States in conflict-affected settings are often disproportionately burdened by the illicit flow and availability of arms and ammunition that impedes their efforts to provide security to their populations, build strong institutions, respond to humanitarian needs and pursue sustainable development. As demonstrated by recommendations from the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters in 2015, current discussions at international and regional forums indicate a growing understanding among policymakers and practitioners that a more comprehensive examination and approach is needed to address the threat posed by the illicit proliferation of arms and ammunition in conflict-affected settings.
In response to these recommendations, in 2017 UNIDIR initiated a project, known as WAM Phase I, to systematically examine existing national frameworks, institutions and processes on weapons and ammunition management (WAM) in States in conflict-affected settings, including measures undertaken by the UN (including sanctions measures such as arms embargoes), in order to better inform policy discussions on the role of arms control in managing conflict. The findings and achievements from WAM Phase I form the basis for UNIDIR’s proposed future work in this area.
Building on this work, this current project has three interconnected components:
A Set of Comprehensive Baseline Assessments in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Region: As a follow-on from UNIDIR’s 2015-2017 series of in-country baselines assessments, the objective of this component is to establish a baseline of the institutional capacity of select ECOWAS States in conflict-affected settings to govern arms and ammunition in line with relevant international and regional standards and guidelines.
A Supplementary Guidance Document on Ammunition Management in High Risk-Low Capacity Environments: Building on findings from UNIDIR’s WAM Phase I technical expert meeting series held from 2017 to 2018, the objective of this component is to produce a supplementary guidance document which supports States, the UN and expert NGOs to operationalize ammunition management in high risk-low capacity environments, in line with relevant international guidelines.
An Informal Brainstorming Consultation on Conventional Arms Control in the Context UN Security Council Sanctions Regimes: As a follow-on from UNIDIR’s WAM Phase I feasibility study on the role of arms control in the process to modify and/or reassess UN arms embargoes, the objective of this component is to identify options and opportunities to increase shared understanding among relevant stakeholders on the applicability of conventional arms control in supporting the implementation and monitoring of UN Security Council sanctions regimes, namely arms embargoes.
Applying conventional arms control in the context of United Nations arms embargoes, The changing role of conventional arms control in preventing and managing violent conflicts, The role of weapon and ammunition management in preventing conflict and supporting security transitions, Utilizing the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines in Conflict-Affected and Low-Capacity Environments