Cooperative Security is one of the overall strategic objectives for partnerships set in the 2010 Strategic Concept and further developed by NATO Foreign Ministers in Berlin in 2011. The 2014 Wales Summit and the 2016 Warsaw Summit brought further innovations to NATO's approach to partnerships. Today partnerships are a necessity for NATO, not least in an increasingly challenging international environment. NATO pursues dialogue and practical cooperation with a range of Partner Nations and organisations on a vast array of political and military issues.
NATO Partnerships are based on reciprocity, mutual benefit and respect and contribute to improved security for the broader international community. The structure of NATO Partnerships has become more flexible over the years, reflecting a changing security environment and the evolution of Allied and Partners' needs. NATO's overall strategic objectives for partnership and main areas of dialogue cooperation and consultation include:
- Enhancing Euro-Atlantic and international security, peace and stability;
- Promoting regional security and cooperation;
- Facilitating mutually beneficial cooperation on issues of common interest, including international efforts to meet emerging security challenges;
- Preparing interested eligible nations for NATO membership;
- Promoting democratic values and reforms;
- Enhancing support for NATO-led operations and missions;
- Enhancing awareness on security developments including through early warning, with a view to preventing crises;
- Building confidence, achieve better mutual understanding, including about NATO's role and activities.
NATO maintains a broad network of partnership relations, with Euro-Atlantic countries and beyond. Over two decades, NATO developed Partner relations with over 40 countries. These are grouped in different regional frameworks: the Partnership for Peace (PfP)/Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). Partners who do not belong to any of the three formal frameworks are known as Partners across the Globe (PatG).
Through partnership, NATO helps countries strengthen their capacity to tackle their own security, defence reforms and participate in international missions. Partners are part of many of the core activities that take place at NATO and contribute to the Alliance in many ways. This includes enriching NATO's situational awareness through political consultation and intelligence sharing, developing their interoperability with Allies, benefitting from NATO advice on reforms, participating in a rich menu of education and training events, contributing to NATO-led operations and missions, as well as undertaking new capability development and scientific projects.