Europe’s defence ministries have committed to the protection of biodiversity on their sites. One of the objectives of LIFE NaturArmy is to ensure the armed forces are recognised as major players in the preservation of Europe’s natural heritage.
Europe’s armies are working to protect biodiversity
Since 1992, Europe’s defence ministries have been involved in about forty different LIFE programmes related to the management of military land for the benefit of Europe’s natural heritage. A report will be produced on how Europe’s ministries of defence take biodiversity into account. This report will be shared with the European armed forces.
Progress so far
The public health crisis brought face-to-face exchanges to a halt in Autumn 2020, but a first study on the involvement of European armed forces in LIFE programmes and their biodiversity preservation strategies was conducted by the French ministry of the Armed Forces . The exchanges continued remotely, in particular through the Defence Network forum. The team at the University of Western Brittany (UBO) has also been in regular contact with a representative of the US Army, who is doing a thesis on the impact of the Natura 2000 regulations on military activities. In 2022, a study trip was organised to exchange with the Belgian Ministry of Defence.
The DEFNET network
The Defence Network, known as DEFNET, brings together environmental specialists from Europe’s armed forces ministries to exchange and work on the legal issues relating to environmental protection. As part of this, the LIFE NaturArmy project has provided an opportunity to launch and run a DEFNET working group dedicated to biodiversity on military land. This technical working group will facilitate the sharing and transfer of the LIFE NaturArmy outcomes to other European armed forces.
Progress so far
Following various very constructive exchanges, a framework partnership agreement was signed by the Belgian Ministry of Defence and the French French ministry of the Armed Forces in 2021. Meetings are organised to share their experience on a regular basis. In 2022, the DEFNET seminar will take place in France.