South Eastern and Eastern Europe Authorities Discuss Challenges and Possible Solutions for Enhanced SALW Control

Representatives of the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Commissions from South Eastern and Eastern Europe as well as representatives of expert organisations engaged in arms control gathered for the 17th Regional Meeting of SALW Commissions which took place in Sarajevo on 6 July 2023.

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 also met in Sarajevo on 13-14 June.

The meeting revolved around arms control efforts in preventing diversion of weapons and ammunition through end-use certification and post-delivery verifications, through-life ammunition management, evidence-based policies, monitoring armed violence in EU and SEE, misuse of firearms in domestic and gender-based violence, and strategies to prevent and counter mass shootings.

In particular, the participants from Belgrade, Chisinau, Kiev, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje, and Tirana were informed on the new Global Framework for Through-life Conventional Ammunition Management as a result of the work of the Open-ended Working Group on Conventional Ammunition.

The Regional SALW Commissions Meetings serve as a valuable platform for us to stay informed about the most recent developments in SALW control, Mr. Ermin Pešto, Chairman of the SALW Coordination Board of Bosnia and Herzegovina said in his opening statement. He added that the meeting also provides a unique opportunity for them to connect with one another and foster regional cooperation. The gathering allows for fruitful exchanges of experiences, perspectives, and ideas, which ultimately contribute to enhancing the regional efforts in this field. By leveraging this opportunity, we can further strengthen our activities and work towards more effective SALW control measures in the region, Mr. Pešto concluded.

Mr. Shenasi Iseni, Senior Political Advisor at the Regional Cooperation Council said that the shared experience and knowledge among participants in the meeting serve as a powerful catalyst for strengthening cooperation in the region. By building upon this collective expertise, we are investing in long-term stability across the region, he noted and added that the Regional Cooperation Council remains committed to supporting SEESAC's activities in the SALW control domain, recognizing their significance in achieving a 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.