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Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS)

Tools, Translations, and Updates

The Consultative Meeting on Safe and Secure Management of Conventional Ammunition, hosted by the Swiss Federal Departments of Foreign Affairs and Defence Civil Protection and Sport, and organized with support from the Small Arms Survey and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), took place in Geneva on 16 and 17 November 2015.

The aim of the meeting is to initiate a discussion on establishing a common understanding of the safe and secure management of conventional ammunition. The meeting provides a platform for multilateral and open discussions among States’ representatives, international and non-governmental organizations and other experts on the relevance of the topic. It aims to take stock of international efforts in addressing the issue, and to discuss possible ways forward.

The Small Arms Survey has expanded its set of resources on unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS), and made these available to help inform the discussions. These include translations of a number of Research Notes and other UEMS tools into numerous languages, and a new interactive online resource giving additional access to material presented in the Handbook Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS): Excess Stockpiles as Liabilities rather than Assets. This resource provides an overview of the Handbook, and offers details on the actors who undertake activities or provide services that aim to secure munitions safely, or identify and destroy surplus munitions.

Between 1979 and 2015, the Survey recorded 528 UEMS incidents in 101 countries and territories, affecting more than half of UN member states. Details on each of the events are available in the recently updated interactive map & database of UEMS events from 1979 – 2015.

The UEMS Incident Reporting Template (IRT), which promotes accurate record keeping and the sharing of systematized data, has been translated into several new languages:

Research Note 40, ‘The UEMS Incident Reporting Template’, explains the rationale behind the IRT and its use, and includes the form itself.

Research Note 41, ‘Taking Stock of Excess Stockpiles: UEMS in South-east Europe’ discusses the threat posed by UEMS events in Albania, Bulgaria, and Serbia; and highlights the benefits of political will, international assistance, and regional cooperation in addressing the threat of UEMS.

Research Note 6 ‘Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites’ describes the problem, giving a breakdown of reported incidents by region and by cause, and outlines practical measures to reduce the likelihood of explosions.


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