissions, the average temperature on earth has risen by five degrees this century. The heat has also become more intense. Research has found that humidity has risen by 10% over the last 20 years. The increase in humidity can cause stronger and more frequent storms in certain regions at the same time as others are stricken by drought. Up to two decades of intensive research into global climate change may be needed before more detailed decisions can be taken as to which measures should be adopted.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international organisation comprising 2000 of the world's most eminent researchers, predicts that the earth's temperature will rise by 1.5 - 4.5 degrees and that sea level will have risen by 50 cm by the year 2100 if carbon dioxide emissions continue at present levels. It is estimated that up to 1/3 of the world's population and over 1/3 of its infrastructure are located in coastal areas. A rise in sea level would submerge large areas of land and several million people would be affected by famine owing to the loss of extensive areas of agriculture.

These and other environmental threats may give rise to an exodus of refugees. Environmental refugees are increasingly attracting international attention. An estimated 25 million people are refugees from drought, soil erosion, and other environmental problems, which may be compared with approximately 22 million 'traditional' refugees. Experts claim that environmental refugees may cause 'one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time'.(8)

They suffer from social, political and economic problems that may result in conflicts and violence. Environmental refugees must be given official recognition. There is a need for greater international cooperation to curtail these problems and more aid to the countries affected and their inhabitants.

Military impact on the environment in war and peace

Military activity is responsible for widespread environmental destruction in society. Military activities have a wide-ranging negative impact on the environment, in peace and in war, both intentionally and as an unintentional consequence. Destroying the environment has been an established method of waging war since ancient times. War is also far and away the most serious threat to the environment. A topical example is the devastating consequences of the Gulf War with hundreds of oil wells on fire and large quantities of toxic substances rising uncontrolled into the atmosphere. It will take a long time for the environment to recover. Some damage may be irreparable.

The military are developing ever more powerful weapons which inflict widespread and devastating damage on the environment. A modern war entails greater environmental destruction than any other environment-destructive activity. Below is a description of some weapons systems which also have seriously damaging effects on the environment in peace time.

Mines

Mines are enormously damaging to the environment. According to the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), landmines are one of the most widespread items of material war debris and may affect the ecological balance. Mine-laying destroys large areas, often agricultural, which are rendered unusable far into the future. Mines are the greatest obstacle to development in many of the poorest regions of the world. 80-110 million mines are deployed in 65 countries throughout the world. They can detonate several decades after being laid and the majority of those who fall victim to them are civilians, above all children. Mine clearance is a very dangerous, time-consuming and costly process. The development of new mine-clearance methods is progressing far too slowly and must be stepped up.

One positive achievement is that the 1997 Oslo Conference agreed that all antipersonnel mines should be banned without exception, that stocks of mines should be destroyed within four years and that countries affected by mines should be given more aid. A large number of countries signed the 1997 Ottawa Convention but several countries, including the USA, Russia, India and China have not done so. The European Union must work to persuade these countries to become parties to the agreement immediately. The EU should do more to assist the victims of mines and to support the development of mine-clearance techniques.

'Non-lethal' weapons(9)

So-called 'non-lethal' weapons are not a new type of weapon but have existed for many years in such forms as water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas. However, at the present time, more and more advanced weapon techniques have been developed which are labelled non-lethal despite the fact that they can cause extensive damage and even result in invalidity or death.

Both material and antipersonnel technologies have been developed. One example is acoustic weapons which are capable of confusing and disorientating and thereby neutralising an enemy by producing a low level of sound, known as infra-sound. Other examples are adhesive foam and blinding lasers. Chemicals which discolour water can affect both agriculture and the population. With the aid of electromagnetic beams it is possible to knock out the enemy's computer, navigation and communication systems. Non-lethal weapons can also be used against a country's infrastructure and authorities, bring the railway system to a standstill or cause chaos in a country's financial world. What these weapons have in common is that they are intended to delay, obstruct and overcome a potential enemy at 'strategic level'.(10)

The fact that these different types of weapon are all categorised as non-lethal is seriously misleading and deluding. The term 'non-lethal' is intended to portray these weapons as more humane than conventional weapons - but there are no humane weapons. The use of any type of weapon involves a risk of injury or death, which is of course the purpose of weapons. 'Non-lethal' weapons tend to be used at an early stage of a conflict and may actually serve as a catalyst for the conflict. The use of violence by soldiers and police may increase because the weapons appear to be less dangerous. The inherent risk is that these weapons reduce the threshold for the use of violence to settle conflicts.

The aim is to neutralise the enemy without sustained suffering and without fatalities. But how and against whom 'non-lethal' weapons are used is an important consideration in terms of the implications of these weapons. A weapon that can render a soldier harmless, may injure or even kill a child or an elderly person. The distance from which they are fired and in what quantity are other factors with a bearing on the effects of the weapon. By way of comparison, conventional weapons result in 'only' 25% mortality.(11)

Non-lethal weapons are used as an effective aid in modern warfare, either independently or in conjunction with conventional weapons. For example, the USA used radiofrequent weapons in the Gulf War to knock out Iraq's energy system(12), despite not knowing the antipersonnel effects of RF weapons. Non-lethal weapons should, therefore, not be regarded as separate from a lethal system but rather as a component thereof. The development of non-lethal weapons increases both their options. The result is therefore greater use of force rather than the opposite. 'Non-lethal' weapons do not result in non-lethal conflicts.

As a wider range of non-lethal weapons are developed, the military, police and politicians become more and more interested in testing how they work. Non-lethal weapons must not be used as an instrument of political interference and dominance of the northern over the southern countries.

There is no effective legislation governing non-lethal weapons. Only a small number of non-lethal weapons and techniques can be banned through the interpretation of various arms control regulations, e.g. adhesive foam (which was used in Somalia and Bosnia). Certain types of laser (which blind people) have also been restricted in the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Biological toxins (e.g. salmonella and other bacteria) are banned by the Biological Weapons Convention. Several of these weapons may have serious environmental implications. International law must therefore be strengthened to regulate the new weapons which are under constant development.

