Updated: 01-Jun-2001 NATO Documents

May 2001

South East Europe Common Assessment Paper on Regional Security Challenges and Opportunities

I. Introduction

  1. Aiming to contribute to the achievement of the goals of NATO's South East Europe Initiative (SEEI), the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and regional cooperation processes, such as the South East Europe Co-operation Process (SEECP) and South East Defence Ministers process (SEDM).
  2. Aiming also to promote the objectives of the Charter on Good Neighbourly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe signed in Bucharest on 12 February 2000.

    Conceived by the States of the region as a contribution to fostering dialogue and consolidating good neighbourly relations and co-operation among countries in South East Europe (Hereinafter SEE), with the aim of enhancing regional stability and security.

    Aiming further to promote a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing SEE countries, and to facilitate actions to address these challenges, as well as to complement the efforts of international organisations, such as the UN, OSCE, NATO, European Union and Council of Europe.

    Striving to intensify and enhance the participants' common and individual contributions to European stability and to the construction of a lasting and stable security environment.

  3. Countries participating in NATO's SEEI, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as another participant in the Stability Pact and member of the SEECP, and interested NATO Allies:
    1. Followed up the recommendation of the North Atlantic Council, in the framework of SEEI, to develop and endorse in a regionally based process a Common Assessment Paper;
    2. Agreed that the SEECAP would address the regional security challenges and opportunities from a broad perspective including an overview of the strategic environment; specific challenges and opportunities; and general principles and proposed actions and instruments to address the challenges;
    3. Developed this South East Europe Common Assessment Paper on Regional Security Challenges and Opportunities (hereinafter SEECAP) as a common document that sets out perceptions, expectations and agendas shared by all its participants.
  4. Consequently, the SEECAP was endorsed in Budapest on 29 May 2001 by a Declaration of Foreign Ministers.

II. The Strategic Environment

  1. The strategic environment of Europe is still in a state of transformation. Consequently, a redefinition of the role of international organisations and institutions has been taking place, including through involvement in conflict prevention and regional crisis management.
  2. A comprehensive approach to security and stability encompassing all their aspects - political, military, economic, human, social, environmental, information, and others - is developing.
  3. Overall, a new Euro-Atlantic security architecture is emerging in which NATO will continue to contribute decisively to the establishment of a fully effective collective system for security and stability, including by maintaining and reinforcing the vital transatlantic link and providing one of the indispensable foundations for a stable Euro-Atlantic security environment.
  4. The reigning vision is that of an integrated and democratic Europe without dividing lines. Enlargement processes of the EU and NATO, as well as EAPC and the Partnership for Peace are leading this vision. However, there are challenges on the path to European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
  5. As far as the SEE is concerned, the last decade has witnessed the continuing transition from authoritarian governments and centrally planned economies to pluralist democracies and free markets. Each country is adapting to the new situation. All countries of the SEE have democratically elected governments. The success of the democratic and free market reforms is crucial for the future.
  6. Key elements promoting peace, security and stability in the region include:
    • Consolidation of democratic values;
    • Cooperation with and possible membership in NATO and the European Union, keeping in mind the individual priorities of each country in SEE. NATO and EU are thus perceived as having a significant role towards assisting SEE countries to enhance security and stability in the region;
    • Establishing effective regional cooperation mechanisms such as SEECP and SEDM, including their practical outcomes such as the Multinational Peace Force South East Europe (MPFSEE) or the Charter on Good Neighbourly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe;
    • Respecting the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and relevant OSCE documents, particularly those relating to territorial integrity and sovereignty of all States.
  7. Although significant progress towards peace and stability has been made, challenges still exist as will be set out in this document.
  8. No single state or international organisation can deal with these challenges by itself. A concerted effort towards security and stability is needed. Consequently, regional and international cooperation and also the ongoing integration processes are indispensable to address challenges. An appropriate identification of the challenges to security in the region supported by well-defined principles of cooperation is needed to make this endeavour successful.

III. Specific Challenges to Security

  1. The identified challenges to security are grouped under several categories for ease of reference. However, they are frequently interconnected and aggravation in one can exacerbate the others, bringing unpredictable consequences. Not all challenges specifically affect each country or affect in similar degree. But, they can affect other countries due to indivisibility of security.

