Safe and secure management of ammunition through the UN SaferGuard Programme

Congo Brazaville explosion
Devastation from a 2012 ammunition depot explosion in Brazzaville, Congo.
Photo: Erwan Morand.

In more than 100 countries, over the past five decades, poorly-managed ammunition stockpiles have resulted in explosions, often bringing about humanitarian disasters. Thousands of people have been killed, injured and displaced, and the livelihoods of entire communities have been disrupted.

In addition to the humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, unsecured or poorly managed ammunition stockpiles fuel insecurity. Massive diversion of ammunition to illicit markets has been a catalyst for armed conflict, organized crime and terrorism. Moreover, diverted ammunition is increasingly used to assemble improvised explosive devices.

Taken together, these consequences demonstrate the very serious safety and security challenges posed by inadequately-managed stockpiles.

In response to these concerns, the General Assembly requested the United Nations to develop guidelines for adequate ammunition management to ensure that the United Nations consistently delivers high-quality advice and support (A/RES/63/61). 

As a result, the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG) were developed in 2011 and the UN SaferGuard Programme was established as the corresponding knowledge management platform.

The UN SaferGuard Programme, managed by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs oversees the maintenance, updating and dissemination of the IATG.

Casualties of unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS) 1979-2019

Graph of casualties
Graphic provided by Small Arms Survey

 

IATG Implementation Support Toolkit

The web-based applications in this toolkit support the implementation of the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). The scientific background of the underlying formulae is summarized and referenced in IATG 1.80.

Ammunition experts are invited to use the resources on this website to implement best-practices that will improve the safety, security and efficiency in conventional ammunition stockpile management. These tools may also be used to communicate safety and security requirements to policy-makers and other stakeholders.

International Ammunition Technical Guidelines

The newly released Version 3 of the IATG are currently only available in English. Translations of Version 3 into Arabic, French and Spanish will become available in due course. The Office for Disarmament Affairs will continue to strive to make the IATG available in additional languages.

01 - Introduction and Principles of Ammunition Management

01.10 - Guide to the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG)
     English

01.20 - Index of risk reduction process levels (RRPL) within IATG
     English

01.30 - Policy development and advice
     English

01.35 - Organisational Capabilities
     English

01.40 - Glossary of terms, definitions and abbreviations
    English

01.50 - UN explosive hazard classification system and codes
    English

01.60 - Ammunition faults and performance failures
     English

01.70 - Bans and constraints
     English

01.80 - Formulae for ammunition management
     English

01.90 - Ammunition management personnel competences (new module)
     English

02 - Risk Management

02.10 - Introduction to risk management principles and processes
     English

02.20 - Quantity and separation distances
     English

02.30 - Licensing of explosive facilities
     English

02.40 - Safeguarding of explosive facilities
     English

02.50 - Fire safety
     English

03 - Ammunition Accounting

03.10 - Inventory management
     English

03.20 - Lotting and batching
     English

04 - Explosive Facilities (Storage) (Field and Temporary Conditions)

04.10 - Temporary storage
     **Temporarily withdrawn**

05 - Explosives Facilities (Storage) (Infrastructure and Equipment)

05.10 - Planning and siting of explosives facilities
     English

05.20 - Types of buildings for explosives facilities
     English

05.30 - Traverses and barricades
     English

05.40 - Safety standards for electrical installations
     English

05.50 - Vehicles and mechanical handling equipment (MHE) in explosives facilities
     English

05.60 - Radio frequency hazards
     English

06 - Explosive Facilities (Storage) (Operations)

06.10 - Control of explosives facilities
     English

06.20 - Storage space requirements
     English

06.30 - Storage and handling
     English

06.40 - Ammunition packaging and marking
     English

06.50 - Specific safety precautions (storage and operations)                                
     English

06.60 - Works services (construction and repair)           
     English

06.70 - Inspection of explosives facilities
     English

07 - Ammunition Processing

07.10 - Safety and risk reduction (ammunition processing operations)
     English

07.20 - Inspection of ammunition
     English

07.30 - Ammunition processing operations - Safety, risk reduction and mitigation
     English

08 - Transport of Ammunition

08.10 - Transport of ammunition
     English

08.20 - Storage and handling of ammunition and explosives at airfields
     English

09 - Security of Ammunition

09.10 - Security principles and systems
     English

10 - Ammunition Demilitarization and Destruction

10.10 - Demilitarization and destruction and logistic disposal of conventional ammunition
     English

11 - Ammunition Accidents, Reporting and Investigation

11.10 - Ammunition accidents: reporting and investigation
     English

11.20 - Clearance storage area explosions – EOD clearance
     English

12 - Ammunition Operational Support

12.10 - Ammunition on multi-national operations
     English

12.20 - Small unit ammunition storage
     English