Halting Arms and Lawbreaking Trade (HALT)

Implementing period: February 2020 - October 2022 

Budget: US$2,200,000

Through this project, UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme (GFP) contributed to the security and safety in BiH in the context of the implementation of the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans by 2024. The project activities supported the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA)/BiH Customs to better detect and respond to the illicit trafficking of SALW. Apart from ITA, several other BIH institutions benefited from the project implementation including BIH Border Police, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MOFTER), the Agency for Postal Traffic and the three designated postal operators. The HALT Project was the first project under the MPTF to include the private sector in the implementation of the Roadmap with the participation of Express Courier and freight forward companies.

The intervention was tailor-made and sought to address the needs of BIH outlined in several strategies, including but not limited to BiH SALW Strategy 2016-2020 and the respective action plan, the Strategy for the fight against organized crime, and the Strategy for Preventing and Combating Terrorism (2015 – 2020). It was also fully compliant with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in BiH, more precisely with Outcome 2: By 2019, BiH consolidates and strengthens mechanisms for peaceful resolution of conflicts, reconciliation, respect for diversity, and community security.

Overall achievements:

  • Enhanced Integrated Border management capacity of BIH to better fight illicit SALW trafficking through targeted assistance to Customs/ITA, Border Police and three postal agencies. This entailed the following specific results:
  • Development of Needs Assessments as a baseline that guided further action. The project developed i) Needs assessment of BiH Customs/ITA (UNDP), and ii) Gap and Needs assessment for preventing trafficking of firearms, their parts, components and ammunition through postal shipments (UNODC).
  • Development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) in line with Gap and Needs Assessment. Nine (9) SOPs were developed and officially adopted by ITA. 14 ITA staff passed train-the-trainer sessions, ensuring continuous in-house resource. (UNDP)
  • Provision of specialized equipment for better performance of BiH Customs/ITA and Border Police. The project provided comprehensive SALW detection equipment and improved BIH Customs' and BIH Border Police infrastructure at border crossings to better detect smuggling of arms' and other goods. (UNDP)
    • ITA + train-the-trainer: 4 mobile detectors for explosives and narcotics; 22 videoscopes (endoscopes); 13 contraband detectors; 50 explosives and narcotics detection kits; 50 universal multitool kits; 24 vehicle inspection kits.
    • Border Police: 7 contraband detectors; 13 digital cameras; 25 metal carts; 8 evidence packaging kits; 11 sets of number evidence markers; 33 multitool kits.
  • Trained 770 customs officers/officials on the use of SOPs and specialized equipment. 738 customs officers (191 women and 547 men) trained on SOPs and the proper use of donated equipment, and this was accredited by the BiH Civil Service Agency[1]. This encompassed 37 one-day iterations in 14 different cities throughout BiH covering all 4 ITA regional centres. In addition, one-day workshop for 32 ITA middle managers (4 women and 28 men) was organized to stress the importance of application of developed SOPs and their final endorsement, bringing the total number of trained customs officers/officials to 770 (195 women and 575 men). (UNDP)
  • Affirmation of women’s role in BiH Customs. A brief analysis of the affirmation and career options for women in the BiH ITA was conducted as part of the needs assessment analysis of BiH ITA, and a series of workshops aimed at the affirmation of women's role in BIH Customs were rolled out: 8 workshops with the engagement of 202 ITA employees (124 women and 78 men), of which 121 managers (59 women and 62 men) including active participation of lecturers from ITA (ITA focal point for gender issues) as well as the two Associations of Women Police Officials operating in BiH, BiH Agency for Gender Equality and the BiH Ministry of Security. (UNDP)
  • Detection of firearms in fast and postal parcels was enhanced. Four SOPs were developed in collaboration with designated postal operators (DPOs) and BiH Customs/ITA on the detection of firearms in fast and postal parcels, for BiH Customs, BH Pošta, Pošte Srpske, Hrvatska pošta Mostar. In addition, SOPs were developed for four Express Courier (private) companies (noting that DHL already has procedures in place that are congruent to the ones adopted by the other four express courier companies). (UNODC)
  • Developed and delivered a set of capacity development activities for postal operators on detection of firearms in postal parcels and provided three X-ray scanners for detection of firearms in postal parcels (UNODC):