Political Challenges

  1. After recent democratic changes in the region, participants perceive in the foreseeable future no direct threat of military aggression on the part of one state against others' national sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence.
  2. However, risk factors playing into instability are present as a challenge to national, regional and Euro-Atlantic security. In the political field, these risks are associated mainly with the following:
    1. Ethnic tensions and failure to respect differing ethnic, religious and cultural values are important challenges for the region. Specific issues would include intolerance and xenophobia, non-compliance with democratic principles and practices, treaties and international agreements regarding the respect of rights of persons belonging to national minorities. Opposition to ethnic reconciliation, ethnically motivated violence - extremism and terrorism - and difficulties in establishing effective multiethnic democratic institutions present a continuing threat to stability in the region, and in neighbouring countries. The future stability and security in Southeast Europe will depend very much on successful management of inter-ethnic, -religious and -cultural relations.
    2. Extreme and violent nationalism could be exacerbated by state practices, armed groups, criminal networks and terrorism. Extremist nationalists misuse the principle of people's right to self-determination to challenge the sovereignty and inviolability of territorial integrity of States.
    3. The protraction of boundary and other contentious issues and lack of political will to resolve them as quickly as possible and in accordance with international law could provide a source of risk to national and regional security. Peaceful resolution of these disputes requires the political will and bona fide effort of the parties involved.
    4. Terrorist activities and militant extremism also generate political challenges and instability. This can be aggravated by links between local extremists and international terrorist and radical fundamentalist groups, and attempts to use the region as a transit point for missions in third countries, as well as expansion of links with organised crime as a significant funding source.
    5. Organised crime constitutes a serious challenge to the security of the region. In particular, money laundering, illegal trafficking of arms, narcotics, human beings, components and materials for weapons of mass destruction are menaces to many countries. Criminal networks in many cases operate across borders. They are often linked with corruption and finance terrorist and illegal armed groups activities.
    6. Disruptions in regional, European and Euro-Atlantic integration processes and consequent potential isolation and estrangement of nations are potentially significant challenges. Integration in international organisations, particularly NATO and the EU, reinforces regional countries' national aspirations and provides essential impetus to democratic, economic and social reforms and cooperative security policies. Integration processes also help alleviate entrenched national concerns and promote resolution of long-standing disputes and could assist countries in addressing the challenges to their sovereignty and territorial integrity. Regional cooperation may help to reinforce the principle that each State is free to choose its own security arrangements. Such cooperation based on shared values would promote transparency and productive regional initiatives that do not create new dividing lines.
    7. Weapons and proliferation. Arms control agreements and processes provide confidence, stability and transparency mechanisms, which improve the sense of security among countries. Further work needs to be done to promote arms control and non-proliferation both within and outside the region to deal with relevant challenges that are set out in the defence-military chapter.
    8. Insufficient early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management capabilities and cooperation structures need to be addressed at the regional, Euro-Atlantic and global levels. Uncertainty and instability in and around the Euro-Atlantic area could evolve rapidly, endangering SEE as well. Potentially, serious violations of the obligations undertaken by states under the United Nations Charter and international agreements and treaties, in particular resorting to force to settle problems, could also lead to conflict and destabilise the whole region. Decisiveness and political will of the regional countries and the international community to defend the principles of peaceful conduct is very important. The adaptation of regional and international organisations to improve early warning, conflict prevention and, when these fail, crisis management in the region is essential. Therefore, it is an imperative to use effectively the existing early warning and conflict prevention mechanisms or to create new ones as necessary.
    9. Subversion and deliberate disinformation, including by the acts of foreign intelligence services and terrorist and criminal networks can also threaten stability. External support to or instigation of extremist or secessionist movements aimed at undermining national sovereignty and territorial integrity would also be destabilizing factors.
    10. The international perception of the region as a source of insecurity and instability is another issue that, although not a security challenge per se, impacts negatively in a variety of fields of interest to regional stabilisation and security ranging from economic investments to pace of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Development of regional cooperation, economic opportunity and the rule of law with the active support of the international community would help improve this perception.

