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Objectives of MSAG

In the late 90’s, the uncontrolled spread of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and the surplus and precarious stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (CA) and explosives became to be seen as a crucial problem on the international and regional fora. The existing surpluses of SALW and/or the shelf life exceeded stockpiles of CA pose significant hazards to people, the environment and the security of countries.
 
The United Nations, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and other regional organizations have addressed these problems in several initiatives with the common aim of clearly improving the current situation through international cooperation and assistance.
 
Two crucial thematic areas of international assistance and cooperation, both are aimed at reducing destabilizing accumulations; combating the uncontrolled spread; and preventing illicit trafficking of SALW/CA:
• to reduce the global surplus of SALW/CA and
 • to promote the proper management and security of national stockpiles.
 
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The issue of SALW

Improperly stored and inadequately managed stockpiles of SALW present many security problems and challenges which threaten individuals and societies.
 
The words of the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Anan, are still true: ‘Small arms and light weapons are the weapons of mass destruction of the 21st century’. And the Archbishop Desmond Tutu has described the small arms trade in Africa as 'the modern day slave trade which is out of control.’
 
The fact that - according to figures from Small Arms Survey – armed violence claims at least 740.000 lives per year, of which the vast majority – at least 490.000 – of these occur in non conflict settings, provides sad evidence of these truths.
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The issue of conventional ammunition

Ammunition beyond what a host nation requires for its legitimate defense needs is simply not worth the cost to secure it or worth the risk posed by an accident or its theft. Poor security and accountability of conventional ammunition can lead to its theft and illicit use in crimes or terrorist activities. Improper management of ammunition stockpiles poses grave dangers to the local population and to those who attempt to use it. Poor storage, transportation, and stockpile surveillance procedures can lead to deadly ammunition accidents caused by the deterioration of the propellant stabilizer in ammunition beyond its serviceable use.

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Basis Principles for Assistance Measures

Assistance options

The aim of all assistance measures is to enhance the safety of SALW/CA to prevent dangers related to the storage and the handling of SALW/CA. The safety of ammunition is essentially determined by the aspects of material and construction safety of ammunition, physical safety and security protection measures, and personnel and organizational measures for the safe handling of ammunition.

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Abbreviations

AAM air-to-air missile

AAP Allied Administrative Publication

AASTP Allied Ammunition Storage and Transport Publication

ADF ammunition demilitarization facility

AGM air-to-ground missile

AH anti-helicopter

ALARP as low as reasonably practicable

ANFO Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil

AP anti-personnel

APB ammunition-process building

APE ammunition-peculiar equipment

ASS ammunition storage site

AT anti-tank/ammunition technician

ATGM anti-tank guided missile

ATGW anti-tank guided weapon

ATO ammunition technical officer

AU African Union

AUW all up weight

AV anti-vehicle

CA Conventional Ammunition

CCW Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

CMD conventional munition disposal

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Glossary of SALW/CA terms

You can find here a list of terms related to SALW and Ammunition:

Abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO): Explosive ordnance that has not been used during an armed conflict has been left behind or dumped by a party to an armed conflict, and is no longer under control of the party that left it behind or dumped it. Abandoned explosive ordnance may or may not have been primed, fused, armed, or otherwise prepared for use.

(ammunition) Accounting: Information management systems and associated operating procedures that are designed to record, numerically monitor, verify, issue, and receive ammunition in organizations and stockpiles.

Ammunition: A complete device (e.g. missile, shell, mine, demolition store, etc.) charged with explosives; propellants; pyrotechnics; initiating composition; or nuclear, biological, or chemical material for use in connection with offence, or defence, or training, or non-operational purposes, including those parts of weapons systems containing explosives (cf. Munition).

Read more: Glossary of SALW/CA terms

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