SEESAC Facilitates the 6th SEEFEN Meeting
South East Europe Firearms Expert Network (SEEFEN) is holding its 6th Regional Meeting on 8-9 December 2016 in Budva, Montenegro. Funded by the European Union, the meeting is gathering 20 members and 6 international guest firearms experts that include prosecutors, police and customs officials, to exchange information about firearms trafficking, discuss the most effective ways in combating illicit trafficking of firearms, and point out to different experiences and good practices.
Mr. Mladen Markovic, National Coordinator for SALW from the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro (MoI) and Mr. Marinko Raos Senior Security Advisor at the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) opened the meeting, chaired by Dr. Ivan Zverzhanovski, SEESAC Coordinator.
“I encourage you to not to use these meetings just for presentations but to use every opportunity to share and talk to each other. We should help one another and share practices because what one country has gone through another will also experience soon”, Mr. Mladen Markovic from MoI of Montenegro said while welcoming the participants, adding that "SALW control is not a country-specific problem it is a regional, or even a global problem".
“When dealing with a complex problem such as firearms trafficking, the only solution is to rely on collective burden sharing, holistic analysis, and a long-term strategy.” Mr. Marinko Raos of the RCC, told the meeting in his opening remarks, emphasizing that “the SEEFEN network is a tool designed to help all members in identifying and mapping the causes, as well as providing appropriate advisory, equipment and training assistance in tackling the problem”, Mr. Raos emphasized.
Customs, prosecutors and the police officials are working in the plenary, as well as in groups, to examine the specific issues they are facing, analyze the results achieved and discuss lessons identified since their last meeting held earlier in September this year in Chisinau, Moldova. During the discussion on multi-sectoral cooperation, each delegation will present their Case Study, highlighting successes, challenges and needs. SEEFEN members will be reviewing legislative and operational framework as part of the discussion on Regional Firearms Trafficking Threat Assessment. During group work, the Prosecutors will work on the Regional Firearms Trafficking Threat with the SEESAC Team, while the Police and Customs Groups will hold a joint session to review Risk Assessment Approaches together with their counterparts from EMPACT and EUROPOL. The two-day meeting will conclude by finalizing the Regional Firearms Trafficking Threat Assessment with conclusions of the legislative and operational frameworks and by agreeing on steps for next year.
SEEFEN was created to facilitate the exchange of information and the transfer of knowledge within the region and between the region and the EU while promoting practical cooperation in fighting the illegal possession and illicit transfer of firearms. The members of the Network are members of the Police services, Customs Administrations, and Public Prosecutors’ Offices of: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Kosovo*, Serbia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Network held its first meeting in Durres, Albania on 23-24 September 2014.
The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2220 on combating the “illicit transfer destabilizing accumulation and misuse” of small arms and light weapons on 22 May 2015.
EU SUPPORT OF SEESAC DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL ACTIVITIES IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE (EUSAC)
The European Union entrusted SEESAC with the implementation of a series of region-wide activities in the period 2014 – 2016 through EU COUNCIL DECISION 2013/730/CFSP. The regional course is part of Component 1 of the resulting EUSAC Project (EU Support of SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europe) which is an integral part of the SEESAC SALW Control portfolio.
EUSAC marks a continuation of the trust placed in SEESAC by the EU since 2002. The Union previously supported SEESAC through Council Decision 2002/842/CFSP, extended and amended by Council Decisions 2003/807/CFSP and 2004/791/CFSP. Most recently, the Union supported SEESAC arms control activities through Council Decision 2010/179/CFSP.
Designed in close cooperation with national authorities, the EUSAC project works on the following five interrelated streams of activities:
- Increased security of stockpiles: through the renovation and security improvements to storages of arms and ammunition.
- Stockpile reduction: through the destruction of surplus arms and ammunition held in storages.
- Improved marking, tracing and registration of SALW: through the provision of support to the establishment or enhancement of existing weapons registration and record-keeping systems.
- Improved regional cooperation on awareness raising, information sharing and knowledge transfer: through the facilitation of regional cooperation between national institutions tasked with arms control.
- Implementation of collection and awareness raising campaigns.
* References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).