The International Red Cross Committee's Cyrus project could be used in the absence of other reliable international standards for non-lethal weapons. The Cyrus project has classified and established criteria for conventional weapons in relation to mortality, invalidity, necessary treatment, blood supply, etc. The European Union should pursue a policy to extend international conventions to cover new weapons technologies and the development of new arms strategies.

Chemical weapons

The United Nations' commitment to destroying chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has resulted in serious concern about the environmental impact of military activities and has strengthened the need to seek out ecologically sound methods of disarming weapons. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) entered into force in April 1997. Under the terms of Article 1, the states which have ratified the Convention undertake never and under no circumstances to develop, produce or export chemical weapons. They also undertake never to use chemical weapons and to destroy already existing chemical weapons. Under Article 3, states shall, no later than 30 days after the Convention enters into force, notify whether they possess chemical weapons and their location and submit a plan for destruction of those weapons. Destruction should begin with the oldest stocks. 165 states have signed the Convention and 110 have ratified it. 26 states have not signed the CWC, including some important countries in the Middle East.

The destruction of chemical weapons is a cause for serious concern over the environment - they include tens of thousands of tonnes of mustard gas, nerve gas and other chemical substances. Chemical weapons can be destroyed by incineration but very few countries have suitable facilities to do this. To disarm chemical weapons is expensive, three to ten times more expensive than to produce them. If Russia, which has very large stocks, is to be able to do so, it needs financial aid from other countries. In Kambarka, a town in Russia, there are 6000 tonnes of chemical weapons stored in wooden sheds 2 km from a densely populated area. Handling the considerable quantities of hazardous substances calls for a substantial input of resources and they will take a considerable number of years to destroy. There is a clear risk of accidents and of weapons falling into the wrong hands.

It has been confirmed that approximately 150 000 tonnes of bombs, artillery shells and mines filled with chemical weapons, chiefly mustard gas, phosgene, tabun and arsenic-based weapons were dumped in the Skaggerak at the end of the Second World War. The corresponding figure for the Baltic is 40 000 tonnes. Many of the containers have rusted through and the chemical weapons are in direct contact with the sea water. It has nevertheless been decided that they should remain on the seabed for the time being as the risk of extensive leakage during salvage is considered to be appreciably greater.

Nuclear weapons

The environmental impact of a nuclear war would be enormous. It is likely that the combined effects of radioactive fall-out over large areas, the depletion of the ozone layer through nitrogen oxides, from nuclear explosions and climate change caused by widespread and sustained fires would cause largescale environmental disasters over large areas of the globe.

Test explosions also have manifestly destructive effects on the environment. The total quantity of radioactive fall-out emitted into the atmosphere by atmospheric tests is estimated to be between 100 and 1000 times greater than that discharged by the Chernobyl disaster.(13) The 1963 partial test ban treaty between the USA, the USSR and the UK bans nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space and under water, i.e. in all environments except under ground.

France has carried out more than 180 nuclear test explosions at the Mururoa atoll in the Pacific Ocean since 1966 with significant impact on the environment.(14) Several kilos of hazardous plutonium have been recovered from the sediment at the bottom of the lagoons at the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls. Plutonium particles have also been spread across the land on three islands in the vicinity of Mururoa.(15) India and Pakistan have also recently carried out test explosions.(16) Their technical development is not considered to be sufficiently controlled, which means that these nuclear tests may have an impact on the environment far beyond the region itself. An independent international investigation into the environmental impact at the test locations and their surroundings should be carried out immediately.

Plutonium is the absolutely most hazardous substance known to man. Many countries possess large quantities of military plutonium and nuclear weapons can be produced relatively simply from 'civilian' plutonium. Facilities which at present have a civilian function can be converted within a short space of time to produce weapons. When plutonium is manufactured, a large quantity of highly radioactive liquid waste is produced. The handling of nuclear waste causes immense problems. The large-scale production of weapons of mass destruction which has taken place during recent decades has produced large quantities of waste. There is no known serviceable method of storing radioactive waste. It is usually stored in tanks, but large quantities have been discharged directly into the environment. This radioactive waste is extremely flammable and may explode if it is not ventilated or cooled. In 1957 an accident occurred at the Chelyabinsk-65 nuclear plant close by the town of Kystym in the Ural mountains, a radioactive tank exploded and radioactive waste dispersed over an area of 1000 square kilometres. 10 000 people had to be evacuated. At Lake Karachai near Chelyabinsk-65, it is still possible, merely by standing at the edge of the lake, to absorb so much radioactive radiation as to die on the spot.(17) In the Baltic states there are large areas which are polluted by previous Soviet military activities. In Estonia, Lake Sillanmä, also known as the 'atomic lake', contains radioactive military waste equivalent to thousands of atomic weapons. Sillanmä is 100 metres from the Baltic Sea. Any leak into the Baltic would have devastating repercussions for the environment in the entire Baltic Sea region.

At the end of the 1980s, Russia had more nuclear submarines than all other countries in the world together. The Kola Peninsula and Sevrodvinsk in Russia currently have the largest concentration of nuclear reactors in the world (240 units).(18) Large quantities of radioactive waste and nuclearpowered submarines have been stored at the shipyards on the Kola Peninsula. Russia and the Russian fleet are in an impossible position to deal with the scrapped reactors. They have no financial resources to pay for safe decommissioning. Low wages have resulted in highly qualified staff leaving the shipyards, which has led to a severe shortage of skills.

Even in central Moscow, 1200 sources of radioactive poisoning have been found, including in sandpits, air-raid shelters, private flats, garages and sports facilities.(19) The possibility of coming across nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons from military stores and substances from research institutions or industry in Russia must not be underestimated.

It is of serious concern that there is no adequate equipment to dispose of the waste in an environmentally safe manner. Both from an economic and an environmental point of view, any accident that may occur would have devastating repercussions. With every year that passes without sufficient measures being taken, the risk and scale of a serious accident increase.

