He provides advice to the Secretary General on how best to achieve NATO’s goals in the two regions, and how best to address the security concerns of NATO’s partners. He is responsible for overall coordination of NATO’s partnership policy in the two regions, and works closely with regional leaders to enhance their cooperation with the Alliance.
The Special Representative also provides high-level support for the work of the NATO Liaison Officer in each region. He works closely with the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan in order to ensure that NATO’s policy in Central Asia fully supports NATO’s ongoing mission in Afghanistan.
He liaises with senior officials from Partner governments in the two regions, and advises them on their overall process of reform and how best to use NATO Partnership tools to implement those reforms. He also liaises with representatives of the international community and other international organizations engaged in the two regions in order to ensure coordination of assistance programs.
The Special Representative also promotes understanding about NATO and security issues more generally through engaging with the media and civil society in the two regions.
The position of Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia was created on an ad hoc basis following the decision taken by NATO Allies at the Istanbul Summit in June 2004, to place a special focus on the strategically important regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia. A key element of this special focus is enhanced liaison arrangements, including the appointment of the Special Representative and two NATO Liaison Officers, one for each region.
The post of Special Representative is currently held by James Appathurai, who replaced Robert F. Simmons – NATO’s first Special Representative – in December 2010. Mr Appathurai previously served as NATO’s Spokeperson from 2004 to 2010. Prior to that he served as Deputy Head and Senior Planning Officer in the Policy Planning and Speechwriting Section of NATO’s Political Affairs Division from 1998 to 2004.