17 November 2006, Québec, Canada - DECLARATION ON NATO’S RIGA SUMMIT
Adopted by the Standing Committee at its meeting in Brussels on Friday 29 September 2006 and endorsed at the Plenary Meeting held in Québec on Friday 17 November 2006.
1.1 The Riga summit of Alliance Heads of State and Government provides an opportunity for Alliance leaders to reconfirm the continuing importance of NATO as the key transatlantic forum to ensure our collective security. In today's global environment risks and threats to our security are many and diverse. They result from multiple origins: failed or failing states, underdevelopment, bad governance, demographic imbalances, religious radicalization, the resurgence of ideologies hostile to democracy, competition for natural resources and energy, regional instability, transnational organised crime, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. NATO's core mission of collective defence must now address these new threats. The Riga Summit should give leadership and direction to this process.
1.2 NATO's ability to contribute to dealing with these new security challenges will depend on its continuing transformation. It will also require the support of Alliance publics and parliaments. As recent experience has shown this support cannot be taken for granted. As parliamentarians with authorising powers over budgets and deployments and direct accountability to our electorates, we have a unique responsibility to provide direction for Alliance policies and priorities.
1.3 As representatives of Nato's 26 parliaments we call upon Alliance leaders to address as a matter of urgency the following issues:
a)The use of the Alliance framework for consultation and coordination on all key security issues, including the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the Middle East;
2.1. A central element of NATO's new role must be the commitment of all the Allies to use the Alliance framework for political consultation and coordination on the most important security challenges. This has to be done more regularly and in the framework of in-depth discussions by our political leaders. We must assess on a case-by-case basis where NATO's collective capabilities and experience can be utilized, either independently or in close cooperation with other international organizations.
2.2. In making such assessments, political ambitions must be harmonized with the resources and capabilities available. Nations which have agreed to take part in missions must be willing to produce the capabilities required. Mutual solidarity is urgently called for. Civil and military planning must be done together and in a more integrated manner. At all times, NATO should abide by the principles of international humanitarian law.
3. The Situation in Afghanistan
3.1. The situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in recent months. The increasing cost in human lives - and here we would wish to pay homage to the combatants who have fallen for the freedom of Afghanistan - demonstrates that this war is not yet won. NATO's commitment to Afghanistan constitutes a test of its ability to face the challenges of the new security order. In view of NATO's commitment to extend security throughout the country and the challenges it faces as it expands its mission, member countries must decide to redouble their efforts to provide the assets required to achieve this goal. NATO should also redouble its efforts to build trust with the Afghan people and agree on common policies towards the political and reconstruction efforts in the country. More 'boots on the ground' are needed in the southern part of Afghanistan to provide sufficient stability for sustained reconstruction. The Alliance's leaders must stress the need for member states to demonstrate the flexibility and commitment to provide the manpower and material needed for this mission. More synergy among international organizations is needed. A failed Afghanistan will also be a failed NATO.
4.1. Interoperability and compatible communications are essential for Alliance military effectiveness. Fulfilment of the Prague Capabilities Commitments must remain a priority. The emphasis should be on task specialization and investments to ensure that sufficient troops can be deployed for complex stabilization missions.
4.2. Interoperability will also depend on the development and integration of military information networks to share and exploit relevant information in real time. The United States and its Allies must therefore develop technology transfer policies to facilitate the effective sharing of relevant technical information.
4.3. Forces deployed for NATO missions must have the flexibility to perform the range of operations demanded by a particular mission. All efforts should therefore be made to reduce the use of national caveats which all too often restrict national contingents from participating in operations to their full capability.
4.4. In view of the critical role of special forces in NATO's missions, particular attention should be devoted to enhancing their interoperability.
4.5. In addition, NATO should redress its shortfall in long-range, heavy airlift by having available suitable aircraft.
5.1. The current system of having the costs of operations borne only by the participants in those operations should cease. The increased use of "on-call" NATO forces such as the NATO Response Force demands a means of sharing the financial burden of deploying those forces across the Alliance in an equitable manner.
5.2. A mechanism for the common funding of operations should be accompanied by commitments by individual members to devote sufficient resources to defence to meet the global challenges to our security. NATO members should at the very least commit themselves to making no further cuts in their national defence expenditures, and the Riga Summit should give an incentive to a better and more transparent common funding mechanism. Parliamentarians regard the development of a more equitable system as a matter of urgency.
5.3. The transformation of the Alliance and the fulfilment of its commitments will depend upon appropriate levels of spending as well as improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of defence spending. Redoubled efforts should therefore be made to improve the effective use of defence resources through co-operation in all stages of procurement. The Alliance should also set a firm date for all members to achieve the Istanbul usability goals for ground forces of 40 per cent deployability and eight per cent sustainability. Similar targets should be set for air and naval forces.