A practical and realistic proposal for a method of phasing out the world's nuclear weapons does, in fact, exist. The proposal was presented in August 1996 by the independent group of experts making up the Canberra Commission.(20) In July 1996, the International Court at The Hague delivered a unanimous opinion to the effect that Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty commits nuclear states to initiate negotiations on nuclear disarmament. The Court also ruled that the threat or use of nuclear weapons was not consistent with international law. The European Union should actively work towards the implementation of the Canberra Commission's proposal and Article 6 of the NonProliferation Treaty.

HAARP - a weapons system which disrupts the climate

On 5 February 1998 Parliament's Subcommittee on Security and Disarmament held a hearing the subject of which included HAARP. NATO and the US had been invited to send representatives, but chose not to do so. The Committee regrets the failure of the USA to send a representative to answer questions, or to use the opportunity to comment on the material submitted.(21)

HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project) is run jointly by the US Air Force and Navy, in conjunction with the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Similar experiments are also being conducted in Norway, probably in the Antarctic, as well as in the former Soviet Union.(22) HAARP is a research project using a ground based apparatus, an array of antennae each powered by its own transmitter, to heat up portions of ionosphere with powerful radio beams.(23) The energy generated heats up parts of the ionosphere; this results in holes in the ionosphere and produces artificial 'lenses'.

HAARP can be used for many purposes. Enormous quantities of energy can be controlled by manipulating the electrical characteristics of the atmosphere. If used as a military weapon this can have a devastating impact on an enemy. HAARP can deliver millions of times more energy to a given area than any other conventional transmitter. The energy can also be aimed at a moving target which should constitute a potential anti-missile system.

The project would also allow better communications with submarines and manipulation of global weather patterns, but it is also possible to do the reverse, to disrupt communications. By manipulating the ionosphere one could block global communications while transmitting one's own. Another application is earth-penetrating, tomography, x-raying the earth several kilometres deep, to detect oil and gas fields, or underground military facilities. Over-the-horizon radar is another application, looking round the curvature of the earth for in-coming objects.

From the 1950s the USA conducted explosions of nuclear material in the Van Allen Belts(24) to investigate the effect of the electro-magnetic pulse generated by nuclear weapon explosions at these heights on radio communications and the operation of radar. This created new magnetic radiation belts which covered nearly the whole earth. The electrons travelled along magnetic lines of force and created an artificial Aurora Borealis above the North Pole. These military tests are liable to disrupt the Van Allen belt for a long period. The earth's magnetic field could be disrupted over large areas, which would obstruct radio communications. According to US scientists it could take hundreds of years for the Van Allen belt to return to normal. HAARP could result in changes in weather patterns. It could also influence whole ecosystems, especially in the sensitive Antarctic regions.

Another damaging consequence of HAARP is the occurrence of holes in the ionosphere caused by the powerful radio beams. The ionosphere protects us from incoming cosmic radiation. The hope is that the holes will fill again, but our experience of change in the ozone layer points in the other direction. This means substantial holes in the ionosphere that protects us.

With its far-reaching impact on the environment HAARP is a matter of global concern and we have to ask whether its advantages really outweigh the risks. The environmental impact and the ethical aspect must be closely examined before any further research and testing takes place. HAARP is a project of which the public is almost completely unaware, and this needs to be remedied.

HAARP has links with 50 years of intensive space research for military purposes, including the Star Wars project, to control the upper atmosphere and communications. This kind of research has to be regarded as a serious threat to the environment, with an incalculable impact on human life. Even now nobody knows what impact HAARP may have. We have to beat down the wall of secrecy around military research, and set up the right to openness and democratic scrutiny of military research projects, and parliamentary control.

A series of international treaties and conventions (the Convention on the prohibition of military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques, the Antarctic Treaty, the Treaty on principles governing the activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space including the moon and other celestial bodies, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) casts considerable doubt on HAARP on legal as well as humanitarian and political grounds. The Antarctic Treaty lays down that the Antarctic may be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.(25) This would mean that HAARP is a breach of international law. All the implications of the new weapons systems should be examined by independent international bodies. Further international agreements should be sought to protect the environment from unnecessary destruction in war.

Impact of military activities on the environment

Not only military weapons systems but, by and large, all military activities, including peace-time exercises, have some form of environmental impact. However, when environmental destruction has been discussed, the role of the military has not in general been touched upon, only the impact of civilian society on the environment has been criticised. There are at least two explanations for this.(26) Owing to its secrecy, military activity is more difficult to discuss and it is difficult to set the nation's top priority - its security and defence - against the environment. At the present time, however, when environmental and natural disasters constitute a serious threat to security, these arguments are more dubious. The armed forces endeavour to prepare themselves in peace time for operations in war in as realistic conditions as possible. They therefore carry out their exercises under warlike conditions, which involves subjecting the environment to great stress. This is illustrated, for instance, by the withdrawal of Soviet troops and the abandoned military bases in Eastern and Central Europe which have left deep scars on the local environment. Military exercises entail widespread damage to the landscape and animal life. Troop exercises subject large tracts of land to extensive environmental destruction. Test sites for artillery and tactical missiles tend to require larger surfaces for military purposes. Likewise, production of munitions and the industry that manufactures military equipment cause widespread environmental problems.

The military is responsible for emissions of several gases affecting the climate, primarily carbon dioxide, but also incineration of fossil fuels and emissions of freons, which results in the depletion of the ozone layer.(27) Consumption of aviation fuel is a major source of emissions of acidifying substances such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxide. The armed forces account for much of all consumption of aviation fuel and are responsible for a very large proportion of all aviation emissions.(28) High-flying planes and rockets have a particularly damaging impact on the environment, both in the form of noise and fuel emissions. All rockets using solid fuel emit large quantities of hydrochloric acid in their exhaust emissions and every flight of a space shuttle injects around 75 tonnes of ozone-destroying chlorine. Likewise, noise from military exercises using heavy calibre ammunition may bring about environmental disruption.

Metal pollution is dispersed into the environment through shooting practice; often large quantities of small calibre ammunition containing lead is used and large quantities of lead are dispersed into the environment. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive information about consumption of metals.

