Conventional weapons are a key part of armed violence, conflict, terrorism and civilian suffering – they require effective State control.
Conventional weapons are still the principal means of armed violence and conflict worldwide.
Small arms and light weapons in particular are used to commit a significant share of homicides every year. They are often readily available, cheap to purchase and simple to handle – even for children. Easy to conceal, easy to traffic and exceptionally durable, they cast a long shadow in many world regions long after armed conflict has subsided.
Ineffective State management of weapons and ammunition can also see them end up in the hands of criminals, terrorists and armed groups, while accidental explosions of poorly managed stockpiles can also have a devastating impact.
Beyond these immediate harms, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas has longer-term, reverberating effects on civilians’ survival, wellbeing and dignity, not least through damage to schools, hospitals, workplaces and the natural environment.
This is why controlling the proliferation and misuse of conventional weapons and ammunition is essential to preventing human suffering and promoting peace and prosperity.
UNIDIR researches the supply and demand dynamics of the illicit proliferation of conventional weapons, as well as the impact of their misuse. We provide key findings and tools to strengthen life-cycle control of conventional arms and ammunition and support the effective implementation of conventional arms control instruments around the world.