The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD), in partnership with the Ammunition Management Advisory Team (AMAT), conducted a validation exercise for ammunition technical experts primarily from the Asia-Pacific region to expand the UN SaferGuard Programme’s roster of experts.
Poorly managed ammunition stockpiles continue to pose dual risks of accidental explosions and illicit diversions, which could result in grave humanitarian and socio-economic consequences including death, injury and destruction of communities and natural environments. To support States in strengthening the management of ammunition stockpiles, the UN SaferGuard Programme maintains and disseminates practical guidance on the safe and secure management of ammunition: the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). The Programme also provides high-quality technical assistance to States, upon request, including through its Quick-Response Mechanism.
The Quick-Response Mechanism aims to rapidly deploy ammunition experts, upon request from a State, to provide technical guidance, including in the aftermath of unintended explosions of ammunition. The SaferGuard Programme’s roster of highly qualified and experienced ammunition technical experts is key in offering tailored support. To increase the number of experts on this roster, a validation exercise assesses experts’ knowledge and skills in relation to the IATG.
A group of six candidates from Canada, Nepal and Pakistan, picked through a thorough selection process, joined representatives of UNODA, UNRCPD, AMAT and external technical assessors from Golden West and Azide Limited for the in-person exercise from 13 to 16 December 2021 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The four-day programme consisted of roundtable discussions, an individual exercise, a group role-play exercise, presentations and question and answer sessions, allowing the candidates to demonstrate their technical competences, including on the IATG, as well as their soft skills. Prior, the experts had completed an e-learning programme on the IATG, which included topics ranging from risk management to safety and security of ammunition depots, as well as a storage exercise.
The first day opened with a series of presentations on the UN SaferGuard Programme and outlined the validation exercise’s assessment criteria and methodology. The candidates then individually presented the results of their storage exercise, receiving feedback from the assessors on both the technical aspect and their soft skills.
On day two, the candidates and the assessors engaged in roundtable discussions on the disposal of ammunition and through-life management of ammunition, providing the candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their technical knowledge on ammunition management and share experiences with each other.
Day three continued with roundtable discussions on fire safety and ammunition accidents, followed by a group exercise on risk management. The candidates presented their solutions to a panel of assessors who played various roles, such as military officers and a representative from the President’s office, simulating situations that experts might encounter when they are deployed on a mission as part of the SaferGuard Quick-Response Mechanism. After completing the final interviews and feedback round, the six candidates received a certificate of participation and were added to the SaferGuard Programme’s roster of experts, thereby increasing the number of international experts that can be called on to enhance stockpile safety worldwide.
This event was made possible with the financial contribution from the Government of Germany and technical expertise from AMAT, Golden West and Azide Limited.