Over the past two decades, the Alliance has developed a network of structured partnerships with countries from the Euro-Atlantic area, the Mediterranean and the Gulf region, as well as individual relationships with other partners across the globe.
Today, NATO engages with 41 countries as partners. Many of these partners as well as other non-member countries offer substantial capabilities and political support for Alliance missions. In December 2012, 24 non-NATO countries were contributing over 7000 troops to NATO-led operations.
NATO also engages actively with other international actors and organisations on defence and security-related issues, and is seeking to deepen this cooperation. The complexity of today’s peace-support and stabilization operations and the multifaceted nature of 21st century security challenges call for a comprehensive approach that effectively combines political, civilian and military instruments.
A focused effort to reform NATO’s partnerships policy was launched at the Lisbon Summit to make dialogue and cooperation more inclusive, flexible, meaningful and strategically oriented. This resulted in a new partnership policy, which was endorsed by NATO foreign ministers at their meeting in Berlin in April 2011.