SEESAC to Showcase Leading Initiatives in Arms Control at the upcoming Fourth Review Conference on the Programme of Action on SALW control in New York

On 19, 20 and 21 June 2024, UNDP's South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) is hosting three side events at the fourth Review Conference on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA) in New York.

These side events will bring together key stakeholders – Member State delegates, UN entities, regional organizations and civil society organizations.

The latest annual UN Secretary General Report on Small Arms and Light Weapons highlights the impact of the Western Balkans Roadmap,  referring among other also to its influence on the development of new initiatives in the Caribbean and Central America, signaling its broader significance and relevance in addressing regional challenges. Building further on this, in his Agenda for Peace, the UN Secretary General encouraged the Member States to develop and implement regional and subregional Roadmaps.

The Roadmap as a recognized good model of a regional approach to SALW Control will therefore be in the focus of the event on the 19 June, co-organised with UNLIREC.

The event will showcase concrete initiatives which have been adopted in different sub-regions worldwide, following the example from the Western Balkans. It will demonstrate the advances which have been made since their adoptions in support of the implementation of PoA and the International Tracing Instrument. It will enable an exchange and reflection on the added value of Roadmaps and sub-regional initiatives; demonstrate the impact of the Roadmaps in boosting coordination of efforts as well as practices and challenges in measuring progress at both the national and regional level.

With the number of seizures of SALW and ammunition rising over the last five years, law enforcement agencies have demonstrated increased attention and enhanced capacities to address the illicit possession, misuse, and trafficking of SALW.

Combatting arms trafficking and investigations of firearm-related crimes in South East Europe will be in the focus of side event on the 20 June.

Building on robust strategies to combat arms trafficking, with a focus on regional cooperation through the South East Europe Firearms Experts Network (SEEFEN), in-depth needs assessments, the development of Standard Operating Procedures, and targeted training and equipment for law enforcement agencies in the region, the second event will provide a comprehensive overview of best practices and lessons learned on combating firearms trafficking and gun-related criminality at the regional level.

Additionally, SEESAC will launch two studies that have been developed to support the authorities in addressing some of the new threats and modus operandi in firearms related criminality. The study on hand grenades originating from the Western Balkans will be presented — a comprehensive tool to assist authorities in the identification and forensic examination of hand grenades. Furthermore, a study on 3D printed firearms, State of Play, Challenges and Law Enforcement Approach will be introduced offering extensive insights to help law enforcement authorities effectively respond to this evolving challenge.  Both publications are intended for limited distribution to law enforcement institutions only.

Women continue to be underrepresented in SALW control policymaking, while gender plays and important role in misuse of firearms. Men, in particular young men, continue to dominate among perpetrators and victims; misuse of firearms in domestic violence leaves the highest number of fatalities, with women disproportionately represented among fatalities in domestic violence.  SEESAC is providing long term support to the authorities in the Western Balkans to establish evidence-based gender-responsive SALW control frameworks and to mainstream gender in their implementation efforts.

Within this context, a comprehensive set of activities is being implemented to enhance the institutional response to the misuse of firearms in domestic violence, including in procedures related to firearm license approval and risk assessments applied by the police when domestic violence is reported. As a result of extensive regional process which involved more than 90 police officers and 17 women’s organization, SEESAC developed two sets of Guidelines which aim to integrate the gender perspective in operational SALW control:

These tools will be launched during the side event on Gender Mainstreaming in Arms Control: From Policy to Operations that will take place on 21 June, and is co-organised with UNLIREC.

The side event will share good practices from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Western Balkans to demonstrate the added value of gender mainstreaming small arms control operations.

To learn more about SEESAC’s work, please visit SEESAC’s website and read our Year in review.

To access the newest SEESAC knowledge products please visit the following links:

Further details on the side events and RevCon4 can be found here.

About the RevCon4

United Nations Member States periodically review progress on the implementation of the commitments made in the PoA and the International Tracing Instrument. The Fourth Review Conference (RevCon4) of the UN Programme of Action (UNPoA) to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects is taking place in New York, from 17 to 28 June 2024.