Assisting National Authorities of the Republic of Albania to decrease the risk of weapon proliferation and misuse of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)

Project Info
Locations
Beneficiary
OSCE Region
Timeline
20 August 2021 - 31 July 2024
Gender Marker
G2
Team

Project Implementation Team (PIT) will consist of a Project Manager (PM) who will be offered as an in kind contribution of the Presence to this project, a National Professional Project Officer (PO), a National Professional Communications Officer (CO), National Proffesinal Construction Officer (CO), a Project Implementation Assistant (PIA), and a Project Procurement Assistant (PPA).

The PIT will be responsible for the entire project cycle management, i.e. in setting the legal, managerial, monitoring, and verification frameworks, altogether referred to as Implementation Framework, for efficient operational plan implementation in line with the OSCE’s Common Regulatory Management System and effective achievement of the project results.

The PIT in co-operation with the MoI representatives, will keep the Presence, the OSCE and the donors updated on the results during the implementation of the activities, by presenting the achievements and challenges at the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) plenary and informal groups of friends’ meetings.

Partners

National SALW Commision 

Ministry of Interior 

Albanian State Police 

Civil Society Organisations

Local Safety Councils 

Media 

 

Objective

The overall project objective is: To enhance MoI and ASP SALW control and non-proliferation capacities in Albania.

The specifik project objectives are: 

  • Support to the establishment of a comprehensive legislative framework for the deactivation of firearms, and its due implementation;
  • Build the capacities of the ASP in strengthening their canine (K9) capabilities in detecting SALW, ammunition, and explosives;
  • Increase the capacities of Albanian authorities, media, civil society and Local Safety Councils (LSCs) in raising public awareness on the dangers of misuse and proliferation of SALW.

 

 

Outcomes

The Project and its outcomes offer solutions which shall change and improve the capacity of the national agencies in various areas of relevance to their SALW Strategy objectives, and in line with the Presence’s programmatic endeavours. The Project aims to sustainably improve the capacities of the beneficiary to implement the SALW Control Strategy in view of their respective roles and competencies.

Emphasis will be placed on ensuring local ownership, increased knowledge and buy-in, and raising awareness of best practices and their practical application and benefit in Albania and beyond. Developed bylaws and SOPs will guide appropriate operational work on the part of the MoI beyond the project’s duration.

The established co-ordination mechanism and the developed awareness-raising/communication strategy will moreover support the work of the SALW Control Co-ordination Board on Project-related efforts beyond the Project’s duration. The legal framework governing the K9, as well as the infrastructure used by the K9 Institute (i.e. training courses, facilities, equipment and other resources) are already in place and the project will support their necessary upgrades. To ensure sustainability and an adequate exit strategy, the project will advocate with the MoI to earmark sufficient annual national budget funding in order to ensure continued maintenance of equipment and goods provided through the Project, as well as to ensure impact of project results beyond its duration.

Institutionalization of the developed SOPs and the incorporation of the developed training course materials and curricula into the official training programmes will significantly contribute to sustainability of efforts and results. Furthermore, the ToT component of the Project will also generate additional buy-in and ensure sustainable training capacities enabling the effective imparting of knowledge beyond the Project’s duration.

Pursuant to the guidance provided by the authorities, the Project will support the establishment of SALW deactivation facility that would meet all relevant international requirements, operate in a cost effective manner, and would not create a financial burden on the budgets of the Albanian authorities. In addition, Project advisory support to improve and harmonize legislation and SOPs on SALW deactivation will significantly contribute to establishing optimal required personnel structures, establish necessary infrastructure and work processes, and thus ensure sustainability of Project results.

The project also contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): 16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere; 16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows; 16.A Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international co-operation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime; and to SDG 5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Budget
Activities

Project envisages following activitites:

 

Result 1.  SALW deactivation legislative framework and its implementation and oversight mechanisms are advanced:

Activity 1.1 Support to the development of a bylaw on deactivation and an action plan for its implementation 

Activity 1.2 Support to the establishment and functioning of mechanisms for due implementation and oversight of SALW deactivation 

Activity 1.3 Develop a Training Manual on SALW deactivation, and provide training for the local practitioners 

 

Result 2. The infrastructure, capacity and resources of the ASP K9 Unit to detect illicit SALW, ammunition and explosives are strengthened:

 

Activity 2.1 Develop SOP for the use of K9 capacity, as well as the K9 Master Plan

Activity 2.2 Training programme on the application of the SOP for the use of K9 capacity 

Activity 2.3 Technical specifications and construction design for upgrades of the K9 unit 

Activity 2.4 Implementation of infrastructure upgrades for kennels, office facilities and K9 perimeter

