Annual Regional Workshop for Firearms Focal Points Aims to Enhance Fight Against Illegal Arms Trade

SEESAC successfully organized the Annual Regional Workshop for Firearms Focal Points (FFPs) in Belgrade on 23-25 May 2023. The workshop focused on drafting of a regional threat assessment on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).

The event brought together key stakeholders, experts, and representatives from law enforcement agencies across the Western Balkans including Firearms Focal Points, Criminal Police Analyst Units, Border Police Risk Analyst Units, and Ballistic Laboratories. These experts collaborated to provide valuable insights into the regional threat assessment and identify effective strategies to combat the illegal possession, misuse, and trafficking of SALW.

The workshop agenda covered a wide range of topics. The sessions included statistical analysis and findings per jurisdiction based on a questionnaire, the methodology for the regional threat assessment, geographic locations and trafficking routes within the Western Balkans, commodities/types of weapons, involvement of organized crime and other actors, high-risk violent groups, modus operandi, blank fires and their conversion, hand grenades, ammunition and explosive materials, migrants and weapons, new threats and vulnerabilities, as well as recommendations based on the findings.

Each session featured presentations by SEESAC representatives who guided participants through the complexities of SALW-related issues. The representatives of the Western Balkan authorities actively engaged in discussions, exchanging knowledge, experiences, and best practices to enhance regional cooperation and strengthen the fight against illegal arms trade.

The Annual Regional Workshop for Firearms Focal Points played an important role in deepening understanding, fostering collaboration, and establishing effective mechanisms to combat the illegal possession, misuse, and trafficking of SALW in the Western Balkans. The valuable insights gained from the workshop will inform policies and strategies to enhance regional security and contribute to peace and stability in the region.

The workshop was organized in the scope of SEESAC’s more extensive work of increasing response to factors fuelling demand and misuse of firearms in the Western Balkans as part of the Support for Enhancing the Fight Against the Illegal Possession, Misuse, and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the Western Balkans project, funded by the European Union through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II).