Consequences in the form of environmental problems caused by disarmament is only a recently observed phenomenon. Every year, large quantities of explosive substances are destroyed, mostly through industrial processes. Some ammunition cannot be destroyed in this way for various reasons but must be detonated. Obviously, scaling down is a necessary and positive process but it must be carried out in environmentally acceptable ways. Environmentally sound technology must be developed for the purpose of destroying weapons.

Several nations have already begun to exploit the opportunities for using military-related resources to restore the environment destroyed by the armed forces. All other sectors in society have to take responsibility for the environment and the military sector should also do so. As in other sectors of society, environmental issues must form an integral part of the armed forces' activities and be incorporated in the decision-making and budgetary processes.

In May 1993, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) took a decision - 'application of environmental norms to military establishments' - to encourage national governments to enact national laws for the military sector. Finland, for example, has drawn up a green paper to regulate the impact of military activities on the environment. Sweden has followed suit.(29) In June 1996 Sweden, in conjunction with the USA, also drew up environmental guidelines for military activities.(30) The military should establish environmental targets and proposals for measures to help reduce the impact on the environment in accordance with Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration.(31) They should also submit reports identifying factors affecting the environment within the armed forces. Environmental impact assessments must be drawn up before new projects commence and when procuring material for civilian and military use.

Every government should take stock of its environmental requirements and identify the military resources which are available for environmental purposes, draw up national environment plans and report their experience to an appropriate body within the European Union and the United Nations.

All military personnel, including conscripts, should receive basic training in environmental matters. The US armed forces are considered to be quite advanced in this respect, particularly in terms of equipment, but also in regard to training. The European Union should cooperate and exchange experience in this sector with the USA to a greater extent.

Strategies for using military resources for environment-enhancing purposes

Prevention of environmental crises requires infrastructure, organisation and increased resources. These are available in the armed forces. Many resources within the military sector could be used to protect, improve and restore the environment. Essentially, this would be based on two stages: a stocktaking stage to assess the suitability of the military resources and a political action plan to guarantee their availability.

Obviously, military-related resources vary a great deal from one country to another but they comprise skilled personnel, engineers, sophisticated hi-tech equipment, organisational ability and military research and development. In many ways, the military sector is in a unique position to strengthen international civilian capacity to implement environmental strategies. Military personnel are wellequipped to intervene in the event of disasters. As distinct from civilian forces, the military are trained to carry out missions under extreme conditions. They can also be called out in the event of environmental accidents and to clear up and destroy high-grade toxic, radioactive and other hazardous substances.

The armed forces also possess a great quantity of information which can help in detecting changes in the atmosphere, the sea and in the earth's surface and thereby provide an early warning and forestall environmental disasters. Military satellites, aeroplanes, surface vessels and submarines are capable of collecting further information on climate changes and on currents and temperature changes in the sea. Radar, which was developed for military purposes, can be used for environmental objectives. Infrared radar can detect temperature changes in the earth's surface. For example, American military satellites have been used to establish the number of whales, classify them and save them.

Environmental problems are global in nature and international cooperation is therefore crucial to prevent future environmental disasters. Joint international work can also serve a 'dual' purpose; it can build confidence for the very reason that it is carried out jointly - countries assist each other. It can also enable countries to shoulder a reasonable amount of responsibility for the environment in proportion to their strength.(32) Some important areas for joint undertakings might be technology transfer, joint training and education.

Environmental strategies might comprise monitoring the earth's environment, evaluating the data collected, coordinating scientific work and disseminating information. As a special form of international aid, national resources should be made available to the EU and the UN so that they may be used on request by a country stricken by an environmental disaster. Environmental strategies must also include a global stocktaking of resources suitable for environmental protection.

A disaster force composed of both civilian and military personnel could be set up for deployment in emergency situations. Taking part in international peace-keeping and humanitarian missions is already an important task for the military. However, a distinction must be made between such missions within national boundaries and within another state's jurisdiction. Lessons can be learned from UN experiences in this respect and, clearly, exercises or deployment on the territory of another nation must take place in accordance with international laws. We should consider which resources can be made available to the UN or the European Union, temporarily, long-term or on a standby basis as instruments for joint cooperation in the event of environmental disasters and environmental crises.

Military bilateral and multilateral cooperation has increased tremendously. Within NATO, a DanishGerman-Polish force is being developed which it will also be possible to use for civilian disaster aid, in addition to having traditional tasks. It is expected to be operational by spring 1999.

Technological resources within the military establishment

The military sectors of the EU Member States tend to be research and development-intensive. In the case of the major military powers, technological capacity is not only extensive but has also largely remained unaffected by budget cutbacks in comparison with conventional weapons. The process of developing new sophisticated weapons is ongoing. The military sector will probably be a leading consumer of advanced technology in the immediate future.

Most modern technologies are double-edged, i.e. they can be used both for military and civilian purposes. This means that military-related technologies can be transferred to the civilian sector without expensive modifications. However, it must be borne in mind that the highly complicated military systems which are based on advanced technologies are not designed for environmental purposes but require certain adjustments.

The technological capacity of military organisations in most developing countries is not a match for the environmental problems they face. The CIS and African countries have tremendous shortages of technology and environmental know-how. In an international perspective, therefore, transfer of technology and know-how is an extremely important task for the military.

Collection of environmental data and observations can be facilitated by the use of vessels, aeroplanes and spacecraft to identify and trace environmental abuse such as the dumping of waste and oil or natural hazards such as forest fires.

Another possible application of military-related resources is to use military capacity to monitor activities which are potentially damaging to the environment. Military resources can also be used to monitor agriculture, drought, afforestation and other forms of land conservation. Other areas of application might be as aid in developing countries, e.g. in the form of transport and disaster work, liming of lakes and forest with the aid of military aircraft and vessels but also combating of oil discharges and research and development resources for global environment work.

