Stockpiled ammunition can become unsafe if it is not properly stored and secured. Unintended explosions of ammunition depots have affected over 60 countries worldwide, leading to thousands of casualties over the past 15 years. Moreover, when depots are not well managed, they can become an unremitting source for diversion of ammunition to armed groups and criminals, thus sustaining conflicts and armed criminal activity.
In order to address these urgent issues, all 193 countries of the United Nations have requested the development of the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG) under the UN SaferGuard programme. Completed in 2011, these Guidelines are designed to help national authorities establish standardized ammunition management processes to reduce the dual risks of ammunition explosion and diversion into the illicit market.
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), through its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) organized, from 14 to 17 April 2014, an advanced training course using these International Ammunition Technical Guidelines. The training took place at the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) and was made possible with the financial support of the European Union.
The aim of the training course was to raise awareness and knowledge of national authorities and personnel who deal with conventional ammunition on a daily basis, so that they bring enhanced ammunition management practices and skills with them to their places of work. Personnel responsible for ammunition and explosive ordnance destruction from twelve countries from East and Southern Africa joined together with staff members from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and a representative from the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to take part in this training course.
Participants were exposed to diverse topics of the guidelines including: temporary field storage facilities, disposal and destruction of ammunition and inspection of explosive facilities, among others. The training was complemented with a practical exercise in which participants worked in syndicate groups to develop a field ammunition storage facility plan considering placement according to hazard classification codes (HCC), explosive equivalent weight (EQ), the topography of the simulation area, as well as the grouping of particular types of ammunition. Through this exercise participants had the opportunity of putting together their experiences from different backgrounds as well as the guidelines introduced during the course.
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Photos from the Event