Defence-Military Challenges

  1. There is no perceived risk of military aggression between states in SEE in the current and foreseeable political environment. Military forces of SEE countries do not target each other. A number of checks and balances, including a number of arms control and non-proliferation arrangements and confidence- and security-building measures are in place. Warning time for changes in military posture and political intent is sufficiently high. Regional cooperation processes further increase military confidence and stability. The fundamental roles of the armed forces of SEE countries are deterrence, protection, participation in collective and other security arrangements and contribution to international military operations.
  2. However, SEE countries are required to deal with specific challenges in the security field that have significant implications for their armed forces and for Europe as a whole. These include the following:
    1. Illegal armed groups that are or could in the future become operational against the security of States potentially challenge the stability of intra- and inter-State relations. The challenge would be to prevent the creation of such armed groups and stop their activities under legal procedures inter alia through disarmament, cutting the sources for their financing and strengthening borders.
    2. Terrorism. Protection of populations from the scourge of terrorism is an important task even for those states that are not immediately targeted by these groups. It is an important challenge and task to apply commensurate force under full democratic control and respect for human rights.
    3. Providing full accountability of the armed forces to the civil society. Democratic control over the armed forces is an essential element of democratic development. Enhancing this control requires placing decisions over resources for defence establishments within national public debate. External and internal transparency of defence plans and budgets is an important aspect of this accountability. Lack of accountability lessens incentives to develop reasoned and realistic national security strategies and supporting national military strategies, which should in turn justify force structure decisions and priorities. Training of competent civilian expertise to assume responsibility in defence issues is a requirement that needs sustained effort.
    4. Proliferation. All the States in SEE are committed to non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. They have no national programmes or intentions to develop or acquire such weapons. They are determined to upholding international non-proliferation regimes. However, they acknowledge that preventing the illegal trade and transfers of material, including dual-use material and components, for weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems poses a challenge.
    5. Furthermore, countries in SEE recognise that proliferation in other regions can and does occur and they would need appropriate protection against possible threat or use of weapons of mass destruction, not the least by terrorist groups.

      Overall, non-observance or circumvention of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation obligations and insufficient responses to such violations particularly by countries outside the region is a potential challenge to the security of the states in SEE.

    6. Destabilising accumulation and illegal transfer of conventional weapons including small arms and light weapons and ammunition, as well as the slow pace of disposal of redundant weapons would create a security challenge. There is an urgent need for effective programmes for the collection and destruction of illegally possessed arms and ammunition.
    7. Anti-personnel landmines in mine affected areas continue to inflict casualties and damage, and cause serious obstacles to post-conflict reconstruction and to the return of refugees and displaced persons. They also pose a serious risk to forces involved in peace support operations. In addition to individual efforts of countries in the region and adherence to relevant international instruments, effective regional cooperation and international assistance, including in the fields of data collection, demining, stockpile destruction and victim assistance, are needed to address this challenge.
    8. Management of Change. There are new roles for national armed forces, which require a deep transformation of their structures and doctrines. Defence reform is a necessity and a high priority in the region and has its own set of challenges. Already, processes of reform are underway to reorient, re-organize and downsize them.
    9. Those countries aspiring to join NATO recognize the fact that their armed forces must be able to deal effectively with the full range of missions including collective defence and peace support operations. Achieving this end-state requires a long-term effort and bears significant costs for the states involved.

      States involved in downsizing confront the challenge of finding the right balance between the speed with which they must proceed and the need to mitigate the human and economic consequences on the afflicted personnel. Retraining programmes play an important role in facilitating personnel reductions. However, their positive impact is limited among others by the competitive market conditions and difficulties in re-equipping with sometimes entirely new skills that are required in a civilian economy. Transparency and consistency of decommissioning of personnel is an absolute necessity to maintain legitimacy of personnel reductions.

      The advanced technical and technological skills required by the armed forces increasingly compete with those of the civilian labour markets thereby creating a brain drain from the military. Military personnel systems will therefore have to provide for adequate quality of life to retain skilled personnel.

      In the process of defence reform, and in particular in downsizing, many countries face the need to close military bases, which has active short-term economic and political consequences. These closures need to be managed carefully in order not to create adverse reactions that may potentially impact negatively on overall defence reform efforts.

      Similarly, modernisation, while expensive when procuring new hardware, is at the same time costly in terms of discarding old equipment as well as posing an environmental challenge.

      Overall, reform of the armed forces is politically sensitive and financially demanding and cannot be done without a clearly motivating prospect of improving the defensive capabilities and posture of the states, particularly through possible membership in an effective alliance such as NATO.

