Western Balkan and Moldovan Authorities Enhance Knowledge on Ammunition Surveillance

Over 30 representatives of authorities and international organizations involved in physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) of conventional weapons and ammunition from the Western Balkans and Moldova gathered for the Regional Workshop on Ammunition Surveillance organised in Podgorica on 27-29 June 2022. The workshop followed the final deliberations of the Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction (RASR) Initiative Steering Committee on the way forward in enhancing stockpile management capacities in the region through technical and practice-oriented workshops focused on specific PSSM thematic areas.

Ms. Bojana Balon, Head of SEESAC, welcomed the participants, while Colonel Aleksandar Pantović, Advisor for Military Affairs to the Minister of Defence of Montenegro, General (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, RACVIAC Director, and Ms. Jorida Shytaj, Senior Political Officer of the Regional Cooperation Council, spoke at the Opening Session.

In his address, Colonel Pantović highlighted that the Ministry of Defence has implemented numerous joint activities with SEESAC, RACVIAC and ITF and underlined the expectation from the workshop participants to apply the acquired knowledge and experience in sustainable ordnance life cycle management, including ammunition stability monitoring in line with the best international standards. He concluded that this essentially guarantees the life and safety of ammunition handling personnel and the population in the ammunition storage vicinity.

General Bazo noted that dialogue and cooperation on security matters are pursued through a partnership between the region's jurisdictions and their international partners and invited the participants to take part in the session discussions actively and openly.

On the other hand, Ms. Shytaj noted that illicit proliferation and misuse of weapons and ammunition are public security concerns, fuelling insecurity and undermining peacebuilding and long-term development. She added that RCC closely follows the SEESAC and RACVIAC activities in this area and remains dedicated to regional security cooperation and fostering confidence in South East Europe.

In support of building capacities for effective ammunition surveillance, the participants shared and discussed the 2020-2021 progress updates, priorities, challenges and needs. Furthermore, overviews of international and NATO standards and comprehensive insights on information management systems for ammunition surveillance currently in place in the region were presented.

Finally, the workshop participants had an opportunity to be presented with technical capacities, practices, and procedures for ammunition delaboration and disposal during a field visit to the Poliex Factory in Berane.

The workshop was organized jointly by SEESAC and RACVIAC, with expert support from ITF Enhancing Human Security within the framework of the European Union Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2111.