Building Integrity

  • Last updated: 18 Sep. 2018 10:59

Transparent and accountable defence institutions under democratic control are fundamental to stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond, and are essential for international security cooperation. Within the framework of the Building Integrity (BI) Policy and Action Plan, NATO works to support Allies and partner countries to promote good governance and implement the principles of integrity, transparency and accountability, in accordance with international norms and practices established for the defence and related security sector. NATO BI contributes to the three core NATO tasks: collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security.


  • NATO BI contributes to NATO’s security as well as its efforts to project stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond. It provides Allies and partner countries with diagnostic tools and tailored support to strengthen good governance principles and practices, and reduce the risk of corruption in the defence and related security sector.
  • The NATO BI Policy was endorsed at the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw and a BI Action Plan covering NATO civilian, military structures and agencies was agreed in December 2016.
  • NATO’s partners in the Euro-Atlantic area as well as Afghanistan, Australia and Colombia are associated with the NATO BI Policy.
  • Implementation of the BI capacity-building activities is supported by voluntary financial contributions to a BI Trust Fund led by Bulgaria, Norway, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Phase III will be completed in December 2018.
  • NATO BI works closely with other international organisations, including the United Nations, World Bank and European Union to promote good practices, and is supported by a pool of experts drawn from the public and private sectors, including civil society.
  • Work is underway to prepare BI 2019-2022. As part of the NATO-EU Declaration, the EU has announced its decision to make a financial contribution to the NATO BI Trust Fund.

More background information


  • NATO Building Integrity Policy

    The NATO BI Policy reaffirms NATO’s role as a unique community of nations sharing common values, committed to the principles of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The shared lessons learned from the almost 70 years of the Alliance recognise that corruption and poor governance complicate every security challenge confronting the Alliance and undermining peace, security, prosperity and operational effectiveness. The BI Policy endorsed at the Warsaw Summit reaffirms Allies’ conviction that transparent and accountable defence institutions under democratic control are fundamental to stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and essential for international security cooperation. BI is an integral part of NATO’s work and is being mainstreamed in NATO’s activities being taken forward by the NATO International Staff, International Military Staff, Military Commands and Agencies.

  • NATO Building Integrity Action Plan

    The BI Action Plan sets the course for a strategic approach to BI and good governance in the defence and related security sector, and identifies concrete steps to make BI applicable across NATO’s political and military lines of activity. The plan aims at developing effective, transparent and accountable defence institutions which are responsive to unpredictable security challenges.

    On request, BI provides tailored support to nations. This practical support is integrated in and aligned with national processes as well as NATO partnership mechanisms, including each partner’s individual programme of cooperation with NATO, the Defence Capacity Building Initiative, the Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process and, for Afghanistan, the Enduring Partnership. BI supports NATO’s capacity-building efforts, including the Defence Education Enhancement Programme and professional development programmes for Georgia and Ukraine. The BI methodology and tools also support the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

  • Building Integrity toolkit

    The Building Integrity toolkit provides a strategic approach to reducing the risk of corruption in the defence and related security sector with a view to strengthening good governance of defence establishments. It is demand-driven and tailored to meet national requirements.

    The toolkit includes:

    • BI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and Peer Review Process: Completing the voluntary SAQ is the first step in the process of developing a tailored programme. This diagnostic tool provides nations with a snapshot of their existing procedures and practices in key areas. Nations decide the pace of the process and how information will be shared. A Peer Review Report is prepared on the basis of the completed SAQ and consultations in capitals, identifying good practices as well as recommendations for improvement and action. As of September 2018, 20 countries (8 Allies and 12 partners) are engaged in the Self-Assessment/Peer Review Process: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.

    • BI pool of subject matter experts: NATO staff have considerable experience in strengthening integrity, transparency and accountability in the defence and related security sector. To meet demand, this expertise is reinforced by subject matter experts drawn from the public and private sectors from Allied and partner nations. The topics covered by the experts correspond to the areas identified in the SAQ and include management of risks as well as management of financial and personnel resources.  The experts take part in the NATO-led Peer Review Process, contribute to peer-to peer consultations, and capacity building activities including BI courses.
    • BI community of practice: BI capacity building activities are implemented with the support of a growing number of institutional partners: international, regional and national organisations with an interest in promoting good governance in the defence and related security sector. This network includes civilian and military institutions located in Allied and partner nations as well as across NATO structures. Many are engaged in research, advocacy and mainstreaming work, and some conduct BI residential courses and support the development of BI as a NATO discipline. This network of partners is connected online through a dedicated BI website.  

    • Peer-to-peer consultations: Consultations between peers are at the heart of promoting good practices.  BI provides a confidential platform for dialogue, the exchange of experiences and lessons learned on the challenges of managing change and strengthening transparency, accountability and integrity in the defence and related sector. Roundtables and seminars are conducted on a regular basis to promote good practices.  

    • Tailored programmes to build capacity: Tailored programmes are developed on the basis of a nation’s reply to the BI SAQ and regular consultations.  The suppo