Over the last ten years the states in the region have had different capacities and different motivations to deal with the SALW issues, and understandably have made different levels of progress in addressing them. As post-Soviet transition states have stabilised, their ability to enforce their international obligations with relation to the export of SALW has improved. The restructuring processes in the defence industries of these states as a result of the end of the Cold War have meant that the number of weapons being produced in this area has reduced. However, levels of national transparency and exemplary conduct in regulating the transfer of SALW, clearly depend on whether a nation is joining the EU in 2004 or can reasonably expect to join it within the next decade.
Increased weapons availability, porous borders and crime and corruption amongst law enforcement and border officials have facilitated the illicit trafficking of SALW to black markets all over the world. It is therefore of utmost concern to address the problems associated with small arms control in the region. All the countries in Eurasia have established a legal basis for small arms control and a government agency to oversee SALW licensing, exports and imports. However, the most evident challenge is not the development of control norms but the actual implementation of existing control policies. There is some limited non-governmental involvement in the SALW issue, and there is a need for Western partners to strengthen such efforts.
The key issues addressed in this broad overview are, first of all, the relevant treaties and international instruments relating to SALW, secondly, which of them have been adopted by the countries under study, and thirdly, what are the achievements and areas of concern for these countries in implementing these international instruments. The report concludes by giving specific recommendations in such spheres as legislation and implementation, transparency and accountability, sustainable economic development, role of civil society and international cooperation, issues of stockpile management and border control, as well as resolution of conflicts in the region.