An IPAP should clearly set out the cooperation objectives and priorities of the individual partner country, and ensure that the various mechanisms in use correspond directly to these priorities. It is a partnership tool that allows NATO to provide focused country-specific advice on defence and security-related domestic reform and, when appropriate, on larger policy and institutional reform. Partners can also support or contribute to another partner’s IPAP.
Intensified political dialogue on relevant issues may be an integral part of an IPAP process.
Furthermore, IPAPs also make it easier to coordinate bilateral assistance provided by individual Allies and partner countries, as well as coordinate efforts with other relevant international institutions.
Objectives covered fall into the general categories of political and security issues; defence, security and military issues; public information; science and environment; civil emergency planning; and administrative, protective security and resource issues.
IPAPs were launched at the Prague Summit in November 2002. On 29 October 2004, Georgia became the first country to agree an IPAP with NATO. Azerbaijan agreed its first IPAP on 27 May 2005 and Armenia on 16 December 2005. On 31 January 2006, Kazakhstan also agreed an IPAP with NATO, Moldova on 19 May 2006 and two Balkan countries in 2008: Montenegro in June and Bosnia and Herzegovina in September.
Partners periodically review their IPAPs with NATO. However, while some have already completed three IPAP cycles such as Armenia and Azerbaijan and are developing a fourth, other partners choose to be less active. Georgia and Montenegro have since moved from this mechanism as they pursue their membership aspirations through development of Annual National Programmes and, in the case of Montenegro, within the Membership Action Plan process.