Contact Point Embassies in partner countries
Since the early 1990s, NATO has developed a network of Contact Point Embassies (CPEs) to support its relations with and public diplomacy activities in partner countries. The Alliance fosters cooperation with these non-member countries from the Euro-Atlantic area, the Mediterranean and Gulf regions, and other partners across the globe.
CPEs are a valuable tool that contributes to NATO’s outreach efforts. In every partner country, an embassy of one or more NATO member states serve as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. In addition to this public diplomacy role, the CPEs’ mandate also includes support – as required – for the implementation of other agreed activities with partners.
Allied Contact Point Embassies work closely with NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division to provide information on the purpose and activities of the Alliance in the host country while also supporting the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division with its management of various partnership formats.
CPEs are not NATO’s diplomatic mission in the host country. However, they play an important role in disseminating information about the Alliance. CPEs identify key decision-makers, opinion formers and public diplomacy opportunities within the country and coordinate with the Public Diplomacy Division on relevant events. They also inform individuals within the host country on how to apply for NATO funding and fellowships, and how to participate in scientific programmes.
CPEs offer advice to NATO Headquarters on various project proposals as well as on an array of NATO-related issues within the host country, such as political discussions, debates and concerns and changes in public opinion. They can also assist, as appropriate, with logistical support, political advice and briefings on relevant developments in the host country in preparation for visits to the country by the Secretary General, NATO International Staff and NATO forces. They also regularly liaise with other NATO member country embassies in the host country to inform about NATO’s agenda and involve them in NATO-related activities or events.
NATO’s member countries volunteer the services of their embassies in partner countries to assume the duties of Contact Point Embassy for a period of two years, renewable up to four years. The final decision on the assignment of CPEs is taken by consensus in the North Atlantic Council – the principal political decision-making body within NATO. NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division coordinates the CPE network and liaises closely with CPEs.