SEESAC Promotes Achievements in SALW Control and Gender Equality in Military at 49th SEDM Coordination Meeting

SEESAC participated in the 49th South East Europe Defence Ministerial Coordination (SEDM-CC) Meeting on 14th September in Timisoara, Romania, under the Romanian Chairmanship of the South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial process.

The sixteen SEDM participating states as well as representatives of international organizations (RACVIAC, and the Euro-Atlantic Resilience Centre) exchanged information on the activities conducted since the last South East Europe Defence Ministerial Meeting aiming to strengthen regional cooperation and regional stability.

Romania took the Chairmanship of SEDM in September 2023 under the slogan Resilience, Commitment, and Stability, focusing on increasing the profile and relevance of the SEDM by attracting more active engagement in the existing projects and identifying new ones in fields relevant to the current strategic context.

At the 49th Coordination meeting, SEESAC updated SEDM member states on the activities conducted to support counterparts in strengthening small arms and light weapons control and advancing gender equality in the military.

SEESAC’s representative informed about the key leaders' seminar held in Belgrade in June, with four high-level commanding officers and decision-makers from Ministries of Defence and the Armed Forces in Sarajevo, Podgorica, Skopje, and Belgrade who completed SEESAC’s Gender Coach Programme. The seminar enabled discussion on the role of gender-responsive leadership in achieving people-centered security and zero tolerance towards gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Also, in the period between two SEDM meetings, the final evaluation was conducted of the Women in the Military Project, which confirmed that the project has strengthened regional cooperation on gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in the Western Balkan and has created a strong evidence base for decision-making as well as created both momentum and knowledge on gender equality in the military.

Regarding strengthening small arms and light weapons control, SEESAC shared the activities related to support to armed forces and law enforcement agencies in enhancing Physical Security and Stockpile Management of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition.

Also, SEESAC updated on the upcoming 10th Roadmap Progress Reports, which will also require contributions from the Ministries of Defence. The consolidated regional report will be distributed in advance of the regional roadmap meeting in Tirana in December.

Reaffirming its commitment to jointly work with the SEDM Secretariat and all the forum’s participating Nations, SEESAC highlighted its readiness to continue contributing to regional security, stability, and peace, as well as to the Sustainable Development Goals.