Authorities from South-eastern and Eastern Europe Convene to Tackle Challenges in Small Arms and Light Weapons Control

The 18th Regional Meeting of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Commissions convened in Tirana on 21 December 2023, featuring representatives from South Eastern and Eastern European jurisdictions and specialists from arms control organizations.

A backbone of regional cooperation on SALW control, the Regional Process of SALW Commissions is a key regional platform at the strategic and policy level, facilitated by SEESAC in parallel with the operational level platform – the South East Europe Firearms Experts Network, which met in Budva, on 7-8 November 2023.

The meeting revolved around arms exports control, dual-use trade controls, legal and policy implications related to new trends and threats of firearms misuse and trafficking, reducing illicit possession and proliferation of firearms through deactivation of firearms, and the UN Programme of Action on small arms and its International Tracing Instrument.

In particular, the participants from Belgrade, Chisinau, Kiev, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje, and Tirana discussed on EU Commission Recommendation 2019/1318 of 30 July 2019 on Internal Compliance Programmes for dual-use trade controls, were informed on the key findings of the Regional Cooperation Council’s (RCC) Security Barometer 2023 Survey on perceptions of security and threats in Western Balkans.

According to Mr. Besfort Lamallari, Deputy Minister of Interior/Head of the SALW Commission of Albania, the regional meeting of SALW commissions is a great opportunity for jurisdictions to connect with one another and foster regional cooperation. In his opening statement, he outlined the value of the platform for the exchange of experiences and ideas, and for staying informed about the developments in SALW control in the region and beyond.

Ms. Jorida Shytaj, Senior Political Advisor at the Regional Cooperation Council, praised SEESAC for facilitating significant discussions and sharing best practices in SALW control in Southeast Europe. She emphasized the RCC’s unwavering commitment to supporting regional initiatives aimed at addressing security challenges. She highlighted the RCC’s focus on creating a secure, prosperous environment through dialogue and mobility, by also acknowledging the significance of the work done by the jurisdictions in achieving the shared strategic goal of progressing on the EU accession path.

The Regional SALW Commissions Meetings are organised with the support provided through the EU Council Decision 2019/2111 in support of arms control activities in South East Europe in the framework of the EU Strategy to combat the illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition.