NATO Building Integrity Policy

Endorsed by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw 8-9 July 2016

  • 09 Jul. 2016 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Oct. 2016 13:35


1.    NATO member states form a unique community of common values, committed to the principles of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. They all stand united in a common cause: to ensure that the Alliance remains an unparalleled community of freedom, peace, security, and shared values. Dialogue and cooperation with partner nations, in line with the principles enshrined in the Basic Document of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), can make a concrete contribution to enhancing international security and to defending the values on which the Alliance is based.

2.    Allies reaffirm their 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. They also recognise that corruption and poor governance are security challenges as they undermine democracy, the rule of law and economic development, erode public trust in defence institutions and have a negative impact on operational effectiveness.

3.    The NATO Building Integrity policy, described in this document, draws upon experience gained through the implementation of the Building Integrity Programme launched in 2007 by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. The NATO Building Integrity Programme is part of NATO’s commitment to strengthen integrity, transparency and accountability in the defence and related security sector. Integrity is the link between behaviour and principles. In institutional terms, integrity is directly linked to good governance. Reinforcing an institution’s integrity is a question of institutionalising the principles that we want the institution to stand for, as well as a question of socialising these norms and values among its personnel.

4.    The NATO Building Integrity programme of activities is open to NATO Allies, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, Partners across the globe and Colombia. Requests from other countries are reviewed by NATO on a case-by-case basis. It promotes good practices and provides participating countries with tailored expertise and support to make defence and security institutions more effective and efficient.

General principles 

5. The NATO Building Integrity policy is guided by the following principles:

5.1. Building Integrity is a key element of Alliance activities. The importance of implementing measures to improve integrity building, anti-corruption and good governance applies to NATO, Allies and partners alike. Allies and partners are committed to support and promote the principles and implementation of integrity, transparency and accountability in accordance with international norms and practices established for the defence and related security sector.

5.2. Effective and transparent national procedures need to be in place to assess corruption-related security risks and defence requirements, and to develop and maintain efficient and interoperable defence capabilities corresponding to these requirements and international commitments.

5.3. Building Integrity should be an integral part of NATO work and activities internally and should be taken forward as part of the Institutional Adaptation. The International Staff, International Military Staff, Military Commands and Agencies should continue to make efforts to build integrity, transparency and accountability and promote good governance within their structures.

Overarching aim

6. Building Integrity and the development of effective, transparent and accountable defence institutions which are responsive to unpredictable security challenges, including those of a hybrid nature, contribute significantly to the Alliance’s mission to safeguard the freedom and security of its members.

7. Recognising the cross-cutting nature of Building Integrity, and depending on the respective responsibilities of NATO, Allies and partners, the policy aims to:


7.1. Integrate Building Integrity within the context of NATO’s wider policy objectives and the implementation of the Alliance’s core tasks.

7.2. Provide a synchronised and structured approach to make Building Integrity conceptually robust and operational across NATO’s political and military lines of activity.

7.3. Align efforts with other international organisations, as appropriate.

Allies and partners

7.4. Continue to develop and update, on a voluntary basis, national related building integrity policies, doctrines and training.

7.5. Reaffirm nations’ intentions to, on a voluntary basis, share lessons learned and best practices within the auspices of the NATO Building Integrity Programme and its activities.

7.6. Promote local ownership and enhance institutional and individual capacity building.

Core tasks

8. Elements of Building Integrity, to include the concepts of integrity, transparency and accountability, should be utilised to improve the management of defence resources and capability development. These elements should be incorporated in the fulfilment of the NATO’s core tasks.

Collective defence

8.1. Collective defence depends on effective and efficient defence institutions and should be based on the principles of integrity, transparency and accountability, maximising the value of money to further build defence capabilities and ensure better resourced Armed Forces. Building Integrity should continue to be strengthened in national defence and related security sector in order to ensure their resilience especially against corruption.

Crisis management

8.2. NATO has a unique and robust set of political and military capabilities to address a wide spectrum of crises. In the context of an ongoing operation, capacity building activities are conducted in parallel with an ongoing crisis management response. Taking into account that corruption erodes public trust in government, affects economic development, and perpetuates conflicts, Building Integrity could have a preventive effect. Building Integrity should be considered in all stages of NATO-led operations and missions.

Cooperative security

8.3. The wide network of relations between NATO and partner countries and organisations provides a particular impetus for NATO Building Integrity. In line with NATO’s Partnership policy, NATO and its partners continue to work together and where possible increase cooperation within and across the various partnerships formats, to promote the implementation of Building Integrity principles, share lessons learned and good practices.

Multidimensional perspectives

9. Mainstreaming Building Integrity in NATO’s core tasks is complementary to national efforts. Building Integrity activities must be flexible and tailor-made.

10. NATO Building Integrity focus is on corruption prevention in the defence and related security sector, and is complementary to efforts by other international actors. In the context of bilateral, regional and multilateral programmes of cooperation, the Building Integrity policy should align with these efforts and the coordination among the various engaged actors should be strengthened as appropriate, and in line with the Comprehensive Approach Action Plan.

11. NATO is committed to ensure that all military and civilian personnel in defence and related security sector of nations participating in the Building Integrity Programme are aware of consequences of corruption and that leaders have the necessary awareness and knowledge to create an organisational culture of integrity, transparency and accountability. The NATO Building Integrity Education and Training Plan agreed by the North Atlantic Council in 2012 is designed to mainstream Building Integrity into NATO’s Education and Training activities with regard to current and future operations and institutional enhancement in support of national initiatives to this end. This Plan supports national efforts already in place towards strengthening national individual and institutional capacity building as well as enhancing the interoperability of their forces through education and training.

12. The Building Integrity policy continues to support NATO’s priorities on the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and related resolutions, on Women, Peace and Security. Therefore, the gender perspective will continue to be mainstreamed into the NATO Building Integrity tools and programme of activities including education and training.

13. NATO Building Integrity is in line with the NATO Partnership policy. It will continue to strengthen the synergies with partnership tools such as the Planning and Review Process (PARP), the Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) and the Professional Development Programme (PDP). NATO Building Integrity will also continue to contribute to the Defence and Related Security Capacity Building Initiative (DCBI) and the Partnership Interoperability Initiative (PII).

14. A network of Implementing Partners drawn from NATO countries and partners also contributes to the NATO Building Integrity Programme. They will continue to provide expertise, host events, and conduct research and analysis.

15. NATO, Allies and partners should ensure that Building Integrity principles are included in their respective public diplomacy strategies and activities. Defence and security leaders benefit from a thorough strategy of communication to further promote and support reforms aimed at strengthening good governance.

16. Civil society and media are essential in ensuring integrity, transparency and accountability. They also have a key role in raising awareness of corruption and mismanagement of resources. NATO Building Integrity expands outreach and cooperation.

Implementation and way ahead

17. Following the endorsement by the NATO Heads of State and Government at the Warsaw Summit, the NATO Building Integrity policy will be supported by an Action Plan. Development, implementation and review of the Building Integrity Action Plan would be led by the PASP-led Building Integrity Task Force reflecting the joint combined efforts of the International Staff and NATO Military Authorities. The North Atlantic Council will be updated on an annual basis on the implementation of the NATO Building Integrity policy.