HomeDOCUMENTSPolicy Recommendations20022002 Istanbul Declaration on NATO Transformation
2002 Istanbul Declaration on NATO Transformation
On November 19, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly debated, amended and adopted a Declaration on NATO Transformation that the outgoing President of the NATO PA, Rafael Estrella, had presented at the plenary meeting of the Istanbul Annual Session. The adopted declaration laid out the Assembly's collective view on the critical issues to be discussed at the Prague Summit, 21-22 November. As well as calling upon NATO’s leaders to invite Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to join NATO, the Declaration makes recommendations on the revision of NATO’s roles, missions, and structures to deal with 21st century threats to international security, peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, and NATO’s relations with the European Union, Russia, Ukraine, and other non-member countries. The new Assembly President elected in Istanbul, US Congressman Doug Bereuter, subsequently presented the final version of the Declaration to NATO Heads of State and Government in Prague on November 21. The full text of the Declaration appears below
1. NATO’s Founding Purpose
1.1. NATO was created to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means; its core role is the commitment to collective defence in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. As the embodiment of the transatlantic relationship, NATO has provided the foundation for the peace and prosperity of the Euro-Atlantic community of nations. NATO’s success has been due to the consistent unity of purpose of its members bound together by common values and principles. The mechanisms for consultation, co-operation and co-ordination of policy, for the harmonisation of defence and operational plans, and the development of common habits and working practices have made NATO the unique organisation it remains today.
2. The Need for Alliance Adaptation
2.1. Since 1989 and the end of the Cold War, the challenges to the collective security of Alliance members have changed profoundly. NATO has responded by adopting new roles and missions, namely the projection of stability and security throughout the Euro-Atlantic area through a policy of partnership and co-operation with former adversaries, the incorporation of new members and the deployment of armed forces for peace support operations outside its formal boundaries. As a result of the changes in the security environment and the assumption of new missions, the Alliance updated its Strategic Concept in 1999 and set in train profound changes to its command and force structures.
2.2. As we move into the twenty-first century, NATO must again adapt to new threats to our collective security. The purpose of the Alliance remains the safeguarding of the security of its members. This will continue to require the projection of stability and security, the participation in crisis response operations in the Euro-Atlantic area, and the maintenance of adequate levels and types of armed forces necessary to fulfil the wide spectrum of NATO’s commitments.
2.3. However, NATO’s approach to collective security must now take account of, and respond to, the new threats of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). As the atrocities of 11 September 2001 and subsequent developments have shown, these new threats know no boundaries and cover a wide spectrum of activities, military and non-military.
2.4. NATO has already demonstrated political and military solidarity with the invocation of Article 5. Members and partners have also contributed to the operations in Afghanistan. The Alliance must build upon this co-operation in future operations and as a contribution to world peace and stability.
2.5. Terrorism and the proliferation of WMD together pose a qualitatively new threat to our societies. Dealing with them will require action on a wide range of fronts: military, political, economic, social, financial, technological and judicial. NATO provides a unique forum for co?ordination and co-operation in several of these areas. It is essential that NATO identify and accord priority to those areas where it has a comparative advantage and where it can assume a leading role. It should also identify those areas where it needs to co-operate and co-ordinate with other organisations, especially the European Union which possesses unique instruments in the field of justice and home affairs. Maintaining a proper balance between freedom and security will be a major challenge for our societies.
2.6. The emergence of these new threats will have consequences for the roles, missions and capabilities of NATO’s armed forces. NATO members’ forces must therefore be capable of taking action wherever the security of the members is threatened, upon the basis of the United Nations Charter. The declared willingness to undertake such actions will strengthen the deterrent element of Alliance strategy by making clear that there is no safe haven for those who would threaten our societies or for those who would harbour such people. The need for Alliance action, based upon unequivocal evidence should be decided on a case-by-case basis by the North Atlantic Council and, as always, will be based on consensus. Where NATO as a whole is not engaged then Allies willing to take action should be able to make use of NATO assets, procedures and practices.
2.7. While guidance in the 1999 Strategic Concept remains relevant and continues to provide an appropriate basis for Alliance policies, greater priority must now be accorded to defence against terrorism and the proliferation of WMD.
2.8. We believe that NATO remains uniquely equipped to play a primary role in the new security environment and in dealing with the most immediate challenges. However, harnessing the Alliance’s full potential will require substantial adjustments to capabilities and structures. This includes the internal structures within NATO itself. The profound changes required are urgent.
2.9. We are aware that threats and challenges the Alliance faces require continuous modernisation of the Member States' armed forces. Therefore, defence expenditures must be effective and well directed; research in the field of defence should be co-ordinated with particular emphasis on balanced exchanges of technology between the United States and the other Members of the Alliance. There is a need to consider an increase in defence budgets.