      Failure of this reform and disruptions in integration processes could result in negative consequences on regional and international security.

    10. Further adaptation of military and security strategies and doctrines is also an area which continues to require effort, in order to fully reflect the positive developments in the security environment, as well as to deeply embed cooperative strategies, transparency of defence planning and budgeting, and the principles of international humanitarian law.
    11. The use of military personnel for international peacekeeping, environmental and other catastrophes may create tensions within the military that might perceive their more traditional defence capabilities including training eroded by such peacetime tasks. This creates new demands on the military forces and requires appropriate training and redefinition of doctrines.

    12. In addition to the reform of the Armed Forces, the reform of the entire spectrum of security agencies including the police, internal troops, border security units, internal security services is a challenge faced by the countries of SEE. Whereas various international transparency and international cooperation processes, including the PfP, arms control, CSBMs and others, address the traditional armed forces, other state-security agencies are not affected by such mechanisms. A fresh look at reform of the broader security sector is required at all levels, national, regional and international.
    13. Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management. Although all SEE countries agree that the Euro-Atlantic security is indivisible and that security cannot be regionalised, establishment of effective regional conflict prevention and crisis management capabilities and mechanisms are required to complement broader arrangements.
    14. Multinationality is the organising idea that would shape regional response capabilities and mechanisms. Regional cooperation processes, such as Southeast Europe Defence Ministerials (SEDM) and South East Europe Co-operation Process (SEECP) are already exploring with success this area. The MFPSEE is a successful example of emerging regional crisis management capabilities.

      There are challenges to fulfil this mission, which are mitigated by various international processes particularly the Partnership for Peace. However, important challenges nonetheless remain, such as questions of interoperability, varying levels of engagement in such processes, and differing capabilities and strained resources, and existing possibilities for full connectivity and complementarity with broader arrangements, as well as overcoming political issues.

    Economic Challenges

    1. The economic situation has a direct bearing on the region's security and stability and can challenge the critical integration and reform processes pursued by regional countries.
    2. The crises, wars and side effects of economic sanctions of the past decade have taken a heavy toll on the whole region's economic development. SEE countries have been or are pursuing economic reforms in spite of enormous difficulties. They have generally liberalised the markets, as well as trade and foreign exchange systems. Institutional restructuring and reform including in governmental, industrial, financial or banking areas are a fundamental priority for all the states.
    3. Healthy economic development is an absolute pre-requisite to ensure the long-term stability of the region. While the economic trend in general is positive, some challenges remain, including the following:
      1. Stabilisation and control of basic macroeconomic indicators such as inflation, current account and trade balances, public spending or sustainable growth. Problems related to democratic transformation add to the difficulty of observing efficient economic and monetary policies.
      2. High unemployment, partly caused by war-damaged industries/ infrastructures and partly by systemic changes, is a major source of risk for the economic and political stability of the region. The lack of labour force mobility and flexibility is another structural challenge.
      3. Problems related to attracting foreign investment. Currently, the region lacks consistent strategic investment and does not attract substantial Foreign Direct Investments due among other things to negative perceptions of the region. The region faces an immediate challenge to create the right conditions to attract foreign investment as a stimulus to economic growth and development.
      4. Regional cooperation processes, with specialised international organisations, could play a significant role in increasing the region's economical prospects. They should be financially supported in greater extent and given higher visibility in the region. Integration into international organisations is both an incentive and a thrust for many of the region's economies.
      5. Difficulties of transforming command economies. The magnitude of the required resource re-allocation for the transformation of centralized economies and the frictions caused by system change have made restructuring a difficult and prolonged process. Underdeveloped entrepreneurial and management culture is also a challenge both for the establishment and proper functioning of small and medium enterprises, which are the foundation of any market society, and the general run of the economic reform at governmental or micro-economic levels. The contribution and initiatives of local communities should be given greater support and integrated into transformation strategies.
      6. Commercialisation and Privatisation. The public perception of privatisation has suffered in the region due to allegations of "nomenklatura privatisation" where newly formed companies by members of the old regimes have cheaply obtained former state property. However, despite the significant progress, further privatisation is a requirement that could yield very significant benefits to regional economies. A dynamic private sector is a key to the ability of the countries to seize the opportunities that can be provided by improved access to international markets, the establishment and consolidation of macroeconomic stability and trade liberalization. The region has some notable public-owned industrial base, which require modernisation and commercialisation in order remain viable. Their financing needs for rehabilitation and modernization are unlikely to be fully met by the public sector, and sustained improvements in efficiency require the introduction of competition. Long delays in marketising the economy could render increased public debt and make necessary reforms much more painful and destabilizing in the future.
      7. Industry structure disequilibria and path-dependencies from the former economic affiliations still are a problem for market economies of the region to correct. External market re-orientations, trade disruptions, low investment in fixed assets and technological modernisation, currency substitution, prolonged periods of declining industrial output are all strong factors affecting proper economy re-organisation.
      8. Dependency on vital external resource supplies has the potential to affect arbitrarily the direction and independence of economic development of the countries in the region. This is also a direct political and strategic challenge.
      9. Significant economic disparities within countries, between countries in the region and with neighbouring regions coupled with inadequate economic connectivity are a challenge for the regional economic development.
      10. Infrastructure. Lack of well-developed and interconnected regional transport, energy and telecommunication infrastructure, and difficulties in establishing regional segments of strategic transcontinental transport corridors can hamper economic development.
      11. Existence of shadow economies largely perpetuated by difficulties of economic restructuring but also by tax evasion and the interests of organized crime is a big challenge to overcome.
      12. Brain drain and qualified labour force migration pose a serious challenge. As a result of poor economic conditions or conflicts the majority of the SEE countries face the depletion of valuable human resources, which is one of the worst impediments for their long-term growth potential. Deterioration of the educational system because of the lack of resources is an additional factor in this matter.

