Building the Bridge: Launch Event for the Arms-Related Risk Analysis Toolkit

Building the Bridge: Launch Event for the Arms-Related Risk Analysis Toolkit

This event focused on the benefits and challenges of integrating an arms control lens into conflict analysis and prevention and how our new Toolkit can strengthen prevention interventions. The Arms-Related Risk Analysis Toolkit is designed to guide efforts to integrate conventional arms and ammunition-related risks into conflict analysis and conflict prevention, management, and resolution efforts.

This launch formed part of UNIDIR’s Building the Bridge initiative, which promotes dialogue among peace, security and development actors on ways to apply conventional arms control to reduce violence, prevent armed conflict and advance sustainable development.

This initiative builds upon research undertaken by UNIDIR on “Integrating Conventional Arms Control into Conflict Prevention and Management” and responds to the UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda in its call for the integration of conventional arms control into UN conflict prevention and management activities.

A moderated discussion among experts addressed the following questions:

  • Why is it important to examine arms-related risks in conflict analysis?

  • What are the main challenges for integrating arms-related risks into conflict analysis and prevention work?

  • What are the key entry points and opportunities for applying the Toolkit to integrate assessments of conventional arms-related risks into conflict analysis and comprehensive conflict prevention, management and resolution strategies?

A recording of the event is available on the UNIDIR YouTube Channel (or see below).

The PDF file of the event’s PowerPoint is available here.


The discussion was moderated by Simon Yazgi, Non-Resident Fellow, UNIDIR. 

  • Ntagahoraho Burihabwa, Political Affairs Officer, Central Africa Team, Central and Southern Africa Division, Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA/DPO)

  • Nils Holger Anders, Chief Analyst on Terrorism, Joint Mission Analysis Centre, UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) 

  • Florence Foster, Representative for Peace and Disarmament, Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)

  • Erica Mumford, Associate Researcher, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)


By Simon Cleobury, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations, Geneva.

“Thank you for joining us today for what is, certainly for me personally, a very exciting day to see this Toolkit launched. This is a work stream that I have been involved with since the start and something that I have personally championed through the UK system. And to see this Toolkit being launched today by UNIDIR is a really great moment, so I’m thrilled about that. I’m also very pleased that you asked me to say a few words to get us going today.

So let me start by saying a few words about UNIDIR’s work and about the Toolkit. The proliferation of conventional arms and ammunition, as we all know, drives conflicts, fuels crime and terrorism and undermines virtually all peace, security and development goals. The effective control of conventional arms and ammunition must play a wider part in UN conflict prevention and management. That is the heart of what we’re trying to do here.

And arms control measures play a vital role in the achievement of the sustainable development goals, in particular goal 16 to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. That’s why the UK has been pleased to contribute to UNIDIR’s work stream on integrating conventional arms control into conflict prevention and management, through which the development and launch of this Toolkit was made possible. For us the Toolkit is a key deliverable from our funding and fundamental to achieving our goal of mainstreaming arms control considerations within the UN’s conflict prevention and management efforts.

The objective of the research on integrating conventional arms control into conflict prevention and management is to strengthen existing UN approaches and practices and to identify new means and methods to effectively integrate conventional arms control into conflict prevention, management and resolution efforts. In addition, this research seeks to increase understanding of the impact of the illicit arms and ammunition in facilitating and prolonging armed conflicts. 

A few words on the research that UNIDIR has been doing. Arms control remains a key component in preventing armed conflict and sustaining peace. However, UNIDIR’s research has revealed that despite the various efforts undertaken to integrate conventional arms control intro UN conflict prevention and management work, implementation remains uneven. While conflict prevention and management practitioners may have access to information for supporting conventional arms control, they do not systematically integrate arms control measures into their conflict prevention management toolbox. But the effective use of arms control in support of conflict prevention will require not just overcoming these obstacles, but also adapting the existing range of arms control measures and activities to new realities of violence and conflict. 

The UK has been a strong advocate of the UN system reform and one of the reasons why we decided to fund this work was to ensure a more joined up approach by all those working on conflict prevention and management across the UN system. And also to try and join up New York and Geneva more on in this work.

The findings of the UNIDIR’s research tell us that we were right to call for this more integrated approach and to fill this gap in the way that UN does conflict prevention and management. The UK is encouraged UNIDIR’s efforts to foster this more coherent approach by the UN system and we fully support the Building the Bridge initiative, that brings together the arms control and conflict prevention communities. Bringing them together is so important to explore how to apply arms control activities and tools across a conflict life cycle. 

Just a little bit of history as to kind of why we’re here today. In order for the UN’s conflict prevention work to be effective, it’s essential that arms and ammunition related risks and their impact on societies are adequately understood and assessed. UNIDIR’s research work stream was initiated in response to the UN Secretary General’s call in his 2018 Agenda for Disarmament for the integration of conventional arms control into UN conflict prevention and management activities. And, in particular, the development of this Toolkit responds to Action 21 of the Agenda for Disarmament, which looks to explore how to better integrate an understanding of the impact of arms into assessments, risk analyses and conflict prevention activities. And the SG’s Agenda for Disarmament also acknowledges the potential benefits of applying existing conventional arms control tools more effectively.

It was the UK and Switzerland working through what we called the Geneva Peace and Security Group, that we established in 2018, that called for what became Action 21 in the SG’s Agenda. So therefore I’m very pleased to see the work that UNIDIR is doing to implement this action, that the UK is a champion of this action and we’re very pleased to see UNIDIR providing important resources and tools to support practitioners working in the UN mandated missions, as well as in non-mission settings.

Finally to commend to you all that the launch of this Toolkit. The Toolkit provides guidance on how to better integrate conventional arms and ammunition related risks into the UN’s conflict analysis work. The Toolkit is a practical instrument to support peace and security, development and humanitarian actors in conflict affected and fragile settings to better understand and identify arms related risks across the conflict continuum. In turn, applying that the Toolkit can support the establishment of comprehensive conflict prevention strategies that consider the role of arms and ammunition in prolonging or facilitating instability and armed violence.

The UK commends the launch of the Toolkit today and looks forward to supporting its dissemination and uptake within the UK system and beyond we hope. The uptake of the Toolkit will strengthen understanding of the risks and impacts of arms and how conventional arms control can contribute to conflict prevention, management and resolution thinking and measures.

So in closing, I’ll say once again how excited we are to be launching that Toolkit today. We hope it will be a practical, helpful tool for practitioners across the spectrum of work on conflict prevention. We as a donor, we’re very keen to hear from practitioners on what you think of the Toolkit and particularly examples of where it has had an impact. So with that I’ll finish and thank UNIDIR once again for inviting me to speak today and for all your great work in bringing us to this point in launching the Toolkit and I very much look forward to hearing from the other panelists and from those of you who are listening in today on what you think of this new product.” 


Thursday 5 May 2022, 15:00-16:30 CEST / 9:00-10:30 EDT, online.