1st Formal Regional Meeting of SALW Commissions Held
Throughout South East Europe (SEE), National SALW Commissions and other relevant institutions have been set up in the past decade with a view of improving the coordination of the control of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunitions. Given that the issue of SALW proliferation has a strong regional character, SEESAC initiated regular Regional Meetings of National SALW Commissions, the first of which took place on 13 February 2014 in Belgrade, Serbia.
The aim of the meetings is to facilitate information exchange and knowledge sharing among the SALW Commissions, that way increasing their individual capacities, as well as the capacity of the region as a whole to implement SALW control measures.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the SALW Commissions of Albania, Croatia, Kosovo*, Moldova, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Representatives from UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNDP Croatia, UNDP Kosovo* and UNDP Montenegro also took part and contributed significantly to the discussion.
The main goal of this preliminary meeting was to set the agenda for the upcoming meetings, during which participants would share their own work methods and structures, and learn from each others’ experiences. Six meetings are planned for the three-year period (2014-2016) and the next one is tentatively set to take place in June-July 2014.
The regional meetings are an activity implemented under the EU Support of SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europe (EUSAC) project, initiated through the Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP.
The EUSAC builds directly upon SEESAC’s decade-long SALW Control work, particularly achievements made through the previous EU funded SALW Control project, conducted during the 2010-2012 period under the Council Decision 2010/179/CFSP. The new project, which was designed in close cooperation with national authorities, will work 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 ).