    Social and Democratic Development Challenges

    1. States of SEE have entered the new century following a decade of social upheaval. Protection and promotion of human and civil rights, articulation of interests, and nurturing of civil society is best realised through democratic governance. Important progress has been achieved in the consolidation of democracy. Protecting democratic development and sustaining progress in consolidating democracy and the rule of law remain important challenges for the security of SEE. The radical transformations of the social system and the consequences of conflicts and instability of the preceding decade continue to exert considerable strain on SEE countries. Particularly, the following challenges confront the region:
      1. Social stability is under stress because of frustrations about perceived economic inequalities and government inefficiency. The rule of law is an essential precondition for ensuring equality of opportunity. Fragility of the rule of law and insufficient civil society structures characterizes many SEE countries. The lack of transparency of state administrations could severely constrain the freedom of action for the civil society.
      2. In some cases, there is a lack of institutional checks and balances to provide public accountability, including fully independent judiciaries and the existence of a rule of law applied equally and consistently to all citizens.
      3. Corruption is an important factor affecting the development of societies in SEE. Corruption adversely affects the reform processes and establishment of market economy principles and mechanisms.
      4. Illegal migration, which is largely connected with organized crime, also challenges the internal stability of various countries and could create extra strains in their efforts to join the EU. Strengthening border control requires expertise and substantial resources.
      5. Ineffective structures for preserving public order are perceived as a threat as citizens fear for their lives and property. Failures of police and judicial systems to enforce existing laws nourish feelings of frustration.
      6. Massive refugee flows, particularly as a consequence of armed conflicts and violence, could threaten the internal stability of the countries of transit, asylum or shelter. Refugees and displaced persons are often confronted with hardships as countries are not always in a position to provide them the necessary conditions for decent life.
      7. Freedom of the Media and public's access to information are key to democratic development, and need to be safeguarded and enhanced, consistent with the principles of journalistic integrity and objectivity.

