Partnership for Peace programme
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 democratic principles, the purpose of the Partnership for Peace is to increase stability, diminish threats to peace and build strengthened security relationships between NATO and non-member countries in the Euro-Atlantic area.
- The 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.
A wide range of activities, tools and programmes
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 response, and cooperation on science and environmental issues.
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 partnerships policy approved by Allied foreign ministers in Berlin in April 2011 opened all cooperative activities and exercises as well as some programmes that were previously offered only to PfP partners 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 “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.
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. All partners have access to the Partnership Cooperation Menu, which comprises approximately 1,400 activities each year.
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.
July 1990: 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.
November 1991: The Alliance issues a new Strategic Concept for NATO, which adopts a broader approach to security, emphasising partnership, dialogue and cooperation.
December 1991: 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.
July 1997: 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 – Czechia, Hungary and Poland – join NATO.
April 1999: At the Washington Summit, dialogue and cooperation are included as fundamental security tasks in the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept. Moreover, the PfP is further enhanced and its operational role strengthened, including the 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.
1999: Several partner countries deploy peacekeepers as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR).
12 September 2001: 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 2002: At the Prague Summit, partnerships are further enhanced 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 2004: At the 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.
April 2008: At the 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). Also, priority is given to working with partners on building integrity in defence institutions and the important role of women in conflict resolution (as outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325).
2009: Two partners – Albania and Croatia – become members of NATO.
November 2010: At the Lisbon Summit, Allies reiterate their commitment to the EAPC and the PfP programme, described in NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept as being central to the Allies’ vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. They agree to streamline NATO’s partnership tools in order to open all cooperative activities and exercises to all partners and to harmonise partnership. They also decide to review the Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations to update the way NATO works together with partner countries and shapes decisions on the operations and missions to which they contribute.
April 2011: 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.
July 2016: At NATO’s summit in Warsaw, Allied leaders underline that – against the background of an increasingly unstable, global security environment, and based on a broad and strengthened deterrence and defence posture – NATO will seek to contribute more to the efforts of the international community in projecting stability and strengthening security outside NATO territory, thereby contributing to Alliance security overall. As part of these efforts NATO will develop a more strategic, more coherent, and more effective approach to partnerships.
June 2017: Partner country Montenegro becomes a member of NATO.
March 2020: Partner country the Republic of North Macedonia joins NATO.
April 2023: Partner country Finland joins NATO.