NATO’s Secretary General reports regularly to the UN Secretary General on progress in NATO-led operations and on other key decisions of the North Atlantic Council in the area of crisis management and in the fight against terrorism. In recent years, staff-level meetings and high-level visits have become more frequent. The UN is invited to attend NATO ministerial meetings.
In September 2008, building on the experience of over a decade of working together, the Secretaries General of the two organizations agreed to establish a framework for expanded consultation and cooperation. This includes regular exchanges and dialogue at senior and working levels on political and operational issues. Increasing cooperation will significantly contribute to addressing the threats and challenges that the international community faces.
Within this framework, cooperation will be further developed between NATO and the UN on issues of common interest, including in communication and information-sharing; capacity-building, training and exercises; lessons learned, planning and support for contingencies; and operational coordination and support. Cooperation will continue to develop in a practical way, taking into account each organization’s specific mandate, expertise, procedures and capabilities.
Staff level meetings take place on an annual basis between the Secretariats of NATO and the UN. Similar meetings also take place with other UN organizations, such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and NATO experts participate in events organized by other UN bodies.
As detailed below, NATO contributes to the work of a number of UN committees and bodies set up to address the important challenges of terrorism; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery; promoting the rights and role of women in conflict; protecting children affected by armed conflict; the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons; and disaster relief.
NATO contributes actively to the work of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee (UN CTC) – established in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1373 in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States – and participates in special meetings of the Committee bringing together international, regional and sub-regional organizations involved in this process. NATO and the UN conduct reciprocal briefings on progress in the area of counter-terrorism, in their respective committees. NATO is also committed to supporting the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
NATO contributes to the work of the UN Security Council Committee established following the adoption of UNSCR 1540 (2004), which addresses the threat to international peace and security posed by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery. In this context, since 2004 the Alliance has been organizing a string of international non-proliferation seminars with the active participation of partner countries and international organizations. In addition, NATO addresses the implementation of UNSCR 1540 at regional and sub-regional levels in order to better identify the real needs of nations for assistance.
Women, peace and security
NATO remains committed to the full implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and related Resolutions, which are aimed at protecting and promoting women’s rights, role and participation in preventing and ending conflict. In line with the NATO/Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Policy, the Alliance has together with its partners made significant progress in implementing the goals set out in these Resolutions. In this regard, NATO has endorsed a Strategic Progress Report on mainstreaming UNSCR 1325 and related Resolutions into NATO-led Operations and Missions. Furthermore, in August 2012, NATO Secretary General appointed a NATO Special Representative for these important issues. In this context and to further advance this work, the Allies have tasked the North Atlantic Council to continue implementing the Policy and the Action Plan; undertake a review of the practical implications of UNSCR 1325 for the conduct of NATO operations and missions; further integrate gender perspectives into Alliance activities; and submit a report for the next NATO Summit.
Protecting children in armed conflict
NATO also remains committed to the implementation of UNSCR 1612 and related Resolutions on the protection of children affected by armed conflict. At the NATO Summit in Chicago, NATO leaders expressed their concern at the growing range of threats to children in armed conflict and strongly condemned that they are increasingly subject to recruitment, sexual violence and targeted attacks. NATO-led operations, such as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, are taking an active role in preventing, monitoring and responding to violations against children, including through pre-deployment training and a violations alert mechanism. This approach, based on practical field-oriented measures, demonstrates NATO’s firm commitment on this issue, as does the recent appointment of a NATO Focal Point for Children and Armed Conflict in charge of maintaining a close dialogue with the UN. NATO-UN cooperation in this field is creating a set of good practices to be integrated in NATO training modules and taken into account in possible future operations.
Small arms and light weapons
NATO contributes also at the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in All its Aspects, adopted in July 2001 by nearly 150 countries, including all NATO member states. It consists of measures at the national, regional and global levels in the areas of legislation, destruction of weapons that have been confiscated, seized or collected, as well as international cooperation and assistance to strengthen the ability of states in identifying and tracing illicit arms and light weapons. Every two years, the UN holds the Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action. Through the Ad Hoc Working Group on SALW, established in 1999 within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, NATO supports the implementation of the Programme of Action with outreach activities, including at regional and sub-regional level.
NATO also co-operates with the UN in support of disaster relief operations. Through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), NATO coordinates consequence-management efforts with UN and other bodies and shares information on disaster assistance. All the EADRCC’s tasks are performed in close cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), which retains the primary role in the coordination of international disaster relief operations. The EADRCC is a regional coordination mechanism, supporting and complementing the UN efforts. In the case of a disaster requiring international assistance, it is up to individual NATO member states and partner countries to decide whether to provide assistance, based on information received from EADRCC.