In order to ensure the standardized implementation of the project activities and a cost-effective and comprehensive approach, a Project Implementation Team (PIT) will be established. The PIT consists of an international Project Coordinator, a National Project Officer, a Procurement Administrator, and three Project Assistants. The PIT is responsible for the entire project cycle management, in line with the OSCE’s Common Regulatory Management System, and effective achievement of the project results.
To ensure efficient project implementation, the Project Coordinator, in coordination with the OSCE Mission to Skopje, secured adequate working conditions for the implementation of the project management activities. The PIT monitors the project environment and initiates project revisions to change the project activities, budget, scope, and/or timeframe as deemed necessary.
The key beneficiary of the project is the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia. The project supports the capacities of several units of the Ministry:
- Police Dog (K9) Unit
- Police and Customs Cooperation Centers (PCCCs)
- Europol National Unit
- Special Police Unit
- Sector for Weapons, Explosives, and Hazardous Materials
Moreover, the project supports the work of the National SALW Commission, which includes representatives of line ministries such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance and Custom Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy and other.
The project activities are aligned with the other SALW-related projects of the OSCE and contribute to the overall stability in the OSCE Region. Additionally, the project aligns with the SEESAC Regional Roadmap on SALW and contributes to its goals by aligning activities with the international community and the demands of this initiative. The Project Coordinator frequently participates in regional and national coordination meetings to avoid overlapping activities and close cooperation with UNDP, UNODC, SEESAC, EU, and other organizations.
The overall objective is to support Law Enforcement in developing a depoliticized, professional service capable of addressing Trans-National Threats and organized crime in line with international democratic principles and human rights standards.
The project objective is to support the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia to implement international commitments in the field of SALW proliferation and contribute to security and stability in the country.
The project is designed to implement the following activities:
Activity 1. Establishing the project management capacity, reporting, and visibility
Sub-Activity 1.1 Establishing the Project Implementation Team (PIT)
Sub-Activity 1.2 Monitoring, reporting, and evaluation
Sub-Activity 1.3 Gender mainstreaming
Sub-Activity 1.4 Developing a visibility plan and promotional materials
Activity 2. Increasing the SALW detection capacity of the MoIA through the efficient deployment of K9 assets
Sub-Activity 2.1 Equipment assistance and infrastructure upgrades of the K9 service units at the national and regional level
Sub-Activity 2.2 Developing an SOP and updating regulations for K9 deployment on SALW detection
Sub-Activity 2.3 Training program on the application of the SOP for the use of K9 capacity in detecting SALW
Sub-Activity 2.4 Providing a platform to promote the use of K9 capacities through organizing competitions on national and regional levels
Sub-Activity 2.5 Developing a Masterplan on K9 transformation (Management, Infrastructure, Maintenance, and Animal Treatment)
Sub-Activity 2.6 Establishing Conditions for the implementation of the K9 Masterplan
Activity 3. Piloting a real-time information exchange system in combatting illicit trafficking of SALW
Sub-Activity 3.1 Equipment assistance, physical infrastructure, and ICT upgrades of the information exchange systems at the selected Police and Customs Cooperation Centers (PCCC)
Sub-Activity 3.2 Developing an SOP on real-time information exchange related to SALW incidents
Sub-Activity 3.3 Training program on the application of the SOP on real-time information exchange related to SALW incidents
Sub-Activity 3.4 Staff exchange program (traineeship)
Sub-Activity 3.5 Organizing Police and Customs Cooperation Centre conference
Activity 4. Advancing the National SALW Commission’s operational and analytical capabilities in combatting illicit trafficking of SALW
Sub-Activity 4.1 Organizing an inter-agency cooperation workshop on the SALW control regime
Sub-Activity 4.2 Developing an orientation manual for the members of the Commission
Sub-Activity 4.3 Analysis of the state of the control of SALW
Activity 5. Enhancing the awareness-raising capacity of the National SALW Commission and the MoIA on the risk of SALW proliferation and misuse of firearms
Sub-Activity 5.1 Design a coordinated awareness-raising/communication strategy
Sub-Activity 5.2 Public awareness campaign on threats of SALW
Activity 6. Reduction of illicit firearms through SALW destruction and deactivation
Sub-Activity 6.1 Developing an SOP and a manual on firearms destruction
Sub-Activity 6.2 Developing an SOP on firearms registration
Sub-Activity 6.3 Delivering specialized training on firearms destruction and deactivation verification
Sub-Activity 6.4 Equipment assistance and infrastructure upgrades for the administrative facilities
Sub-Activity 6.5 Equipment assistance and infrastructure upgrades for firearms deactivation and destruction inspection facilities
The Project Coordinator continuously monitors the internal and external project environment and identifies and evaluates risks to the project, and updates the project risk register accordingly. The Procurement Assistant and the Project Coordinator developed a procurement risk register which is reviewed and updated frequently. The risk registers are developed and updated through quantitative and qualitative risk analysis. This ensures that early warning mechanisms are in place and the Project Implementation Team can react to risks quickly and appropriately.
