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The Republic of Moldova destroys small arms and light weapons with the support of the EU and UNDP

The Republic of Moldova destroys small arms and light weapons with the support of the EU and UNDP

Over 1,300 small arms and light weapons were destroyed by melting on 24 May 2023 in Bulboaca. This was possible thanks to the support of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through the regional project SEESAC (South East European Small Arms and Light Weapons Control Centre), which contributes to enhancing security and minimising the risk of arms proliferation.

“Today, by combining efforts and with the support of our development partners, we managed to organise the 8th melting exercise since 2005. In the last five years, consistent efforts have been made to improve the management of SALW in the Republic of Moldova. All these with the financial support of the European Union, UNDP and SEESAC. In this way, I bring sincere thanks to our strategic partners who shoulder our development efforts and alignment with EU standards,” said Viorel Cernăuțeanu, Head of the General Police Inspectorate.

UNDP SEESAC, thanks to EU funding, has supported the Republic of Moldova, in its path toward the EU (alignment with EU acquis) to improve combatting of the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW).

“I reaffirm EU’s commitment to support further the Republic of Moldova in strengthening its security, its resilience, including through the fight against arms trafficking. Taking into account the impact of the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, as well as the experience from post-conflict situation in the Western Balkans, it is crucial to enhance our joint efforts as well as to continue preventing the illegal possession, trafficking and misuse of firearms” emphasized Jānis Mažeiks, the EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova.

Since 2005, over 12,000 pieces of weapons, in addition to 1,300 that were destroyed on 24 May 2023, were melted, with EU and UNDP support. Also, the security infrastructure was improved, with one upgraded storage of the Ministry of Defence, one armament storage of the General Police Inspectorate, and two evidence rooms of the General Police Inspectorate. The evidence rooms in Chișinău and Edineț, and storage in Bălți are being upgraded.

Last year, EU and UNDP SEESAC have supported the General Police Inspectorate with IT equipment for the operationalisation of the electronic weapons registry at the national level. At the same time, UNDP SEESAC delivered a laser marking machine, which is essential for successful tracing and preventing the diversion of firearms into illegal flaws.

“This event shows the commitment of the authorities of the Republic of Moldova to small arms and light weapons control, thus contributing to a safer region. The distribution and misuse of firearms affect the well-being of women and men, yet in different ways. Firearms misuse is particularly staggering in the context of domestic violence, with a disproportionately negative impact on women throughout the region. That is why it is essential to continue to understand and address the root causes of violence in our societies,” said Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

Through its activities, SEESAC aims to strengthen the capacities of stakeholders in South East and East Europe to control and reduce the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons, to promote gender equality, to facilitate regional cooperation regional and to contribute to increasing stability, security and development. SEESAC is a joint initiative of UNDP and the Regional Cooperation Council and works closely with the governments of South-Eastern and Eastern Europe.