There is an increasing concern over the consequences of illicit firearms, given their conduciveness on criminality and particularly their nexus with transnational organized crime. It has also been recognized that illicit firearms fuel conflicts, undermine security and hinder development. Yet, a number of preventive and security measures can be implemented to enhance regulatory mechanisms and policies in the fight against these serious threats.
In this context, the Global Firearms Programme (GFP) assists and supports Member States in implementing the preventive and security measures envisaged by the Firearms Protocol and other relevant instruments.
i. Support for marking of firearms and effective record keeping
The GFP provides advice to Member States on developing a comprehensive strategy for marking of firearms which encompasses the institutional, technical and budgetary settings. In terms of technical assistance, the GFP offers support for the selection of the appropriate marking equipment, and subject to availability of funding, provides marking machines, record-keeping tools and the relevant training for their use.
The GFP is also in the process of developing record-keeping solutions in particular for seized firearms. This will allow for better accountability, increase the capacity of national authorities to monitor and analyse information about firearms trafficking and to improve the tracing of illicit firearms.
ii. Support for transfer controls
In some countries, insufficient attention is devoted to the establishment of effective transfer control regimes, through functioning export/transit/import mechanisms and adequate preventive control measures. Porous borders and weak border control capacities, as well as limited abilities to enforce effective maritime and air control mechanisms, are considered among the major impediments to combat firearms trafficking and prevent the expansion of potential new trafficking trends.
Therefore, the GFP assists States to build systems of authorizations for import and export, transit and brokering control, in order to better monitor and measure the arms flow in/from or through their territory and to improve transparency in the arms trade.
iii. Security and safety of firearms and ammunition stocks
Preventing and reducing diversion of firearms and ammunition should be a major priority in the fight against their illicit traffic.
The GFP therefore assists States in this area and is currently implementing activities aimed at enhancing the security and safety of firearms and ammunition stocks in order to prevent their diversion into the illicit market. For instance, GFP provides technical support for security improvement of storage rooms for seized and confiscated firearms within police services, courts and institutions involved in the investigation and prosecution of firearms offences. This includes providing training to the concerned services, and refurbishing stockpiling sites.
iv. Support for firearms collections and destruction activities
The GFP provides support in the design and implementation of comprehensive national collection and destruction activities including: assistance and technical advice on national campaigns for the voluntary surrender, collection, management and disposal of firearms.
The GFP identifies the most suitable and cost effective destruction method according to specific national contexts and possibilities, undertaking needs assessment for the development and implementation of an awareness raising work for voluntary surrender of firearms, among other activities.