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Impact on Development

The misuse of small arms and light weapons has severe implications for development—and particularly for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Armed violence can trigger forced displacement, erode social capital, and destroy infrastructure. It can impede investment in reconstruction and reconciliation. Armed violence can undermine public institutions, facilitate corruption, and be conducive to a climate of impunity. Armed violence contributes to and is sustained by transnational crime, including the trafficking of persons, drugs, and arms. When associated with interpersonal and gender-based violence, it unravels the fabric of families and communities and leaves lasting psychological and physical scars on survivors.

Armed violence is not only a cause of underdevelopment, but also a consequence of it. Risk factors associated with armed violence and underdevelopment include:

  • weak institutions.
  • systemic economic and horizontal inequalities.
  • exclusion of minority groups.
  • unequal gender relations.
  • limited education opportunities.
  • persistent unemployment.
  • organized crime.
  • availability of illicit firearms and drugs.


Small Arms Survey Publications

  • A Missing Mandate? Casualty Recording in UN Peace Operations, by Hana Salama. HSBA-SANA Briefing Paper, June 2020 (also available in Arabic).

    Download (4.45 MB)
  • Gender Counts: Assessing Global Armed Violence Datasets for Gender Relevance, by Anna Alvazzi del Frate, Gergely Hideg, and Emile LeBrun. Briefing Paper. March 2020. (Also available in French)

    Download (724.31 KB)
  • Darkening Horizons: Global Violent Deaths Scenarios, 2018–30, by Gergely Hideg and Anna Alvazzi del Frate. Briefing Paper, May 2019.

    Download (853.5 KB)
  • Global Violent Deaths 2017: Time to Decide, by Claire Mc Evoy and Gergely Hideg. Small Arms Survey Report, December 2017.

    Download (3.76 MB)
  • Beyond the Battlefield: Towards a Better Assessment of the Human Cost of Armed Conflict, by Erik Alda and Claire Mc Evoy. Briefing Paper, September 2017.

    Download (1.42 MB)
  • Measuring Illicit Arms Flows: Ukraine, by Anton Martyniuk. Briefing Paper, April 2017 (also available in Ukrainian). 

    Download (286.46 KB)
  • Tracking Conflict-related Deaths: A Preliminary Overview of Monitoring Systems, by Irene Pavesi. Briefing Paper, March 2017.

    Download (657.15 KB)
  • Measuring Illicit Arms Flows: Niger, by Savannah de Tessières. Briefing Paper, March 2017 (also available in Arabic and French).

    Download (959.7 KB)
  • A Gendered Analysis of Violent Deaths, November 2016. Research Note No. 63.

    Download (496.74 KB)
  • Measuring Illicit Arms Flows: Honduras, November 2016. Research Note No. 62 (also available in Spanish).

    Download (238.74 KB)
  • Firearms and Violent Deaths, October 2016. Research Note No. 60.

    Download (439.44 KB)
  • A New Development Agenda: Bridging the Development–Security Divide, June 2016. Research Note No. 58.

    Download (739.06 KB)
  • Measuring Illicit Arms Flows: SDG Target 16.4, May 2016. Research Note No. 57.

    Download (402.44 KB)
  • Voicing Concern: Surveying People's Priorities in Violent Settings, December 2015. Issue Brief No. 15. 

    Download (564.47 KB)
  • Violent Deaths due to Legal Interventions, July 2015. Research Note No. 53, Armed Violence.

    Download (330.27 KB)
  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2015: Every Body Counts, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat. Published by Cambridge University Press. May 2015.

    More information
  • Every Body Counts: Measuring Violent Deaths, March 2015. Research Note No. 49, Armed Violence.

    Download (708.5 KB)
  • Geospatial Technologies and Crime: The Jamaican Experience, October 2013. Armed Violence Issue Brief No. 3.

    Download (1.27 MB)
  • In Search of Lasting Security: An Assessment of Armed Violence in Nepal, by Mihaela Racovita, Ryan Murray, and Sudhindra Sharma, a joint publication of the  Interdisciplinary Analysts, and the Small  Arms Survey's Nepal Armed Violence Assessment project, supported by Australian Aid, AusAID. May 2013. Special Report No. 20. (This report is also available in Nepali)

    Download (3.09 MB)
  • At War's End: Armed Violence in Nepal, May 2013. Research Note No. 29, Armed Violence (also available in Nepali).

    Download (1.12 MB)
  • Political Conflict and Vulnerabilities: Firearms and Electoral Violence in Kenya, December 2012. Armed Violence Issue Brief No. 2.

    Download (672.15 KB)
  • My Neighbour, My Enemy: Inter-tribal Violence in Jonglei, October 2012. HSBA Issue Brief Number 21 (also available in Arabic)

  • Security Provision and Small Arms in Karamoja: A Survey of Perceptions, by Kees Kingma, Frank Muhereza, Ryan Murray, Matthias Nowak, and Lilu Thapa, a joint publication of the Danish Demining Group and the Small Arms Survey. September 2012. Special Report No. 17

    Download (1.74 MB)
  • Reducing Armed Violence, Enabling Development, July 2012. Research Note No. 19, Armed Violence.

    Download (405.93 KB)
  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011: Lethal Encounters, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat. Published by Cambridge University Press. October 2011.