6.1. We continue to support the role of NATO in the fight against terrorism. We believe the Alliance provides the essential transatlantic dimension, but note that terrorism cannot be defeated by military means alone.
7.1. Current and future security challenges demand the most effective use of collective resources - civil and military - and the closest possible cooperation and coordination with relevant organizations. This means further improvement of NATO's relationships with other international organisations, in particular with the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). The Riga Summit should give a firm impetus to developing these relationships in a concrete manner. The NATO Response Force and its potential for use in crisis situations illustrate the urgency of developing such relationships.
8.1. The scale and scope of current security threats requires a co-operative NATO-EU relationship that maximizes the assets of both organisations and an end to institutional bickering. A more systematic process of consultation and coordination is now imperative to ensure that resources are used effectively and that the plans and responses of NATO and the EU are better balanced and more harmonized. The summit provides a chance to overcome the stalemate in relations between the two organisations. A constructive relationship between NATO and EU is a key component of a vibrant transatlantic relationship.
9.1. NATO's partnership programs perform an important stabilizing function through assistance to countries in different stages of political, economic and social transition. Alliance expertise is effective in helping countries implement much needed reform of their security sectors. The Assembly has itself contributed through parallel programs of assistance to partner parliaments in developing effective parliamentary oversight.
9.2. Funding for NATO's many partnerships remains modest. If NATO's partnerships are to be genuinely deepened and broadened, the Alliance must augment the resources committed.
9.3. Assistance to the Balkans and the South Caucasus must remain a priority. The Alliance should give serious consideration to the requirements of a future military presence in Kosovo, in cooperation with other international organizations.
9.4. The Alliance should continue its partnership with countries of Central Asia and the Alliance should monitor the progress in fulfilling democratic standards of participants in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and use the EAPC to urge partner countries to fully implement those standards.
10.1. The Middle East and North Africa are regions of critical strategic importance. Again, the Assembly plays a complementary role to NATO's programs by integrating members of parliament from these countries into its many activities. The Alliance should expand its engagement with neighbouring states by developing existing programmes like the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative using the experience and assets of NATO's Partnership for Peace. This could include a training initiative involving the creation of a training facility in a Mediterranean Dialogue or Istanbul Co-operation Initiative country. A greater emphasis should be placed on cooperation with countries that develop democratic structures and respect human rights.
11.1. The development of a cooperative relationship between NATO and Russia remains essential. The work of the NATO Russia Council represents a considerable achievement and should be strengthened. However, the development of genuine partnership continues to be hindered by deep-rooted suspicions and misperceptions. Issues such as human rights, energy security and the situations in neighbouring countries should be discussed in an open and confidence-building manner. Issues of common interest must be addressed in order to create the necessary foundation of confidence. In enhancing its own relationship with the Russian parliament, the Assembly will play its part in reconciling misperceptions and creating a much-needed basis of mutual trust.
12.1. Recognizing Ukraine's importance as a strategic partner and noting that Ukraine remains committed to Euro-Atlantic integration, NATO should continue to develop its relationship with Ukraine through the Ukraine-NATO Action Plan, Intensified Dialogue and the PfP Trust Fund.
12.2. The role of public opinion regarding NATO should be addressed, and NATO should assist the Ukrainian government to the maximum extent possible in disseminating information about the Alliance's role and activities.
13.1. The Alliance should give attention to developing more formal co-operation mechanisms with geographically distant partners such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea, who share the Alliance's values and also participate alongside NATO forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere. At the same time, NATO should be alert to the need to safeguard its cohesiveness, particularly within its decision-making structures.
14.1. Membership of the Alliance must remain open to those aspirants who demonstrate their adherence to the common values of the Alliance and are assessed by member countries as being ready for membership.
14.2. At the Riga Summit Alliance leaders should provide clear guidance to Albania, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as to when they can expect invitations to join the Alliance.
14.3. Encouragement and support should be given to Georgia's aspirations to NATO membership.
14.4. Alliance leaders should begin to formulate a strategic vision on the long-term future of enlargement.
15.1. The Assembly is a visible manifestation of the Alliance's shared commitment to parliamentary democracy. Its activities enhance the collective accountability of NATO. They also contribute to the transparency of NATO and its policies and to improving public scrutiny and awareness. Assembly activities in outreach and partnership reinforce and complement parallel activities by NATO. The Assembly welcomes its growing cooperation with NATO and enhanced dialogue with the North Atlantic Council. We welcome the complementarity between the work of the Assembly and NATO particularly regarding partner nations. The Assembly urges Heads of State and government to acknowledge this role in their Riga Declaration and to reaffirm their support for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the shared goal of promoting democratic values.