    • Foundation level training course; Advanced level training course; Computer-based training course, with 3 levels.
    • Developed a training manual: Analysis of Firearms X-ray images, to ensure a continuous resource.
    • Conducted 12 monitoring/mentoring visits to regional post distribution centers and Express Courier companies in BiH.
    • Installed X-ray scanners and provided related training on its use to Customs staff, and delivered 90 explosive and narcotics detection kits.
    • 100 practitioners (24 women and 76 men) in total increased their capacity for detection of firearms, their parts and ammunition in postal parcels from BiH Customs, BH Pošta, Pošte Srpske, Hrvatska pošta Mostar, out of whom 20 BiH Customs officials (4 women and 16 men) were trained as trainers, to serve as a continuous resource in-house.
  • Strengthened cooperation and information exchange between BIH Customs and other institutions at national level and with three neighboring states. This entailed the following specific results:
    • Implemented joint inter-institutional exercises with active part of BiH Customs, law enforcement agencies, and BiH Prosecutor: 307 police and customs officers trained through 11 joint exercises (UNDP)
    • Organized four peer exchange meetings for BiH Customs, with peers from Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro – exchange of best practices and experiences [three bilateral peer exchanges and one joint (minus Croatia)] (UNDP)
    • Facilitated strategic-level meetings among relevant SALW stakeholders in BiH, including BIH SALW Coordination Board, as well as one meeting with all police commissioners chaired by Director of Federation Police Directorate (UNDP)
    • Supported four bilateral cross-border operations between the customs officers of BiH and those from Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia: Drina 2021, Tara 2021, Tara 2022, Rijeka 2022. During these, exchange of information was intensified as well as controls and searches conducted, resulting in a number of seizures of illicit goods, drugs and some FAE. This also brought formalization of information exchange between customs administrations. In total, 81 experts from BiH and neighbouring countries participated in the bilateral operations (18 women and 63 men). Lessons learnt and key findings were exchanged and will guide further operations. (UNODC)
      • MoU between the BiH and Croatian Customs was signed, defining protocols for information exchange, significantly streamlining the cooperation process.
  • Strengthened public-private cooperation at the national level on countering firearms in fast and postal parcels (UNODC):
    • Developed a gap analysis on the cooperation framework between the BiH Customs and commercial sector entities on the detection of firearms in Express Courier parcels.
    • Identified opportunities for increased consultations between the courier companies and the Customs in the process of developing new sector’s regulations.
    • Identified solutions for providing preferential treatment by the Customs for companies that comply with specific conditions within the existent legislative framework.
    • Identified need for signing a MoU between private courier companies and Customs for exchange of information, based on risk indicators.
    • In collaboration with public institutions, enhanced risk assessment on firearms trafficking of 21 private companies: four express courier companies (four workshops in collaboration with BiH Customs) and 17 freight forwarding companies (two workshops in collaboration with MOFTER and the Ministry of Transport and Communication). As a result, 47 express courier staff (11 women and 36 men) and 50 representatives of freight forwarding companies (15 women and 35 men) have better understanding about the risks and regulations to counter firearms trafficking.
  • Overall, the project improved BiH capacities to combat illicit SALW trafficking in an effective manner:
    • There is a continuous use of SOPs and donated equipment: ITA reported three confiscations of weapons and weapons’ spare parts, in 2022 in Tuzla, and one in 2023 in Sarajevo.
    • By the end of the project (June 2023), noted was an increase in the detection of firearms in postal parcels, including aspects of international cooperation: there were 30 detected firearms parts in postal parcels by December 2022 (as compared to 3 detected firearms in postal parcels prior to the start of the project), with ongoing investigations and a detained suspect with hundreds of firearms parts ready to send via postal parcels.
    • The ensured continuous communication and cooperation both at strategic and operational levels among relevant agencies and institutions in BiH and between BiH and neighbouring countries strengthened the basis for more effective detection of illegal SALW trade.  
    • This also paved the way to the establishment of good practice and models of cooperation, which will further be multiplied and expanded upon through subsequent projects on SALW Control within the MPTF.


