Project HALT - Achievements in 2022

December 30, 2022

Project Halting Arms and Lawbreaking Trade in Bosnia and Herzegovina (HALT) commenced in February 2020 as a joint project of UNDP in BiH and UNODC with an overall objective to further increase safety and security within and beyond the Western Balkans through targeted actions aimed at improving BIH capacities to combat illicit trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). The project has been extended until 30 June 2023.


The project is funded by Federal Republic of Germany, Kingdom of Sweden, United Kingdom, Republic of France, Kingdom of the Netherlands and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) Office with assistance of the European Union, as a part of the Regional Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possesion, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024.


Project activities are being implemented in cooperation with the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ITA BiH) as a main beneficiary of the project while certain activities within the project include other institutions and agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina as beneficiaries, including Border Police (BP), State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), BiH Ministry of Security (MoS), BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MoFTER), BiH Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) and three postal operators in BiH.  

  • UNDP organized additional 9 one-day trainings in 4 different cities for over 120 customs officials on application of 8 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) developed within the project regulating step-by-step approach in prevention and detection of illegal SALW trafficking by the customs officials as well as practical part of the training on the use of specialized equipment (donated through the project) for detection of SALW and the radiation sources. In total, 738 customs officers have undergone these trainings over the course of implementation of the project. In addition, one-day training for 32 ITA middle managers was organized to stress the importance of application of developed SOPs and proper and continued use of donated equipment.
  • UNDP organized 5 workshops with participation of 130 managers from ITA (69 women and 61 men) aimed at enhancing women's position and career prospects in the ITA, identify roadblocks, contextual enablers, and entry points for advancing women’s position and career prospects in the customs sector while stressing the importance of gender equality and prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment.  The workshops were supported by the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina in a role of BiH SALW Coordination Board representative, Network of Female Police Officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Gender Equality Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, setting up an innovative system of horizontal exchange among practitioners on this topic. These consultative workshops initiated dialogue on women’s participation in the customs sector - for the first time in the country - and issues of gender equality with an emphasis on awareness-raising on prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment.   
  • One meeting of the Working Group at the Operational Level organized by UNDP gathering representatives of 15 police agencies across all jurisdictions in BiH, ITA and BiH Prosecutor’s Office to discuss future joint exercises involving all these agencies on application of developed SOPs with an aim to increase capacities to more efficiently fight illegal SAWL trade.  The Working Group efforts resulted in an idea to develop a scenario for joint exercises involving aforementioned institutions.  
  • 1 pilot joint exercise and 10 joint exercises gathering police and customs officials from 15 different police agencies and the ITA, in presence of and participation by BiH Prosecutor's Office, were organized in 10 different cities in BiH.  307 police and customs officials took part and were trained on the use of developed SOPs and their correlation with relevant provisions of the criminal procedure codes in BiH pertinent to illegal possession and trafficking of SALW as well as on the use of equipment donated through the project.  All participants were closely monitored and guided by the BiH Prosecutor's Office who were present at each exercise. 
  • International cooperation between ITA and regional customs administrations continued through organization of meetings between ITA project focal points with counterparts from Serbia’s and Montenegro’s customs administrations.  UNDP managed to organize a meeting in Belgrade in March between BiH ITA and Serbia’s Customs Administration with participation of 7 ITA officials and 4 officials from Serbia’s Customs Administration. In addition, UNDP organized a regional meeting in Sarajevo in July gathering 15 participants - representatives of BiH ITA, Montenegro’s Administration for Revenue and Customs and Serbia’s Customs Administration. The meetings were used as a forum to exchange information of each administrations’ efforts to fight illegal SALW trade by presenting organizational structure and capacities of each agency, best practices as well as project HALT achievements and potential replication of the project in neighboring countries. 
  • UNDP, together with UNODC, organized the meeting of the Working Group at the Strategic Level in Vienna gathering 9 representatives from ITA, MoS and MOFTER on the subject of illegal SALW trafficking. 
  • UNDP purchased and hander over to the ITA specialized detection equipment worth over BAM 515,000 (VAT excluded). The donated equipment included: 4 sophisticated detectors of explosives and narcotics, 10 endoscopes, 7 contraband detectors, 25 explosives and 25 narcotics detection kits (along with 10 additional testing sets for each kit), 25 multitool kits and 24 vehicle inspection kits. Train-the-trainer session was organized for 5 ITA trainers during the handover of 4 detectors of explosives and narcotics as well as for 10 ITA officials on the use of contraband detectors and explosives and narcotics detection kits.  
  • UNDP also facilitated the meeting of BiH SALW Coordination Board in Banja Luka as well as the meeting of Director of Federation Police Directorate with all cantonal police commissioners in Konjic.

UNDP plans to continue with the implementation of the remaining activities in HALT project with an aim to achieve the overall objective of the project: “Further increased safety and security within and beyond the Western Balkans through targeted actions aimed at improving BIH capacities to combat illicit SALW trafficking “.