    Environmental Challenges and Civil Emergencies

    1. SEE's valuable environmental resources face a variety of challenges and have been degrading over the years. This poses a threat to human safety and damages the economic value of the significant environmental assets. The lack of consideration by totalitarian regimes for the environmental impact of industrial structures and energy systems as well as the difficulties in the last decade have made it imperative to focus closely on the rich environmental resources of the region and halt and reverse their degradation. Many environmental issues need to be addressed at the regional level, including through information exchange and joint coordination and cooperation frameworks. Civil emergencies caused by natural or technological disasters or as a consequence of conflicts also influence the region's stability and need a prompt and coordinated reaction. Some of the key challenges related to the environment or civil emergencies are set out below:
      1. Management of Civil Emergencies. SEE is very much prone to and can suffer immensely from natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, massive forest fires and landslides, severe storms and draught, and extreme temperatures. Similarly, technological disasters do occur with severe implications for the region and beyond. Crises and conflicts have produced civil emergencies, especially in relation with large refugee flows. Adequate, coordinated and timely response to civil emergencies is an imperative. Therefore, insufficient regional early warning and crisis management mechanisms exacerbate various challenges of this nature.
      2. Industrial Pollution is a challenge despite the measures taken in many countries. Specific challenges with regard to industrial pollution include inadequate safety standards in industrial production, especially in nuclear power stations, or the improper handling of toxic substances and high-risk industrial processes. Poor or delayed regulations create the conditions for low-tech and environmentally harmful operation of domestic and foreign economic enterprises, which include risks for radioactive or toxic contamination.
      3. Disposal of Military Waste. The SEE faces environmental, human and other challenges due to inappropriate handling of military waste, in particular resulting from the improper disposal of armament and obsolescent military equipment.
      4. Pollution and Management of Water Resources. Although the region is blessed with abundant freshwater resources, there are challenges related to water quality and spatial and seasonal distribution, as well as to protection of biodiversity in these water systems, including in the Danube and other rivers and the trans-boundary lake ecosystems. Intensive agricultural, industrial and urban use creates an artificial strain on water resources, whereas ineffective national water resource management and limited existing multilateral and regional cooperation exacerbate the challenge.
      5. Collection and Disposal of Solid Waste. The problems of collection of garbage, inadequate storage for hazardous waste, shortage of garbage disposal facilities, as well as indiscriminate disposal practices, such as dumping into unsanitary landfills, dumpsites in ravines and valleys or directly into water bodies create serious impact on environmental safety, including on the healthiness of the groundwater resources.
      6. Land and Soil Degradation creates an environmental safety challenge and has a variety of causes such as overgrazing and over cultivation or uncontrolled exploitation and conversion of forests. The privatisation of land needs enforcement of appropriate land conservation rules to prevent soil erosion and degradation.
      7. Coastal Zone Management poses an economic as well as environmental challenge. Overall, the adoption and effective implementation of regulatory frameworks for coastal zones in each of the coastal country is a key issue.

    IV. Opportunities for Cooperation

    The Approach

    1. It is important to find ways to address the challenges set out in SEECAP, through national effort, but also through cooperation at regional or wider levels, which can make responses more effective. Facilitating the achievement of the SEEI, the SEECAP therefore contributes to supporting and complementing the objectives of the Stability Pact for South East Europe.
    2. In addition to a number of broader processes, including those related to European and Euro-Atlantic integration, a number of regional initiatives, particularly the SEDM and SEECP, are active in addressing various challenges. Many of the challenges are being addressed by the United Nations, OSCE, NATO, EU, Council of Europe and other international organisations. The Stability Pact acts as a catalyst promoting synergies among various endeavours. SEEGROUP is also available as a tool to conduct exchange of information regarding practical activities. SEECAP can complement these processes.
    3. Therefore, the following flexible and non-institutional approach could be pursued:

    Principles of Cooperation

    1. A regional agenda. The SEECAP is a flexible, general indicator of regional priorities and offers a checklist of challenges and opportunities, which may help guide national, regional and international efforts.
    2. Regional Ownership and Lead. The practice of individual nations assuming the coordination of specific initiatives has been proving useful under NATO's SEEI and should continue in the SEECAP follow-up. Participants are firmly committed to Euro-Atlantic and European integration and consider their efforts also in support of these integration processes. The SEECAP confirms the essential contribution of and requirement for international engagement.
    3. The Broader Framework. Several documents have established the fundamental frameworks and principles of cooperation among countries and are unequivocally pertinent for the responses to deal with challenges identified in the SEECAP. These documents differ from one another in nature, commitment and membership, and include foremost the following:
    4. The principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the OSCE principles and commitments as set out in the Helsinki Final Act, the 1999 Istanbul Charter for European Security; the Charter of Paris, the Helsinki Document 1992, the Budapest Document 1994, the OSCE Code of Conduct on politico-military aspects of security and the Lisbon Declaration on a Common and Comprehensive Security Model for Europe for the twenty-first century; the principles of transparency and predictability in their actions in the spirit of the Vienna Document 1999 of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures; the Bucharest Charter on Good Neighbourly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe, SEECP Summit and Ministerial Declarations including the 2001 Skopje Action Plan for Regional Economic Co-operation; declarations from the SEDM meetings, 1999 Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe; and various NATO, EAPC and PfP documents including the PfP Framework Document, Basic Document of EAPC and Membership Action Plan.