Activity 2.5 Providing platforms to promote the use of K9 capacities through national and regional competitions 

 

Result 3. Capacity of the MoI and the National SALW Commission in organising and conducting awareness raising and outreach activities is enhanced:

 

Activity 3.1. Support to the design of a co-ordinated Awareness Raising and Communication Strategy 

Activity 3.2. Support to the implementation of the Awareness Raising and Communication Strategy

Activity 3.3. Support MoI and ASP to engage and partner with media while addressing security challenges in Albania

Risks

The project has developed and duly follows the Project Risk Management Matrix to monitor and address the identified risks, the Monitoring and Evaluation Tools to monitor the project progressively and the Project Stakeholder Analysis Matrix. 

 

Background And Justification
Background

During the communist era, Albania stockpiled massive stocks of arms, ammunition and explosives pursuant to its national security strategy. These stockpiles were looted in 1997 once the political and economic crisis led to popular unrest. In less than a week, a significant amount of arms, ammunition and explosives transitioned into illegal possession of the civilians. Despite the fact that over the last twenty years Albanian law enforcement undertook significant action to address this problem, illicit arms possession and trafficking of SALW, ammunition and explosives has not been prioritised and thus not finalised. The problem of illegal possession, misuse and trafficking persists, as noted in several Strategic documents of Albanian authorities, international partners and OSCE assessments.

Recognising the significance of the problem at hand, in 2017 the Albanian government established a National SALW Commission, an inter-ministerial advisory and co-ordination body chaired by Albania’s Deputy Minister of Interior. The main role of the SALW Commission is to develop and monitor actions devoted to SALW control. This process coincided with the regional Franco-German led initiative to address the problem of SALW control in the entire Western Balkans.

On 1 February 2018, at a regional meeting in Podgorica, deputy ministers of interior and foreign affairs from South Eastern Europe expressed their unequivocal political commitment and aspiration to strengthening control of SALW, ammunition and explosives. They moreover explicitly recognized the spread and illicit trade as a constant and significant threat to internal and regional security. As a result, the authorities in the region developed and adopted the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) firearms and their ammunition in the Western Balkans[1] (hereinafter: Roadmap). This document, adopted at the London Summit on 10 July 2018, serves as a political, guiding and consensual document developed and owned by the regional stakeholders, agreed with the wider European authorities in achieving a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW/firearms, and its ammunition, in the Western Balkans[2].

Albanian authorities contributed to defining this commitment and have incorporated it into their National Strategy and Action Plan on SALW[3] in early 2019. Based on this strategic document the Albanian authorities identified areas where the OSCE practical assistance could be provided. Besides OSCE, Albanian authorities are working with numerous international partners in developing their SALW control capabilities, where the most important ones include the United Stated-funded International Investigative Training Assistance Programme (ICITAP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and European Union.

[1] For further details see: https://www.seesac.org/f/docs/publications-salw-control-roadmap/Regional-Roadmap-for-a-sustainable-solution-to-the.pdf

[2] Term “Western Balkans” refers to countries and territories in South Eastern Europe which include: Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Republic of North Macedonia, and Republic of Serbia. *All references to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text should be understood in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

[3] For further details on the Albanian Small Arms, Light Weapons and Explosives Control Strategy 2019-2024 and its Action Plan 2019-2021 see: https://www.seesac.org/f/docs/Albania-1/ALB-Strategy.pdf

Justification

Based on the desk research, in co-ordination with other international actors active in the area, and pursuant to the discussions with the representatives of the MoI and ASP, and to the applicable national strategies[1], the following factors hinder the governmental organisations to effectively prevent and combat illicit trafficking and misuses of SALW, which the Project will seek to address:

(1) Legislative framework on deactivation of SALW, and its due implementation, is not in line with relevant OSCE and international standards.

According to an assessment conducted by the OSCE Secretariat in 2017-2018[2], the Albanian legislative framework on deactivation of SALW and its due practices are not in line with relevant OSCE and international standards. Based on the findings of that assessment, as well as on the basis of their SALW Strategy commitments, Albanian authorities decided to seek assistance from the OSCE in advancing their deactivation legislative framework and its implementation.

(2) ASP K9 Units capacity to address the challenges of misuse and trafficking of SALW, ammunition and explosives is insufficient.

