Fostering coordination for over 15 years: The Regional Steering Group Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons
Organized annually for over 15 years, the Regional Steering Group Meeting (RSG) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) is a platform that enables discussions and fosters coordination at the regional level among key partners who are fighting firearms crime in South East Europe.
RSG2018 brought together on 22 March in Belgrade, 67 representatives of all actors engaged in arms control in South East Europe, from government representatives to members of international organizations like the European Union (EU), the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), NATO, RACVIAC Centre for Security Cooperation, UNODC and representatives of the donor community active regionally and globally on SALW related aspects.
Key statements from officials present at the event:
Mr. Milan Gojkovic, Minister-Counsellor, Coordinator for the Export Control and Nonproliferation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia
- ‘As fighting crime with firearms is impossible without regional cooperation, today’s meeting is an opportunity for interactive experience-sharing on arms control.’
Ms. Shelley Inglis, Governance and Peacebuilding Cluster Leader, United Nations Development Programme, Istanbul Regional Hub
- ‘At the regional level, the different processes facilitated by SEESAC have served to not only increase the capacities in this region but more importantly build the much-needed confidence and establish bridges of cooperation among the institutions and individual experts.’
Mr. Zoran Popov, Political advisor, RCC
- ‘SALW control is a complementary, supportive element in the European Union accession process.’
A key aspect presented at RSG2018 was the Western Balkans’s most complex SALW control exercise, part of the European Union integration agenda: a Roadmap on sustainably fighting illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW by 2025. Developed in close consultations with all Western Balkans governments, the roadmap, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and facilitated by SEESAC, will be adopted at the London Summit in July 2018.
Additional milestones reached by South East Europe presented at RSG2018 are the establishment of SALW commissions in Albania and the Republic of Moldova, moving a step forward on mainstreaming gender with Albania’s Deputy Minister of Interior joining SEESAC’s Gender Coach Programme, involving the latest technology in fighting firearms crime by establishing Firearms Focal Points across the region and striving to build a culture of evidence-based policies through a regional SALW survey.
About the RSG:
RSG brings together stakeholders engaged at global and regional levels in fighting firearms-related criminality from government institutions, international organizations and the donor community with the aim of harmonizing all SALW control actions in South East Europe and informing them of the future plans of actors active in the field.