• Last updated: 07 Jul. 2021 10:46

Also available in: French

NATO Summit 2021

2021 NATO Summit

NATO has kept its citizens safe for over 70 years and will continue to adapt in this decade and beyond. At the NATO Summit in Brussels on 14 June 2021, NATO Leaders took decisions on a wide range of topics to address the security challenges of today and tomorrow.

What is a NATO summit?

A NATO summit is the gathering of the leaders of NATO's 30 member countries.

What happened at the 2021 NATO Summit?

NATO Leaders discussed key issues, took decisions about the future of NATO and agreed on concrete measures to adapt the Alliance, as part of the NATO 2030 agenda.

What did NATO Leaders discuss?

Major topics under discussion included NATO's role in a changing geostrategic environment, collective defence, emerging technologies, climate change and security, and other important issues.

Why do we have NATO summits?

NATO is a military and political alliance. Dialogue and decision-making by civilian leaders is the bedrock of our Organization, in accordance with our democratic values.

Key decisions

NATO Leaders discussed a wide range of issues at the 2021 NATO Summit in Brussels, including the main themes of the NATO 2030 initiative: how to reinforce the Alliance's unity, broaden its approach to security and contribute to safeguarding the rules-based international order. They took decisions to prepare NATO for the challenges of today and tomorrow, including Russia's pattern of aggressive behaviour, terrorism, cyber attacks and disruptive technologies, the rise of China, and the security implications of climate change.

NATO Leaders agreed the NATO 2030 agenda to strengthen the Alliance over the next decade and beyond. The agenda includes nine main decisions. You can also check out the NATO 2030 factsheet and the full 2021 Brussels Summit Communiqué to learn more.

1 – Deepen political consultation

1 – Deepen political consultation

NATO Leaders agreed to deepen and broaden political consultations in NATO, including by holding an additional meeting of foreign ministers every year and having more consultations with Allied capitals in different formats, including with national security advisors, political directors and other senior officials.
2 – Strengthen deterrence and defence

2 – Strengthen deterrence and defence

NATO Leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to Allied deterrence and defence. Allies will continue to aim to meet by 2024 the NATO-agreed guideline of spending 2% of Gross Domestic Product on defence and 20% of annual defence spending on major new equipment.
3 – Improve resilience

3 – Improve resilience

NATO Leaders agreed to take a broader and more coordinated approach to resilience, including through a Strengthened Resilience Commitment. Allies will develop resilience objectives to guide nationally tailored resilience goals and implementation plans, based on clearer and more measurable Alliance-wide resilience objectives.
4 – Preserve our technological edge

4 – Preserve our technological edge

NATO Leaders agreed to launch a Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) to boost transatlantic cooperation on critical technologies and to establish a NATO Innovation Fund to invest in start-ups working on emerging and disruptive technologies.
5 – Uphold the rules-based international order

5 – Uphold the rules-based international order

NATO Leaders agreed to strengthen NATO's relationships with like-minded partners and international organisations – including the European Union – and to forge new engagements, including in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
6 – Boost training and capacity-building

6 – Boost training and capacity-building

NATO Leaders agreed to step up NATO's efforts to assist its partners' capacity-building in areas like counter-terrorism, stabilisation, countering hybrid attacks, crisis management, peacekeeping and defence reform.
7 – Combat and adapt to climate change

7 – Combat and adapt to climate change

NATO Leaders endorsed an ambitious new NATO Climate Change and Security Action Plan to help NATO and its Allies develop clear awareness, adaptation and mitigation measures, and committed to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from military activities and installations.
8 – Develop the next Strategic Concept

8 – Develop the next Strategic Concept

NATO Leaders invited Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to lead the process to develop NATO's next Strategic Concept. This key document describes the overarching security environment in which the Alliance operates, states NATO's enduring purpose and core tasks, and sets the strategic direction for its political and military adaptation.
9 – Invest in NATO

9 – Invest in NATO

NATO Leaders committed to ensuring the Alliance has the right resources, both through national defence expenditure and NATO common funding. They also agreed to identify additional resources to make sure that the Alliance continues to ensure our common defence and security through 2030 and beyond.

By agreeing the NATO 2030 agenda, leaders have taken decisions to make our Alliance stronger and better fit for the future.

- Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General

NATO 2030

NATO 2030 was at the heart of the 2021 NATO Summit. At their meeting in December 2019, NATO Leaders asked Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to lead a forward-looking reflection process to strengthen NATO and to make sure our Alliance continues to adapt to the rapidly changing world – staying strong militarily, becoming a stronger political alliance and taking a more global approach.

Over the last year, the Secretary General consulted widely with Allies and received valuable input from an independent group of experts. He also engaged with civil society, young people, parliamentarians and the private sector. Based on these inputs, the Secretary General presented recommendations to NATO Leaders, which formed the bedrock of the NATO 2030 agenda that they agreed at the 2021 NATO Summit.

Watch the animations below to learn more about three major dimensions of the NATO 2030 agenda, and check out the NATO 2030 website for more detailed information.

A strong military alliance

A strong military alliance

NATO's military strength is more important than ever. In an unpredictable world, our strong militaries protect our democracies, our freedom and our prosperity.
 stronger political alliance

A stronger political alliance

NATO is a unique forum for political dialogue. We discuss a wide range of issues that concern our shared security, from cyber threats and terrorism, to pandemics and climate change.
A more global approach

A more global approach

NATO is a platform to address global challenges. No country or continent can go it alone. That's why we have built a community of like-minded nations and organisations.