3.1. The enlargement of NATO is central to the transformation of the Alliance. The admission of new members to the Alliance will strengthen NATO, increase the security and stability of Europe and provide a further impulse for reform and reorganisation. At its Session in Sofia in May 2002, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly called for a broad and regionally balanced enlargement and recognised that Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have proved their progress towards NATO membership through successful programmes of reform at home and their contributions to NATO operations in the Balkans.
3.2. Therefore, on the understanding that the reform processes in these countries will be vigorously pursued, the Assembly recommends that invitations be issued to these seven countries at the Prague Summit; and further calls upon NATO national parliaments to ensure the smooth passage of ratification. The Assembly's Standing Committee is ready to include in its work the representatives of the new member countries as soon as the protocols of accession have been signed.
3.3. Each of the applicant countries is now making a distinctive contribution to the stability and security of the Euro-Atlantic region. The Assembly urges all applicants to continue their efforts in implementing their Membership Action Plans (MAPs) as outlined in the Reykjavik communiqué.
3.4. The open door policy must continue. Those countries not invited to join the Alliance at the Prague Summit are expected to join in the future. NATO should consider the issue of enlargement no later than 2007. Assistance in the context of MAPs should be increased.
4. The Revision of NATO’s Roles and Missions
4.1. In the struggle against terrorism, NATO is the most effective organisation for the use of military forces, for the sharing of appropriate intelligence, for defence against WMD, and for the protection of both military forces and civilian populations against biological, chemical, nuclear or radiological attacks.
4.2. NATO should now endorse defence against the threat of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and particularly the threat of biological, chemical or radiological agents, as a priority for the Allies.
4.3. This priority must be acknowledged in NATO's Strategic Concept and in the military concept for defence against terrorism which is currently under development. It should acquire appropriate prominence in guiding the development of Alliance capabilities. In this context, defence against WMD should be given priority at all levels: arms control, counter-proliferation and disarmament, and the appropriate military capabilities. NATO’s Civil Emergency Planning aimed at the protection of civil society should also be given an enhanced role.
4.4. This new mission should not detract from NATO’s current role of extending the zone of stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. NATO’s enlargement and Europe’s stability are of paramount relevance in the face of the new challenges. NATO must continue to be collectively involved in crisis response operations and remain actively engaged with transition countries, particularly in helping partners implement and consolidate defence reforms.
5. Reform of NATO’s Military Structures
5.1. NATO’s existing structures should be further improved to facilitate force projection.
5.2. NATO’s integrated command structure should be subject to further reform so that it can support and sustain such campaigns or new missions in the future. The ongoing review of the existing command structure should result in the development of flexible and highly deployable headquarters, ready to move at short notice and with the ability to deal with major regional crises. This review should also take account of the latest and future enlargement of the Alliance.
5.3. The Alliance must encourage the development of multinational, rapidly deployable response forces, as well as the means to transport and sustain them.
5.4. A particular emphasis should be placed on the further development of special forces.
5.5. Noting the problems of recent years in deploying forces in the Balkans, nations must increase substantially the proportion of combat and support forces that are available for deployment in NATO-led missions.
5.6. The Alliance must encourage a degree of role specialisation where countries focus on their particular strengths and existing and planned investments.
5.7. As NATO Defence Ministers recommended at their meeting on 6 June 2002, the Defence Capabilities Initiative must now focus on a small number of high priority goals essential to the full range of Alliance missions including the defence against terrorism. This new initiative should be based on firm national commitments with specific target dates.
5.8. These national commitments should be made transparent for parliamentary monitoring and oversight.
5.9. Priority should be given to projects that maximise multi-nationality and which have the potential to become common NATO assets.
5.10. Every effort should be made to ensure that the NATO and EU capabilities initiatives are mutually reinforcing and thoroughly harmonised through permanent co-ordination mechanisms and procedures in a spirit of openness.
5.11. In view of the potential threat of chemical and biological weapons, priority must be given to the development of the capabilities needed to defend NATO forces and populations against terrorism, WMD and their delivery systems, and other unconventional threats.
5.12. The measures should include the creation of an NBC Event Response Team to be immediately available in the case of an attack and the sharing of technical and material resources in order to assess and mitigate the effects on both military forces and civilians of an NBC attack.
5.13. Priority should be also given to the prevention and countering of cyber-terrorism.
5.14. NATO must redouble its efforts to reduce the fragmentation of defence procurement efforts through the pooling of military capabilities, co-operative acquisition of equipment and common funding. It should reduce to a minimum the obstacles for the sharing of technology.
