From 15 to18 May 2023, close to 50 Salvadoran officials from institutions tasked with weapons and ammunition control participated in the Course on Combating Trafficking in Arms and Ammunition (CTAM), organized by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) in collaboration with El Salvador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Representatives from the following organizations participated and shared their experiences and challenges in tackling this issue: the Ministry of Justice and Public Security; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of National Defense; Customs; the National Civil Police; the Salvadoran Postal Service; the Autonomous Executive Port Commission (CEPA); the Attorney General’s Office; and the General Directorate of Customs.
During opening remarks, the Director General of Foreign Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, Mr. Jorge Alberto Umaña García, expressed his gratitude to UNLIREC and the German Government for the assistance provided. In particular, he highlighted the importance of strengthening the capacities of participants, who – in their areas of expertise – contribute towards the prevention and combating of firearms and ammunition trafficking.

The CTAM provided national authorities with theoretical knowledge and technical tools to implement strategies seeking to prevent and combat the illicit trafficking of firearms and their ammunition in line with international instruments. In this regard, the following themes were presented at the CTAM: an overview on trafficking trends in Latin America and the Caribbean; the different methods used for the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms; as well as the key role of the control and documentation system for international transfers of firearms and ammunition in preventing and combating this type of crime. Measures to prevent illicit brokering and international cooperation mechanisms against illicit firearms trafficking were also addressed.

The course included a presentation by the Directorate for Democratic Security of the Central American Integration System (SICA) on illicit firearms trafficking in all of Central America, sparking dialogue among the participants. The course therefore provided a space for interinstitutional dialogue and information sharing on effective practices, as well as promoting international cooperation.

The CTAM course is part UNLIREC’s project “Supporting the implementation of sub-regional, regional and global instruments and frameworks relating to small arms control and ammunition management in Latin America and the Caribbean”, funded by Germany.