Project Hermes launched in the Western Balkans

20-24 March 2023, South-Eastern Europe: UNODC through its Global Firearms Programme (GFP) launched the new regional project Hermes in the Western Balkans, which focuses on countering trafficking in firearms, their parts and ammunition in Express Courier and postal parcels. The project Hermes was developed based on GFP’s methodology to address these threats and the experience in implementing project activities in countering firearms trafficking in parcels in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine.

The inception meetings in Pristina and Belgrade gathered 110 participants, representing customs administrations, designated postal operators, law enforcement and prosecution services from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo[1]. The Universal Postal Union (UPU), the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT Firearms), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the French Customs were also represented to contribute to the GFP initiative.

Within the inception phase of the project Hermes, GFP reached the following results: stakeholder’s commitment for the implementation of the project activities, agreement on the timeline of the activities, identification of a project governance structure, support from the French Customs to act as a host for one of project’s activities, and added value for Western Balkan representatives with the participation of UPU, EMPACT Firearms and USPIS. 

In the upcoming period, UNODC GFP will proceed with the implementation of the project Hermes by facilitating a study visit to the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, and the development of the standard operating procedures and memoranda of understanding between the stakeholders engaged on the subject matter.  

This activity is implemented with financial support provided by Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and Norway through the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Trust Fund and supported by the European Union.

[1] All references to Kosovo shall be understood in the context of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)