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Recent Publications

  • Beyond State Control: Improvised and Craft-produced Small Arms and Light Weapons, by G. Hays and N.R. Jenzen-Jones. Small Arms Survey Report, November 2018.

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  • Possible Measures to Prevent and Address Diversion: Supporting Effective Implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty. August 2018. Small Arms Survey Infographic.

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  • The 2018 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, by Paul Holtom and Irene Pavesi. Briefing Paper, August 2018.

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The Transparency Barometer

Assessing and comparing national reports on small arms exports and reporting under multilateral instruments is complicated as their formats differ widely: from a few pages of statistics to several hundred pages of text and tables. The Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer seeks to answer the question : how useful is the data provided for understanding a country's small arms exports?

In order to assess countries’ transparency of their small arms exports, the  Barometer takes into account:

  • national arms export reports, including national contributions to the EU Annual Report on military equipment exports as well as submissions to the SEESAC Regional Report;
  • Arms Trade Treaty initial and annual reports;
  • national reports on the implementation of the UN Programme of Action and International Tracing Instrument;
  • submissions to the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UN Register); and
  • submissions to the UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade).

 The Transparency Barometer uses the following seven parameters to assess transparency and for scoring purposes: (i) timeliness, (ii) access and consistency, (iii) clarity, (iv) comprehensiveness; (v) deliveries, (vi) licences granted, and (vii) licences refused.

It is important to stress that the Transparency Barometer evaluates the provision of information on small arms exports and does not seek to independently verify the veracity of that information. In other words, it assesses the quantity, precision, and usefulness of the data made publicly available by countries, but not its accuracy.

Because of its focus on small arms and light weapons exports, the Barometer cannot be used as a general measure of transparency for all arms exports. It includes only countries that have exported small arms and light weapons, their parts, accessories, and ammunition of a value equal to or greater than USD 10 million on at least one occasion since 2001.

The 2018 edition of the Transparency Barometer reviews information on trade activities that states carried out in 2015 and made public during the course of the following calendar year. It identifies Switzerland (21.75 out of 25 points), the Netherlands (20.00), the UK (20.00), Italy (19.50), and Serbia (19.00) as the most transparent of major exporters. The average score of all evaluated countries in the 2018 Barometer is 12.35. This rather low average means that the vast majority of states, including those scoring better than average, still have some way to go before achieving full transparency in their export reporting.

Transparency Barometer

  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2018

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2017

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2016

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2014

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2013

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2012

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2011

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2010

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2009

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2008

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2007

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2006

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2005

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2004

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  • Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2003

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Small Arms Survey Publications

  • The 2018 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, by Paul Holtom and Irene Pavesi. Briefing Paper, August 2018.

    Download (1.07 MB)
  • Trade Update 2017: Out of the Shadows, by Paul Holtom and Irene Pavesi. September 2017.

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  • Trade Update 2016: Transfers and Transparency, by Irene Pavesi. June 2016.

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  • Assessing Transparency in Small Arms Exports: The Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, August 2012. Research Note No. 20, Weapons and Markets.

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  • Transparency Counts: Assessing State Reporting on Small Arms Transfers, 2001-08, by Jasna Lazarevic, June 2010. Occasional Paper No. 25

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  • Shining a Light on Small Arms Exports: The Record of State Transparency, by Maria Haug, Martin Langvandslien, Lora Lumpe, and Nic Marsh, co-published with NISAT, January 2002. Occasional Paper No. 4

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