    More information
  • Contributing Evidence to Programming: Armed Violence Monitoring Systems, by Elisabeth Gilgen and Lauren Tracey, published by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, September 2011. 

  • Tackling Violence against Women: From Knowledge to Practical Initiatives, by Jennifer Milliken with Elisabeth Gilgen and Jasna Lazaravic, published by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, June 2011. 

  • Urban Violence in an Urban Village: A Case Study of Dili, Timor-Leste, edited by Robert Muggah, October 2010

  • Symptoms and Causes: Insecurity and Underdevelopment in Eastern Equatoria, April 2010. HSBA Issue Brief No. 16 (also available in Arabic)

  • Community Safety and Small Arms in Somaliland, a joint publication of the Danish Demining Group and the Small Arms Survey, 2010.

    Download (1.31 MB)
  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2008, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, September 2008.

  • Armed Violence Prevention and Reduction: A Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, by Keith Krause and Robert Muggah, June 2008

  • Avoiding Disarmament Failure: The Critical Link in DDR—An Operational Manual for Donors, Managers, and Practitioners, by Peter Swarbrick, February 2007. Working Paper No. 5

    Download (289.07 KB)
  • Silencing Guns: Local Perspectives on Small Arms and Armed Violence in Rural South Pacific Islands Communities, edited by Emile LeBrun and Robert Muggah, June 2005. Occasional Paper No. 15

    Download (788.34 KB)
  • No Relief: Surveying the Effects of Gun Violence on Humanitarian Aid and Development Personnel, by Cate Buchanan and Robert Muggah, co-published with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, June 2005. (Summary report also available).

    Download (2.34 MB)
  • Armed and Aimless: Armed Groups, Guns, and Human Security in the ECOWAS Region, edited by Nicolas Florquin and Eric G. Berman, May 2005 (also available in French).

    More information
  • Whose Security Counts? Participatory Research on Armed Violence and Human Insecurity in Southeast Asia, by Chutimas Suksai, Raymund Narag, Daraaceh, and Keng Menglang, co-published with Nonviolence International, September 2003.

    Download (1.99 MB)
  • In the Line of Fire: Surveying the Perceptions of Humanitarian and Development Personnel of the Impacts of Small Arms and Light Weapons, by Ryan Beasley, Cate Buchanan and Robert Muggah, co-published with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, July 2003 (Summary of findings also available).

    Download (1.21 MB)
  • Small Arms and Human Insecurity: Reviewing Participatory Research in South Asia, by Dipankar Banerjee and Robert Muggah, co-published with the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, July 2002

    Download (2.2 MB)
  • Small Arms Availability, Trade, and Impacts in the Republic of Congo, commissioned by IOM and the UNDP, by Spyros Demetriou, Robert Muggah and Ian Biddle, April 2002. Special Report No. 2

    Download (720.11 KB)
  • Development Held Hostage: Assessing the Effects of Small Arms on Human Development, by Robert Muggah and Peter Batchelor, co-published with UNDP, April 2002.

    Download (481.97 KB)
  • Humanitarianism under Threat: The Humanitarian Impact of Small Arms and Light Weapons, by Robert Muggah and Eric Berman, commissioned by the Reference Group on Small Arms of the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee, July 2001. Special Report No. 1 (summary in French also available)

    Download (688.22 KB)
  • Globalisation and Insecurity: The Direct and Indirect Effects of Small Arms Availability, by Robert Muggah, in IDS Bulletin, Vol. 32, Nr. 2, 2001

    Download (45.99 KB)
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Other Publications

  • UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). 2011. The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education. Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011. Paris: UNESCO.

    More information
  • Kolbea, Athena, et al. 2010. Mortality, crime and access to basic needs before and after the Haiti earthquake: a random survey of Port-au-Prince households. Medicine, Conflict and Survival. Vol 26, Issue 4, pp 281—297.

    More information
  • Elhawary, Samir, Marta Foresti, and Sara Pantuliano, 2010. Development, Security and Transitions in Fragile States: Meeting Series report. London: Overseas Development Institute.

  • UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). 2007. Crime and Development in Central America - Caught in the Crossfire. Vienna: UNODC.

  • Koyama, Shukoko. 2006. Disarmament, development and the Programme of Action: experience and challenges on the ground. Disarmament Forum: Taking Actions on Small Arms. No. 1. pp. 75-82. Geneva: UNIDIR (United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research).

    More information
  • UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). 2005. Crime and Development in Africa. June. Vienna: UNODC.

  • WHO (World Health Organization). 2005. Addressing Violence against Women and Achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Geneva: WHO.

  • Humphreys, Macartan and Ashutosh Varshney. 2004. Violent Conflict and the Millennium Development Goals: Diagnosis and Recommendations. Prepared for the Millennium Development Goals Poverty Task Force Workshop, Bangkok. June.

  • Jane Chanaa et al. 2004. Guns or Growth? Assessing the impact of arms sales on sustainable development. Control Arms: Amnesty International, IANSA, Oxfam. Published in association with Ploughshares & Saferworld.

    More information
  • Collier, Paul et al. 2003. Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy. A World Bank Policy Research Report. Washington and New York: The World Bank and Oxford University Press.

    More information
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