Weapons and ammunition management (WAM) is increasingly recognized as a fundamental component of conflict prevention and actions to tackle armed violence. Effective WAM policy and practice ensures that States can exercise governance, oversight, management and control over the full life cycle of arms and ammunition within their national territory. Comprehensive, holistic and systematic national WAM baseline assessments are an essential prerequisite for informing and guiding effective strategic formulation, programme planning, and monitoring and evaluation, and – more broadly – support governance and accountability.

A national WAM baseline assessment aims to assist States in their efforts to comprehensively and systematically assess WAM institutions, and their policy and operational processes and capacities, in line with their obligations and commitments at different levels as well as relevant international standards and technical guidelines. A national WAM baseline allows comparison and measurability of variation or progress over time periods, as well as impact, in different environments. One of the key results of such an assessment, and the starting point for follow-up activities, is the development of an actionable ‘national road map’ towards a strengthened and comprehensive national WAM framework.

The Reference Methodology for National Weapons and Ammunition Management Baseline Assessments codifies the methodology which has been used to design and implement baseline assessments with 11 States (2015–2020), in cooperation with subregional, regional, United Nations and other partners. It draws inter alia on lessons learned while applying and refining the methodology with partners. The Reference Methodology represents UNIDIR’s practical contribution to ongoing regional efforts and new initiatives at subregional, regional and international levels to undertake comprehensive national WAM baseline assessments. 

This reference methodology is a practical tool to guide interested parties on how to implement a strategic WAM baseline assessment at the national level. It is being published to enhance knowledge and to promote consistency in the use of WAM baseline assessments by interested stakeholders. It will enable collaboration between States seeking assistance to undertake a national WAM baseline assessment and United Nations entities, regional organizations, and specialized non-governmental organizations that can provide support for such efforts.

For more information about the launch event and to watch the recording of the event, click here.

Citation: Hardy Giezendanner and Himayu Shiotani (2021) "A Reference Methodology for National Weapons and Ammunition Management Baseline Assessments", UNIDIR, Geneva. https://doi.org/10.37559/CAAP/21/WAM/02