Arms control, Western Balkan countries meet in Sarajevo

Arms control, Western Balkan countries meet in Sarajevo

The 1st Regional Coordination Meeting for 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 (Roadmap) took place on 28 May 2019 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Following the Local Coordination Meetings that took place in Belgrade, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje and Tirana, over 90 participants, representatives of SALW Commissions in the Western Balkans, the international organizations engaged in arms control in the region and donors, came together in Sarajevo for the First Regional Coordination Meeting of the Roadmap. Participants included authorities from the Western Balkans; representatives from Germany, France, the European Union, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom; representatives from the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as from other international organizations including Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), EUROPOL, EMPACT, Small Arms Survey, National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS), European Union Force (EUFOR), ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF), and Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC).

Key statements from officials present at the event:

H.E. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Special Representative in BiH

“The roadmap is the result of a long term and continuous effort by the region. Security issues are at the core of the EU accession process and only through a systematic sustainable solution can we counter the threats from the illicit trafficking of SALW. “

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

“I’d like to congratulate the region on what it has achieved with the adoption of the Roadmap. You have developed very clear goals with concrete timelines and 14 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the roadmap, and this is a unique example, which Germany fully supports.”

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

“Five months after the Paris Ministerial Meeting co-chaired by French and German Foreign Ministers JL Le Drian and H. Maas, I would like to commend SALW commissions and partners for their dedicated work and contributions. We have a strong responsibility towards our people for a safer and more secure Western Balkans region and Europe; you can count on French support, efforts and continuous dedication to this important initiative.”

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 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 reporting framework based on the Roadmap Key Performance Indicators was presented at the regional meeting.