Progress in SALW control acknowledged at the Western Balkans Summit
Seven years after the first Berlin Western Balkans Summit in 2014, the Heads of Governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, as well as the Heads of State or Government of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, and representatives of the European Union (EU) and of international and regional bodies and organisations met by video conference (in view of the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic) in Berlin on 5 July 2021 for the Summit Meeting on the Western Balkans in the framework of the Berlin Process.
Participants reconfirmed the strategic importance of the timely implementation of the “Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024.” They welcomed the progress made despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They noted with appreciation the contribution of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Commissions to regional cooperation, as well as their work on constantly updating national SALW strategies.
At the same time, participants welcomed the EU having now taken over as Chair of the initiative and acknowledged the role of Germany and France as Co-Chairs in actively pursuing work on its implementation. Likewise, they noted that the Roadmap has shaped the design of the EU Action Plan on Firearms Trafficking. They encouraged international partners and donors to continue providing financial support to this important initiative, given its crucial role in tackling potential transnational threats. In particular, they called for contributions to the funding mechanisms established for this purpose, including the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
The link to the Chair’s Conclusions is here.
*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of the Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).