Countering the Diversion of arms using TEChnology Tools (D-TECT) is a joint project by the Flemish Peace Institute (FPI) and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). The aim of Project D-TECT is to develop and test an approach to identifying and assessing the utility and feasibility of using specific technologies that could be used to support or strengthen existing initiatives aimed at detecting, preventing, and mitigating the diversion of conventional weapons.

Project D-TECT consists of two consecutive phases. The first phase was to identify existing technologies that could be suited to countering the diversion of conventional weapon systems and develop a framework that makes it possible to identify and assess technologies used to counter diversion. The second phase is to assess, refine and validate the list of identified technologies in relation to specific types of conventional weapon systems.

This current paper is a product of the second phase of the research. It focuses on examining the extent to which different technologies could help counter the diversion of small arms and light weapons and the barriers to their implementation. Based on a series of stakeholder engagements, this paper examines the relevance and applicability of 14 technologies to support or strengthen efforts to counter the diversion of small arms and light weapons (SALW). 

All 14 technologies were assessed by the stakeholders who took part in the research to have potential relevance in helping to counter SALW diversion. However, the relevance of the technologies did differ depending on the life cycle stage (i.e., pre-export, transfer or post-delivery) and whether they were most suitable to helping with prevention, detection or identification. The findings also show that the adoption of technology will also necessitate overcoming a number of systemic barriers. As a result, the paper provides a non-exhaustive overview of possible options which could be undertaken to overcome or mitigate these barriers.

The output from the first phase of the project is available here.

Citation: Sarah Grand-Clément, “Assessing technologies to counter the diversion of small arms and light weapons”, UNIDIR and the Flemish Peace Institute, Geneva, 2024.