UNIDIR conducts 2nd ISACS Assessment Tool training in Latin America

The UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)— in cooperation with the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) — held the second regional training-of-trainers workshop on the ISACS Assessment Tool on 19-20 August 2014 at the UN Office in Lima, Peru.

Thirteen staff members from UNLIREC, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Colombia were trained on how to use the ISACS Assessment Tool and how to train others in its use. Sixty-two percent of workshop participants were female.

The workshop focused on using the ISACS Assessment Tool to guide operational work on small arms control in the Latin American region in areas such physical security & stockpile management, marking & record keeping, and border controls & law enforcement cooperation.

At the end of the course, participants exchanged views on the utility and applicability of the tool, including how it could support institutional and operational work on small arms control issues in the region. Participants appreciated in particular how the tool can assist with rapid priority setting and planning on small arms control measures, as well as with conducting comprehensive assessments of existing policies, programmes and operational practices.

An exit survey conducted at the end of the workshop indicated the potential use of the tool in strengthening the enforcement of existing CIFTA legislative frameworks, in particular through building capacity on small arms marking and recordkeeping. It was noted that the tool could be used to provide support to DDR processes, including on disarmament strategy, policy, and implementation.

This was the second in a series of six regional training-of-trainers workshops that UNIDIR is organising during the second half of 2014 in partnership with the ISACS Inter-Agency Support Unit. The first workshop was held in July in Belgrade, Serbia, for the Southeast Europe region, in cooperation with UNDP/SEESAC.

The remaining regional workshops will take place in the Caribbean (25-27 August in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in partnership with CARICOM-IMPACS); East Africa (22-24 September in Nairobi, Kenya, in partnership with IPSTC, RECSA and UNREC); West Africa (November in Lomé, Togo, in partnership with UNREC); and Asia-Pacific (location and dates tbd, in partnership with UNRCPD).

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at (cowl@unlirec.org).

UNLIREC participates in high-level meetings in Belize to discuss implementation of WMD-related instrument (UNSCR 1540)

In October 2013, UNLIREC received funding from the US Department of State to roll out a technical assistance programme in the Caribbean region to strengthen the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540(2004), which establishes legally binding obligations on all UN Member States to have and enforce appropriate and effective measures against the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (WMD). Following consultations with the donor, the CARICOM Secretariat and other stakeholders, UNLIREC selected five countries for the first phase of the training, including Belize.

During a joint mission with the US Department of State’s Regional Advisor of the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program from 18-21 August 2014, UNLIREC visited Belize to conduct high-level meetings with key stakeholders in the country to present the EXBS Regional Program and UNLIREC’s 1540 Programme as one of its components.

During discussions with the Attorney General Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Security, the Belize National Coast Guard, the Department of Customs and Excise, the Port of Belize and the Belize Defence Force, officials expressed a keen interest in actively engaging in the activities conducted by both EXBS and UNLIREC, and indicated the importance of the objectives of those programmes for Belize.

Both UNLIREC and EXBS look forward to collaborating further with the Government of Belize in efforts to strengthen export control and border security, as well as the country’s implementation of Resolution 1540 (2004).

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at (cowl@unlirec.org).

Grenada and UNLIREC discuss current legal framework in the areas of nuclear and biological weapons and materials

UNLIREC accompanied a delegation from the South African Department of Trade and Industry to provide technical assistance to the Government of Grenada on the enactment of comprehensive legislation on non-proliferation, as well as on the drafting and effective implementation of control lists (21-24 July 2014). Stakeholders from several institutions and agencies attended presentations and discussions on the South African model on control lists and their implementation, including the Ministry of Agriculture, St. George’s University, the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Business, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Grenada Ports Authority, the Royal Grenada Police Force – Fire Department / Passport and Immigration Office-, Customs and Excise and the Bureau of Standards.

During focalized discussions with officials from the Ministry of Legal Affairs, issues relating to possible amendments to existing legislation were addressed, along with suggestions for strengthening the current legal framework in the areas of nuclear and biological weapons and materials.

In the margins of the assistance mission, UNLIREC met with the Permanent Secretaries and the Heads of the Non Ministerial Departments during their weekly meetings chaired by the Cabinet Chair, and presented the characteristics of the assistance package that it has been delivering in the country over the past months. Commending the dedication, effort and commitment displayed thus far by all of the officials with which the Centre has been working, UNLIREC exhorted the permanent secretaries and heads of non-ministerial departments to continue supporting their officials in this training and to promote the strengthening of Resolution 1540 (2004) in Grenada.

UNLIREC also conducted meetings with officials from the MFA to discuss the consolidation of an interinstitutional working group, the drafting of a voluntary national action plan and next steps for the upcoming activities in the technical assistance component of the package.

UNLIREC forms part of the Regional Disarmament Branch (RDB), one of five branches of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). UNLIREC is the only UN regional entity specialized in disarmament and non-proliferation in the Latin American and Caribbean region with the task of translating the decisions, instruments and commitments of Member States in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation into action, at national, sub-regional and regional levels.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at (cowl@unlirec.org).

