Serbia destroyed 45,285 small arms and light weapons with EU support

Dec 20, 2012

With EU and UNDP support, Serbia’s Ministry of Interior organized an activity on 20 December 2012 to destroy 17,000 small arms and light weapons (SALW). This brings the total number of destroyed SALWs with EU-funding in Serbia to 45,285. EU and UNDP also supported the earlier destruction of 30,000 SALWs in Croatia.

Recognizing the negative effect that the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons (SALW) can have on the prospects of sustainable development, EU and UNDP joined forces in 2010 to combat the threat posed by SALW in the Western Balkans. By supporting the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC), which functions under the mandate given to it by UNDP and the Regional Cooperation Council, the partnership has been able to contribute to great progress in the reduction of SALW in the region over the last two years.

These activities are in line with the EU Small Arms and Light Weapons Strategy, which recognizes that the number of illegal and unwanted weapons around South East Europe is an important challenge to peace and security. Due to the historical accumulation, the Western Balkan countries have been of a particular concern regarding their number of weapons and munitions stockpiles.

SALW collection and destruction activities such as the ones in Serbia and Croatia, along with tight export controls and proper SALW storage and management, are crucial for safer and more secure societies – not only in the Western Balkans, where UNDP/SEESAC has been successfully supporting national governments – but also regionally and globally. Work on SALW remains one of the principal elements of UNDP’s work in Crisis Prevention and Recovery.