Military personnel on environment duty - an example

The Swedish Parliament decided on 13 December 1996 to make environmental protection a special part of its defence policy and, in the long-term, to train 10 000 conscripts per year within the civil defence.(33) The decision has not yet been implemented but formed the basis for a proposal put forward by a group of officers.(34) The proposal was presented to a hearing of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Security and Disarmament on 19 May 1998 and is summarised in brief below.(35)

It is entirely possible during compulsory military training to train soldiers in environmental protection and it is also necessary in order to have the resources and capacity to deal with environmental problems. Introducing military training in environment duty makes use of society's existing resources and creates a new resource for international environment work.

Training of 'environment soldiers' can take place in cooperation with the various authorities responsible for overall defence, local authorities, county councils, universities and colleges but also environmental organisations, industry (e.g. the petro-chemical industry, the power industry, the mining industry and other processing industry) and international bodies.

Conscripts on environmental service should primarily be trained to deal with the greater environmental threat existing in war but also be used as a rescue and relief force in peace time and war. Under the proposal, the training would, in its final phase, comprise six companies per environmental brigade in two batches, i.e. a total of 12 companies per brigade per year. Training would be led by an instructor, an officer in charge of reconnaisance and information and a commandant. Under the overall command, there would be six environmental companies comprising a company commander, an environmental engineer, company engineers, an adjutant and 12 instructors. The environmental engineer would also be in close contact with the emergency and rescue services and with researchers. As backup, they would have a unit for finance, personnel, a material division, catering and conscripts on environment and defence duty. At the initial stage, the group commanders are given training in leadership and some basic training in environmental protection work.

In the introductory phase of training, soldiers should be given basic training in soldiering and environmental protection with the emphasis on military training and physical fitness. This is followed by environmental training and training in the use of equipment relating to the soldiers' respective duties. The final phase of training will be used for predetermined environmental projects. During basic training, environment conscripts may also be used in serious environmental disasters - apart from the planned environmental projects - to assist in the event of forest fires, snowstorms, landslides etc.

Had environmental brigades been operating, they could have intervened swiftly and effectively during the floods in Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany in 1997 and during the dam disaster in Spain and the landslides in Italy in 1998.

Following basic training in peace time and under war conditions, and for five years afterwards, trainees should be called up for 24 to 48 hours in the event of environmental disasters or any other emergency situation. This could be mandatory or on a voluntary basis.

In an operational context, the environmental protection company is a mobile unit whose main duty is to respond, within and beyond the nation's borders, to requests from Swedish local authorities or other nations for relief operations. (In Sweden alone there are 10 000 'environmental bombs' of various kinds in need of 'defusing'.) The company is to carry out its duties independently or in cooperation with other companies and units from the emergency and rescue services under the command of those services and/or the local authority requesting their intervention. Using its own transport resources the company should be able to perform various missions within the country for a duration of 72 hours.

In the same way as UN soldiers perform peacekeeping missions, environment soldiers may also undertake international duties, like their UN counterparts, on a voluntary basis.

(1)() SIPRI Yearbook 1997, Appendix 6A. Tables of military expenditure and 6B. Tables of NATO military expenditure.
(2)() Charting potential uses of resources allocated to military activities for civilian endeavours to protect the environment, UN: A46/364 1991, § 74.
(3)()(Brazil, Russia, China, Canada, Indonesia, the USA, India, Columbia and Congo) International Freshwater Conflict: Issues and prevention Strategies, Green Cross International 1997, p. 4.
(4)() Ibid, p. 1.
(5)()Ibid, p.3.
(6)() Time Special Issue November 1997, p. 18.
(7)() 25 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are discharged into our atmosphere everyday.
(8) ()Climate Institute in Washington ”Environmental Exodus: An Emergent Crisis in the Global Arena”.
(9)() On 5 February 1998, Parliament's Subcommittee on Security and Disarmament arranged a public hearing on HAARP and so-called non-lethal weapons. This section is based on that hearing.
(10)() They are produced in e.g. the USA, China, the UK, France, Russia and Israel.
(11)() Dr Robin Coupland, International Red Cross.
(12)() Nonlethal technology and airpower, 1993, Air Command and Staff College research project.
(13)() Charting potential uses of resources allocated to military activities for civilian endeavours to protect the environment, UN: A46/364 1991 § 26.
(14)() The impact of nuclear testing at Mururoa and Fangataufa, 1995.
(15)() New Scientist 1998
(16)() Between 11-13 May 1998, India carried out five nuclear tests. Pakistan carried out six tests between 28-30 May 1998.
(17)() Plutonium, Deadly Gold of the Nuclear Age, IPPNW and IEER 1995, p. 65.
(18)() 18% of the world's nuclear reactors are located there, Bellona report Volume 2: 1996 The Russian Northern Fleet p. 10
(19)() Atom declassified, 2nd ed. IPPNW, Moscow 1996, p. 83
(20)() The proposal is available on the Internet at www.dfat.gov.au/dfat/cc/cchome.html
(21)() This section is based on information from the hearing.
(22)() Dr Nick Begich, speaker at the hearing.
(23)() The ionosphere contains vast protective magnetic fields know as the Van Allen belts which intercept charged particles (protons, electrons and alpha particles).
(24)() In 1958 the US Navy exploded 3 devices containing nuclear material 480 km above the South Atlantic. Designed by the US Department of Defence and the Atomic Energy Commission under the code name Project Argus. Source: Dr Rosalie Bertell.
(25)() Article 1, the Antarctic Treaty.
(26)() Swedish Government official reports SOU 1992: 104, p. 54
(27)() Military defence and the environment, FM sector report 1995, p. 8
(28)() The Swedish armed forces alone discharged 866 199 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in one year; ibid p. 60
(29)() Handbok miljö för Försvarsmakten (Environment Manual for the Armed Forces)..
(30)() Environmental Guidelines for the Military Sector supported by the NATO Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society.
(31)() Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration are practical results of the UN Conference on the Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992
(32)() Charting potential uses of resources allocated to military activities for civilian endeavours to protect the environment, UN: A46/364 1991.
(33)() Bill 1995/96: 12. Total defence renewal
(34)() 'Training of civilian conscripts for environmental duty' and 'Training of environmental conscripts', the Borås Environmental Brigade.
(35)() The training proposal is based on the regiment in Borås but may also be applied to other units.