6. Relations with the European Union
6.1. NATO and the European Union are evolving from their respective origins and goals towards a common strategic endeavour in European security and stability. This provides a compelling rationale for the closest possible interaction and collaboration between both organisations in all areas, particularly the struggle against terrorism, the proliferation of WMD, the Petersberg missions and all crisis response operations.
6.2. The “Berlin Plus” formula should be implemented to allow the effective use of NATO assets and capabilities for EU-led operations when NATO itself is not involved.
6.3. The EU and NATO must work closely together on the improvement of capabilities.
6.4. Timely and effective consultation and co-operation should be ensured by the establishment of permanent representation in each others’ headquarters.
6.5. In view of the need for a comprehensive response to international terrorism, the closest possible co-ordination and harmonization with the European Union will be essential.
6.6. NATO and the EU should consider and pursue all areas of potential co?operation and co?ordination in crisis management and the fight against terrorism.
6.7. The plans and resources of NATO and the EU in the area of civil emergency planning should be fully co-ordinated to avoid duplication and ensure maximum efficiency.
6.8. Consultation and co-operation between NATO and EU members' internal security agencies in the areas of counter-terrorism and the proliferation of WMD should be intensified and improved.
7. Alliance Engagement
7.1. The engagement in the Balkans of forces from Alliance and other contributing nations under NATO co-ordination has been a crucial factor in restoring peace and security to the region. Significant positive results have been attained, but the situation remains volatile.
7.2. Therefore the Alliance commitment to peace support operations in the Balkans must be sustained in conjunction with the European Union.
8. NATO and Russia
8.1. The deepening of NATO’s relationship with Russia and the creation of the NATO-Russia Council provide a solid basis for meeting Euro-Atlantic security challenges while safeguarding NATO’s cohesion and freedom of action.
8.2. NATO must increase its efforts to convey to all sectors of Russian society the role that NATO plays and the co?operative nature of the partnership between NATO and Russia.
8.3. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly will work to that same end by continuing to strengthen its relationship with the Russian Federal Assembly through a new NATO PA-Russian Federal Assembly Standing Committee.
9. NATO and Ukraine
9.1. The Assembly welcomes Ukraine’s contribution to NATO missions in the Balkans and to the struggle against terrorism.
9.2. The Assembly supports the deepening and broadening of the relationship between NATO and Ukraine to bring it to a qualitatively new level.
9.3. Ukraine must redouble its efforts in the field of defence reform and must ensure that its defence exports are conducted within appropriate national and international regulatory frameworks.
10. Partnership and Co-operation
10.1. NATO has a key role to play in assisting countries in transition through programmes of partnership and co-operation, particularly in implementing much needed defence reforms. This role will become even more important after the enlargement decision in Prague to avoid the emergence of grey areas of instability and insecurity.
10.2. Particular attention and encouragement should be given to endeavours for regional co?operation and to those countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia seeking closer relations with NATO.
10.3. All partners must be involved in the struggle against terrorism and a Partnership plan should be formulated to provide appropriate guidance for the development of contributions and capabilities in that specific area.
10.4. The Alliance's transformation should include a deepening of the Mediterranean Dialogue in order to strengthen mutual understanding and promote peace and stability in that region. NATO should develop a Partnership for Mediterranean Dialogue with countries that seek a closer relationship with the Alliance.
10.5. Encouragement should be given to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in their efforts to implement reforms and to take steps towards a full range of positive relationships with NATO.
11. NATO’s Internal Structure
11.1. NATO enlargement and the adoption of new roles and missions will affect the internal functioning of the Alliance. NATO’s internal structures should be further streamlined. NATO’s Secretary General should be given a mandate to overhaul the internal organisation, under the guidance of the North Atlantic Council, with the aim of streamlining and reducing the number of committees and ensuring that resources are devoted to supporting the revised political and military priorities.
11.2. Every effort must be made to maximise the speed and effectiveness of the NATO decision?making process while preserving the consensus-building principle.
11.3. The work of NATO on science and environment should be directed specifically towards supporting projects that are relevant to current security challenges.
12. NATO and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
12.1. NATO should work more closely with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in developing partnership programmes, strengthening and broadening the transatlantic relationship, and ensuring that NATO’s roles and missions are better appreciated and understood by the populations in the Euro-Atlantic region, through greater transparency and openness. To this end, the Alliance must continue, and if possible increase, its efforts in public information and outreach policies.
12.2. Carrying through the changes needed to sustain NATO's relevance will require the engagement and active support of public opinion throughout the Alliance. Members of Parliament have a key role in reflecting public concerns and in providing the necessary resources. Public support must be sustained through full transparency, accountability and effective parliamentary oversight.
12.3. As the collective parliamentary voice of the Alliance, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly plays a central role in making Alliance policies more transparent and accountable.