United Nations provides Technical Workshop on Combating Illicit Trafficking of Firearms in Peru as part of its Joint Program in Human Security

Within the framework of the United Nations Joint Program “Strengthening Human Security and Community Resilience by Fostering Peaceful Co-Existence in Peru” the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in close cooperation with the National Superintendence for the Control of Security Services, Arms, Ammunition and Explosives for Civilian Use (SUCAMEC) carried out a Technical Workshop for Officials of Special Operations against the Illegal Trafficking of Firearms from 6th to 8th August 2014 in Lima.

The Joint Program – implemented by five agencies of the United Nations System – supports the regional authorities of La Libertad province in districts highly affected by violence and crime through diverse initiatives of prevention, public health and improvements in public security services and justice. Within this Program, UNLIREC is leading activities to strengthen regional and local capacities for illicit trafficking and possession of firearms.

In this context, UNLIREC and SUCAMEC joined efforts to develop a program of capacity development directed at those officials involved in operations against illicit trafficking of firearms. The first workshop took place in Lima with the aim of being validated and will be replicated in the upcoming months in Trujillo.

This workshop focused on examining the nature of trafficking and illicit possession of firearms and ammunition in Peru and on strengthening the technical skills of those officials working in arms control. As a result of the workshop, 18 representatives of SUCAMEC and of the National Police of Peru were trained.

Topics included the definition and classification of firearms and ammunition, modalities of illegal arms and ammunition trafficking, stockpile management, national norms and the chain of custody of evidence as related to arms and ammunition, as well as crime scene management in the case of trafficking and illicit possession of firearms. Participants were able to combine theory with practical exercises.

This activity was made possible thanks to the financing of the United Nations Human Security Trust Fund and SUCAMEC. Through its assistance programs, UNLIREC supports States in Latin America and the Caribbean in improving public security and implementing the United Nations Program of Action to Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all of its Aspect (UN PoA 2001).

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at (cowl@unlirec.org).

Colombia makes progress in implementing the Biological Weapons Convention

The Government of Colombia, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons (BTWC) Implementation Support Unit, organized a workshop on the sharing of best practices related to the creation of national authorities in charge of the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The seminar was held in Bogotá on March 6th and 7th 2014.

UNLIREC, along with international experts from the European Union, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Spain and the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), exchanged ideas with representatives of Colombian public and private institutions and organizations on constitution, design, and duties of a special National Authority in charge of the effective application and implementation of the BWC and discussed the main challenges in terms of promoting confidence-building measures and handling measures for biosecurity and biocustody.

UNLIREC presented key findings on the article published in 2013 on both regional and global experiences about the creation of national authorities designed for the implementation of the BWC. Debates over the formation of intergovernmental commissions and/or national authorities were of particular relevance based on the fact that the Republic of Colombia is currently making legal efforts to establish such entity. Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to learn more about experiences from other countries, some of which already have specific national authorities while others only have different agencies dealing with this issue, in terms of duties, characteristics and challenges.

The participation of UNLIREC in this workshop is part of the technical and legal assistance provided by UNLIREC in the implementation of international instruments on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

For more information about UNLIREC, visit its web page [www.unlirec.com]. For any questions, contact Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at [cowl@unlirec.org].

UNLIREC assists Guyana in combating illicit firearms trafficking from a legal perspective

In response to a request from the Government of Guyana for specialized training to help its judicial sectors address the illicit trafficking in small arms, ammunition and explosives, and – in effect – contribute to a reduction in impunity and armed violence, UNLIREC undertook a national course for judicial officers and legal practitioners from 28-30 May 2014 in Georgetown.

The specialized course trained 28 legal practitioners and law enforcement authorities on different techniques and procedures to combat illicit small arms trafficking, thus strengthening the coordination, communication and cooperation of all relevant legal operators working in this area as well as reducing impunity in firearms related-crimes.

Representatives from the Director of Public Prosecutions Chambers, Attorney-General´s Chambers & Ministry of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Guyana Police Force, and Guyana Forensics Science Laboratory were trained during this three-day course. Half of course participants were women, which represents an important step towards women empowerment in the justice and security sector, including training.

International instructors and national experts were in charge of delivering the various course modules dealing with firearms and ammunition classification; firearms proliferation and armed violence; international firearms instruments and national regulatory frameworks; inter-institutional and international cooperation; crime scene management and forensic ballistics. With the goal of applying the knowledge acquired, participants concluded the training course with a practical exercise consisting of a mock trial case involving illicit firearms trafficking and possession. The practical exercise highlighted how the proper handling of the crime scene, respect for the chain of custody, inter-institutional and international cooperation tools and resources, and a suitable criminal legal framework constitute essential elements in reducing impunity in the fight against illicit small arms trafficking.

This training course forms part of a wider UNLIREC Caribbean assistance package in operation since 2010. The assistance package contains activities aimed at improving stockpile management and weapons and ammunition destruction practices; providing legal assistance; and training security sector officials. This assistance was made possible with the financial support from the United States Government.

As the Regional Centre of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, UNLIREC serves 33 States in the region in assisting them in the development of disarmament policies and the implementation of international disarmament instruments, most notably the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at (cowl@unlirec.org).