Project LEAD starts in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund and its donors and partners remain committed to and engaged in supporting the implementation of the Roadmap for SALW Control in the Western Balkans.

The Fund’s Steering Committee expanded the Fund’s scope of support to the region by approving funding for eight new projects in support of the Roadmap with a value of $10.7 million. The new projects were approved by the Steering Committee in October 2023 and will be rolled out across the Western Balkans jurisdictions starting from November 2023 for a two-year period.

“Law Enforcement Agencies’ Development in Small Arms and Light Weapons Control” - Project LEAD will be implemented by UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite some positive developments in recent years, the threat posed by SALW is still realistic and should not be underestimated or minimized. Project LEAD seeks to minimize such threats through a series of activities, building on previous project interventions. Project will focus on institutional capacity development, strengthening the strategic approach, on gender perspective pertinent to SALW and on increasing community engagement and the awareness raising capacities.

Across previous and currently implemented SALW-related projects, there is a cross-cutting effort to modernize infrastructure and resources to counter illicit trafficking and misuse of firearms, ammunition and explosives, both physical and digital upgrade, data analysis and management, and improve operational exchange within a jurisdiction or across borders. A strong focus on local ownership and alignment with the gaps and priorities identified by local authorities is evidenced through the applied consultative process, including through the input by BiH SALW commission representatives from each jurisdiction in the decision-making on projects. All projects build upon and consolidate the progress made from the previously approved projects, and will scale up or multiply the results achieved towards a safer region.

The Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund was established by the UNDP, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the MPTF Office to ensure a donor- and jurisdiction-coordinated approach in support to Roadmap implementation. The work of the Trust Fund is made possible thanks to the generous contributions by Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, and Norway, as well as the overall support of the European Union. By 2023, the Fund’s Steering Committee approved 16 projects with a value of $14.6 million, which support the Western Balkans jurisdictions to achieve Roadmap Goals. With the newly approved projects, the portfolio has expanded to 24 projects with a cumulative value of over $27 million.

Through Roadmap support, the Trust Fund contributes to the achievement of SDG 16 to promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies as illicit arms flows are amongst the factors that give rise to violence, insecurity, and injustice. It also contributes to SDG 5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, specifically focusing on eliminating violence against all women and girls.