Within the framework of the Combating the Illicit Trafficking in Arms and Ammunition in Latin America and the Caribbean project, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Security of Costa Rica, conducted a national seminar on ammunition control practices from 18-19 June.

The seminar was aimed at national authorities with responsibilities in the different phases of ammunition control, such as the General Directorate of Armament, Judicial Investigation Department, Public Force, Aerial Surveillance, Border Police, among others.

The controls on the production and sale of arms are much stricter that those on ammunition. Latin America and the Caribbean suffer from alarming levels of armed violence, which is disproportionate when compared to other regions. The high rates of firearms-related homicides is directly linked to the supply and constant availability of ammunition, which oftentimes lacks sufficient control.

Ammunition control measures are usually less stringent than those for firearms. Even though arms and ammunitions need one other for their operation, ammunition tend to be marked, registered, monitored and regulated less frequently than firearms, which facilitates their diversion and misuse. In addition, by their very nature, ammunition is more difficult to track. Stopping the adverse effects of the proliferation of munitions on human security and economic and social development is only possible if States include ammunition in their arms control policies, keeping in mind the differential treatment required by each.

During the two-day seminar, UNLIREC experts presented international guidelines and good practices vis-à-vis ammunition, which paved the way for debates on the challenges and opportunities for their control and regulation at the national level.  In addition, participating institutions discussed needs and priorities in relation to the responsible management of ammunition.

The implementation of this project is possible thanks to the financial assistance received by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.