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Green Armed Forces

Marine Enviroment

MARINE ENVIRONMENT

1. Protecting water and marine resources and ensuring their ecological quality is the cornerstone of European environmental policy. Careful management of the use of this vital natural resource is essential to guaranteeing a sustainable future. Rescuing the marine environment is an absolute priority for the United Nations because marine areas absorb 30% of the world’s carbon dioxide produced from human activities. Marine ecosystems serve many vital functions, such as:

a. Filtration, dilution and water storage.
b. Flood prevention.
c. Maintaining microclimate balance locally and globally.
d. Conservation of biodiversity.

2. A significant percentage of marine areas are part of the marine protected areas of the European Natura 2000 Network. Almost all the small Greek islands and islets are included in this network which provides many economic and social benefits. The Marine Natura 2000 sites play an essential role in conserving natural marine functions and related socio-economic benefits provided by coastal and marine ecosystems can be maintained. Within this framework, many natural marine operations deemed necessary for the conservation of fish stocks can be successfully performed. From a biological point of view, marine protected areas include a set of vital ecosystems for the Mediterranean, providing essential functions, services, and protecting the natural balance of things but also offering significant economic benefits since primary production in the sea is maintained at high levels. A typical example is that of the “Posidonia oceanica’’ Mediterranean seagrass meadows.

3. All activities related to the use of warships, submarines and aircraft of the Armed Forces must be carried out in a way that causes the least possible damage to the marine environment. Like-wise, any other marine activity must be based on established operational procedures and approved by the planning/exercise authorities. In this way, a balance is sought between properly conducting the mission and minimizing the risks to the marine environment. Procedures should include integrating environmental assessment at all operational planning stages to ensure that all the necessary data to take measures to avoid or minimize the impact of military activities is available.