The 2nd Regional SALW Control Roadmap Coordination Meeting

Following Local Coordination Meetings that took place in Belgrade, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje and Tirana, over 100 participants, representatives of SALW Commissions in the Western Balkans, the international organizations engaged in arms control in the region and donors, came together on 20-21 November 2019, in Tirana, Albania for the Second Regional Coordination Meeting of the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024. Participants included authorities from the Western Balkans; representatives from Germany, France, the European Union, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic and Spain; representatives from the United Nations Development Programme; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), INTERPOL, EMPACT, Small Arms Survey, National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS), ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF), Mines Advisory Group (MAG), BAFA, GIZ, PAMECA, Halo Trust  and Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC).

The overarching objective of the regional coordination meetings is to take stock of the progress, challenges and needs as per the specific goals of the Roadmap, discuss contributions from the international organizations engaged in arms control in the region and donor support in countering the proliferation and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, within the Roadmap framework. The main findings from the reports based on the Roadmap Key Performance Indicators and Roadmap Goals were presented at the regional meeting.

Key statements from officials present at the event:

Ms. Rovena Voda, Deputy Minister of Interior of Albania

“I would like to highlight the importance of the regional approach to combatting the illicit trafficking of firearms through the Roadmap and pride about the determination of the Western Balkans jurisdictions to jointly work towards the joint goals given that the misuse, trafficking of SALW and their use by criminal and terrorist organizations pose a serious regional and global concern”.  

Mr. Fabio Marini, Head of Firearms Taskforce, DG Home Affairs, European Union

“From EU’s point of view, a fight against trafficking of SALW remains an acute challenge which will require a joint effort of the authorities and institutions of the Western Balkans region. In that regards, the EU will continue to support the information exchange at the strategic and operational level, to provide support for further enhancing legislative capacities, contribute to the reduction of illegal possession of firearms and increase the capacities of institutions to mainstream gender in SALW control.“

Mr. Marcus Bleinroth, Director of Division, Conventional Arms Control, Federal Foreign Office, Germany

“I am impressed with the progress made under this initiative in the relatively short time and the efforts the region has put in this process. The Roadmap represents a partnership between donors, Roadmap beneficiaries and implementing partners. The depth and effectiveness of this partnership is shown in the progress reports consolidated by SEESAC. The overall report is an impressive document, containing 14 KPIs and a straightforward metrics of all the ongoing activities through a very structured framework of the regional and local coordination meetings.”

H.E. Jean-Claude Brunet, Ambassador-at-large on transitional criminal threats and the fight against the illicit trafficking of SALW, France

“On behalf of France, I would like to congratulate the authorities in the Region on the tremendous progress and highlight the global dimension of the Roadmap. The SALW control issue is at the heart of the sustainable stabilization and social economic development, and France is committed to supporting the European perspective of the Western Balkans partners. Through this initiative we are preparing for our common future.”

The Roadmap was developed by the Western Balkans authorities with SEESAC’s technical support, under the auspices of the Governments of Germany and France and with the support of the European Union (EU) and all other relevant actors. It was adopted by the region’s leaders at the London Summit in July 2018 in the presence of EU leaders. The Roadmap envisages the Western Balkans as a safer region, and an exporter of security, where comprehensive and sustainable mechanisms, fully harmonized with the European Union and other international standards, are in place to identify, prevent, prosecute, and control the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms, ammunition and explosive.

The meeting is organized within the EU COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2018/1788, in support of SEESAC for the implementation of the Regional Roadmap on combating illicit arms trafficking in the Western Balkans.