On 13 March 2018, at the request of the Government of Mexico, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in conjunction with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), launched the assistance package entitled Strengthening Oversight and Building Capacities for Small Arms Control and Nonproliferation in the Private Security Sector in Guadalajara. This project launch took place during an Executive Seminar on Good Practices and International Standards in the Private Security Sector and was attended by various private security companies operating in Mexico, as well as by representatives of national agencies responsible for the oversight and regulation of this sector.

In recent years, the private security sector has expanded in Latin America with its level of professionalism improving in its offer of protective and security services with the use of firearms. This growth has led to the increase in demand for legal firearms and ammunition required by these companies. These private security companies and their agents, similar to the government institutions that handle arms, are also vulnerable to insecurity (thefts, attacks) and corruption (illegal sales, unlawful use of arms), which can in turn lead to the diversion of arms, and their potential use in violent and criminal activities with serious impacts on public security.

This UNLIREC-DCAF project helps to reduce these risks through the promotion of arms control measures among the national authorities responsible for overseeing the sector and the private security companies themselves. This initiative also supports authorities in the review and enhancement of good governance in the sector through the promotion of international standards and good regulatory practices. The joint effort with the Government of Mexico is based on internationally accepted standards, good practices and initiatives, such as the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC), as well as the International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). With the launch of this project, the private security sector in Mexico and the governmental authorities that regulate and supervise it will benefit from a series of technical assistance activities aimed at capacity-building in the sector over the next few months.

This project is made possible through the financial support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. By providing assistance to Latin American and Caribbean States, UNLIREC contributes to the enhancement of public 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).

For more information on UNLIREC, please visit (www.unlirec.org) or contact Ms. Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (cowl@unlirec.org).