In 2019, the OSCE conducted an assessment of the ASP K9 capability to detect SALW, ammunition and explosives.[3] The assessment looked at: the doctrine and concepts (legislation, regulations, Standard Operating Procedures/SOPs related to K9 units); unit organizational structure; financial and personnel resources; infrastructure; security and safety; physical fitness; welfare and teaching of the dogs; dog handlers’ preparation; certification and licensing process. The assessment provided for an in-depth understanding of the existing legal and regulatory framework, infrastructural conditions, technical and human capacity, as well as specific knowledge and skills that are not in place yet. The current situation and the identified obstacles hamper effective and efficient handling of SALW, ammunition and explosives proliferation cases and have a significant impact on SALW, ammunition and explosives detection and associated investigations.

(3) No outreach activities designed and conducted by Albanian authorities, and public awareness about the dangers of misuse and proliferation of SALW is low.

The last co-ordinated outreach and awareness campaign on the dangers of misuse of SALW was conducted by the Albanian authorities in 2017. Since then, several research and analysis efforts were made, providing more detailed insight into the social impact of the problem at hand. Accordingly, it would be important to evaluate opportunities for organizing a voluntary surrender without legal consequences or legalization of small arms without the proof of origin.

The analysed data shows prevalence of illegal SALW in all types of misuse. In both criminal settings, as well as in accidental shootings/misfire illegal small arms feature prominently. Therefore, there is a need to raise due awareness about the dangers of illegal possession of illegal SALW, ammunition and explosives, and help the general population to better understand the threats and risks associated.

Given the fact that civilian firearms possession, and demand for firearms, is dominated by men, but the outcomes of the incidents have a rather diverging gender impact, development of a SALW awareness-raising and behavioural change programmes specifically targeting this segment of the Albanian population seems to be an emerging priority. Enabling societal dialogue regarding firearm use among young men, conceptions of masculinity and cultural norms, as well as the links to domestic violence would be a necessity.

[1] For National SALW Strategy see: https://www.seesac.org/f/docs/Albania-1/ALB-Strategy.pdf. For Document on Priority Policies in the Field of Public Order and Security “Serving the citizens, enforcing the law” 2017 – 2021 see: http://www.mb.gov.al/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/DOCUMENT_ON_PRIORITY_POLICIES_IN_THE_FIELD_OF_PUBLIC_ORDER_AND_SECURITY_english.pdf.

[2] Assessment relevant for the Western Balkans conducted done under the ExB project “Promoting use of SALW deactivation standards” and verified at the Regional Workshop on the OSCE Best Practice Guide on Deactivation of SALW (Podgorica, Montenegro, 29–30 October 2018).

[3] In accordance with the OSCE ExB project “Support to Expert Assessment Visits under the OSCE Documents on SALW and SCA” an initial visit has been conducted on 11-12 December 2019 to the participating State of the Republic of Albania followed by the Assessment Report.

 

 

 

SDGs
sdg sdg
Milestones
MoU between Ministry of Interior and OSCE on reducing the risk of proliferation SALW
05/10/2021
Forming a Project Implementation Team
30/12/2021
First Executive Committee of the project
05/05/2022
Launching of the project
09/06/2022
Consultation meetings for the deactivation
02/09/2022
Second Executive Committee of the project
14/10/2022
Consultation meetings for the Awareness Raising and Communication Strategy
11/11/2022
K9 exchange visit to Bosnia and Hercegovina
18/11/2022
Design and production visual identity and visibility materials
25/11/2022
K9 exchange visit to France
02/12/2022
Media exchange visit to Belgrade
22/12/2022
Analysis of firearms deactivation in Albania Reports
30/12/2022
Training Manual on Deactivation
31/01/2023
First regional meeting of police canine units of Western Balkan jurisdictions
24/02/2023
Training on Deactivation of Albanian State Police officials
09/03/2023
Third Executive Committee of the project
05/06/2023
Presentation of Awareness Raising and Communication Strategy and Action Plan
06/06/2023
Design services for Refurbishment of the Deactivation Centre
26/06/2023
Design services for infrastructural upgrades at Albanian State Police Canine Training Institute
26/06/2023
Develop the Standard Operating Procedures for Albanian State Police Canine Training Institute.
31/07/2023
Develop the Master Plan for Albanian State Police Canine Training Institute.
31/07/2023
Fourth Executive Committee meeting of the project
24/11/2023
Exchange visit of civil society, local and national government representatives to Croatia
31/01/2024
Second regional meeting of police canine units of Western Balkan jurisdictions
29/02/2024
Provide the deactivation equipment to the Albanian Deactivation Centre
30/04/2024
Develop the Training Manual for Albanian State Police Canine Training Institute.
30/04/2024
Provide the K9 Dog transportation vehicles to the Albanian State Police Canine Training Institute
31/05/2024
Provide specialized goods and equipment for Albanian State Police Canine Training Institute
31/07/2024
Awareness Raising campaign to inform the public on the risk and misuse of the firearms.
31/07/2024