11.8.2020 : 11:58 : +0200

General Information | Point of Contact | PoA initiatives & activites | Instruments & documents | Members


North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)


Brussels, Belgium

Web site

Short description

NATO is a political and military alliance. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and security means.


NATO’s 28 Allies cover operating costs for the organization’s civil and military budgets, and the Security Investment Programme through assessed contributions. Dues from four members— the US, Germany, the UK, and France— cover more than half of this total. Voluntary funding—including from non-NATO Allies—supports many activities. For example, Canada, the EU, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US have all contributed more than a million euros each to PoA-related NATO Trust Fund projects that promote small arms PSSM and destruction (some of which included land mines).

Twelve countries (or ‘Allies’, as NATO refers to its members) comprised NATO when the organization was created in 1949. Its membership has grown on six separate occasions: first in 1952 with the addition of Greece and Turkey; and most recently in 2009 with the inclusion of Albania and Croatia. As of May 2012 Macedonia and Montenegro participate in NATO’s Membership Action Plan, which is a prelude to becoming an Ally, but does not guarantee accession. NATO has 41 global partners, including the PfP, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, and other countries with which NATO has concluded security agreements.


28 members (all UN member states)

  • Current members*:Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States (Bold: founding member, Grey: suspended member)
  • Former members: None
  • Membership pending: Macedonia, Montenegro

Overlapping memberships with other ROs

NATO members represent:

  • 21 of 27 EU members (Albania, Canada, Croatia, Norway, Turkey, and the United States are not EU members)
  • 28 of 56 OSCE members

* Information accurate as of 16 May 2012

PoA Point of Contact

  • Mike Urban
  • Officer, SALW Office, Arms Control and Coordination Section, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division


PoA-related activities

NATO addressed PoA concerns prior to 2001. Examples include a 1997 manual on safely storing military ammunition and explosives, and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Mine Action established in 1999, which engages donors and recipients. It shares experiences and expertise to counter the threats posed by the illicit trade in small arms. It has convened workshops to counter the illicit proliferation of MANPADS (in 2007) and to combat the illicit brokering of small arms (in 2009). Subsequent to the PoA, the NATO Trust Fund was expanded to support three PoArelated activities: (1) the destruction of surplus small arms and their munitions; (2) PSSM of this same material; and (3) the retraining and resettlement of military personnel. NATO has also conducted a number of weapons collection and destruction programmes in the Balkans. NAMSA has implemented NATO Trust Fund projects in more than ten countries, providing technical and managerial expertise. MSIAC collates data on accidents involving munitions, sharing information and analysis with those Allies funding this initiative, and providing best-practice guidance on transport and storage to all 28 Allies and 41 partners. The NATO School offers two courses on small-arms-related issues. Civil society organizations help instruct students (mid- and high-level military and foreign affairs career officers) from both Allied and partner countries. In 2011 NATO’s 50-member EAPC initiated a structured information exchange (SIE) on ongoing small arms projects to aid cooperation and help avoid the duplication of efforts. EAPC is extending this initiative and developing the matrix.

PoA-related programmes and initiatives

PoA-relevant cooperation with other ROs

NATO co-hosted a conference with the OSCE in 2008 on ROs and the PoA. Since 2010 NAMSA, the EU, the OSCE, SEESAC, and UNDP have met once a year to coordinate their small-arms-related projects. They participated actively in the abovementioned SIE.

Legally binding regional instruments


Other official documents of interest

  • ATO AASTP-1: Manual of NATO Safety Principles for the Storage of Military Ammunition and Explosives (1997)
  • EAPC Workshop on Combating Illicit Brokering in Small Arms and Light Weapons (2009)
  • EAPC Workshop on Clearing Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) with a Focus on Cluster Munitions (2010)
  • EAPC Structured Information Exchange on Projects Pertaining to SALW and Ammunition (2011)


This profile is also available in other languages:


Share this content
Share this content: