Rose-Roth Seminars, Parliamentary & Staff Training Programmes
The Rose-Roth programme of co-operation with the parliaments of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) was initiated in 1990 by then President of the Assembly Congressman Charlie Rose and Senator Bill Roth.
The original goal of the programme was to assist partner countries in Central and Eastern Europe through their challenging transition process to democracy after the fall of the Berlin wall, which involved the implementation of difficult political and economic reforms.
The programme has evolved to include parliamentarians from an increasing number of non-NATO countries. Today it aims to enhance parliamentary awareness, to build contacts and provide experience and expertise. Particular attention is paid to promoting the principle of the democratic control of armed forces and to the development of effective parliamentary oversight of defence and the military.
The programme has received since its birth the generous financial support of US AID, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF), the Swiss Government, NATO, Norway, Denmark and the Parliament of Luxembourg.
The Rose-Roth Programme involves a series of seminars focused on regional and topical security issues and training programmes for parliamentary staff and members of Parliament.
The NATO PA holds two to three Rose-Roth Seminars per year.
For two to three days, members of parliaments from NATO member and partner countries meet with government officials, representatives from NATO and other international organisations, as well as experts from universities, think tanks and NGOs, to discuss one specific security issue of common interest. While seminars originally focused primarily on civil-military relations, including the democratic control of armed forces, today, they focus primarily on regional security issues in the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond. Recent themes for seminars have included stability in the Western Balkans, unresolved conflicts in the South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Central Asian security, and Arctic security, among others.
Seminars help familiarise legislators with key security and defence issues. Most importantly, they have proved an excellent tool for involving and integrating parliamentarians from partner parliaments in Assembly activities. By bringing together parliamentarians from NATO countries with their counterparts in non-member parliaments, the Rose Roth seminars help build a sense of partnership and co-operation at the legislative level. They also help improve mutual understanding among legislators of their various problems and perspectives. Parliamentarians from NATO countries get to hear the perspective of their counterparts in partner countries, and vice versa. As importantly, parliamentarians from neighbouring partner countries meet in a context which allows for more informal interactions and discussions. Where relations between neighbours are strained, this can be one of the few opportunities for such contacts.
The vast majority of seminars are hosted by partner parliaments, which favours these delegations’ sense of ownership of the Assembly’s processes and agenda, and allows for greater exposure of civil society in partner countries to NATO and broader defence and security issues.
The Assembly’s Secretariat organises various training programmes in Brussels for members and staff of national parliaments from NATO and from partner countries. These programmes aim to provide experience and expertise on security issues particularly to those working in the Foreign Affairs and Defence and Security Committees. Participants are invited to attend briefings at the Assembly’s headquarters, NATO, SHAPE, the Belgian Parliament, and various other European Union institutions.
These programmes include:
- parliamentary training programmes (PTP)
- the NATO orientation programme (NOP)
- the programme for new delegations (PND)
- the programme for secretaries of delegations (PSD)
Parliamentary training programmes (PTP)
- are organised for members and staff from partner parliaments.
- familiarise participants with NATO PA and NATO
- focus on parliamentarians’ role in the democratic control of the armed forces.
- are tailored to the respective parliaments’ requirements and interests.
- are held two to three times a year.
The NATO orientation programme (NOP)
- is open to parliamentarians from all member and partner parliaments who are new to international responsibilities, e.g. new members of the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence.
- is held in Brussels once every two years.
- aims to provide in-depth insight into the processes and policies of NATO PA and NATO, as well as the Alliance’s evolving relationships with its many partners.
- serves as an important forum for parliamentarians to build contacts.
As well as helping the Assembly fulfil its role as a link between NATO and national parliamentarians, this programme ensures that – whether they are supportive of NATO or not – participants are better informed about NATO.
The programme also provides an intangible yet undeniable benefit: the opportunity to build contacts. With the help of the NOP, legislators meet their counterparts both from neighbouring states and from further afield. Where relations between nations are strained, the NOP can be one of the few opportunities for cordial discussions.
The NOP helps NATO PA reach the people who will be making policy for decades to come. This fulfils one of the PA’s core missions: keeping its members informed of Alliance issues thus enabling them to exercise effective legislative oversight.
The programme for new delegations (PND)
- is organised for new delegations to NATO PA from NATO countries.
- familiarises new members with NATO PA’s role and activities and introduces them to NATO’s current political agenda, military operations, and defence policies.
- can be organised for individual delegations upon request.
The programme for secretaries of delegations (PSD)
- familiarises new secretaries of delegations with the NATO PA’s role, agenda, and reports and with all the logistical aspects involved in the work of the Assembly.
- explains what the role of the secretary of delegation is, how to organise a NATO PA meeting, and how delegations contribute to reports and resolutions.
- helps to build direct contacts with NATO PA staff and with other secretaries of delegations.
This is a brief overview of the main training programmes offered by the Assembly. There are many other training programmes open to secretaries and delegations as well as other parliamentary staff. Knowledgeable and competent staff are a considerable asset in assisting parliamentarians in their role. Members of parliament must have the requisite knowledge and professional experience to be able effectively exercise their oversight and decision-making function and that is why training is so important.