Reviewing progress and plans on arms control in South East Europe

Organized annually for over 15 years, the Regional Steering Group Meeting (RSG) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) is a platform that fosters coordination at the regional level among key partners working on arms control in South East Europe.

RSG2019 took place on 5 March in Belgrade and hosted 65 representatives working across all aspects of 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), RACVIAC Centre for Security Cooperation, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and representatives of the donor community active regionally and globally on SALW related aspects. 

Key statements from officials present at the event:

Mr. Igor Kuzelka, Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Head of the Directorate for the Common Security and Defence Policy, Security Challenges and Arms Control, Republic of Serbia

  • “You can rely on our support to promote regional cooperation. The Republic of Serbia is working hard to meet the  requirements for EU accession and we are fully committed to the implementation of the recently adopted ROADMAP for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024”.

Mr. Amer Kapetanović, Head of Political Department, Regional Cooperation Council

  • “What we have all agreed upon as key priorities today is continuation of efforts to harmonize our legislation with EU legal framework, strengthening border control, establishing the Firearms Focal Points and the need for cooperation and coordination of efforts. This way, we can further facilitate the journey of South East Europe countries to EU integration.”

Mrs. Steliana Nedera, Resident Representative a.i, United Nations Development Programme Serbia

  • “Three words that are trending at today’s meeting are: convergence, integration and acceleration. The commitments to the sustainable development goals and the Roadmap agendas are converging here at the RSG. We need experts, civil society organizations and government officials to continue working together and integrate their efforts to make South East Europe a safer region.”

Mr. Emmanuel Vallens, Directorate General Home Affairs, Policy Officer

  • “We need to involve the judiciary in our work at both regional and European Union level to make sure that the needs of criminal proceedings are taken care of and the prosecution process is not hampered.”

The key achievements flagged at RSG2019 for SEESAC included the development and adoption of Roadmap2024 and the Action Plans for its implementation, the enhancement of security storage infrastructures in accordance with international standards, the establishment of Firearms Focal Points across the region and launching the first digital platform collecting age and sex disaggregated data on firearms related incidents in South East Europe.

About the RSG:

RSG brings together stake holders engaged at a global and regional level, including government institutions, international organizations and the donor community, in fighting firearms-related criminality with the aim of coordinating SALW control actions in South East Europe and the sharing of information between them for the future plans of those active in the field.

UNDP SEESAC is working in South East Europe under the framework of the EU COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2016/2356 and EU COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2018/1788.