South Eastern and Eastern Europe Authorities Discuss Current Challenges and Solutions in 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 16th Regional Meeting of SALW Commissions which took place in Budva on 15 December 2022. This is the key regional platform on SALW control at the strategic level, facilitated hand in hand with the operational platform – the South East Europe Firearms Experts network which met in Skopje on 1-2 November.

The meeting enabled sharing of information and discussions on legal and policy framework related to firearms, ammunition, and explosives and its harmonisation with the EU acquis. In addition, the participants from Belgrade, Chisinau, Kiev, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje, and Tirana learned about the recent initiatives aimed at providing a better understanding of the factors fuelling demand for firearms in the Western Balkans and mainstreaming gender in SALW control policies. Finally, regional threats and risks analyses related to trafficking and misuse of firearms as well as SEESAC’s support activities to counter them were presented.

The regional meetings of SALW commissions are an opportunity to learn more on the harmonisation with the EU acquis but also discuss the latest practices in the SALW control field – this was brought to the attention of the participants by Mr. Mladen Marković, Head of SALW Commission of Montenegro, in his opening remarks. He also thanked partners and donors for continuous support to SALW commissions across the region.

Only through dialogue, cooperation and mutual understanding, we invest in the common future and this meeting is investment in this direction, Ms. Jorida Shytaj, Senior Political Advisor in the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) said and added that RCC remains committed to continue supporting such initiatives. She also reflected on the current security situation and challenges, highlighting the importance of planning together for joint solution for the future.

The 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.