Small Arms Survey

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The Small Arms Survey is an independent research project located at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. It provides impartial and public information on all aspects of small arms and light weapons, as a resource for governments, policy-makers, researchers, and activists, as well as research on small arms issues.

The Survey monitors national and international initiatives (governmental and non-governmental), and acts as a forum and clearinghouse for the sharing of information. It also disseminates best practice measures and initiatives dealing with small arms issues.

The Small Arms Survey mandate is to look at all aspects of small arms and armed violence. It provides research and analysis by which to support governments to reduce the incidence of armed violence and illicit trafficking through evidence-based analysis.

The project's staff includes international experts in security studies, political science, law, international public policy, development studies, economics, conflict resolution, and sociology. The staff works closely with a worldwide network of researchers and partners.[1][2][3]

Focus projects[edit]

The Small Arms Survey hosts the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development Secretariat.[4] The Small Arms Survey's Human Security Baseline Assessment for Sudan and South Sudan project supports violence reduction initiatives, including disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programmes, incentive schemes for civilian arms collections and security sector reform, and arms control interventions across Sudan.[5] The Security Assessment in North Africa project supports efforts to build a more secure environment in North Africa and the Sahel-Sahara region. The project produces evidence-based research and analysis on the availability and circulation of small arms, the dynamics of emerging armed groups, and related insecurity. The research stresses the effects of the recent uprisings and armed conflicts in the region on community safety.[6]


The project's flagship publication is the Small Arms Survey, an annual review of global small arms issues such as production, stockpiles, brokering, legal and illicit arms transfers, the effects of small arms, and national, bilateral, and multilateral measures to deal with the problems associated with small arms.[7] Published by Cambridge University Press, it is recognized as the principal international source of impartial and reliable information on all aspects of small arms. It is widely used policy-makers, government officials and non-governmental organizations.[8]

The Small Arms Survey 2007, titled Guns in the City, included a section on civilian ownership of firearms, which provides a listing of the number of privately owned guns per 100 citizens by country.[9]

The Small Arms Survey 2009, titled Shadows of War examines the challenge of ensuring sustainable post-conflict security.[10]

The Small Arms Survey 2010, titled Gangs, Groups, and Guns, examines armed violence in the context of gangs and other armed groups, and looks at some of the interventions that have been made to address the problem.[11]

The Small Arms Survey 2011 is titled States of Security. Released in July 2011, it considers the growth of the private security industry and its firearms holdings worldwide; the firearms holdings of private security personnel; the use of private security companies by multinational corporations; the use of emerging weapons technology among Western police forces; and legislative controls over the civilian possession of firearms in 42 jurisdictions around the world. Case studies provide original research on ongoing security challenges in Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti and Madagascar. This edition also presents the 2011 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, an estimate of the annual authorized trade in light weapons, and a review of developments related to small arms control at the United Nations.[12]

The Small Arms Survey 2012 is titled Moving Targets (published August 2012) and examines the changes in relation to armed violence and small arms proliferation. Chapters on firearm homicide in Latin America and the Caribbean, drug violence in selected Latin American countries and non-lethal violence worldwide illustrate that security is a moving target; armed violence, both lethal and non-lethal, continues to undermine the security and wellbeing of people and societies around the world. The goal of curbing small arms proliferation, embodied in the UN Programme of Action, appears similarly elusive. Chapters on illicit small arms in war zones, trade transparency, Somali piracy and the 2011 UN Meeting of Governmental Experts highlight some of the successes, but also the continuing challenges, in this area. Country studies look at Kazakhstan and Somaliland. This edition also includes the final installment of the authorized transfers project, looking at parts and accessories.[13]

The Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers (published July 2013) explores the many faces of armed violence outside the context of conflict. Chapters discuss the use of firearms in intimate partner violence, the evolution of gangs in Nicaragua, organized crime groups in Italy (such as the mafia), and trends in armed violence in South Africa. The ‘weapons and markets’ section draws attention to the use of specific weapons by particular armed actors, such as drug-trafficking organizations and insurgents. The section includes chapters on the prices of small arms and ammunition at illicit markets in Lebanon, Pakistan, and Somalia; illicit weapons recovered in Mexico and the Philippines; and the impacts of improvised explosive devices on civilians. Other chapters examine progress at the Second Review Conference of the UN PoA (United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms) and discuss developments in the ammunition demilitarization industry.[14]

In addition to its annual yearbook, the Small Arms Survey publishes a wide range of periodical research findings. These include a Book Series, Occasional Papers, Special Reports, Working Papers, and short Issue Briefs.[15] These publications present substantial research findings on data, methodological, and conceptual issues related to small arms or detailed country and regional case studies. Most of these are published in hard copy and are also accessible on the project's web site.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Home". Small Arms Survey. 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Small Arms Survey | GPPlatform". Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  3. ^ "The Graduate Institute – Geneva; Small Arms Survey". 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  4. ^ "Diplomatic initiatives". 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  5. ^ "Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment – Empirical research & support of violence reduction initiatives". Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  6. ^ "Home". Small Arms Survey. 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  7. ^ "Yearbook". Small Arms Survey. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  8. ^ "Small Arms Survey – Series – Academic and Professional Books – Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  9. ^ "The largest civilian firearms arsenals for 178 countries" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  10. ^ "The Graduate Institute, Geneva – Institutional News of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies". Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  11. ^ "2010". Small Arms Survey. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  12. ^ "Small Arms Survey 2011 – Academic and Professional Books – Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  13. ^ "Small Arms Survey 2012 – Academic and Professional Books – Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  14. ^ "2013". Small Arms Survey. 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  15. ^ "By type". Small Arms Survey. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 

External links[edit]