Regional meeting of the Firearm Focal Points

On 28 October 2021, representatives of 6 Western Balkan jurisdictions and the Republic of Moldova convened at the Regional Firearms Focal Points (FFP) meeting organized by UNDP SEESAC with the aim to advance the capacities of FFP units to prevent and combat firearms-related criminality.

Guided with that goal, participants of each of the jurisdictions presented the current status regarding the establishment of the FFPs, challenges FFPs are facing in their daily work and the way forward towards their full operationality, which brought up a constructive discussion amongst fellow peers.

In the further course of the meeting representatives of EU Commission DG home Migration and Home Affairs, the UK National Ballistics Intelligence Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives presented on new developments in their respective fields. Participants were introduced with the new Council Conclusions on the implementation of the national FFPs in the EU member states, models and structures of organized crime engaged in illicit arms trafficking in Europe and the Western Balkans as well as on gun crime intelligence desk in the US, its methodology and support provided to gun crime investigations. These presentations raised many questions by representatives of Western Balkan FFPs and brought a new perspective on a way forward in FFP functioning as well as in tackling some of the common challenges and threats.  

SEESAC used this opportunity to announce its further support to the FFPs of Western Balkans trough the implementation of the Regional IPA Project “Support for enhancing the fight against the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Western Balkans”, that  was launched in September 2021. This new Project specifically aims to strengthen strategic and operational capacity of the Western Balkans authorities to conduct firearms investigations as well as exchange information within the region and with the EU on illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition.

This regional meeting was conducted under the framework of the European Union Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788 adopted on 19 November 2018 in support of SEESAC’s disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe and was focused on ways forward towards fully operational FFPs  that are the basis for evidence based and intelligence led policing. As such, this event directly contributes to the goals 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.