The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), launched its project aimed to strengthen capacities for effective and transparent management of small arms and ammunition within the private security sector (PSS). The launch of this project took place on 21 of September in San Jose during an executive seminar on good practices and international standards in the PSS upon request from the government of Costa Rica. Several private security companies operating in Costa Rica, and representatives of national agencies, in charge of the control and regulation of this sector, participated in the event.

The PSS in Latin America has expanded and become more professional over the last years, providing services that include security and protection with small arms. The growth in this sector caused an increase in the legal demand of small arms and ammunition. The State institutions using arms, as well as the private security companies and their agents are vulnerable to considerable insecurity (robberies, attacks) and corruption (illegal sales and unlawful use of arms) that can cause diversion of arms into illegality, and their potential use in violent and criminal actions with serious impacts on citizen security.

The UNLIREC project, in collaboration with DCAF, helps to reduce these risks through the promotion of arms control measures between the national authorities responsible for the control and audit of the sector, and the private security companies. Likewise, the assistance provides support to the authorities in order to review and strengthen good governance in the sector by promoting regulatory initiatives. The technical assistance that UNLIREC and DCAF offer as part of this project,is based on international standards, good practices, and globally recognized initiatives, such as the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICoC), the International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). With the launch of this project, the PSS of Costa Rica and the governmental authorities that regulate and supervise it, can benefit from a series of activities aimed at strengthening capacities throughout this sector through technical support.

This project is possible due to the financial support of the Federal Republic of Germany. Through this assistance package, UNLIREC supports Latin American and Caribbean States in strengthening public security and the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on the illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (UN 2001 PoA).