On 7 July 2012, in the city of Tulcan, the bi-national training course on combating the illicit trafficking in firearms, ammunition and explosives on the border between Colombia and Ecuador concluded with the training of 40 law enforcement officers. The majority of those trained operate in border zones, thus guaranteeing that the knowledge gained will be applied to their daily work in the field. Ecuador’s Ministry of National Defence, Ministry of Interior, Coordinating Ministry of Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Attorney General´s Office, Ecuadorian Armed Forces, Armed Forces of Colombia, Ecuadorian National Police and Customs were all represented during the six day course.

The course was carried out in accordance with the bi-national agreements on strengthening border control between the Governments of Ecuador and Colombia, which aim to promote prosperity and positive living along the shared border.

The participants received specific training from international and regional experts on the circulation of firearms, ammunition and explosives and their impact on the common border zone. During the course, numerous topics were covered, including techniques for the investigation and tracing of illegal small arms and light weapons, technical aspects related to the identification of firearms and ammunition, related national and international legal frameworks, intelligence gathering and judicial evidence management. The organizing institutions (Government of Ecuador, UNDP’s Peace and Development Programme for the Northern Border and UNLIREC) addressed a number of cross-cutting issues related to the use of force, the impact of armed violence on children and women, and the protection of women and children.

The bi-national course has been adapted from UNLIREC’s “Inter-Institutional Training Course on Combating the Illicit Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives” aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Ecuadorian and Colombian border officers on specific aspects of preventing illicit arms trafficking in border zones, including techniques for examining vehicles and cross-border information exchange. Additionally, new practical exercises designed for this purpose were introduced.

This course forms part of the technical assistance that UNDP and UNLIREC provide to the Latin American Region in support of these countries’ efforts to ensure citizen security and the implementation of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (UN 2001 PoA) and Decision 552 of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN).

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