Partnership for Peace programme

  • Last updated: 07 Apr. 2016 16:25

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a programme of practical bilateral cooperation between individual Euro-Atlantic partner countries and NATO. It allows partners to build up an individual relationship with NATO, choosing their own priorities for cooperation.


Based on a commitment to the democratic principles that underpin the Alliance itself, the purpose of the Partnership for Peace is to increase stability, diminish threats to peace and build strengthened security relationships between individual Euro-Atlantic partners and NATO, as well as among partner countries.

Activities on offer under the PfP programme touch on virtually every field of NATO activity, including defence-related work, defence reform, defence policy and planning, civil-military relations, education and training, military-to-military cooperation and exercises, civil emergency planning and disaster response, and cooperation on science and environmental issues.

The essence of the PfP programme is a partnership formed individually between each Euro-Atlantic partner and NATO, tailored to individual needs and jointly implemented at the level and pace chosen by each participating government.

Over the years, a range of PfP tools and mechanisms have been developed to support cooperation through a mix of policies, programmes, action plans and arrangements. At the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, as part of a focused reform effort to develop a more efficient and flexible partnership policy, Allied leaders, decided to take steps to streamline NATO’s partnership tools in order to open all cooperative activities and exercises to partners and to harmonise partnership programmes. The new partnerships policy approved by Allied foreign ministers in Berlin in April opened all cooperative activities and exercises offered to PfP partners and some programmes offered in the PfP “toolbox” to all partners, whether they be Euro-Atlantic partners, countries participating in the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, or global partners. (For more details, see A-Z page on “Partnership tools")


The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council provides the overall political framework for NATO’s cooperation with Euro-Atlantic partners and the bilateral relationships developed between NATO and individual partner countries within the Partnership for Peace programme.

There are currently 22 countries in the Partnership for Peace Programme, see list by country or date.


  • PfP was established in 1994 to enable participants to develop an individual relationship with NATO, choosing their own priorities for cooperation, and the level and pace of progress.
  • Activities on offer under the PfP programme touch on virtually every field of NATO activity.
  • Since April 2011, all PfP activities and exercises are in principle open to all NATO partners, be they from the Euro-Atlantic region, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative or global partners.
  • Currently, there are 22 countries in the Partnership for Peace programme.
  • Framework

    Partner countries choose individual activities according to their ambitions and abilities. These are put forward to NATO in what is called a Presentation Document.

    An Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (previously called the Individual Partnership Programme) is then jointly developed and agreed between NATO and each partner country. These two-year programmes are drawn up from an extensive menu of activities, according to each country’s specific interests and needs. Following implementation of the decisions taken at the Lisbon Summit, all partners will have access to the new Partnership and Cooperation Menu, which comprises some 1,600 activities.

    Some countries choose to deepen their cooperation with NATO by developing Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs). Developed on a two-year basis, such plans are designed to bring together all the various cooperation mechanisms through which a partner country interacts with the Alliance, sharpening the focus of activities to better support their domestic reform efforts.

  • Milestones

    1990 (July) Allies extend a “hand of friendship” across the old East-West divide and propose a new cooperative relationship with all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
    1991 (November) The Alliance issues a new strategic concept for NATO, which adopts a broader approach to security, emphasising partnership, dialogue and cooperation.
      (December) The North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) is established as a forum for security dialogue between NATO and its new partners.
    1994 The Partnership for Peace (PfP), a major programme of practical bilateral cooperation between NATO and individual partner countries, is launched.
      Partner missions to NATO are established.
      A Partnership Coordination Cell is set up at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) to help coordinate PfP training and exercises.
    1995 An International Coordination Cell is established at SHAPE to provide briefing and planning facilities for all non-NATO countries contributing troops to NATO-led peacekeeping operations.
    1996 A number of partner countries deploy to Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of a NATO-led peacekeeping force.
    1997 The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) is created to replace the NACC.
      The operational role of the PfP is enhanced at the Madrid Summit.
    1998 Creation of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre and Disaster Response Unit.
    1999 Three partners – the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – join NATO.
      Dialogue and cooperation are included as fundamental security tasks in the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept.
      (April, Washington Summit) The PfP is further enhanced and its operational role strengthened, including introduction of:
    • the Operational Capabilities Concept to improve the ability of Alliance and partner forces to operate together in NATO-led operations;
    • the Political-Military Framework for partner involvement in political consultations and decision-making, in operational planning and in command arrangements;
    • a Training and Education Enhancement Programme to help reinforce the operational capabilities of partner countries.
      Several partner countries deploy peacekeepers as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo.
    2001 (September) The EAPC meets the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States and pledges to combat the scourge of terrorism.
    2002 The Partnership Trust Fund policy is launched to assist partner countries in the safe destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines and other munitions.
      (November, Prague Summit) Further enhancement of partnership, including:
    • a Comprehensive Review to strengthen political dialogue with partners and enhance their involvement in the planning, conduct and oversight of activities in which they participate;
    • a Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism (PAP-T);
    • Individual Partnership Action Plans, allowing the Alliance to tailor its assistance to interested partners seeking more structured support for domestic reforms, particularly in the defence and security sector.
    2003 Some partner countries contribute troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
    2004 Seven partners – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – join NATO.
      (June, Istanbul Summit) Further steps are taken to strengthen partnership, including:
    • a Partnership Action Plan for Defence Institution Building (PAP-DIB) to encourage and support partners in building effective and democratically responsible defence institutions;
    • an enhanced Operational Capabilities Concept and partners are offered representation at Allied Command Transformation to help promote greater military interoperability between NATO and partner country forces;
    • a special focus on the Caucasus and Central Asia.
    2006 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia become partners.
    2008 (April, Bucharest Summit)
    • Malta returns to the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and joins the EAPC (Malta first joined the PfP programme in April 1995 but suspended its participation in October 1996).
    • Priority is given to building integrity in defence institutions and the important role of women in conflict resolution (as outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 1325).
    2009 Two partners – Albania and Croatia – become members of NATO.

    (November, Lisbon Summit)

    • Allies reiterate their commitment to the EAPC and the PfP programme, described in NATO’s new Strategic Concept as being central to the Allies’ vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace.
    • Allies agree to streamline NATO’s partnership tools in order to open all cooperative activities and exercises to all partners and to harmonise partnership.
    • Allies decide to review the Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations in order to update the way NATO works together with partner countries and shapes decisions on the operations and missions to which they contribute.
    2011 (April) Following up on the Lisbon Summit decisions, Allied Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin approve a new, more efficient and flexible partnership policy. The revised Political-Military Framework for partner involvement in NATO-led operations is also noted by ministers.
    2014 January 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the PfP programme.