Watch what happened – videos

Watch the videos below to learn more about the 2021 NATO Summit in Brussels.

Leaders agree NATO 2030 agenda to strengthen the Alliance

Leaders agree NATO 2030 agenda to strengthen the Alliance

Discover the key decisions that NATO Leaders took together when they met at the 2021 NATO Summit in Brussels.
30 Allies, 1 NATO

30 Allies, 1 NATO

NATO is a diverse alliance of 30 countries from Europe and North America. In this video, we celebrate the beauty of our Alliance and its people.
NATO Leaders watch digital experience at NATO Summit

NATO Leaders watch digital experience at NATO Summit

At the 2021 NATO Summit in Brussels, NATO Leaders experienced a virtual journey to 2030, highlighting the major points of the NATO 2030 agenda.

NATO 2030 at Brussels Forum

In parallel with the summit, NATO partnered with the German Marshall Fund of the United States to host 'NATO 2030 at Brussels Forum'. This event featured conversations with government leaders, international experts, representatives from civil society, the private sector and young professionals. They held future-oriented discussions on NATO's priorities for the next decade and beyond.

Watch the full recording on YouTube.


Brussel Forum

 

Beautiful Brussels

Brussels has been NATO's home for over 50 years. To celebrate the 2021 NATO Summit, local landmarks were decked out with special decorations. Click through the gallery below to see how Brussels painted the town NATO blue!

  • NATO flags at the Atomium in Brussels
    • NATO flags at the Atomium in Brussels
  • NATO flags at the Atomium in Brussels
    • NATO flags at the Atomium in Brussels
  • One of the best-known symbols of Brussels, the Manneken Pis statue, is dressed up in a NATO-themed outfit, which NATO will donate to his famous wardrobe.
    • One of the best-known symbols of Brussels, the Manneken Pis statue, is dressed up in a NATO-themed outfit, which NATO will donate to his famous wardrobe.
  • NATO Protect the Future campaign posters in Brussels
    • NATO Protect the Future campaign posters in Brussels
  • NATO Protect the Future campaign posters in Brussels
    • NATO Protect the Future campaign posters in Brussels
  • Brussels Town Hall in the UNESCO-listed Grand Place (the city's main square) is illuminated in NATO blue on the eve of the NATO summit.
    • Brussels Town Hall in the UNESCO-listed Grand Place (the city's main square) is illuminated in NATO blue on the eve of the NATO summit.
  • NATO flag flies under the Cinquantenaire Arch in Brussels from 11 to 15 June 2021
    • NATO flag flies under the Cinquantenaire Arch in Brussels from 11 to 15 June 2021
  • NATO flag flies under the Cinquantenaire Arch in Brussels from 11 to 15 June 2021
    • NATO flag flies under the Cinquantenaire Arch in Brussels from 11 to 15 June 2021
  • NATO flag flies under the Cinquantenaire Arch in Brussels from 11 to 15 June 2021
    • NATO flag flies under the Cinquantenaire Arch in Brussels from 11 to 15 June 2021
 

Behind the scenes

Why does NATO have summits? What's it like to meet with world leaders? What did NATO Heads of State and Government discuss at this year's summit? Listen to the NATO Summit Behind the Scenes podcast to learn more!

Setting up a summit with Steve Derden

Steve Derden, responsible for protocol and events at NATO Headquarters, tells us about all the work that is done to prepare for the meeting of NATO Leaders.

Press Office preparations with Dylan White

NATO Press Officer Dylan White explains how his team answers questions from journalists and tells us about his experience as a young professional at NATO.

The NATO 2030 Young Leaders with Tania Lațici

Tania Lațici, one of 14 young professionals named as NATO 2030 Young Leaders, tells us about the group's work.

Hack(athon) to the Future with Paulina Brunn and Veronika Datzer

Paulina Brunn and Veronika Datzer explain how their team of students from Freie Universität Berlin won NATO's first Policy Hackathon.

Hosting at the Headquarters with NATO HQ support staff

In this episode, we talk to the people who keep things running smoothly at NATO HQ – from architects and security experts to interpreters. Please note that this episode is partially in French.

Summing up the summit – the NATO 2030 agenda with Benedetta Berti

Benedetta Berti, head of the Policy Planning Unit in the Secretary General's office, explains the major decisions that NATO Leaders took at the summit as part of the NATO 2030 agenda.

Intern(ational) Relations with Lorenzo Revello and Aytunç Ilhan

In this episode, we talk to NATO intern Lorenzo Revello and temporary staff member Aytunç Ilhan about their experiences at the summit and their top tips for landing a NATO internship.

Meet the Media with Gulderner Sonumut

Gulderner Sonumut, a journalist for the Turkish news outlet NTV who has covered NATO summits since the 1990s, tells us what it's like to ask NATO Leaders important questions.

NATO Summit Behind the Scenes wrap-up with Mariana Antunes and Bruce Cinnamon

In our final episode, your heroic hosts Mariana and Bruce put their knowledge to the test with a quiz about the key decisions of the 2021 NATO Summit and everything we've learned from our guests.

Dive deeper into the 2021 NATO Summit

  • Social media – join the conversation about the #NATOSummit and #NATO2030
  • YouTube – watch the NATO 2030 playlist
  • NATO 2030 – learn how NATO is adapting to future challenges
  • NATO summits – read more about the history and purpose of NATO summit meetings
  • NATO Audience Research – dig into the data about perceptions of NATO in member countries
  • Media resources – click here for a detailed programme of events, more background information and factsheets, and high-quality b-roll and photos