The morning session consisted of Laurentius Wedeniwski, captain of German Arms Control Office, providing a technical presentation focusing on Germany’s experience in record-keeping, in addition to briefly introducing its National Weapons Register (NWR). NWR works for national registration for all legal weapons, including military and civilian weapons. Germany has a total of 577 local gun authorities to maintain accuracy of records and set up a centralized system for record-keeping. This centralized system mainly keeps record of information from army, navy, air force, joint support service and medical service. In Germany, once an individual has a weapon, he must register at the local authority, which will report to the NWR and centralized system so that all three are linked together. All weapons and ammunitions would go through logistical system for record-keeping. Illicit weapons found by the police would be destroyed and destruction process of the weapons would also be registered. With regards to smart weapons, including biometric, fingerprint and voice reorganization, Mr. Wedeniwski indicated that it would take a long time to implement smart weapons, but needs to be considered for the future, especially with regard to civilian use.
When discussing record-keeping and stockpile management, States shared national experiences. For example, Argentina presented its integrated system and national database, which uses the most modern tools for proper oversight and control of weapons, ammunitions and materials to guarantee transparency. China imposed very strict control of firearm and only authorized companies to manufacture weapons and in these instances, such companies need to report and get the license each time. It had a complete record of SALW for importing, which is valid for 20 to 30 years and its public security authorities have enhanced technical specification on the firearm control to eliminate the loss, theft and illegal use of firearms. China, in addition, developed a computerized system to carry real-time management and by chips-inserting to record and track transfers for both official and civilian use. It used video conferences to carry out seminar and training program to enhance public awareness and education. Germany introduced the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) for tracking weapons, which was relatively easy to destroy when in the hands of criminals. There is a consensus that the micro-dot has high potential for improving the security marking, but will only serve as an additional measure and would not replace the classic marking technology. Germany also introduced a free software instrument for all countries around the world. Before implementing measures, there is a need to assess the situation and the stockpile of weapons. Modern technology might save lots of time and increase security, but Germany emphasized that once entering the stage when physically secured, then it is time to think about additional new technological measures for capacity building. Belgium stressed the need to consider criteria of acceptability and practicability when states where choosing the best technological measures.
Australia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and Bolivia discussed its legislation processes in stockpile management and secure storage. In Sierra Leone, parliament passed a bill and implemented 10 criteria for civilians who would apply for licenses to use firearms. It made efforts to ensure limited firearms in the hands of civilians. Bolivia promulgated a national law for firearms and materials control and plan to start imposing registration processes and amnesty for the voluntary handover of weapons. Senegal noted that ECOWAS requires its member states to have authorization from other countries before importing any arms or ammunitions. The African Union has established a system asking member states to have national register of arms, but also stated some problems such as the dependability national identification registers still have on the manufacturer’s reference, and the difficulty in determining the origin of the weapons and how criminals obtained them. India showed its marking techniques conforming to the ITI requirement and added that it is building a national database which would complete in September 2015 for requests for tracing both from national and international agencies.
The afternoon session of the third day of MGE2 commenced with a presentation by Callixtus Joseph of CARICOM, Regional Crime and Security Strategy Coordinator. The presentation emphasized the importance of international cooperation, international assistance, capacity building and sustainability. He noted that barriers in implementing the PoA and ITI included resource intensives, donor-recipient priorities, cost prohibitive, as well as the technological knowledge divide between donor and recipient countries. He showed that the transfer of knowledge should not only be at the end of trading, but from the beginning, starting from project planning, to project development, and finally project implementation. Developing a sustainable approach to assistance included knowledge transfer, sustained in-house expertise, agreeing on the provision of external assistance, as well as monitoring and evaluation. CARICOM presented a proposal for assistance through the establishment of SALW national registers and electronic database systems.
Switzerland used this opportunity to introduce their working paper, noting the seven conditions for a successful transfer of technology/capability, including (i) normative framework; (ii) structures and procedures; (iii) training; (iv) equipment, including maintenance; (v) personnel management; (vi) finances; and (vii) infrastructure. CARICOM responded to Switzerland’s statement by adding two more criteria to the list, namely knowledge transfer and sustainability. In response to questions and statements from other member states, Switzerland clarified that the criteria set out by their working paper were not prerequisites for successful technology transfer, but rather a list of conditions that should be addressed for success to occur.
Member States exchanged ideas, all noting the importance of international cooperation and assistance, as well as shared experiences of donor-recipient relationships that were in place. The importance of understanding what was needed by recipient states and what donor states have to offer to prevent wasted money was emphasized. Switzerland and Sweden shared a case they faced with Bosnia and Herzegovina, mentioning the significance of coordination among states and organizations, including the UN, NATO, and various other NGOs. States all approached Bosnia and Herzegovina with good intentions but lack of coordination can affect effectiveness, thus, coordination mechanisms within recipient countries are very important.