Fourth Regional Roadmap Coordination Meeting

Following the Fourth Roadmap Local Coordination Meetings organized by SALW Commissions in Pristina (5 November), Skopje (10 November), Podgorica (12 November), Tirana (16 November) and Sarajevo (20 November), over 120 participants, joined on 25-26 November 2020, the Fourth Regional Coordination Meeting of the Western Balkans Roadmap. Participants included authorities from the Western Balkans; high representatives from the European Union, Germany, France, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium; representatives from the UNDP, UNODC, UNODA, UNIDIR, RCC, OSCE, NATO, INTERPOL, EUROPOL, FRONTEX, EMPACT, EUFOR, PCCSEE, Small Arms Survey, NABIS, ITF Enhancing Human Security, MAG, BAFA, GIZ, GICHD, PAMECA, Halo Trust, RACVIAC, SELEC and Parliamentary Forum for SALW.

The meeting aimed to review progress in the implementation of the Roadmap, discuss challenges and short-term plans as well as support from the international organizations engaged in arms control in the region. Furthermore, it presented the key findings from the 4th progress reports as per Roadmap Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Roadmap Goals.

Key statements from officials present at the event included:

Ms. Floriana Sipala, Head of Unit D.5, Organised Crime and Drugs Policy, DG Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME):

I would like to commend the Western Balkans’ progress in the area of non-proliferation and arms control and the steady commitment to the Roadmap implementation. The newly adopted EU Action Plan on firearms trafficking integrates the substance and Key Performance Indicators of the Western Balkans Roadmap. The Roadmap is indeed one of the most successful cooperation initiatives in the region, and as such it has become the best working practice of the EU cooperation with the Western Balkans.

Mr. Albrecht von Wittke, Director of Division, Conventional Arms Control, Federal Foreign Office, Germany:

The value of the Roadmap process lies in the fact that it is fully regionally owned and because of this, the continuity of regional cooperation is very important. The fact that the Roadmap has been integrated into the EU Action Plan is a testimony of the level of integration of the Western Balkans. We can now see how the EU member states can benefit from the experience of the Roadmap implementation. Germany and France are fully involved in this process and I assure you that both will remain committed.

H.E. Jean-Claude Brunet, Ambassador-at–large on transitional criminal threats and the fight against the illicit trafficking of SALW, France:

I would like to underline the strong commitment of France and Germany to the Roadmap implementation. The Regional Roadmap already serves as an example of a security agenda since similar regional processes have been launched worldwide. It also serves as a model which inspired the EU Council in drafting the EU Action Plan and represents an example of how the region can work closely with the EU. 

Mr. Gerd Trogemann, Manager, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub:

The strong commitment towards the implementation of the Western Balkans Roadmap by the jurisdictions, as well as data collection and information sharing on the progress is notable, despite the ongoing challenges and limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This high-level engagement and ownership from the region are a strong evidence of long-lasting cooperation and spirit of trust that has been established in this area in the Western Balkans. It is a remarkable example which further promotes transparency, confidence and stability, which are so much needed in this region.

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

The Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap process is a unique practical example of a regionally owned process – with the authorities in the region deepening the cooperation and setting clear targets, as well as clear indicators to measure progress in achieving them. In this context, having in mind the RCC’s strong political mandate as well as coordination role in the regional security cooperation order, RCC stands ready to support and to do whatever necessary in order to ensure smooth and efficient implementation of the SALW priority agenda.

Mr. Georgios Kritikos, Deputy Head of Division for Disarmament, Non-proliferation and Arms Exports Control, European External Action Service (EEAS):

For the EU, the Western Balkans region is a clear priority as it is strongly documented and highlighted in the EU Strategy on SALW, which the EU foreign ministries agreed in 2018, as well as in the recently adopted Action Plan against illicit firearms trafficking. I would like to commend the SALW control authorities for their unwavering commitment to Roadmap implementation, despite the additional challenges and limitations brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and other impediments that impacted this initiative. In addition, the level of knowledge and good practices established in the Region is truly impressive.

The Roadmap was developed by the Western Balkans authorities with SEESAC’s technical support, under the auspices of the Governments of Germany and France and with key support from the European Union (EU). It was adopted by the region’s leaders at the London Summit in July 2018. The Roadmap envisages the Western Balkans as a safer region, and an exporter of security, where comprehensive and sustainable mechanisms, fully harmonized with the European Union and other international standards, are in place to identify, prevent, prosecute, and control the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms, ammunition and explosive.

The meeting is organized within the EU COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2018/1788, of 19 November 2018 in support of SEESAC for the implementation of the Regional Roadmap on SALW Control in the Western Balkans.