 Annex 1

19 May 1995

B4-0551/95

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION by Mrs Rehn Rouva, on the potential use of military-related resources for environmental strategies, included by decision of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy.

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

. Having regard that the international environment and ecological problems of today are caracterised by new souces of insecurity and conflict;

. considering that these changes should be reflected in the content and form of how to maintain and create security, that is to say in the security and defence policies;

. taking into account the necessity to reorientate the aims and resources of those policies;

. having regard that for this initiative it is necessary to mobilise adequate resources for meeting the challenge of environmental protection effectively; and that the unique potential of military establishments to increase the capabilitities in reaching this objective;

. whereas for the European Union the initiative in integrating military-related resources into environmental strategies would be an opportunity to take the lead in new and peaceful means;

. seeing that the cost of implementing these strategies might amount to 774 billion dollars for the next ten years and that this shows the necessity for cooperation;

. having regard that a new range of hitherto unexplored possibilities have been opened by the new international situation and the politicial detente and military de-escalation;

1. Proposes a European action plan to integrate military-related resources into environmental strategies.

26 November 1998


 OPINION

(Rule 147)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy

on the motion for a resolution on the environment, security and foreign policy (report by Mrs Theorin)

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection

Draftsman: Mr Karl-Erik Olsson

PROCEDURE

At its meeting of 20 July 1998 the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection appointed Mr Karl-Erik Olsson draftsman.

It considered the draft opinion at its meetings of 12 October and 25 November 1998.

At last meeting it adopted the following conclusions by 26 votes to 2, with 1 abstention.

The following took part in the vote: Collins, chairman; Dybkjær, vice-chairman; Olsson, draftsman; d'Aboville, Blokland, Bowe, Breyer, Cabrol, Correia, Eisma, Estevan Bolea (for Bébéar), Flemming, Florenz, González Álvarez, Graenitz, Hulthén, Kuhn, Lange (for Díez de Rivera Icaza), Leopardi, McKenna, Oomen-Ruijten, Pimenta (for Burtone), Pollack, Roth-Behrendt, Tamino, Trakatellis, Valverde López, Virgin and White.

1. INTRODUCTION

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent disarmament process have led to a 34% fall in global military spending since 1988(1). Military cutbacks have released huge economic resources, whilst factors such as supply crises, ecological imbalances, migration, nationalism, ethnic conflicts and international crime pose a growing threat to international stability. Other factors which have a long-term impact on developments in the security sector include environmental destruction and shortages of fresh water and food.

This highlights the need for security policy to take greater account of environmental factors and indicates that environmental investments are essential for achieving stability in security terms in the future.

2. OBSERVATIONS

There is currently no direct military threat to Europe, and the risk of a major war is non-existent. However, a number of other, non-military threats have emerged, amongst them the ongoing destruction of the environment. The shortage of fresh water, desertification, climate change and accidents at chemical and nuclear power plants pose a real threat to international security. The right to exploit dwindling natural resources is no longer primarily an instrument of power politics, but is often the root cause of international conflicts.

It is therefore necessary to widen the European security and defence concept so as to take greater account of threats to the environment. The military sector could provide resources and know-how to improve environmental protection, e.g. by means of satellite-based monitoring, helping to clean up after industrial and nuclear accidents and with relief work after natural disasters. However, your draftsman considers that the response to the changes that have taken place in the perceived threat should primarily be to switch budgetary resources away from the military defence sector to civil environmental protection measures, e.g. preventive measures to safeguard the environment, the decontamination of land and water, improved rescue and disaster relief services and increased international assistance in environmental matters.

The defence sector and associated industries do substantial damage to the environment. For instance, military transports emit significant quantities of greenhouse gases and acidifying substances, and military training areas usually show signs of major damage to biological diversity and must often be decontaminated before they can be used for civil purposes. Despite the effect it has had on the environment, the defence sector has traditionally not been covered by civil environmental legislation. In view of the increasing pressures of the environment, it too should be subject to existing environmental legislation and be made liable for cleaning up the areas that have been damaged as a result of past military activities. Its adaptation to more environment-friendly practices could be improved by setting environmental objectives and if it provided training for its own personnel on environmental matters.

One of the potentially most serious environmental problems resulting from global disarmament is the lack of supervision of waste from past nuclear arms manufacturing processes and of biological and chemical weapons stores. It is often costs substantially more to destroy the weapons than it does to produce them - as much as ten times more in the case of chemical weapons, for instance.

The chaotic economic situation in Russia and the former Soviet Republics has led to inadequate supervision and storage of surplus weapons and to delays in their destruction. Your draftsman therefore recommends that the Member States actively promote increased international cooperation, e.g. within the UN and the Partnership for Peace, with the aim of destroying such weapons in as environment-friendly way as possible.

Since the Member States' defence industries are concentrated in particular regions, the ongoing disarmament process could result in crises in those regions. The EU and the Member States should therefore step up their efforts to convert military production facilities and technologies to produce civil goods, and for civil applications, using both national and EU-funded programmes.

CONCLUSIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following conclusions in its report:

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection,

A. whereas conflicts throughout the world are predominantly at an intra-state rather than interstate level and, where inter-state conflicts do arise, they are increasingly concerned with access to or the availability of basic vital resources, especially water, food and fuel,

B. whereas the access to and availability of such vital natural resources are inherently connected to environmental degradation and pollution, by both cause and effect, whereas it follows logically therefore that conflict prevention must increasingly focus on these issues,

C. whereas the pressure on land, both fertile and habitable, historically a major cause of tension and conflict, is increasingly caused by environmental degradation, notably climate change and the consequent rise in sea levels,

D. whereas all those factors, which affect the poorest and most vulnerable populations of the world most of all, are constantly increasing the incidence of so-called 'environmental refugees', resulting both in direct pressure on EU immigration and justice policies, on development assistance and spending on humanitarian aid and, indirectly, in increased security problems for the EU in the form of regional instability in other parts of the world,

E. whereas, according to detailed international research collated and published by the Climate Institute in Washington, the number of 'environmental refugees' now exceeds the number of 'traditional refugees' (25 m compared with 22 m) and whereas this figure is expected to double by 2010 and could well rise by substantially more on a worst-case basis,

F. whereas the issue of 'environmental refugees' is merely a symptom of a humanitarian disaster on a much more massive scale in terms of the 1.3 billion people who live in absolute poverty according to the UN definition; whereas over one quarter of these people try to subsist in areas of the world that are extremely vulnerable environmentally and are the main contributors to global environmental problems such as deforestation and desertification,

G. whereas, since the end of the Cold War, although the management of global issues has been largely stripped of the previously dominant ideological context and is now much less determined by the question of military balance, this has yet to be reflected in the UN"s system of global governance by emphasising the coherence and effectiveness of both military and non-military components of security policy,

H. whereas, nonetheless, the emphasis of a growing proportion of the UN"s work on global political and security issues is essentially non-military, and notably related to the relationship between trade, aid, the environment and sustainable development,

1. Calls on the Commission to present to the Council and the Parliament a common strategy, as foreseen by the Amsterdam Treaty, which brings together the CFSP aspects of EU policy with its trade, aid, development and international environmental policies between 2000 and 2010 so as to tackle the following individual issues and the relationships between them:

(a) Agricultural and food production and environmental degradation;

(b) Water shortages and transfrontier water supply;

(c) Deforestation and restoring carbon sinks;

(d) Unemployment, underemployment and absolute poverty;

(e) Sustainable development and climate change;

(f) Deforestation, desertification and population growth;

(g) The link between all of the above and global warming and the humanitarian and environmental impact of increasingly extreme weather events;

2. Considers that the EU common strategy should address each of the above factors within the context of their individual and collective contribution to the level of international crime, notably drugs trafficking, increased immigration pressure towards the EU and their impact on EU foreign, development and security policies in the light of their effects on regional stability and development;

3. Notes that environmental problems are the most serious threat to mankind today and that the perceived security threat now includes not only conventional conflicts but also non-military threats such as supply crises and ecological imbalances;

4. Notes that preventive environmental measures are an important instrument of security policy; calls, therefore, on the Member States to define environmental and health objectives as part of their long-term defence and security assessments, military research and action plans;

5. Recognises the important part played by the armed forces in a democratic society, their national defence role and the fact that peace-keeping and peace-making initiatives can make a substantial contribution to the prevention of environmental damage;

6. Calls on the Member States to apply civil environmental legislation to all military activities and for the military defence sector to assume responsibility for, and pay for the investigation, clean-up and decontamination of areas damaged by past military activity, so that such areas can be returned to civil use, this is especially important for the extensive chemical and conventional munition dumps along the coastlines of the EU;

7. Calls on all Member States to formulate environmental and health objectives and action plans so as to enhance the measures taken by their armed forces to protect the environment and health;

8. Notes the drastic change in the global security situation that has taken place following the end of the Cold War and the reduced need for military resources; calls on the Member States to take vigorous action to switch budgetary resources away from the military sector, including direct or indirect military related research, to other sectors such as rescue and disaster relief services, the decontamination of water and land, and preventive measures to safeguard the environment and the public, and to create, within the military sector, special environmental defence regiments which can be deployed rapidly in the event of disasters;

9. Regards the use of radioactive energy sources (RTGs) in space craft by both military and civilian space programmes (eg Cassini, which will make an earth flyby next year), and the continuing development of 'star wars" systems to be a major environmental risk, and calls for an immediate halt to such activity, since in particular it is now possible in almost all missions to develop solar panels as alternatives to RTGs;

10. Notes that one of the potentially most serious threats that exist on the EU's doorstep lies in the inadequate monitoring of waste from nuclear arms processing and of biological and chemical weapons stores and in the need for decontamination following military activity; stresses that it is important that the Member States actively promote increased international cooperation, for instance within the UN and the Partnership for Peace, with the aim of destroying such weapons in as environment-friendly way as possible;

11. Regards the US military ionospheric manipulation system, HAARP, based in Alaska, which is only a part of the development and deployment of electromagnetic weaponry for both external and internal security use, as an example of the most serious emerging military threat to the global environment and human health, as it seeks to interfere with the highly sensitive and energetic section of the biosphere for military purposes, while all of its consequences are not clear, and calls on the Commission, Council and the Member States to press the US Government, Russia and any other state involved in such activities to cease them, leading to a global convention against such weaponry;

12. Calls in particular for an international convention for a global ban on all research and development, whether military or civilian, which seeks to apply knowledge of the chemical, electrical, sound vibration or other functioning of the human brain to the development of weapons which might enable any form of manipulation of human beings, including a ban on any actual or possible deployment of such systems;

13. Considers, in the light of the above, that the threat to the global environment posed by the existence of and potential accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons now far exceeds any conceivable threat to the defence and security of the five declared nuclear weapons states, as defined by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), that such weapons were originally designed and deployed to contain;

14. Takes the view that, given the particularly difficult circumstances afflicting the countries of the former Soviet Union, the threat to the global as well as local environment posed by the degradation of the condition of nuclear weapons and materials still held in those countries makes it an even more urgent priority to reach agreement on the further progressive elimination of nuclear weapons;

15. Calls on the Council, and the British and French governments in particular, to take the lead within the framework of the NPT and the Conference on Disarmament with regard to the further negotiations towards full implementation of the commitments on nuclear weapons reductions and elimination as rapidly as possible to a level where, in the interim, the global stock of remaining weapons poses no threat to the integrity and sustainability of the global environment;

16. Notes that the drastic fall in military expenditure could result in substantial problems in certain regions and calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to convert military production facilities and technologies to produce civil goods, and for civil applications, using national programmes and Community initiatives such as the Conver programme;

17. Calls on the Presidency of the Council and the Commission, in accordance with Article J.7 of the Treaty on European Union, to report to it on the Union"s position concerning the specific points contained in this Resolution within the context of forthcoming meetings of the United Nations, its agencies and bodies, notably the 1999 Preparatory Committee of the NPT, the Conference on Disarmament and all other relevant international fora;

18. Calls on the Council to do more to ensure that the USA, Russia, India and China sign the 1997 Ottawa Treaty, banning anti-personnel mines, without delay.

