From the Western Balkans to the Caribbean – Regional Approaches to Arms Control

27 July 2021 – On the margins of the seventh Biennial Meeting of States on the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects (BMS7), the UNDP’s South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) and the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) presented the approaches of both Caribbean and Western Balkans jurisdictions to preventing and combating illicit arms trafficking in their respective regions. The Roadmaps are aligned with the provisions found in relevant international instruments, most notably the UN 2001 PoA, ITI, Firearms Protocol, and the Arms Trade Treaty and aim to support States in their implementation.

At the virtual gathering, UNDP SEESAC and UNLIREC outlined the aims of each Roadmap, the good practices, challenges and lessons learnt experienced by both regions during the process of developing and implementing the Roadmaps. The event was complemented by the active participation of donors, including Germany, France, USA and Canada, and by representatives of SALW commissions from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from North Macedonia in representation of the Western Balkans, and by Guyana and Grenada in representation of the Caribbean.

The virtual audience was invited to engage in discussions on pertinent questions, such as: what is the added value of a Firearms Roadmap when regional approaches and instruments already exist? What are the difference and similarities between the regional processes? How do the Roadmaps revitalize national and regional political commitments? How do Roadmaps boost national coordination and relations with donors and implementing partners? How is progress in implementation measured at both the local and regional level?

The Roadmap for a Sustainable Solution to the Illegal Possession, Misuse and Trafficking of SALW and their Ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024 was developed in 2018 by the six Western Balkan jurisdictions and adopted at the Western Balkans London Summit. The Roadmap was developed by SALW Commissions with SEESAC support and under auspices of Germany, France and the European Union. A dedicated UN Multi Partner Trust Fund was established to enhance coordination of donor support for the Roadmap implementation through the UN (UNDP and UNODC). Germany, France, UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway have together contributed over 17 million USD since the Trust Fund’s establishment in 2019, with currenlty 10 projects under implementation. In addition to this the EU is supporting the Roadmap implementation with almost 16 million EUR.

The Roadmap for Implementing the Caribbean Priority Actions on the Illicit Proliferation of Firearms and Ammunition across the Caribbean in a Sustainable Manner by 2030 was formally adopted in January 2021 by the 15 participating CARICOM States (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) and the Dominican Republic. The main drafters and implementing partners for the Roadmap are UNLIREC and CARICOM IMPACS while the key donors include Germany, the United States of America, Canada and the UK.

Click here for recordings of the virtual gathering.

For more information on this side event or on the Western Balkans or Caribbean Roadmaps, please contact Amanda Cowl at cowl@unlirec.org.

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