Since being formed in 1955, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has provided a forum for parliamentarians from the NATO Member States to promote debate on key security challenges, facilitate mutual understanding and support national parliamentary oversight of defence matters. The Assembly also helps to strengthen the transatlantic relationship and provides opportunities for North American and European parliamentarians to discuss their concerns, interests and differences.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly consists of 269 delegates from the 30 NATO Member States. Each delegation is based on the country’s size and the UK has 18 seats in the Assembly. For more information on the UK delegation, see Library briefing paper: The NATO Parliamentary Assembly and UK delegations.
In addition to delegations from NATO Member States, delegates from associate countries and parliamentary observer delegations take part in Assembly activities and bring the total number of delegates to approximately 360.
One of the most important roles of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is to inform members of its various parliaments about the key issues facing the Alliance.
The Assembly has five committees and eight sub-committees and much of the Assembly’s work is carried out by these committees. The committees are the Committee on Democracy and Security; the Defence and Security Committee; the Economics and Security Committee; the Political Committee; and the Science and Technology Committee. Their remit is to examine the major security and policy challenges confronting the Alliance, with the sub-committees exploring policy issues in more detail.
The Assembly’s five Committees produce reports and policy recommendations examining all security and policy challenges confronting Allied countries. This set of reports, authored by rapporteurs elected by each Committee, serve as briefing papers on these issues.
Every year the Assembly holds a Spring Session, during which members and partners of the Assembly discuss these substantive reports. Taking their colleagues’ comments and recommendations into account, the rapporteurs then revise their reports for further discussion and adoption at the Annual Session in the autumn.
Until the documents have been approved by the Committees at the Annual Session, they only represent the views of the rapporteur.
Policy recommendations represent formal statements of the Assembly’s views. These are usually drafted in the Assembly’s Committees before being discussed, amended and adopted by the full Assembly in plenary sitting at the annual session. Occasionally, a policy recommendation is presented directly to the plenary sitting. This usually takes place if the subject is seen as being directly relevant to more than one Committee.
The policy recommendations are not binding but are widely circulated to governments and the national parliaments of NATO member states and associate member nations.
NATO’s Secretary General then provides a written reaction to each of the policy recommendations.
Purpose of this paper
This paper provides an overview of the reports that were adopted at the 2021 Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which took place in October 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal. Each report’s Executive Summary is reproduced in this paper, along with relevant Library briefings (where available) to provide additional material on the subject matter.
Please note: the Executive Summaries were drafted by the rapporteur and do not necessarily reflect the views of the House of Commons Library, which is an impartial research and information service based in the UK Parliament.