On ‘International Right to Know Day’ – how transparent is NATO?
Dr. Ian Davis, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
This article first appeared on the SIPRI website on 25 September 2015. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of SIPRI
- Sharpening national parliaments’ scrutiny of NATO affairs, either by existing parliamentary committees (such as the defence and/or intelligence committees) holding regular annual sessions on NATO-related issues or by establishing permanent standing parliamentary committees dedicated to NATO, which would have the power to call NATO officials to appear as witnesses;
- Strengthening the democratic mandate of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, with greater accountability and openness about how members are selected a particular priority. At a minimum, Assembly representatives should be on fixed term appointments and subject to some form of intra-parliamentary election process (similar to that which was introduced in the UK for select committee chairs). With a strengthened democratic mandate the Assembly might then adopt a stronger role of scrutinising activities within NATO and have privileged access to sensitive internal documents;
- Adopting an information openness policy within NATO consistent with the access to information laws already in place in the Alliance's 28 member countries—such a policy should include guidelines for proactive publication of core information, a mechanism for the public to file requests for information, and an independent review body for hearing appeals against refusals or failures to make information public within a short time-frame;
- Publishing annual financial reports showing figures on NATO revenue and expenditure; and
- Using the existing NATO TV channel and YouTube presence to stream more policy dialogues, including some internal NATO meetings, to the public.