The Partnership for Peace (PfP) was launched by NATO in 1994 to enhance stability and security throughout the Euroatlantic area. PfP focuses on defence-related cooperation between each Partner Country and NATO. Since its creation it has been joined by 30 countries, ten of which have since become members of the Alliance.
The NATO PfP Trust Fund was established in September 2000 as a mechanism to assist NATO Partner Countries in the safe destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel landmines (APLs), in order to fulfil their obligations to the Ottawa Convention. While there are many international organisations working on landmine issues including de-mining and victim assistance, NATO’s focus has been on the destruction of nations’ stockpiles. This is not only aimed at removing these weapons from their inventories but it also supports the process of defence reform, along democratic standards, of their overall military capacity and reduces the cost of maintaining surplus and unnecessary military equipment.
To date, more than two million APLs have been successfully destroyed in the framework of NATO PfP Trust Funds. The first Trust Fund project was launched in January 2001 for the destruction of Albania’s APL stockpile. In total 1.6 million APLs were destroyed in Albania by means of a range of environmentally friendly industrial processes. The project was completed on schedule and within budget, and it paved the way for subsequent PfP Trust Fund projects for the destruction of landmines in the Republic of Moldova (completed in 2002 – 12 000 APLs destroyed) and Ukraine (completed in 2003 – 400 000 APLs destroyed).
The most recent Trust Fund project undertaken in March 2004, with the UNDP, helped Tajikistan to destroy its remaining stockpile of APLs (1,250), ensuring that the country could meet its commitment to the Ottawa Convention within the necessary timeframe. This was the first Trust Fund project in Central Asia and will hopefully lead the way for other projects in the region.
Since its launch, the scope of the Trust Fund policy has been extended twice. Current Trust Fund policy also addresses the destruction of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and activities to support the wider consequences of defence reform. This is currently happening, for example, in Georgia, where an ongoing PfP Trust Fund is dealing with the demilitarisation of guided missiles. In addition to Partner Nations, the Trust Fund project concept has recently been expanded to encompass those countries participating in Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiatives.
The NATO PfP Trust Fund is a mechanism by which NATO members work together with individual Partner Countries to identify and implement projects. There is no overall ‘fund’ as such but individual projects are addressed, supported and financed on a purely voluntary basis. Any nation or organisation may offer support to a specific project by funding, provision of equipment or contributions-in-kind, such as expert personnel, as required by the specific project proposal. In addition to external help, it is expected that the partner host nation should provide the maximum support within its means. This may include contributions-in-kind, such as packing and re-packing munitions, office space, local transportation, interpretation and security. The Trust Fund also expects government support in overcoming bureaucratic procedures such as VAT exemption and easing of customs for import and exports in completing the project. Where necessary this may include the enacting of legislation to enable the project to proceed. Contributions from donors are set out in a standardised agreement with the NATO Financial Controller, who acts as treasurer for each project.
A formal proposal is prepared for each project which will include such information as the number and type of mines, munitions or SALW to be destroyed, method of destruction and assessment of costs. The proposal will also set out how the project will be implemented and verified and include a financial and communication plan. An environmental assessment may also be required, dependent on the scope, nature and methodology employed in undertaking the project.
The project proposal will identify an executing agent responsible for implementation of the technical and financial aspects of the project. While NATO staff can provide advice and guidance, nations are responsible for deciding which ideas are developed and presented as project proposals. The project proposals reflect a combined effort of staff working closely with nations and other international organisations such EU, OSCE, UNDP and NGO’s such as Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Mine Action, and Landmine Monitor.
The NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) has been essential in the development of projects under this policy. NAMSA has more than 40 years experience in international contracting and project management. It offers a range of technical and management services to support nations in all phases of project development – fleshing out an idea through to international contracting and in country project management. Nations have responsibility to choose the executing agent for each project. With the exception of the project in Tajikistan, NAMSA has been the executing agent for all PfP projects so far.