On 18 October 2021, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in partnership with the Small Arms Survey hosted a virtual side event to launch a new report that highlights gender considerations throughout the life-cycle management of ammunition, “Gender-sensitive Ammunition Management Processes: Considerations for National Authorities”, on the margins of the First Committee of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Attended by about 30 participants, the event provided an overview of the concept of life-cycle management of ammunition and highlights from the new report.
Mr. Adedeji Ebo, Chief of the Conventional Arms Branch of UNODA, welcomed the speakers and the audience with his opening remarks. He noted that the new publication builds on the briefing paper that UNODA released last year, highlighting more practical considerations that national authorities could take into account when gender-mainstreaming their ammunition management policies and practices throughout the life-cycle of conventional ammunition. He added that the new report is being released at an opportune time, as the First Committee is considering the final report of the Group of Governmental Experts on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus, and believed that it, together with the briefing paper, “can contribute to the discussions and considerations by the international community on this topic.”
Ms. Sandrina Köbinger, Desk Officer with the Conventional Arms Division of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, welcomed the release of the new report. As the donor of the project, she emphasized Germany’s interest in the issue of ammunition management and gender. Ms. Köbinger referred to the recommendations contained in the final report of the Group of Governmental Experts on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus, stressing the need for a new global framework on ammunition management that will address existing gaps. She also shared Germany’s wish to establish an Open-Ended Working Group next year to make further progress on this issue.
Mr. Marco Baccini, Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) Specialist with the Small Arms Survey presented the concept of life-cycle management of ammunition. Poorly managed ammunition can lead to unplanned explosions or diversion to unauthorized users such as terrorists and criminals. Existing policies and practices on ammunition management are often inadequate, resulting in safety and security risks. To address this issue, the life-cycle management of ammunition takes a comprehensive approach and looks at four stages of ammunition life cycle: planning, procurement, stockpile management and disposal. Mr. Baccini highlighted the importance of national ownership for the life-cycle management of ammunition to be effective and sustainable.
Mr. Emile LeBrun, Project Coordinator with the Small Arms Survey and the author of the report, presented highlights from the publication. He noted that the report was written for national authorities and provides examples of gender analysis across the life-cycle of conventional ammunition. Like the speaker before him, he also emphasized that national ownership is crucial, stating that “weak national ownership is a risk for diversion and unplanned explosions and hinders gender-mainstreaming.” Referring to the ongoing international efforts to strengthen ammunition management, he argued that these efforts “should include steps to make improvements gender-sensitive,” describing concrete gender considerations for each stage of the ammunition life cycle.
The new publication was produced as part of a project funded by Germany. It is available on UNODA website here: https://www.un.org/disarmament/gender-sensitive-ammo-mgmt/.