A cooperation network with other international organizations and departments in the OSCE has been established to ensure the constant flow of information regarding emerging changes in the project environment.
The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia is committed to preventing, controlling, and eradicating the proliferation of illegal SALW in accordance with regional and international initiatives, standards, and documents for the control of weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials. The MoIA conducted an analysis of the situation concerning SALW in North Macedonia and created its SALW Strategy. An update of this strategy was developed and submitted for governmental review and approval in March 2022. The analysis (offering various statistical information related to seized weapons and ammunition; and arms trafficking-related crimes in the country) indicated that the country lacks the necessary capacity for national and cross-border cooperation, coordination, and detection. Additionally, there is a lack of investigation capacities for establishing sustainable solutions for the illegal possession, misuse, and trafficking of SALW.
The MoIA identified the OMSk as an organization committed to working on decreasing the risks of illicit proliferation of SALW in the country, particularly through implementing activities to enhance internal regulations and physical capacities for the safe storage of SALW. Therefore, the MoIA sent an assistance request to the OSCE in 2019, requesting support in responding to the arms control challenges by strengthening the capacities of the National SALW Commission and improving the capacities of Police K9 Units in detecting weapons and explosives.
An OSCE SALW expert group conducted a field visit at the end of 2019 to examine the operational capabilities of the K9 resources in the participating states. This expert group identified the necessity to build the capacities of the K9 Units in preventing SALW proliferation.
During the conclusion phase of the first OSCE SALW ExB Project (2600896), “Reduction of the risk of proliferation of weapons and ammunition in the Republic North Macedonia”, at the beginning of 2020, the MoIA requested further assistance in combatting SALW proliferation in North Macedonia. The requested assistance aims to enhance the SALW detection capacities of the MoIA through the improvement of the working conditions, mobility, and efficiency of the Police K9 Unit. Additionally, the MoIA requested support for the improvement of the MoIA’s intra- and inter-institutional cross-border cooperation and coordination mechanism using enhanced real-time information exchange regarding SALW-related incidents was requested. This cooperation is organized through existing Police and Customs Cooperation Centers and is aligned with the country’s obligation to the 2020-2025 EU Action Plan on Firearms Trafficking. The MoIA also requested assistance in enhancing the capacity of strategic and operational SALW control by improving the analytical and operational capacities of the National SALW Commission. They also asked for assistance in raising the National SALW Commission’s public outreach and awareness-raising capacities, which will allow the risks of misuse of SALW in the country to be addressed publicly.
During the 7th Regional SALW Roadmap Coordination Meeting on 9th June 2022, the MoIA requested additional assistance in enhancing the capacities for the deactivation and destruction of firearms, ammunition, and explosives. The need for further assistance was due to the successful implementation of SALW projects in the country, which resulted in a higher quantity of seized and surrendered weapons. Deactivation and destruction close the SALW Roadmap Cycle as it is the final step of permanently removing confiscated or surrendered weapons and preventing their re-proliferation. In response, the OMSk organized a project coordination meeting and conducted a site visit to assess the conditions of the facilities for the storage and destruction of firearms and the existing MoIA administration protocols. The team verified the need to expand existing destruction and deactivation capacities.
The European Commission’s “North Macedonia Report 2022” highlighted the need to improve the firearms destruction and deactivation infrastructure within the country, including weapon registration. The report also identified a deficit in the awareness-raising capacities of the National SALW Commission regarding the risks of SALW proliferation and misuse of firearms. Based on these identified needs and the assistance request from the MoIA, and taking into account the applicable national strategies and the OSCE situation and problem analysis, various factors, hinder government institutions from effectively preventing and combating illicit trafficking and misuse of SALW.