- having regard to the report of Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy (A4-0000/98),

A. whereas the end of the Cold War has radically changed the security situation in the world and that the relaxation of military tension has resulted in comprehensive disarmament in the military field in general and in nuclear weapons in particular, releasing substantial military resources,

B. whereas threats to the environment, the flow of refugees, ethnic tension, terrorism and international crime are new and serious threats to security and that the ability to deal with various forms of conflict is increasing in importance as the security scene changes; whereas as some of the threats to security are non-military it is important that resources allocated to military activities are also used for non-military purposes,

C. whereas the world's resources are being exploited as if they were inexhaustible, which has led to increasingly frequent natural and environmental disasters; whereas such local and regional ecological problems may have considerable impact on international relations; regretting that this has not been more clearly reflected in national foreign, security and defence policies,

D. whereas there is an urgent need to mobilize adequate resources to meet the environmental challenge and whereas very limited resources are available for environmental protection, for which reason a reappraisal of the use of existing resources is called for,

E. whereas as military resources have been released the armed forces have had a unique opportunity and ample capacity to support the civilian efforts to cope with the increasing environmental problems,

F. whereas military-related resources are by their nature national assets while the environmental challenge is global; whereas ways must therefore be found for international cooperation in the transfer and use of military resources for environmental protection,

G. whereas the short-term costs of environmental protection have to be seen in the light of the long-term cost of doing nothing in this field, and whereas there is an increasing need for a cost benefit analysis of various environmental strategies which should cover possible transfers, reorientation and redeployment of military-related resources,

H. whereas the common goal of restoring the world's damaged ecosystems cannot be achieved in isolation from the question of the fair exploitation of global resources and whereas there is a need to facilitate international technical cooperation and encourage the transfer of appropriate military-related technology,

I. whereas the general disquiet over ecological decline and environmental crises requires the setting of priorities in the national decision-making process and that the individual countries must pool their efforts in response to environmental disasters,

Use of military resources for environmental purposes

1. Considers that the resources available to reverse or stem damage to the environment are inadequate to meet the global challenge; recommends therefore that the Member States seek to utilize military-related resources for environmental protection by:

(a) introducing training for environmental defence troops with a view to establishing a coordinated European environmental protection brigade;

(b) listing their environmental needs and the military resources available for environmental purposes and using those resources in their national environmental planning;

(c) considering which of its military resources it can make available to the United Nations or the European Union on a temporary, long-term or stand-by basis as an instrument for international cooperation in environmental disasters or crises;

(d) drawing up plans for creating national and European protection teams using military personnel, equipment and facilities made available under the Partnership for Peace for use in environmental emergencies;

(e) incorporating objectives for environmental protection and sustainable development in its concepts of security;

(f) ensuring that its armed forces comply with specific environmental rules and that damage caused by them to the environment in the past is made good;

(g) including environmental considerations in its military research and development programmes;

2. Urges the governments of the Member States, since practical experience in the field is limited, to:

(a) establish centres for the exchange of information on current national experience in environmental applications for military resources;

(b) facilitating the global dissemination of environmental data including such data obtained by the use of military satellites and other information-gathering platforms;

3. Calls on the governments of the Member States to ensure that all environmental requirements and legislation applying to civilians also apply to all military activities and that the costs of cleaning up after environmental damage caused by the armed forces should be borne by the defence budget;

4. Calls on the governments of the Member States to ensure that their armed forces lay down environmental objectives and proposals for action to help reduce environmental impact and submit reports identifying aspects of military activity with environmental implications, and to require environmental impact assessments before new projects are begun and when purchasing equipment for both civilian and defence purposes;

5. Calls on the governments of the Member States progressively to improve the protection of the environment by the armed forces by means of training and technical development and by giving all regular and conscript personnel basic training in environmental matters;

6. Calls on the European Union to unite around a new environmental strategy using military resources for the joint protection of the environment;

7. Considers that environmental strategies should be able to include monitoring the world environment, assessing the data thus collected, coordinating scientific work and disseminating information, exploiting relevant data from national observation and monitoring systems to give a continuous and comprehensive picture of the state of the environment;

8. Stresses the importance of stepping up preventive environmental work with a view to combating environmental and natural disasters;

9. Calls on the Commission to conduct a detailed study of security-related threats to the environment in Europe and to draw up a Green Paper on military activities affecting the environment;

10. Believes that the EU should do more to help the victims of landmines and to support the development of mine clearance techniques, and that the development of mine clearance methods should be accelerated;

11. Believes that the secrecy of military research must be resisted and the right to openness and democratic scrutiny of military research projects be encouraged;

12. Calls on the Member States to develop environmentally-sound technology for the destruction of weapons;

13. Calls on the Council to play an active part in the implementation of the proposals of the Canberra Commission and Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on nuclear disarmament;

Legal aspects of military activities

14. Calls on the European Union to seek to have the new 'non-lethal' weapons technology and the development of new arms strategies also covered and regulated by international conventions;

15. Considers HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project) by virtue of its farreaching impact on the environment to be a global concern and calls for its legal, ecological and ethical implications to be examined by an international independent body before any further research and testing;

16. Calls on the European Union and its Member States to work for the establishment of international treaties to protect the environment from unnecessary destruction in the event of war;

17. Calls on the European Union and its Member States to work towards the establishment of international standards for the environmental impact of peacetime military activities;

18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States of the European Union and to the United Nations.

(1)() Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). In 1988 global military spending totalled $1066 bn, compared an estimated $704 bn in 1997.

Last updated: 13 March 1999Legal notice