6,000,000th Piece of Ammunition Destroyed

Jul 9, 2014

UNDP commemorates the International Gun Destruction Day

The spread of small arms and light weapons continues to affect the security of the Western Balkans. To curb the proliferation of illicit small arms, UNDP/SEESAC has been working to support stakeholders at all levels in the region since 2002. As part of this effort, this year SEESAC coordinated a region-wide small arms destruction event on July 9, 2014, with partners in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

UNDP provides support to the defense and police of Bosnia and Herzegovina to assist in development of methods and implementing activities to lessen the burden that illicit weapons pose to the security of the country. The activities are implemented in line with the International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS). Dr Patrick McCarthy, Head of the ISACS Inter-Agency Support Unit at the United Nations explains that the ISACS provide practical guidance on putting in place effective controls over the full lifecycle of small arms and light weapons, including the collection and destruction of illicit and unwanted arms. The standards were jointly developed by more than 20 UN agencies working in cooperation with leading experts worldwide.  ISACS ensure that no matter which part of the United Nations a state approaches for advice or support related to small arms control, they will receive support that is consistent and of a high quality.

 “UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a leading champion of ISACS and has used the standards to help Ministries of Interior to design and implement a campaign — entitled "Choose Life Without Weapons" — to collect and destroy illicit and unwanted small arms and light weapons throughout the country.  The success of this campaign is a positive proof that ISACS can contribute in a significant way to strengthening national small arms controls." said Dr McCarthy.

Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to make progress in disposing of excess ammunition and increasing the security of her citizens by reducing the amount of small arms available for illicit circulation. Two important milestones are marked on this day:

UNDP and local partners celebrate the destruction of the 6 millionth piece of ammunition, as part of Project EXPLODE. As well, Bosnia and Herzegovina marks the destruction of 6,500 pieces of weapons, as part of Choose Life Not Weapons Campaign.

 “UNDP has a proven track-record in delivering meaningful and substantial SALW control and ammunition destruction projects in BiH.  They have been our partner of choice over several years of work in this vital area and led the development of country’s current Strategy for SALW Control.  At the British Embassy we are proud of the small contribution that we have been able to make towards these major threat reduction landmarks and congratulate UNDP and their partner organizations for their hard work and commitment.  Together they are making BiH a safer place.” said Lieutenant Colonel Rob Tomlinson, UK’s Defense Attaché.

Jasmin Porobic, UNDP Human Security Programme Manager, expressed his thanks to the European Union and the United Kingdom Government for providing long-term support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the arms control, mentioning that without their support these extraordinary results would not be possible. Funds for today’s weapons destruction were provided by the European Union through the Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP, dated 9th December 2013, in Support of SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europe in the framework of the EU Strategy to Combat the Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of SALW and their Ammunition.

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of SCR 1244 (1999)