[1] Training concept developed under HALT project was formally recognized by the Agency for Civil Service of BiH. As a result, each customs officer that had completed the training was granted 5 credits by the Agency.

Urgent Action on Ammunition Destruction - Project EXPLODE+, in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Implementing period: October 2022 - December 2023

Budget: US$583,546

The project under implementation by UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina assisted the Ministry of Defence (MoD)/Armed Forces (AF) to reduce ammunition stockpiles to a manageable level in order to create preconditions for the establishment of a sustainable ammunition stockpile management system owned by the MoD/AF. The project also supported the MoD and AF to increase their overall efficiency in addressing the issue of excess, obsolete, faulty ammunition and military equipment.

The project was part of the broader Urgent Action on Ammunition Destruction EXPLODE+ project platform, implemented by UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina, which enabled a multilateral approach to interventions in the field of ammunition reduction and life-cycle management. The activities, including unsafe/surplus ammunition disposal, capacity development, and infrastructure upgrades of ammunition and weapon storage sites were closely coordinated with the MoD/AF. The project was directed by the Ammunition Weapons and Explosive Master plan as the main strategic framework of the MoD that guides large-scale national efforts and comprehensive international community involvement in this domain in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Specifically through the Western Balkans SALW Control MPTF, the project phase supported the disposal of 2,667 pcs of the rocket propelled grenade M80-64mm “Zolja,” 833 pcs of white phosphorus, and 1,000 pcs of RPG ammunition - through a controlled and environmentally safe action.

The project contributed to Roadmap Goals 6, 7 and key performance indicators 10, 12, 14 of the 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.

Prevention and Illicit Arms Reduction in Bosnia and Herzegovina (project PILLAR)

Implementing period: January 2021 – April 2024

Budget: US$769,406

The project under implementation by UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina seeks to implement a comprehensive response to raising awareness amongst the population regarding the dangers of illegal firearm possession, and contribute to behavioral change and comprehensive understanding of the threats posed by SALW within families, community, and society in general.

Specifically, the project will work with the formal associations of women police officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as “agents of change”, in order to strengthen their capacities to better tackle the limited understanding of the general population regarding SALW-related threats.

The project will also directly implement structured countrywide campaigns, outreach activities, and advocacy addressing the impact and threats posed by illicit SALW to the general public, especially vulnerable groups (women, children, young men).

The project contributes to Roadmap Goal 4 and key performance indicators 10 and 14 of the 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.

Digitalization and Institutional and Regional Cooperation Project (DIRC)

Implementing period: October 2022 - December 2023

Budget: US$ 309,412

The project, implemented by UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina, is to ensure continuity in and the strengthening of the ongoing efforts and achievements of Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding SALW control. It aims to establish a platform for bilateral and multilateral knowledge sharing with neighboring countries pertaining to SALW control. Furthermore, the project shall ensure continuity of efforts in further institutionalizing gender mainstreaming in SALW control within the Indirect Taxation Authority of BiH.

The project is to introduce new digital tools and structured joint regional exercises to fight against illegal SALW trafficking. It shall support the gender network within the Indirect Taxation Authority to raise awareness on the detection and prevention of gender-based harassment and to reduce gender inequality within the institution.

The project contributes to Roadmap Goals 2, 3, 4, 5 and key performance indicators 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 14 of the 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.

Law Enforcement Agencies’ Development in Small Arms and Light Weapons Control (Project LEAD)

Implementing period: December 2023 – December 2025

Budget: $1,455,035

The Project LEAD aims to enhance the capacity and engagement of relevant national institutions and civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as strengthen inter-agency and cross-border collaboration to advance the implementation of the National SALW Control Strategy and the SALW Control Roadmap.

The project builds upon previous interventions and entails a series of activities that focus on inter-agency operational and strategic cooperation, as well as provision of specialized resources, equipment and knowledge and peer-exchange to prevent and counter FAE-related crime. An inclusive approach to civil society organizations and outreach to communities and stakeholders will be ensured, with duly integrated gender and human rights perspectives. The expected result is a comprehensive strengthening of key stakeholders in the SALW control field, leading to increased ownership and sustainability of results.

The project contributes to Roadmap Goals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and key performance indicators 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 12, 14 of the 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.