EU STAR Begins – 3,000 Tonnes of Unsafe Ammo to be Destroyed

Jul 14, 2017

Sezin Sinanoglu, UNDP Resident Representative and Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina signing EU STAR contract

European Union Assistance to Stockpile Management, Technical Support, and Ammunition Surplus Reduction - EU STAR officially started with the ceremonial signing of a contract between Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Sezin Sinanoglu, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the presence of BiH Defense Minister Marina Pendeš and EUFOR Commander Major General Anton Waldner.

The EU-funded EU STAR project, worth EUR 2.8 million, will enable destruction of 3,000 tons of unstable ammunition in specialized domestic and international demilitarization plants in order to reduce the risk that excessive ammunition supplies represent to safety of people and communities in country.

Sezin Sinanoglu, UNDP Resident Representative, explained that the EU STAR project has two components: the destruction of surplus ammunition and the transfer of knowledge, experiences and technologies from foreign to domestic partners. Sinanoglu added that UNDP has been implementing projects for the destruction of surplus weapons and ammunition for a longer period, which, although in storage, continue to pose a potential danger to the lives of people and their property.
"There are still too many weapons and ammunition in BiH," Sezin Sinanoglu emphasized, adding that it is necessary through inspection supervision and control to determine the exact quantities of stored ammunition and weapons in order to manage that arsenal as best as possible.

During the ceremony, Minister Pendeš expressed hope that this project will give good results, as was the case with many previous projects related to industrial demilitarization, thanking the EU, UNDP and EUFOR for their great support and cooperation.

Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH emphasised the importance of the EU STAR project and its contribution to destruction and handling of dangerous old ammunitions. “There is still some 17,000 tonnes of unsafe and unstable ammunition left and our joint aim is to get this below 10,000 tonnes in total. The unsafe ammunition is sitting in storage facilities across this country, and I know that the BiH Armed Forces spend a lot of their resources on safeguarding these storage sites. This is very important work that they carry out not only on behalf of the people of this country, but on behalf of the entire region, including the EU. We already helped to destroy a considerable amount of ammunition over the past several years trough so called EXPLODE project, and now, we will continue and support to destroy another 3.000 tonnes in the next two years,” underscored Wigemark.

EUFOR Commander Major General Anton Waldner said that EUFOR is still responsible for peace, stability and security in BiH and confirmed that EUFOR will continue to provide technical assistance and support to all projects destroying unstable ammunition and surplus weapons in BiH.

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As per official data of the MoD of BiH, in June 2016, the Armed Forces of BiH are responsible for the management of approximately 17,000 tonnes of ammunition located in 12 storage sites throughout the country. It is expected that it will be necessary to dispose around 6,000 tonnes of unsafe ammunition for further storage in order to reach the desired and final stage of a sustainable stockpile management system in BiH. EU STAR Project is fully funded by the European Union in the amount of EUR 2,793,346.66 and is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with BiH Ministry of Defense and EUFOR. The project duration is from 01 June 2017 to 30 November 2019.