Vienna, 1 March 2021 – Ten years ago, the Implementation Support Section (ISS) of UNODC’s Organized Crime and Trafficking Branch (OCB), established the Global Firearms Programme (GFP), to promote and assist Member States in the implementation of the Firearms Protocol, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The launch of the Programme was an answer to the call of the international community, where concerns emanated repeatedly with regard to the increasingly counterproductive and damaging impact resulting from the proliferation of illicit firearms in societies, whether at peace or in times of war.
As a result, the Conference of the Parties (COP, the supreme decision-making body of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized crime, UNTOC) invited Member States to consider adhering to the Protocol, thus urging States Parties to strengthen their national legislation, in a manner consistent with this instrument. The COP also entrusted UNODC with the required support to States Parties, and formally requested for the Organization’s expert facilitation and technical assistance to promote the ratification and implementation of the Protocol.
GFP’s global coverage
Since its foundation, a decade ago, the GFP has focused on two regions: South America and West Africa. Since then, it has however, significantly expanded its geographical scope to become a global player. Its current geographic coverage now includes the Caribbean sub-region, as well as Central and Eastern Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, in addition to Central Asia.
The creation of the Global Firearms Programme was fundamental in facilitating the fulfilment of UNODC’s core mandate to assist requesting countries in their efforts to counter illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, and related criminal activities such as terrorism, organized and other serious crimes. Its role was similarly crucial in increasing the number of State Parties to the Protocol from 84 in 2011 to 119 in 2021.
Owing to the integrated approach of the GFP, the specific needs of countries and sub-regions could be tailored and responded to in a timely and adequate manner. Each pillar (see graph below) represents a specific area of minimum actions needed to address the different aspects of the problem, and corresponds to the five activity clusters that define the present core of the GFP’s work.
To support the implementation of the Firearms Protocol, UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, has carried out technical assistance activities in more than 70 countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa region, the Western Balkans, the Americas and Central Asia.
The work carried out by the Global Firearms Programme in the past 10 years has only confirmed its sustained relevance in time, as well as the continuing needs to maintain and enhance the efforts in countering illicit firearms trafficking. The GFP stays ready to respond to requests from Member States in their fight against illicit firearms trafficking and related crimes.
The implementation of the Programme activities is possible thanks to the financial support of the following donors: