The illicit trade, accumulation and use of small arms and light weapons, and the presence of explosive remnants of war, exacerbate conflict, threaten human life, undermine development and hamper the recovery of war-torn societies. The spread of small arms and their misuse are often related to the vicious circle of poverty, insecurity and underdevelopment. This, in turn, threatens the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals—a major European Union priority. By consolidating its action against small arms and explosive remnants of war, the EU could make an even greater contribution to the attainment of these goals.

This report aims to provide the European Union with an overview of small arms and ERW problems and current responses, as well as an analysis of selected European actions in these areas and an assessment of their effectiveness. It provides evidence-based recommendations for future European action, highlighting the added value achievable by the EU. Options are presented for the enhanced integration of small arms and explosive remnants of war into relevant EU policies, improved internal coordination in the EU and enhanced cooperation with external partners.

The project was principally funded by the European Commission at the request of the European Parliament, with additional funding from the Government of the United Kingdom.

Citation: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (2006). "European Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Explosive Remnants of War: Final Report", UNIDIR, Geneva.