UNODA Update

New software helps ammunition experts keep communities safe

The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs is pioneering new software applications to support ammunition stockpile management in the field. Not only essential to save the lives and livelihoods of those living there, but also to improve the safety of UN peacekeepers. When there’s a danger of a depot explosion or when this has already happened, UN ammunition experts are on hand to help – now equipped with new tools to do their work.

Each time the UN’s ammunition experts take on missions to help countries with their ammunition stocks, they put their lives at risk. Often, they do not have access to the best tools to do their job. In the past, they have had to make assessments and calculations by hand. Laborious tasks that take time and prolong exposure to danger, both for themselves and the communities which they are helping.

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), under its UN SaferGuard programme, has developed a web-based toolkit facilitating the implementation of the UN’s International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). These new Guidelines, mandated by the General Assembly, were developed to the highest existing standards by ammunition experts from around the world.

The new IATG implementation software provides a comprehensive checklist of risk factors that allows experts to make a quick assessment of the dangers in any given ammunition stockpile. Another tool uses Google Maps to illustrate the potential damage area that may be impacted by an unintended stockpile explosion, and to indicate which buildings and roads are within the danger zone.

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Bobby Williams, Programmer

“We hope these tools will enable experts to use the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines in a simple yet comprehensive way,” says UNODA’s Bobby Williams, who programmed the tools with consultant Max Hamoy. “They are also designed to provide an important outreach function, by enabling ammunition specialists to communicate serious dangers visually to policy-makers and other stakeholders.”

See what the software can do at http://www.un.org/disarmament/un-saferguard/

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