    5. Non-Duplication and Complementarity. Regional cooperation is not an end in itself, but remains an integral element of the overall efforts to promote security and stability. Regional cooperation supports the aims and objectives of the broader European and Euro-Atlantic integration processes.
    6. Regional cooperation to address the challenges identified in the SEECAP will be followed up to the extent possible within existing frameworks.

      Although avoiding duplication is a key principle, some useful redundancy can be established or maintained in order to strengthen the efforts to deal with challenges. In all cases, complementarity and added value should be sought among all the various efforts.

    7. Transparency is essential to promote confidence and openness. At the same time, transparency is also a means to improve coordination among various institutions and efforts. It is also a means to assuring that the ongoing regional cooperation is an intrinsic part of broader international processes.

    Recommendations and Possible Instruments

    1. Based on the above approach and principles a number of recommendations and possible instruments could be considered:

    Regional Agenda and Broad Approach to Regional Cooperation

    1. The challenges identified in the SEECAP need priority attention. Given the interconnected nature of these challenges, efforts to deal with them need to be active across the various areas set out in the SEECAP, namely political, defence-military, economic, social and environmental-civil emergencies.
    2. The existing process of meetings among Heads of State and Government and Foreign Ministers under the SEECP, and among the Defence Ministers under the SEDM already provide ample opportunities to pursue efforts to the extent possible within existing frameworks. The SEECAP Chair will present the document to the SEECP and SEDM meetings for possible consideration.
    3. The Chairman will also present the SEECAP to the SEEGROUP.
    4. Regular contacts in the fields of economy, trade, finance, home affairs, justice, transportation, environment, education and culture, and others are beneficial.
    5. The results of such contacts in terms of the progress in addressing particular challenges set out in the SEECAP could be taken into account during the reviews of the SEECAP.
    6. In order to mitigate and where possible reverse brain-drain, co-operation to enhance training and education possibilities and other programmes and actions such as Centers of Excellence can be explored.

    Security Sector Reform

    1. The recommendations below aim to contribute particularly to key requirements set out in the SEECAP, namely the reform of the entire spectrum of security agencies, which is an emerging area of activity, and the development of national security strategies and civilian defence expertise.
    2. Transparency of the Broad Security Sector. In order to support the ongoing reform processes in the participating countries to transform the security and defence sectors, a process can be initiated to establish transparency and facilitate exchange of experiences. This process could involve all the relevant Ministries and national agencies having armed forces, including the Ministries of Defence, Interior, Customs and others. It could also develop contacts among these forces, and transparency measures and data exchanges on structures, jurisdictions and powers, personnel, equipment, locations and major activities of these forces.
    3. In order to promote co-operation, predictability and transparency, it can also explore the appropriate use of PfP Training Centers and other national training institutions in the region.

    4. National Security Strategies. A comparative study of national security strategies could help improve risk assessment, defence planning and national security strategy formulation. The study can also facilitate sharing of expertise in these areas.
    5. Civilian Defence and Security Expertise. Competent cadres of civilian experts in security and defence issues constitute an essential element of democratic control of armed forces. Training and education programmes and exchanges of information and experience, including on selection mechanisms, could help develop and sustain the necessary civilian expertise.
    6. Arms Control. Nations may want to explore possibilities for enhancing existing bilateral and trilateral arms control arrangements to benefit the entire region.

    SEECAP Reviews

    1. SEECAP will need to be reviewed and updated, once a year or as necessary, in order to support its living nature and maintain its relevance to contemporary challenges.
    2. The first review of the document will take place following one year of its endorsement.

      A report will be agreed at the end of each such review. The report will be presented to the OSCE, SEECP, SEDM, SEEGROUP, EAPC and the Stability Pact for information.

    3. The SEECAP will be made available to interested international organizations and the public.

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