This Committee was first established as the Cultural Committee in 1956 and has undergone several changes in name, the most recent being in 2000 when the present title was adopted. Despite the changes in title, the Committee has maintained a consistent focus on the aspects of Euro-Atlantic security which, directly or indirectly, relate to the responsibilities, protection and welfare of civilians.
The areas covered by the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security include:
a. Democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
b. Mechanisms for democratic control and parliamentary oversight over the defence and security sectors, and the issue of civil-military relations in general.
c. Civil liberties, fundamental freedoms, human rights and the protection of minorities.
d. International humanitarian law and the protection of civilian populations in armed conflicts, as well as the development of international criminal justice.
e. The role of the media in relation to security;
f. The role of religion in relation to security;
g. The protection of civilian populations against natural and manmade disasters and related environmental issues;
h. The protection of civilian populations against the threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, the aftermath of terrorist attacks and the implications of anti-terrorist efforts for civil liberties and human rights;
i. "Soft security threats", such as organised crime, trafficking in arms, drugs and human beings;
j. Issues relating to political and socio-economic transition in NATO partner countries.
k. Ethnic conflicts, particularly in the South Caucasus.